The fallacy of Revolutions

Originally written on March 31, but I thought now is the appropriate time to share this with you all.

The ongoing ‘revolutions’ in the middle east against the “democratic dictators” are indeed a reason of joy and excitement for many, but not for me. This should not be mistaken to convey that I do not appreciate these revolutions. Appreciate I must, for these revolutions show a heroic effort and tremendous resistance of the people of Tunisia, Egypt and the likes. But appreciation and support are two different stands altogether.

Any reconstruction of a particular society demands a period of learning in which the people understand and fully recognize the aim for which they would be struggling. You cannot go to a war against an enemy whom you do not recognize as your enemy. You do not go to a war either without knowing what you would achieve from it. The aim of the revolution should not be myopic and be derived out of personal dislike or overwhelming public opinion. But the aim should be a long term one, capable of catapulting the nation on the world stage and ambitious enough to capture the imagination of many.

The current series of revolutions across the Arab world are aimless, in the sense that they are being directed at ousting the incumbent rulers out of some grievance or another. There are no visible leaders or groups that are leading the revolution. In this sense, such revolutions would only prove disastrous in the long term if nothing else. The word ‘revolution’ itself signifies an act of snatching power in a single moment of glory; a moment when your opponent was weak and you were momentarily strong. Such a show of momentary strength does not cover your weakness, but only exposes them after the power has been gained.

Writing in the Communist Manifesto, Marx states that any conflict between the bourgeois and the proletariat either leads to a revolutionary reconstruction of the society or to a combined chaos. In the current world scenario, if one looks at the state of the countries where the people’s rule was achieved through a ‘revolution’, one would find that those countries have failed miserably either socially, politically or economically. Even if there are illusions of victory after a revolution, such illusions are swept away by the uninvited tide of time, after which the people find themselves staring helplessly at an uncertain future and a pall descends over all those hopes and aspirations.

A learning curve is important before a country becomes ready to self govern. Perhaps some suffering too. For that suffering itself would contribute to the hardening of character of countless men and women and to the strengthening of resolve to achieve the desired aim. Such a learning period would put an end to desperation and would instead replace it with hope; for hope and desperation cannot co-exist. Such suffering would mold leaders of a new generation for the nation, full of ideas and plans for taking the country forward and uplifting millions of their countrymen out of a state of penury, poverty and hopelessness. And such leaders, such consciousness, such enthusiasm and such zeal cannot be achieved through a ‘revolution’ but can indeed be achieved by a ‘movement’ or a long term ‘struggle’.

Anshul Kumar