The birth and collapse of civilisations

There is a lot to learn from ancient civilisations, and of them all, the biggest learning is that of sustainability. Anything that is unsustainable is destined to perish, and this holds true for health, safety, food habits, lifestyle, travel and so on. In the current scenario of a pandemic it is extremely important to abide by government directives and follow self-imposed restrictions for the sake of future happiness. Let us not take any risks with travel and social gatherings.



Since time immemorial, human beings have settled in different corners of the world. In course of time they have formed communities, which were essentially for livelihood. In the process, over many centuries some places witnessed social, cultural and technological development and advancement of livelihood, thereby attaining characteristics typical of their own. These places are said to have birthed civilisations that went on to be recorded in history books. Many such civilisations in various parts of the world have long perished but they continue to be researched. Archaeologists still excavate sites in the hope of discovering more artefacts and information about these ancient civilisations. For people who love to travel, and explore the ruins of the lost world, the bucket list keeps getting bigger in the process.

“It is interesting to look at ancient civilisations and learn about how the people came to settle in a particular place, what they did for living, their gradual development into a community, their social norms, architecture they developed, and so on. In the end, we are left with the ubiquitous question. How did the civilisation collapse? If we look at these civilisations closely, we will find a few common reasons behind their perishing: warfare, natural calamity or diseases.”

It is interesting to look at ancient civilisations and learn about how the people came to settle in a particular place, what they did for living, their gradual development into a community, their social norms, architecture they developed, and so on. In the end, we are left with the ubiquitous question. How did the civilisation collapse? If we look at these civilisations closely, we will find a few common reasons behind their perishing: warfare, natural calamity or diseases. While the first is part and parcel of international relations even today, it will be very far-stretching to imagine that an entire civilisation can die because of war any more. Natural calamities are force majeure and are beyond our control, all we can do is to stay careful and prepared. Now the third common reason ‘diseases’ gets all the attention especially in the context of the extant COVID19 pandemic.

Looking closely at all the major ancient civilisations of the world (Mesopotamian, Nabataean, Mayan, Incan, Indus Valley, Persian, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek, Andean, Aztec, Egyptian etc.), we come to conclude that disease can drive human history. Many ancient civilisations have suffered from the introduction of unknown diseases, some were completely wiped out due to epidemics. At the least certain diseases did take great tolls, thereby reducing the indigenous populations substantially. In the current context, this looks really grim. But nevertheless, it is never too late to enlighten ourselves about history and be better prepared to save the current civilisation.


It's time to be responsible


In India we are in the Unlock 4.0 phase and will soon be in the Unlock 5.0 phase. With more than 60,00,000 COVID-19 cases and close to 95,000 deaths so far, the statistics look rather grim. But we cannot lose hope! That’s so important to maintain our sanity. Although the number of cases and deaths are still surging, the rate of increase in infection as well as death are coming down at a fast pace. This data is extremely encouraging and if things continue in the same way, 2021 will be rather rosy. It is time to stay positive and in high spirits. Many states have removed travel restrictions, many will be following suit shortly. People are already making short trips, but in my opinion we must strictly abide by the government directives and avoid taking any risks already. And ahead of the festive season I have a caution bell to ring. The months of October and November, being the festive months in India, are known for social gatherings for functions, parties and garba/dandiya, public crowding near Durga Puja pandals and Ram Leela Maidans, and so on. This year, we have to let go of the urge to gather with friends and neighbours. This year has been one of social distancing and we should continue to maintain distance for a few more months. Once again here’s wishing everyone good health, happiness, positivity and safety and the world a quick recovery.


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