In 'Sarkar'(movie) Selvar Mani says “Jiske paas power hai uska wrong bhi right ho jata hai”.
The extent to which the character was correct was something I grossly underestimated. As I have come to see it these days, the very definition of right and wrong is defined by those in power!!!
Anyway, what is power? How does one define it?
If you would have asked an uncivilized man of Stone age, he would have defined it as the physical strength one has to overwhelm another person. But soon, men would have realized this manner of resolving things is eventually detrimental to all concerned.
Hence, men would have associated themselves into groups, so that he can receive security from these people and in turn must pay back to the group his service and loyalty. Thus despite his personal weakness, by owing allegiance to his group, he can rest assured of protection and security.
Thus, the shift begins to a brutal crude method of settling matters to a more subtle level.
The birth of civilization would have been at a point when men found it more suitable to hurl an insult to another person instead of a stone. (and perhaps because of this, we call the fairer sex more civilized J )
These groups diversified to form a hierarchy such as caste, region, religion etc and depending on these identities we sometimes overlook certain differences and unite under any of these.
During the whole middles ages when belief was the centrestage of one’s life, Church had enjoyed a kind of power perhaps unsurpassed by any other empire. Its influence was so pervasive that during the Renaissance great efforts were made to separate the state from religion.
Also, since the major occupation was agriculture, all power remained concentrated by landlords and other princely sections. It was this wealth accumulated by the most brutal means of exploitation of labourers and other coercions that finally turned into legitimate money (the initial capital required) in the next age of Industrialization that followed.
Since the age of Industrialization was dependent on control of the machinery, it implied that equitable control of the machinery would automatically result in more fair system of distribution of resources.
Since, in this particular system, use of violence would result in the total loss of all involved, violence was demoted to the second place- to be used only in emergencies- and instead money became the tool for domination.
So long as this trade was relatively free, from perhaps much of later part of 19th century and national interests not so all-important, there were relatively less no. of wars and battles. Because strife hits the trade most severely, most of these things had to be settled amicably to protect trade.
Only in the beginning of 20th century when
drunk with its newly regained power under the stewardship of Bismark made State an all-important and all-compassing factor did trouble begin. With interference of State into commerce, the traders were unable to drive in the importance of peace. When you are a drop in an ocean, it doesn’t matter whether you stay or not. Germany
The point that I wish to make is that the war at a level became possible because nation-states were dominant force in the age of hyper-nationalism.
With 2 major World Wars within a single generation, nations were humbled into submission and relented to the calls to free up the colonies.
’s national movement just happened to coincide with this decisive event and is perhaps unjustifiably fully credited with accomplishment of freedom. India
With this realization, came in the advent of the next level of power. Knowledge and business based dominance. It was found out that violence of such scale was ultimately detrimental to all parties and even the victors are left with mere ashes in mouth.
Thus, we see the rise in MNCs and the shift to the subtler level of battle is still on.
We have come to level when externally we perforce comradeship while the quest for power goes unhindered as an undercurrent. This is perhaps best exemplified in the oft-quoted “Nothing personal, just business” of Godfather.
Hence, the rise in power of media which is capable of moulding public opinion! Not for nothing did Joseph Stalin say “Writer is the engineer of soul”.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make is power is all-important aspect of life which all use to varying degrees depending on their capability but is moving from a crude to subtler levels. Power by itself is neutral; it assumes the color of one who holds it.
But that human intoxication for power by itself is irreplaceable.