Syllabus: General Studies Essay Paper: History
“Only the dead have seen the end of the war.”
The cave paintings of Neolithic Era found in several Part of India depict scenes of small battles between tribes. Vedas mentions a ceremony called “Ashwamedha Yagya” in which king would release a horse, king of territories coming in path of war either had to accept suzerainty of Yagya conducting king or fight with the king. This gave rise to great kingdoms called Mahajanpadas. No historical text, painting, sculptures is without mention of war, it has been integral to human existence.
War in distant past were culmination of political and economic aspirations of ruler. The desire to expand influence over larger areas led to great invasions like that of Alexander, Chengez Khan, Mauryans, Cholas etc. Sometimes, depletion of limited resource and increased competition among groups led to war. New technological development after Industrial revolution led to war for control over new resources and new markets. Belief of superiority of one race over another too has caused wars, WW2 is an perfect example.
No matter what is the reason of origin of war. War creates situation conducive for another war. Growth in influence of ruler over alien land brew discontent among local populace as their culture and traditions are suppressed. The discontent finds expression in internal revolts and conflicts. Evolution of Rashtrakutas Empire in Peninsular India during 500AD, Marathas and Rajputs kingdom in 1000AD was also result of local revolts. In Europe disintegration of Austria-Hungary after WW1 was result of development of national identity among people with common culture. War also has severe effect on economy of countries involved, the period of war is marred with exploitation, shortage of food, illness, death in mass scale. Very often losing side is harassed by winner, their resources looted and several humiliating conditions are imposed on losers. Treaty of Versailles after World War 1 forced Germany to pay extreme reparation, and annexed Germany’s territory. The humiliation, loss of self-respect, loss of dignity creates a feeling of hatred and urge to revenge and avenge such treatment. World war 2 was manifestation of such exploitation. Similarly, all battles of Panipat were to increase dominance or avenge past atrocities. Thus, no war end war but just leads to future wars. WW1 was believed to be war to end all wars but that was not the case. It created a breeding ground for even more devastating world war 2.
Yet, the period immediately after a great war is relatively peaceful as horrors of difficult times are fresh in peoples mind. As new generation comes up slowly the memory of war fades away. New generation is vocal about their support to war as result of all dispute resolutions. In past and to some extent even todays wars are glorified. People see a victory in war as ultimate assertion of country’s power. It is seen as mean to prove military superiority of nation over another. Recently, celebration of 70 years of Russian victory over German was yet another glorification of past war. Instead of condemning the act of war, they glorify war and escalates the tension and hatred among communities and environment of conflict. Till glorification war is not put to an end, supporters of war as solution to all problems will continue to exist.
USA finds greatest acceptance among people for war, as a result America had been in war ever since end of WW2. But, as USA Iraq and Afghanistan expedition shows that war never end and they finally had to retreat. The war which started 2500 years backs still continues today. Hardly a generation of Human has passed without witnessing a blood bath and demonic side of humanity. Plato rights described the perpetuity of war in his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of War”. Only, the time will tell how long the negotiated peace that exist today will last.
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