Our ancient forefathers were nomadic foragers. They went from place to place in search of food. Animals which were not dangerous were hunted. At some time in history, some of those foragers decided that they were tired of the constant chasing after food. They chose to settle down and cultivate their own food. Some animals were domesticated too.
Animals were not used to domestic life. They were used to roaming freely without any master to boss over their movements except the laws of nature which demanded constant vigilance against predators. Man was one of those predators.
But man was different from the other predators because he had a more evolved brain which told him that it was to his advantage to hunt the male sheep or the old ones, leaving the females to breed and also to provide milk. But male sheep were also required for the breeding process since there was no genetic technology in those days. Hence man resorted to selective killing of the males. The aggressive males, those which raised the banner of protest to the human bosses, were the first to be killed in this new priority list. The skinny females followed. Even those who were too curious to venture out of the herd became the master’s food soon. “With each passing generation, the sheep became fatter, more submissive and less curious,” says historian Yuval Noah Harari [Sapiens: A brief history of humankind]. “Voila!,” Harari concludes the hypothesis, “Mary had a little lamb and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.”
This happened some 12,000 years ago. Today’s sheep will follow the shepherd blindly even to the slaughter house. Domestication had brought about a genetic mutation.
Great rulers always wanted their subjects to be like the sheep. Unquestioning obedience is what every dictator loves. Thousands and thousands of rebels have been killed in the past by various rulers in different countries.
Shobhaa De writes in today’s Times of India that nobody is allowed to discuss demonetisation openly. “Lips are sealed in the Capital,” the article quotes a politician. “People have been warned to keep quiet. Some have received instructions in writing. It is as if a sword hangs over the head of anybody who dares to criticise the move.”
If we look at the comments that appear below the articles critical of Modi, published especially in national dailies and journals, we may be forced to assume that there is a group of people who are paid to lambast anyone who criticises the Prime Minister. After all, no government in India has spent as much money on propaganda as the present one at the Centre. Who knows how much money is spent unofficially on propaganda? Who knows how many people receive threats of varied sorts?
These may be dismissed as assumptions. Let that be. What about the effect of demonetisation itself? Aren’t people being domesticated like the sheep? When you have no money to buy food for your children, medicine for your parents, pay school fees, and so on, you cease to think of anything else. You are forced to focus on just the basic necessities and think of nothing else. Is that a new way of domesticating people?
I’m just thinking aloud. I love the rhyme between Mary and Modi.