First came the priests. Then the traders. They sought base in a land that they had done nothing for. The rulers, in their benevolence or foolishness (with hindsight), granted them the space. Little by little, like the camel in the Arab’s tent, they started spreading out.

Their ambitions grew. They thought they should rule. They thought their civilisation and culture was the best. They assumed it entitled them to rule. They used their technological superiority. They had an army that could be unleased on the land. An army that could be violent when needed. An army that could change minds and influence thought. Bit by bit they started polarising the people. They set brother against brother, brother against sister, mother against son. To each as per their greed. Divide et empera became the operating strategy. And they started winning. Some they won through alliances. With promises of helping the kingdom against its enemies. Some they won by the strength of their army. Some they won through treachery. Some by appealing to the greed of the rulers, who thought they would be safer under the protection of the ever strengthening force.

Over time, they built an empire that would last over a hundred years. An empire that ruled with impunity. An empire that brooked no opposition; whether in thought or in deed. An empire where citizens clearly belonged to two categories – those with the rulers and those against them.

It took extraordinary efforts of a bunch of visionary leaders to break the stranglehold of the empire. It took a long time to free the common people from the fear.  It took a long time for the empire to be truly free.

Truly, history is cyclical.