ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recognise This Face?

In post-colonial societies, decolonisation merely changed the direction of a centuries-long violent hunt for natural resources. The more successful of the newly independent nations join the march of "development" only to become colonisers themselves. The formerly colonised countries are relatively new in the race, so the direction and the target of the hunt changes. Regions inside the country are identified for the hunt of natural resources. Imperialism turns inwards, and the latecomers in the race wage war against their own citizens, but this time in the name of developing them. With the hunt for resources turning inwards, history begins to repeat itself, but this time perhaps as a farce.

It is an ancient war, and it goes on. It might have started in our pre-history, in some distant and obscure past as fights between immediate neighbours over control of surrounding territories to collect food, hunt or water. It was a complex fight for survival, both against human adversaries in a hostile environment and learning at the same time to be a part of it. It was indeed a delicate balance. Nature was still nature, not just a depository of natural resources, and humans like other species had to be both for and against nature in their struggle for survival.

That balance tipped somewhere. The march of “civilisation” came to be defined almost exclusively as a process of conquest of nature by man, and his increasing domination over all his surroundings, including other human beings. The development of powerful technology made war on both man and nature easier, and civilisation came to be driven by the arrogance of growing technological power which made civilised man feel like Caesar, “I come, I see, I conquer”. In this rush for extending control, it was indeed an even headier feeling when the special target was rival human beings. Slaves were the most valued prize of wars.

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