Now a days anywhere you look, it seems that everyone is fighting with everyone else.
Rich and poor, educated and uneducated, believers and non-believers, every faction of people has an issue which makes them contradict an ideology or a practice and the situation escalates from healthy disagreement into fanatic opposition and more or less leads to a “war”.
By definition, war implies “a state of usually open and declared armed or simply a hostile conflict between states or nations”. It also means “a struggle or a competition between opposing forces or for a particular end”.
However, history shows that more often than not the wars fail to achieve those ends and succeed only at the cost of leaving destruction in their wake which in retrospect, only works to emphasise the futility of the act.
For instance, the world wars were a result of the attempt of various countries to establish their superiority in the world but they resulted in destroying half the world, by erasing large populace and over taxing the planet’s resources, thereby threatening the destruction of the so-called desired end itself.
For centuries, philosophers and artists in all fields have preached and striven to achieve total peace in the world; Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Dalai Lama, etc. are some names which one associates with pacifism or rather non-violence.
They wanted to make the world a better place by abolishing the practice of waging war.
They believed in the goodness of the human kind (no wonder at the attribution of Kind with Human) and their potential to look beyond the trifling issues of power, race, cultural differences, etc. and work towards exhibiting more tolerance for the “Other” and the “Different”.
However, just as propagandising about the necessity of war by a group of people does not make it a good thing, similarly, deprecation of the practice of war by another group does not necessarily make it a bad thing.
Sometimes war is the only option available to the people in order to protect their integrity and often their lives.
India’s war of Independence is quite glorified in the history text books and endeavour’s to instil a feeling of patriotism in the hearts of the readers.
The outbreak of the French Revolution is seen as a moment of victory for the human race in the annals of history.
The American Civil War brought an end to the horrible and inhuman tradition of slavery and liberated the African-Americans from the humiliation of being treated as worse than animals.
These are some instances which demanded or rather generated the responses conducive to war. Even though one can’t deny or discard the destruction that ensued, India’s partition, the guillotine in France, and the hatred for people of colour existent today, are some of the negative results, without war, the freedom could also not be achieved.
Women’s war against inequality and oppression, war of LGBTQ against discrimination, war against sexual abuse, war to eradicate epidemic diseases, war against ignorance are all forms of necessary wars.
They don’t always require armed response but they require response.
Wars are waged against sedimentation of practices; they are waged usually to break from the convention of continuation.
Intolerance is a practice; it was also convention during the middle ages, promulgated by the church against whatever they considered unnatural.
Enlightenment waged a war in retaliation to this ignorance. Thus, not all wars are wrong and neither are all futile.
Wars against natural diseases, for instance, boast of a good cause and cannot be condemned. War against illiteracy, feticide, are proofs of the development of the human mind and the humanity as a whole.
In a Utopian world, a world free of any conflict, or hostility, the mere idea of war would be an alien concept. All the stimulants that trigger negative emotions and notions leading to war would be unheard of.
In such an idyllic world however, the human would be incomplete because he would only possess the good and the positive and not the negative.
Just as one needs the darkness to recognise and appreciate the light, the noise to appreciate the silence and the sorrow to appreciate and welcome the joy, one needs to understand conflict to be able to decide against and follow the path of peace.
So, in a Utopian world where there is no hatred, or greed or envy of the other person, the idea of love, or gratification or empathy would prevail without hurdles.
However, without their counter parts these ideals would be as futile as the wars themselves.
Nature has shown us that evolution and change, adaptation and forward movement is necessary for survival.
A society where there is complete contention and maximum happiness, will have reached its optimal potential and cannot essentially progress or even survive.
By natural law of decomposition a stagnant world will rust in itself and become extinct. The laws of nature and humanism do not allow a peaceful world to sustain. Moreover, war lays the path to peace.
For instance, war against intolerance, war between science and religion, are waged to make room for both in the world.
If no one protests against intolerance the world will not essentially be peaceful. It will only be quieter in the absence of opposition.
There is no doubt about the detrimental effect and consequences of war and the fact of its being undesirable in its entirety-no segment of war, or any sort of hostility can ever be advocated for.
Wars lead to not just animosity and destruction but also a squandering of resources both, human and natural. Armed wars usually end up causing much more damage than the passive ones but all wars are tantamount to devastation.
However, peace is that state of being which can only be aimed for and achieved in the proximity of the awareness of war.
It is both ironical (by virtue of being antonymic) and essential that the road to peace is fraught with wars and is the only way that can be taken.