Sunday, 28 March 2010

Telangana agitation - part II: Land is more than just stones and rubble

Why People Are Attached to their Native Place
2010
By Syed Akbar
Land is not just a piece of the earth. It is more than stones, mud, rubble, plantation and buildings. Land is part of the human emotions and entiments. In a nutshell, land is part of human life and struggle.
People have been emotionally attached to their lands, native villages, cities and towns and their territories. What makes human beings so emotionally attached to land?
Scientists have now unravelled this mystery. It's all in the brain, they say. The human brain releases certain chemicals, as one approaches his native place or the city he has spent a major portion of his life in. This makes the person sentimental and highly joyous. It refreshes him. Even people, who spent quite a considerable time in a foreign land, feel this sense of pride and happiness,the moment they land in their country.
This natural human attachment to land has resulted in several bloody wars down the ages. It led to  innumerable land struggles, giving rise to the "us vs.they" talk. Still several parts of the world witness bloodshed and violence over the claim of land by various groups of people. Not only land claim has sociological basis, it has scientific reasoning too, as a recent study by two professors of University of Pennsylvania shows.
The Pennsylvania team comprising senior psychologists Paul Rozin and Sharon Wolf, selected the emotional issue of land in Israel-Palestine. The subjects were all Jews.
The idea was to find out whether human beings imbue land with positive or negative associations. At the end of the study they found out that land could be perceived as having either good or bad essences. The Jewish subjects told the researchers that they would not trade or forfeit their land, even for an equivalent plot of land elsewhere. And so would a study of Palestinians reveal. That's the power of emotions attached to land.

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