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Mainstream, Vol. XLVI, No 23

The Perpetual Struggle

Thursday 29 May 2008, by Som Benegal



The Jaipur terrorist blasts have brought on the usual recriminations, accusations and counter-accusations, the scoring of points, the utter helplessness and renewed assurances of strong action, the ruthless pursuit and punishment of the guilty. But all this misses the fundamental and basic point. Violence is the cardinal motivation of all living things in the world as we know it, on land, sea and air. Meaningless or meaningful conflict is the hall-mark of this violence. One does not know, and perhaps will never know, the scheme of things in the vast universe of which we are but an insignificant dot. Our own human history is a transgression from one darkness to another with some flickering points of bright light called generously “golden ages”. Individuals, tribes, groups, societies and nations are engaged in perpetual violence of one kind or another,—wars, genocide, terrorism, imperial conquest or sheer banditry and barbarism. One man’s freedom-fighter is another man’s terrorist, and other such variations, depending on the view-point. We have individual, group or state-terrorism. Each war, increasingly more horrendous than the previous, with deaths counted in millions is justified with high-sounding principles but, shorn of hypocrisy, are only terrorism by other means. I need not go into a tiresome recital of human history, illustrating my point. But one thing is clear as the poet Eliot, (echoing many others in time) said, “The world turns and the world changes but one thing does not change…the perpetual struggle of good and evil.” In other words, it will be everlasting no matter how you define good and evil. That is the bald and awful truth. And nothing can change it!

(Courtesy: Neighbourhood Flash)

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