Is Modern Europe Enduring The Same Scourge As Ancient India?

25/07/2016 10:15 PM IST | Updated 27/07/2016 4:10 PM IST
Jean-Pierre Amet / Reuters

Europe is rediscovering terror. Paris, Brussels, Nice, Cologne and Munich. In all of this, one discerns a faint sense of history repeating itself, but under a different sky.

Think about this. You're back a thousand years or so in time, in India.

Life's good. There's fertile land, there is abundance. There are cultured people well versed in the arts; there is music, dance, philosophy, literature, learning, architecture and openness towards life. Civilization is at its zenith. It's a golden age in many ways.

There's the Kama Sutra. People don't shy away from enjoying the pleasures of life. Sexual mores aren't too strict. Women aren't sequestered away under the veil and enjoy plenty of freedom. They participate equally in various aspects of life.

Certain conditions of India a thousand years ago could very well describe today's Europe. History tends to repeat itself if its lessons are not learned.

There's war every now and then, but there are some rules, some honour even. Some major wars from the past have left scars on the people's psyche and made everyone wary of the misery that battle brings. Peace and humanity are the major driving forces, not hunger for territory.

And there's wealth, an immense amount of it. All this has made you a little soft. You've forgotten that while you espouse elevated philosophies of living, there are others who don't think like you; they believe in a very different system. You've neglected the need to defend yourself.

You're living and enjoying life, oblivious to the ominous clouds gathering over the horizon that will change your land's destiny forever.

And then you experience terror. The terror that comes from facing a ferocious foe, determined to sack, loot, rape, pillage and destroy.

You witness the slaughter and the carnage. Your compatriots killed, taken captive, enslaved. Your homes, universities, institutions and places of worship destroyed, your wealth plundered.

Women turned into commodities. You're helpless and unable to comprehend, let alone counter, the onslaught.

At first these are terrifying raids. The raiders come, loot and go away. Then they realize that you are unable and unwilling to fight back and they can rule over you. So they return, to stay and impose their beliefs.

History shows us that terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Just the methods of inflicting it have changed. India has faced it squarely and suffered from it immensely for more than a millennium.

Certain conditions of India a thousand years ago could very well describe today's Europe. History tends to repeat itself if its lessons are not learned.

Human nature is such that one can never neglect one's defences. The survival of a civilization requires strength and if it cannot protect itself, there will be predators -- lurking, waiting to violently impose their ways. Ancient India experienced this and paid a heavy price, and now modern Europe may just be getting a sense of it.

Having fostered and enjoyed a vibrant liberalism, it seems today that Europe may have failed to anticipate the clear and present threats to its values and way of life.

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