Guest speaks – “The Just War” by Raghu Ananthanarayanan

I am watching the BBC news and the airtime is filled with various European and American heads of Nations talking about the ‘just cause’ and how they must stop Qadafi from killing his own people.

The performances were polished and crisp. The first though that hit me was “what underlying sense of power and assurance in the demeanor when war is on”.  It is almost as though the only time the western leaders come really alive is when they are in a war like situation.

My mind went to the film the Avatar. The film theme is very simple: there is an advanced civilization that lives and thrives because it has discovered a great harmony with nature. The fundamental ground of living is love and ecological sensitivity. A white invasion with the characteristic brutal weapons of war is the context of the story; the protagonist is this ‘good white man’. But, having understood the tree living people, all that the white guy can do is get these people to become violent, reactive and destroy the invader. What a victory for the violent mind, what a travesty of humanizing civilizational processes! Why is it impossible to conceive that the hero could transform the white invaders to wish to live a peaceful life! Are there examples of this? Almost, but not really. Gandhiji and Nelson Mandela are examples of people who led a fairly peaceful struggle against a brutal white colonizer, but it does not seem to have changed western thinking.

Qadafi must be commended since he has learnt the lessons well and succeeded in colonizing Libya backed by his tribe. He was a trading partner of the west as was Mubarak and Mugabe. All of them were exactly like the protagonist of Avatar. People who learnt the colonizer/ invaders ways and then brought their own cultures to become like the invader!

Isn’t it interesting that the process of ‘internalizing the oppressor’ is one way only? How come the violent mind when it gets ready to attack its ‘enemy’, never feels oppressed by the peace-loving people it is planning to annihilate? The reason is simple:  It is a ‘just war’, there is valuable oil/ diamonds/ gold/ uranium….that these peaceful people are dumbly sitting on. Just because they have been sitting there for millennia is no reason why they can stand in the way of the white mans need to extract wealth from the earth! May be an oppressor is one who is pathological and feels no remorse or guilt when he kills.

What does ‘just war’ mean? Justifiable by colonizers logic?  Who are Qadafi’s people? Are they human beings? If they are, what about owning up to the genocides committed by the European tribal powers in the last century? Qadafi is only doing the same thing, and selling the loot to the west.

Raghu Ananthanarayanan

Raghu is a Post-Graduate in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.  He is a leading consultant to several blue chip companies – Indian as well as Multinational.

He has devoted almost two decades to transforming the organisational culture of several leading organisations.  He is one of the founders of Sumedhas – The Academy for Human Context. He is a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has taught at Institute of Rural Management, Anand, and Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore.

He is a leading Behavioural Scientist and uses the Yoga Sutras as a basis for the “inner work”. Raghu has worked with several NGO’s helping them in personal development and organisation development. He is also actively involved with reviving craft groups and theatre. He has been passionately attempting a convergence between Indian traditional wisdom and modernity. He can be contacted at

To know more about Raghu and his work, please visit FLAMTAOKnoware.

I live in Bangalore, India, and by profession, I am CEO of a consulting organization, an Organization Consultant and an Executive Coach. I write because I like writing my thoughts and reflections for me to review my life and the life as I see around myself. However, sometimes it makes sense to convey my thoughts to others and connect with others. Maybe it strikes a chord; may be it does not. My life has been my most outstanding teacher, which is why I like sharing my experiences, memories, encounters and other narratives that I build as I go along. I am interested in people, society, culture, ways of life, individual and collective narratives/stories as they lead us to discover each other as nothing else does. I also write about coaching, people's lives, culture, stories, mothering my daughter, believing in a feminine way of life, and most of all, believe that all politics starts from the self and personal convictions

2 thoughts on “Guest speaks – “The Just War” by Raghu Ananthanarayanan

  1. Raghu, a great piece, one can feel its more from the heart more than the head.
    The first word you used- performances, triggered of a thought. In amateur boxing it was not easy to just get in and start punching someone. I mean in a fight over some issue its okay. But here its a performance. Just before the fight begins, most boxers would hit themselves on the face. While it was a way to get used over the shock of a punch on the face, on the other it was to build up a rage and almost convince oneself it was the other’s punch and a good use to start hitting.
    Sometimes these guys mouthing the same words of people’s and working the froth up to justify the fireworks show.


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