Milton wrote in a letter to Cromwell “peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.” The line indeed carries a world of wisdom and truth.
“War is an avalanche which does not cease until it has caused all the destruction it is capable of.”
Generally, more eminence is assigned to Victories of War over the underrated Victories of Peace. As we turn the glossy pages of our history text books, wars have been glorified and we study them just to get the essence of what all our predecessors have undergone and that the life we are living now is but a gift which should not be wasted in the scourge of war.
“Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori” or the “old Lie”, as Wilfred Owen describes it – is a quotation from the Odes of the Roman poet Horace, in which it is claimed that “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”.
We have heard one too many stories of a king outdoing the other or one emperor establishing his rule over the other- all at the behest of the innocent lives of the soldiers who are ready to lay off their lives for a defeated cause.
However, peace or calling truce is considered to be a coward’s handbook to solving the problems. The path of peace is long and devious, an aisle of thorns, dwindling into a dense fog of uncertainty; and those who pursue it are often mocked at as poor, half-witted souls wandering aimlessly or in a foolish chase to attain an ideal world order where peace would prevail.
Their lofty goals and their undeterred faith seem too Utopian and imperceptible for the common eye. We are more stirred by the harrowing narratives of war than be perturbed by how the great pioneers achieve discoveries of such a magnitude that would further the progress of humanity.
Great writers do not emerge at the time of war, but the poems which they write then are odes to the lost soldiers, the words emerging from their broken souls. It is primarily during the time of peace where growth can take place- in terms of literature, medicine, philosophy, etc. War is but a reason to satiate one’s ego and throw lavish banquets at the adversaries’ dead bodies.
Wars do not emancipate either of the opposition, because at the end of it lies blood, the same red blood which runs in all our veins, indifferent of one’s race, caste, religion. Empires built on the gains of war have crumbled.
It is the victories of Peace vanquished over forces of nature, disease, pain, poverty, illiteracy, tyranny, ignorance and superstition that have brought lasting happiness to man.
Great conquerors like Alexander, Caesar, and Changiz Khan had won glorious victories in the battle fields, but today they are immersed in mother earth and their acts of valour are now regarded meaningless as they have faded into oblivion with the passage of time.
Like a plant seed growing into an amorphous tree under favourable circumstances, it is in times of peace only that scientists, philosophers and men of letters can devote themselves to the abundance of knowledge. The discovery of Penicillin, telephone, steam engine and locomotive, radio, communication, internet and other varying forms of socio-economic and technological advancements have taken place during times of peace.
Victories won by the great apostles of peace- Ashoka, Mahavira, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Ghandi- are a source of inspiration for us, who chose love and compassion over swords and guns, and we as torchbearers of the future generations are expected to follow the same path of righteousness. The victories of war pale into insignificance when there is a greater cause to fight for, i.e., humanity.
“War demands its wages in the form of blood.”
As citizens of a liberated country, we enjoy our fundamental rights and freedoms which we are inherited to. An empowered citizenry like ours are mere onlookers to the war waged in Syria and we are rendered completely helpless.
Besides providing shelter to the refugees, we cannot bring back the dead, the innocent lives of the inhabitants- of the various men, women and children. Their sheer existence has been rubbed off; as we sit tight at our homes, relishing in the comfort of the air conditioner in this heat, we can hardly imagine the bomb shelling’s, exploding and destroying their very abode, minor children being orphaned due to the magnanimity of the war.
It is this inhumanity which led to the mass- genocide of the Jews during the World War. The atomic bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th September led to a massive wipe out of the city immediately killing 80,000 people, of which tens of thousands more died of radiation exposure, the effects of which are felt even today.
“We are not at war, but we are not out of it; we are at peace, yet we are torn to pieces.
As we live in a free world today, are we really at peace? Our whole being is an amalgamation of a continuous war between the heart and the mind which puts us in an awry position every time we are to make a decision.
Even under such peaceful circumstances as we persist in, we remain conflicted, not only with ourselves, but with this is exasperating need to explain or to prove ourselves to the outer world.
The day we realize our truest potential that we are not mere specks in the dust but each one of us has some meaning or some purpose to fulfill, and until that purpose is fulfilled, we would be stuck in the cycle of birth and rebirth.
However, peace too stands at a standstill today. The technological developments as mentioned above give way to the formation of nuclear and biological weaponry which is sure to mark the end of the world.
Countries continue to arm themselves and make themselves nuclear capable. Amassing of weapons for safety only means to steady oneself against the possibility of a war in the near future which would bring humanity back to the era of stone-age.
“War cannot construct, it only destroys.”
Thus, to conclude-
“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.”