Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nations cannot last forever…

If we peep into the early history of mankind, we find that numerous changes in the human life have taken place over the millenniums. Many systems emerged to suite the need of the contemporary times came into existence to collapse under internal or external pressures to give way to new one or because they simply wont work with changing times.


Primordial man was wanderer, a food-gatherer-hunter man as anthropologists describe them. Being nomads, in constant search of food and game, there couldn’t be eternal emotional ties with any particular land or region. Every human being was closely tied up with some or other band that formed tribes in later course of the time. The tribes trod almost every region that came in his sight. The perpetual wars, amongst tribes to establish temporal right over the forests where abundant game was available, would take place. Subjugated tribes would be taken for slave. Women would be used to grow population of the tribes.

In later course human being learnt very important art to domicile useful animal for food and even for protection, like dogs. Still he was a nomad as he had to move on constant search of grazing lands.

There were no permanent settlements till human being invented agriculture. Agriculture made human life easy, comparatively far cozy. He made settlements around water sources and fertile lands. This revolutionized human life and his way of thinking. His perspective towards human society and life got entirely changed. The drastic change in lifestyle made an everlasting impact over his psyche which can be traced even today. First time ever a concept of “ownership” arose in his mind, and he started implementing it. It was but natural there would be constant disputes amongst tribal-man about boundaries of the land and its expansion. The wars between tribes too were constant those would try to force out settlements to establish their own. In a way beginning of agrarian man was in the state of confusion, violence and uncertainty.

This was the time when human being thought of some system in an order to safeguard individual interests and protection from aggressors. Thus first idea of State came into an existence. This was very rudimentary organization which was going to develop through next millenniums. Since still human being was a tribal man, the tribes constituted their assemblies headed by chieftains to govern the interests of the tribe. The assemblies formulated the laws and ethical regulations with general consensus of the tribal people. In wars all those capable of fight would join to protect boundaries or for aggression. Internally rights over land, wealth and women were designed. The primordial religion too got tremendously modified in this period. In the course of the time City-State concept was developed. Some places partially democratic assembly systems were developed. Such States were too small with limited boundaries. We can see such examples in Greek and Indian civilization where kind of rudimentary republics were established. Jatak stories give us insight about the governance of such Republics.

But this system gradually took its last breath, because of its inherent limitations, to give way to the emergence of Kingdoms. This new system was of a representative of the Divine, a King, who would rule over the people, govern them, protect them and expand the boundaries by defeating other kingdoms. Vedik literature tells us a myth how first king Manu was appointed by Brahma…to rule the people so that there would not be anarchy. Manu accepted the difficult task in return with taxes from the people he would govern. This King became representative of the God. Early kings were chiefs of the religion as well.

With Kingdoms we find expansions of the boundaries. Constant wars to retain the boundaries. When kingdoms found the losses being incurred by constant wars the early pacts of alignments too came into an existence. So some kingdoms became allies and some sworn enemies. People were taught to be loyal to the king and kingdom. We find seeds of early patriotism sown in ancient times. Dying for the State in wars became a matter of pride as a heaven was assured by the religion. Though these were artificial and illusionary promises, they worked. We find numerous examples of such patriarchs in the past in ballads, in epics and in legends.

I can say creating artificial concepts in an order to make easy and profitable governance was necessity of those times which was destined to last till now.

IMPERIALISM

Foundations of imperialism were laid down in Kingdoms. The ambitious Kings wouldn’t be satisfied with limited territories. Thus subjugating other kingdoms to annex to their own begun as back as in sixth century BC. The imperialism started in India with Brihadrath dynasty. Later on Chandragupta, Ashoka and so many followed the suite. They acquired most of the Indian subcontinent and ruled through vassals. Chinese Empire emerged in 221 BC. Alexander dreamt to rule entire earth but succeeded in winning over few. Julius Caesar too was an ambitious man with immense valor, but Republicans of Rome killed him to curb his empirical ambitions, but soon after his murder the time Roman Empire came into existence to last for over four centuries.

Thus we can say the world came under shadow of imperialism that changed boundaries of the world…and thus human life and culture. In medieval period Muslim powers established their empires in India and elsewhere as well.

We can see till renaissance period globe was under rule of some or other emperors or kings. The empires collapsed and new empires arose. The boundaries were not perpetual. In fact boundaries had no meaning. The emperors and Kingdoms were ruled through vassals and feudal lords. Human rights had no meaning. The extreme exploitation of farmers/tenants and small manufacturers at the hands of feudal lords was a routine. Emperor, a divine power, representative of the God hardly thought of the common people. The French Revolution and renaissance brought awakening amongst the people. Way of thinking was drastically changed by these incidents. In fact very concept of “Nation” was outcome of the revolution.

Still we can find, the Nation-State theory was limited to the Europe. European countries jumped in the competition of colonizing rest of the world as their market places and source of constant supply of the cheap raw material and labor in the form of slaves. Rapid industrialization in Europe thus made their subjects rich and wealthy at the cost of the colonized territories throughout the globe. This was a kind of new imperialism practiced by nation-States. The European countries, as every country wanted some or more share in colonization, fell in a violent and aggressive competition that finally led to First World War. It changed the map of the Europe. United States already had attained freedom from England. Colonies too got engaged in some or other way in freedom fight. But the seeds of destruction those were sowed in the First World War resulted in World War Two. Adolf Hitler had obsession of establishing a Nazi (Third Reich) Empire. We are aware how destructive this war had been. USA and Soviet Russia emerged as superpowers post World War II. By middle of twentieth century most of the countries gained independence.

Then we enter in the era of cold war. The world got divided in two distinct orders…capitalist and communist. Many countries like India remained non-aligned. But from one India were created three countries. The boundaries of India alone got changed thrice. After collapse of Soviet Russia again many countries came into an existence. Some countries were being divided, such as North and South Korea; some countries got united like West and East Germany…

Thus why we are having a glimpse of the history, though everyone knows it, to understand one vital point that boundaries those make Nation, have never been perpetual. In fact the very concept of Nation is very new to the mankind. It is a symbolic, emotional but illusionary concept that has no meaning in real sense. We as a human being have always been ruled by emotions which need to be analyzed. We need to understand proper meaning of the state in which we are today. Though we call ourselves now civilized one, we are not free from imperialistic sentiment. Nation, as were systems of governance of the past like City-States, Kingdoms, vast empires, Nation-States too is a system that has sever lacunas as the other systems had. Those systems collapsed because they had inherent problems…major being lesser value to the human life, exploitation and not creating sustainable economy.

The Nations too are not exceptions, although degree may vary. We have created new problems such as of religious and sectarian terrorism. We have changed meaning of the independence as there is no independent country in real sense. No borders can be said everlasting as there are demands from the some or other sections demanding separate independent Nations almost in every nation…with violent acts or peaceful protests…No Nation is as safe as thought from the sudden aggressions that might change borders of this or that nation. This has been happened and will keep on happening. The race each country has fallen in is of ultramodern armaments and spending on armies.

Are we safe? In fact no one is safe, no matter whether one is citizen of a superpower or of a weakest Nation. Thus it makes us think and challenge the very need of the Nations. If mankind could abandon old useless systems, we too can abandon the present one. One day we need to abolish this concept to establish new order of the world…One World: One Nation!


-Sanjay Sonawani



2 comments:

  1. Great analysis, thank you for sharing.

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  2. अंदमानच्या अंधेरीतून या पुस्तकात स्वातंत्र्यवीर सावरकरांनी ही कल्पना मांडली आहे,तसेच माझ्या आठवणी[भगूर] यातही.

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