Tuesday 1 December 2009

Bordered and fenced

Robert Frost remarked: "Good fences make good neighbours."  

But I can never reckon with that statement. Why? While growing up, the notion of boundaries and borders did not make any sense to me. Being a very dreamy sort of a person, I always assumed that borders and fences were the greatest barriers to friendships and relationships. This idea was quite strongly imprinted in my mind and made me think the same about countries too. I never ever imagined that borders could be the prime issue of dispute and eventually wars. How naive I was!!  Even during my undergrad days, I took it for granted that it would be great to live in the border areas as one can have the best of two countries. One side it is India and the other China/Pakistan/Sri-lanka or whichever place. Then I learnt about the ongoing conflict in Palestine. I was devastated. I just could not fathom that someone can fight for a place. Again How naive I was!! 

A simple piece of land which has not been drawn by man nor arranged by any man becomes a place of conflict. The whole conflict between Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim and China baffles me. If China wants A. Pradesh, let it take it, I used to think but then its not Arunachal Pradesh alone but the whole politics of religion, land, people and other things which are intertwined.

I also read that the Alps is melting and since it is the border that separates many places in Europe, certain places will be extended leaving a lesser place for the other. Now that is the nature of borders -- porous and fluid. How can a government control something that is governed by nature. I agree that we live in a world where places are controlled by governments but then it still confounds me that something about a border can cause wars and blood-shed.


  1. "Men, like foolish children, draw lines on the ground,
    And try to claim for their own, this earth.
    As she watches their violent play,
    Their mother laughs silently, without mirth."

    The idea of borders being drawn by nature, and of borders being porous and fluid, is a beautiful one.

    This was a very good post, Susan.

    Another one of my favourites. :)

  2. First we put up a border and build a fence
    then spend a lotof money for its defence
    when there are many ways this money to dispense.
    does it really make any sense?

  3. Blue: Glad that you liked the post. This is a result of the ongoing churning within me about borders and boundaries. I liked the quote as well. Thanks for sharing.

    Govind: A very pertinent question you have raised but i guess there is no plausible explanation.

  4. As humans, we want to possess. It's something about self-preservation that makes us want to do that. And borders protect our possessions - or so we lead ourselves to believe...


  5. First things first, I love the poem Mending Wall...the poor neighbours n their apples n pines:)))

    Ah! Same question, to whom does the frame belong, to the paiting or the wall!!

    Man thinks he is super-intelligent and supersede everything even nature... I hope a nuclear war does not erupt to finish any border disputes, for is he so foolish to think he will be alive after that....

    Nuclear war reminds me...Arundhati roy's piece on Pokran is a class one...if u haven't read it, its worth reading...

    cya Sus

  6. Nevine: Self-preservation but to what extent. Its a fanatic and fatalistic self-preservation.

    Ashes: Even I like the poem. I am yet to read that essay. Have it with me. The whole issue of borders, wars disturb me.

    Its the same everywhere.

    Lots of joy!!!

  7. you are so right about everything you day, susan - so right! how many lives have been lost over something that can never "belong" to any of us, anyway! something that already IS in and of itself its OWN - THE EARTH! but, alas, we are talking also about the human frailties of greed and greed and more greed! and then having to defend that which is not rightfully ours in the first place - but oh, i could go on and on -

    very thought-provoking post, friend!

  8. Yeah Jenean, its a very sensitive issue which has no solution. I am glad that this post made you ponder on some things we take for granted.

    Joy always.

  9. If I ever can make sense of this nonsense, I let you know that very second.



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