But, somehow, in spite of all pious intentions the war clouds still hover over the horizons in this part of the world or that and permanent peace seems just a dream worthy to be fulfilled but not fully fulfilled.
When there is a war and when it ends, one power is the victor and the other the vanquished. The victor revels in glory and the vanquished wreaths in pain, Even the victors have hundreds and thousands of homes destroyed; women rendered widows, children rendered orphans and the vanquished have still many more calamitous after effects to suffer. It is only some territories and lands that are won and lost and that alone are the gains that war achieves.
The other gain of war, if that could be called a gain at all, is that the victor gets regarded as a great power, feared and awed by others.
Alexander the Great, was a great conqueror and conquered countries after countries; the Romans spread their empire on large tracts of land; Tamurlaine got the renown of having ravaged countries after countries to bring under his sway; Mahmud Ghazni, attacked India seventeen times only to carry cart and camel loads of treasures and wealth; Ashok fought a bloody battle in Kalinga; Akbar was faced with the relentless encounters with Rana Pratap.
Napoleon and Bismarck came to be regarded as great soldiers; — all these are names in history that fought and fought only to vanquish foes and gain territories or loot the riches. But with what results? Wars cause havoc in human life; they destroy the finer sensibilities of human nature and arouse hatred, jealousies; crooked conspiracies and such other base instincts of human nature.
H.G. Wells has rightly pointed out ‘Hundreds and Thousands of men uniformly dressed, carrying diverse deadly weapons go to the theatre of war, killing those whom they do not know and who have done them no wrong.
The World War II brought about the horrors of devastation in the form of the dropping of the atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima turning the towns into filthy rubble and rendering men, women and children either dead or maimed for life. Only America could claim to have emerged into a great power. This was the gain of this war.
War wastes the resources of a country, those resources which could better have been applied for the good use of human welfare. It drains away all those means of energy which could have helped in establishing flourishing industries; it would devastate those lands which could have seen verdurous crops growing and giving to the general populace plenty of food.
The mind of men, during war, remains overshadowed with a sense of insecurity and danger and no constructive thinking could ever get a chance to flourish. Mankind sees the worst of human nature during a war-except some heroism and some exceptional valour on the part of some soldiers. The overall loss in the sphere of human nature is far greater than the overall gain.
But when a nation enjoys peace, there are gains all around. The wealth of the nation is saved to be put to good use in the welfare of the people; projects of general welfare get launched; art, architecture, literature all thrive only during peace.
Chandra Gupta Maurya was a great warrior and could face even the forces of the great conqueror, Alexander the Great, but could not have the great intellectual gems in his court as the Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty could have. This was only because the Gupta period saw a reign of peace and the mind of men found the suitable atmosphere to thrive and to think.
So long that Akbar kept fighting battles for a long period of his reign; nothing much could be achieved but when peace prevailed thereafter during his rule, he built the Agra Fort, the Fatehpur Sikri and he had in his court the great intellectuals and the great thinkers and that was the golden period of his reign. Could Taj Mahal have been built by Shah Jahan if he had remained engaged in warfare?
The Elizabethan Age became the golden age of ‘literature only when peace prevailed after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The English established their sway beyond their territories and when all wars were over the Victorian Age saw peace prevail and science, industry, ”treasure, democracy — there was an all round development on all fronts in English history.
India today is required to divert a very sizeable part of the nation’s budget in defending its frontiers. She had to spend 600 crores over the recent Kargil war, Pakistan stands completely depleted in its economy and the people there are suffering a miserable life. If the two countries had been at peace all these resources could well have been used and utilized for the people which could have brought a vibrant smile on the faces of so many India won the Kargil war; the country’s honour was saved and the heroism of her soldiers proved but at what tremendous cost. The defense preparedness is costing India very dear; but there is no escape so long as war clouds hover over the horizons of the Himalayan border.
A state of peace puts the mind of the common man at peace. It is such a mind which can think new thoughts, plan new projects, discover the undiscovered and invent for the welfare of the people.
Philosophy, art, literature — these are the permanent treasurers of human civilization — can prosper and flourish only when the mind is without fear when the baser instincts of hatred, jealously, discord stand eliminated from human mind.
What are more valuable and lasting — the victories of war or the victories of peace? — Let the saner minds everywhere on all parts of the globe think, plan and act. This very world can turn into heaven if peace prevails but that should be the general perception — not only perception but action based on that.