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Rated: ASR · Essay · Educational · #656916
This item is written for Zooduck's ongoing contest on " Why is War? "
From time immemorial, Man has always desired for something he hasn't had, but which someone else has/has had.

Many wars have been fought against perceived threats, injustice or needs of an ever-greedy mankind.

Despots, tinpots, tyrants, kings, emperors, saints, martyrs, dictators, queens- all have had their share of war: each is guilty of dipping his/her hands in blood. Yet, while some have been lionised(often, the winners), others have equally been demonised(the losers, naturally).

History records armed conflict to be an almost daily affair on the globe. I read somewhere that if one scans global history from the time that written reports are available, one will find hardly two or three hundred days when an armed struggle was not being waged somewhere on the blue planet.

There is an old saying in the Gujarati Language
(a tongue spoken by Gujaratis) that says that the root cause of all conflicts are:jer, jameen and joru.
Jer means jewellery... here, precious stones, material wealth and worldly possessions;
Jameen means land and property, boundary disputes, conquering of kingdoms, etc;
Joru means wife... here, woman, lady love, etc.

To this list, I would also add "God"...so ironical, that many men, women and children all over the world, down the ages, have been killed in His name!

I remember reading with awe, the stories of great warriors in my childhood. In India, we have two epics- one, the Ramayana, and the second, theMahabharata. In both these stories, the main heroes fight for what is right in the eyes of God: Rama fights Ravana, the demon, while Pandavas, with Lord Krishna,fight the hundred-strong sibling group called the Kauravas. In both stories, there are miracles that make warriors more strong, their weapons more destructive and their animals, more magical.

Later in my childhood, I read about the exploits of Halaku, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, The Moghuls, the Aryans and about the Crusades and so on, and I realised the black side of wars.

I am frequently faced with an argument that if there is gross injustice, a war is just, and serves to finish off an evil force once and for all; it does not appeal to me, as the people who suffer in every war so far are the common 'men'; while the aggressor gets the booty, the victim dies, and is spared the horrible fate of the survivors of a war. Innocent men, women and children die, or are rendered homeless, penniless or sick...or worse, the women are forced into prostitution to feed the fire in their bellies, and to look after their young.

So, why War?

I am of the firm opinion that man goes to war over one of the following reasons:

a) He wants to show the world how powerful he is;
b) He wishes to expand his kingdom
c) He wants to spread the Word of God to heathens and pagans;
d) He wants to win the love of a Lady;
e) It is an ego-clash;
f) He is avenging his ancestors.

I definitely think, know, in fact, that Wars will continue to occur either for ever more, or till mankind has wiped itself out, because the thirst for aggression is in our 'blood' or 'genes', if one is puritanical in thoughts.

Even if wars against tyrants and despots are 'justified', the other wars, viz. wars of pure territorial expansion, hegemony and wars waged by egomaniacs will persist. The message of Love and Forgivance given to mankind by all the major Prophets, be they Christian, Muslim or Jew or Hindu...is forgotten by man.

Imagine the mother of a soldier actually blessing her son in the name of a God or Goddess before his departure for battle- the implied thought here is, " Go thou in the name of God and slay the enemy, thereby destroying God's Own creation!"

There will always be war, because man knows that it is not always possible to "Live and let live", or to "let a thousand flowers bloom"; he will take refuge in war to keep his mind at peace.
He will hunger for skulls, bones and flesh, for the carnivore in him has merely been suppressed, not eliminated for ever; for ever he will search for causes to cause conflicts, as he will never be satisfied by an unchanging peaceful landscape, a pink sky, a multi-coloured rainbow, a verdant earth and a cheerful smile. He wants to see dust, clouds of gunpowder,crying faces and wrecked landscapes.

Then if one day, an over-intelligent civilisation visits our "third rock from the sun", they shall verily sing:

There lived man, a sorry species of God,
He lived by the sword, and died by the Nuke;
Oh, but that he understood Love,
He'd have been Master of the Universe!

© Taher Kagalwala
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