The Earth has been called Mother.
She is the symbol of patience, endurance and unlimited giving. She provides a static platform for the dynamic dance of life. She remains stoic and unmoving as life moves over her skin, now slithering, now galloping, now walking with a firm, deliberate step. She breathes; her breath misty and warm.
For the sake of a casual, almost vulgar curiosity, you want to cut her open and delve deep into her. It doesn’t occur to you that she is a living, breathing entity. If she weren’t, she couldn’t have been a mother, could she?
She is a source of wonder to you, but an inanimate wonder, one with no capacity for pain or suffering. You grant her motherhood and simultaneously sentence her to lifelessness. As trail breakers slash away viciously at the vegetation impeding their path of discoveries, you too hack away at her innards as you move in deeper.
You make headway while she bleeds silently. Her life force seeps out of her, but she utters no words of protest. You slake your thirst and move on. You are happy; you are succeeding. She has provided you with a platform to demonstrate your victories. That was her sole purpose naturally. What else did she have to live for?
You discover treasures deep within her. You mine them wondrously, eager to forge them into objects. One of the objects you create is a shining, alive thing- an object of pride. You forge a lance.
You are like a child with a new toy. You brandish the lance about gleefully. You challenge the world, showing off your new possession. It never leaves your side, that toy of yours. You are so very pleased with it. You are sure you will accomplish mighty deeds. You know you will win fearsome battles and annihilate ferocious warriors. You are at once fearful and brave.
You can’t bear to wait for the bugle call to sound, heralding your life of glory. You dance with happy abandon, stamping with spirit into the earth beneath your feet. Already depleted, her breathing grows further labored. You dance on, oblivious.
The revolt against brutality begins with a revolt against the language that hides that brutality.
You are eager to try out your lance. You wonder if it will be as perfect as you dream of. A part of you is prepared to be astounded. Secretly, you wonder if the lance would be better than you expect. You are afraid to let yourself dream such dreams… but you can’t help throwing caution to the winds. Your impatience mounts. You ears are hungry for the call of battle.
At last the much awaited moment arrives. Fervently, you don your armor and buckle up your beautiful lance. Like an excited child you cannot stop yourself from drawing it out and swishing around with it like a dashing young buccaneer. At last you return it to your scabbard, though reluctantly. You must wait until you are on the battlefield before you let the lance take on the world.
In a flurry of dust, you arrive at the battlefield. Your foes stand lined up before you, your comrades by your side. The moment of truth has arrived. Will the lance prove itself? Will this wondrous gift from the Mother be a weapon worthy of its name? The time for questions is past; it is time to follow the call.
Giving head to your steed, you plunge forward. Surrounded with hostile barbs and arrows, terrible swords and lances, you learn at last the difference between bravery and courage.
The lance is all you thought it was and more. It sings sweetly as it slashes though the air. It becomes a living thing in your hands. It glints, flashes and blinds; as agile as lightening as deadly as a viper. You slay your foes valiantly. They fall, dying. Their life- force staining the face of the mother in shameful hues.
The only animal capable of giving man a fair fight is man. Actually, among ourselves, we fight unfairest of all, and the more we practice, the nastier we get.
The Earth doesn’t look upon your mighty deeds as a proud mother. Your victories are her bitterest defeats. She dared to think once that the achievements of her child are a measure of her own worth, not any more. She is sorrowful now. She weeps, soaked with her own life fluids.
The war you waged was not on your foes, it was on her. You harvested the sinews of her body to slay her.It is not her child you killed; it is she. She is numbed. She weeps for the killer you have become- and she weeps for him, the brother you killed.
Can you still not hear her wailing?
Note: In deep sorrow and pain, I dedicate this post to Dr Avijit Roy and his courageous wife.