As a teenager I remember reading stories of the Wild West of America by Zane Grey and other writers. There seemed to be plenty of shooting – bang, bang in what were then really wild areas with cowboy culture. The conclusion of the Trump Era in January of 2021, especially the attack on the seat of Congress seemed to be a yearning to re-create that scenario in a land which has been labelled the seat of the brave. A substantial percentage of the people of US seemed to want to relive those times.
Nearer home we can think of India during the days that the British were ruling the country. Poems and stories by Rudyard Kipling set in those times e.g. the novel ‘Kim’ portrays the political game that was then taking place on the Indian Subcontinent. Kipling, an apt representative of the Colonial masters reflected this in much of what he wrote. In his ‘The Ballad of the East & West’ written in 1889 he goes on to pronounce, ‘East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet’.
Mankind, though of different colours or race has developed on Planet Earth over the centuries. Present day humans, now totalling 7.8 billion in March 2020 worldwide, though of different colours or races are all Homo sapiens. As per the present knowledge, we all have a common heritage being descendants of Lucy of African origin, from whose mitochondria the beginning of present-day mankind occurred.
Life on this planet Earth has never been fair. Suppression of the initial inhabitants in all six continents of this world has been the order of the day. The outsiders, usually from lands across the seven seas were the ones who, in former times subjugated the local inhabitants and lorded over them. Many ethnic communities in different parts of the world were cheated, subjugated and perhaps even eliminated by the conquerors.
Slavery dates back to as early as 3500 BCE when conquering armies took the defeated as slaves. During the time of the Crusades both the Christians and the Muslims took the vanquished as slaves. The Atlantic slave trade in which the Portuguese were major players started in the 15th Century. This activity in trading of slaves was taken up by many countries of Europe and even practised in many countries worldwide is an example of man’s inhumanity to fellow beings. We in Nepal practised to till PM Chandra freed and settled them in Amlekhganj! It is only by the tumbling down of the statues of slave traders and by movements such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ that prevailing inhuman practises and its effect has been brought to the notice of the world.
It is the spirit for exploration of mankind which has egged individuals to sail or fly around the world, climb the highest mountain, send the Sputnik and later Laika the dog to circle the earth too. This feat followed the setting up of Mir, space station. Then came the US landing on the moon. Pieces of Moon Rock, in an especially mounted form, became souvenir items for special VIPs visiting the US to be presented with. One wonders at all these developments and activities! Is there is a suspicion between the competing forces about one another’s capability and strength which prompts them to carry out and display such activities? Are the development of bombs and missiles all shows of strength? The big powers, spending millions on such activities are ignoring not just the poor of the third world but also the disadvantaged and unprivileged in their own lands! The recent Covid-19 pandemic deaths of large numbers of the population in many countries of the world has demonstrated that it is the unprivileged working poor, persons trying to make ends meet are the ones who are bearing the brunt of this viral onslaught on humanity. The masses of the third world are not asking for Baikuntha or Utopia on earth, but for a just decent manner in which to conduct their lives!
Imagine the millions of dollars spent on the Space Patrol created by Trump and the recent landing of NASA Perseverance Rover on the empty and desolate crater of planet Mars millions of miles away in space. The photographs there from are stupendous but costs are surely phenomenon, in trillions! A great feat for the ‘well offs’ of the world but let down for the poor majority struggling to live. This is frankly one up-man-ship, displaying and proving one’s might to other contenders of supremacy on Earth! This trait has resulted in other nations exhibiting their possibilities by firing missiles over land and seas in other parts of the world.
And how might this be achieved? By selling arms and ammunition to warring groups of the third world or to those with special interests, who want to change or subjugate others? Supply of weapons by sale or donation to warring ones and interference in political affairs by powerful nations must stop immediately. It is the innocent masses of economically poor countries that are affected – go hungry, are injured or even starve to death for no fault of their own.
With all the existing International Bodies, where many nations are represented, is it not possible to come to a worldwide consensus on the desirability of making our world into a better place for all inhabitants, wherever they may be? We of this generation should take action to prevent global warming and environmental degradation so that we of this generation leave the world a better place to live in for all our future generations.
In conclusion it is worth noting the third & fourth lines of Kipling’s ballad which states:
“But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from ends of the earth.”
The author is a retired medical doctor and writes fiction under the pen name of Mani Dixit also. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd