Sacred Games Season 1 talked showed us very little of Gaithonde’s third father, the Guruji, but it showed us just enough to get us curious and eager to find out more about him. Well, season 2 delivers on that promise. Through the course of Sartaj’s investigation, and Gaithonde’s flashbacks, we get to know Khanna Guruji and his plans. Here’s a promo video that should help jog your memory.
Now, before you read any further, I would like to tell you that this post will have spoilers. So if you haven’t seen Season 2, and don’t want any spoilers, stop now and come back after you’ve watched it. But if you have seen the show, or don’t care, read on my friend!
So Guruji’s ultimate plan is to start a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, triggering off a chain of events that will lead to a nuclear holocaust. He aims to build his ‘Satyug’ from this nuclear rubble. He believes that humanity is in the ‘Kaliyug’ and that there must be an apocalypse to hit the civilisational reset button. Where have we heard this before?
Like Richmond Valentinefrom Kingsman: The Secret Service, Guruji is a ‘well-intentioned extremist’ who believes in the ‘utopia justifies the means’ logic. It’s not just these two; even the mighty Thanos can be counted in the multitude of villains who fit into these two tropes.
But is this really such a bad idea? The world seems like it is beyond repair. The news always talks about rising tensions between nuclear powers, environmental disasters, or just plain old stories of people being mean to each other and the world around them. Such a world could use a reset button, couldn’t it?
I believe that’s a stupid idea. Allow me to tell you why.
While the news media wants us to believe that the world is coming to an end soon, we live in the most prosperous and peaceful time in human history. In the last 30 years alone, we have cut global poverty in half, more people have access (even in percentage terms) to clean, running water and toilets, and medical care than at any point in history. In most parts of the world, you can sleep safely at night without the fear of people from the neighbouring village breaking into your homes, looting you, and murdering or enslaving your family. These were real issues until not so long ago. How did we solve them?
Most of history is top-down authoritarian control, but in the recent past, we have opened the world to private property ownership, low barriers to entrepreneurship, and free trade. This has resulted in innovation, peace, and stability. And if you’re still wondering why there are so many negative incidents in the news, that’s because we are more connected than ever before.
Remember the #BlueforSudan campaign? It was during this incident that I realised this has happened so many times in the past. Do you remember reading about Akbar in our history books? There must’ve been at least a sentence or two about how he put down a rebellion and returned to Delhi to do ‘important things’. What do you think he did to the rebels and their supporters? Over and over in history, from people who were hailed “the Great” to ones branded “the Terrible”, authoritarians have all been mass murders. Compared to how things were a century ago, we are definitely living in a more stable and peaceful era. But our tolerance for inhumanity has gone down, and we have started standing up for each other. All progress when compared to the past.
With the decrease in top-down authoritarian control, normal people have been able to pursue their ambitions, and this has led to unprecedented progress of our civilisation. And as long as we do not have a major catastrophe like a nuclear war or an asteroid hit, we will stay on track to become a civilisation that will colonise the stars.
What happens if we “bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age”?
We start again, of course! But here’s the catch. We don’t start where we left off.
We always think of history as a steady march to progress. That’s not always the case. There have been multiple instances in history when a civilisation looked up to their ancestors as they were less advanced than their ancestors were. The Bronze Age collapse and the Dark Ages are examples of this. The Bronze Age was the first time humans learned to work with metal. It was when we made significant progress like the invention of the wheel and writing systems. But the Bronze Age ended abruptly around 1200 BC. Historians don’t know what happened, all civilisations around the ‘fertile crescent’ – the Mediterranean region around which most of these civilisations were clustered – fell and this threw them back in the civilisation scale by a few notches. For example, the skill of reading and writing almost went extinct. It took half a millennia for the world to see societies that rivalled those of the Bronze Age.
The Dark Ages, on the other hand, was the period in European history right after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Europe had less trade, fewer cities, and less innovation when compared to the same areas when they were under the Roman Empire. Things were so bad that London and Paris didn’t even have the sewage management system of Mohenjodaro, which existed thousands of years earlier! Before you say that Mohenjodaro had better sewage management than modern Indian cities, let me tell you that it didn’t. They had perpendicular intersections on their roads but running water and toilets that flush your poop away weren’t invented till recently.
Suffice to say, we’ve had civilisational recessions in the past. And in all those times, we’ve had to rebuild the world and our knowledge of it from the debris that the destruction left behind. And it took us decades to get back to where we were before the fall.
It is said that Einstein was once asked by his friends what new weapons would be employed if World War 3 broke out. He said, “I don’t know what weapons might be used in World War III. But there isn’t any doubt what weapons will be used in World War IV. Stone spears.”
And that’s exactly what would happen if we had an all-out nuclear war. The nuclear weapons that North Korea tests today are 10 times more powerful than what was dropped on Hiroshima. A nuclear war would quite literally take us back to the Stone Age.
Guruji’s solution to this was to ride out the nuclear winter from the safety of a bunker. But his bunch of devotees did not have the expertise to rebuild the world – his bunch of goons seemed almost comical if you ask me. There’s no way anyone can destroy the world and then start at the same civilisational rung.
And if you think the Stone Age would’ve been better, please go back to “I believe that’s a stupid idea. Allow me to tell you why.”