In the latest blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, the character of the antagonist, Thanos, is not your stereotypical pure-evil, moral-compass-less villain out on a rampage, mindlessly slaughtering everything in sight to become the ruler of the universe. In Marvel Cinematic Universe, the main goal of this supervillain is somewhat noble — to restore balance to the cosmos and to let life continue flourishing with enough food and resources minus the burden of overpopulation.
Scarcity of resources and population explosion lead to the ruin of his own home planet Titan despite his warnings and recommendations to exterminate half the life so that the other half could thrive. The same fate threatened the rest of the cosmos, thus, he takes it upon himself to become the inter-galactic saviour out to fix the universal imbalance.
Thanos embarks on a quest to accumulate infinite power, assembling the Infinity Gauntlet to save the universe or at least half of it in a snap. This morally ambiguous villain operates from a place where he believes he is absolutely doing the right thing. He even sacrifices the one soul he loves to do the ‘right thing’– kill half to save half.
On a moral scale, Thanos scores more than Hitler; our mad Titan doesn’t really care about racial supremacy, he makes no discrimination based on skin colour or nose shapes, religion or designations who to annihilate.
Selection is random: no distinctions, Aryan or non-Aryan, pure blood or inferior blood, Hindu or Muslim, black or white, size zero or size 20, Angami or Lotha, BJP or NPF, Ministers of State or mere earthlings, hundreds of back-door appointees or thousands of honest civil service aspirants, infinite-power yielding omnipotent politicians or dissidents, corrupt bureaucrats or ignorant public. His ultimate goal is for life to survive. He even chooses non-violent dying for the randomly chosen doomed half: disintegrate into cosmic dust without pain.
While population issues, food and water distribution system and scarcity and climate change are real-life problems threatening our world too and we wish we had a ‘snap! Snap!’ solution, and even in a fictitious universe as much as Thanos believes his method is right, eliminating half of all life in the universe and acquiring power of that level to execute it cannot be the ultimate solution, it would cause more harm than good.
Hopefully we can never be pushed to the extreme of physically exterminating half of the population for resource scarcity, but what is true is the growing imbalance in the distribution of opportunities and access to the means of living a dignified life, and therefore to the stark imbalance of resource distribution.
For instance, in Nagaland, there surely is an asteroid sized gap and imbalance between the politically connected and the politically un-connected, between the honest lone voter and clan-led vote bank. Who gets access to greater resources is everybody’s guess. Now that elections are over, for the Infinity Gauntlet power holders, the struggle is to maintain balance shuffling between how to please the ‘important’ vote bank heroes, compelled to hand out how many pre-elections promises and contracts and how to keep the rest of the population at some semblance of peace, or how to keep every MLA and party official in the inter-galactic alliance happy and important. Be it a superhero, supervillain or antihero, finding balance is a struggle.
There must be many roads leading to finding balance but allocating and preserving resources only for a select, connected few in a population and air-brushing off a large chuck of life with bread crumbs cannot be the way. Therefore, the universal plea is to find balance that includes all and sustains life.
Abokali Jimomi is a freelance writer. For comments, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org