Домой Работы Центра The «Curse» of Nature

The «Curse» of Nature

Geography is very significant for the development of any country. It is generally believed that countries which are situated in important locations, where trade routs exist and the environment is hospitable for human habitation, can warrant stable development.  However, locations where there are no trade routs, natural resources are rare, cannot be an optimal place of economic advancement. However, this hypothesis is nothing more than a «raw generalization». We see below how geographical advantage could turn potentially out to be a susceptibility.

Fertile Land: Economic Wealth and Devastation

Sri Lanka and Indian subcontinent, wholly, can explain why so. The subcontinent has historically been one of the best places for human habitation.  Not only had such an ideal location facilitated the growth of Indian GDP (Mughal Empire once produced the quarter of world’s GDP), but also attracted potential invaders to occupy the subcontinent. Due to the successive and constant waves of invasions, religious, ethnic and racial unity have never been acheived.

The first civilization in Indian subcontinent  —  Mohenjodaro and Harappa is believed to have been established by proto-tamil inhabitants, who are one of the largest minority in today’s India and Sri Lanka. This civilization had fallen to nomadic Aryan tribes, who constitute the majority of current Indian population. proto-dravidian Tamils fled towards deep into southern parts of today’s India and Sri Lanka. they were subjected to be the main antagonists of ancient Indian mythology, which reflect then-political situation of the subcontinent. This can be epitomized by the fact that Sanskrit literature composed by Aryan monks describe main protagonists as white-skinned to denote Aryans themselves and illustrate antagonists such as «demons» or «evil spirits» as dark-skinned people, that indirectly imply Tamils i.e the original settlers of the subcontinent.

In Ramayana, it is narrated that Rama sets out to rescue his fiancee from the hands of Ravan, the king of Lanka, that is, today’s Sri Lanka where many Tamils fled to.  Indian mythology reflects then-growing enmity between Tamils and Indians. However,  it was not all, which affected India. After the fall of Arab Caliphate, India was subjected to the repeated Muslim and mostly Turkic invasions. Any political change in Asia, be it rapid Mongol conquests or Timurid civil wars, repopulated India with significant number of refugees.

As the number of refugees grew, social unrest and intolerance also become more and more prevalent. Although they went unnoticed during the reign of Mughals, more manipulative power — British Empire used such susceptibility to Its own advantage. Consequently, today there are so many regional threats that India is too far from full recovery.  Thus, it can be seen that not only had the fertility of Indian Lands facilitated the emergence of first civilizations here, but also resulted in continuous invasion and migrations which devastated the infrastructure and contributed to demoghraphic disbalance as well as religious and ethnic diversity.  Sri Lanka, having been directly linked to the Mainland, is of no exception. Ethnic dualism later sparked off the largest military conflict in country’s history.

Control over Trade Routes

Trade Routs have historically been stable source of tax income and wealth. Countries that are situated in the crossroads of  global business activities make profit out of «thin air». In this way, they may easily become «billionaires of age». Profitability of trade routs made them optimal choice of  conquests for any advantageous military force. We can see the same case in Central Asia. Central Asian cities, such as Bukhara and Samarkand had been extemely prosperous due to the Silk Road, the main trade route of the Middle Ages.

The Silk Road and its precedessors connected China with Europe and Russia. Central Asia situated in the «centre» of this route. However, wealth had its costs. The region was invaded a lot of times by Turkic tribes, the Caliphate, Persian dynasties, Mongols and et cetera. As a result of such invasions, the region was hugely depopulated and there did not form single identity. In 16th century conventient sea routes were discovered by European merchants, which led to the decline in the significance of the Silk Road. As a result, Central Asian Khanates have not even been disturbed for several centuries.

On the brink of 21st century, Chinese government began promoting to revitalize the New Silk Road in the form of railway connections due to the same problem: Control over trade routs. The point is that main current trade routes that Chinese have to use are prone to possible Indian attack. In case of war, India can easily freeze Chinese economy through blocade. Given the fact that relations between both countries are hostile over several disputes, Chinese have either to revive the Silk Road through railway networks to secure their economic advantage or to improve their relations with India.

To be continued

Firdavs Ibrokhimov