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Shaadaab S. Bakht: There’s never a winner
April 21, 2017
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ON war 
 

I had just finished placing some lilies (the flower depresses me till date because of its association) and offering my prayer at the grave of a family member when a lady in her late 60s drew my attention. I saw her offering flowers at two graves in the Calcutta graveyard. I couldn’t have left the graveyard without talking to her. By the way the expression ‘left the graveyard’ is so misleading because in reality we leave the place only to return.

Coming back to the fellow mourner. Are they your relatives? I asked. They are two of my three children, she replied. In seconds she turned highly emotional. She decided to tell me the whole story and I decided to hear the whole story.

I was and I am still fond of listening to stories. Two reasons for that. First, if I enjoy telling my tales and am always waiting to be heard (editorials), the others  can’t be different. Second, this universe unfolded as a riveting story.

Well, we chose a bench by the graveyard’s decorative pool. “The devils killed them, the bloodthirsty leaders who wanted to conquer our country killed them,” she almost shrieked. Her sons and hundreds were killed when the city of Calcutta was bombed during World War II. “The attackers spared the politicians, who led and created the war, but bombed millions of innocents to death across the world in the name of freeing the universe of evil forces,” she continued. “My school-going boys were sleeping when the horror struck,” the lady added. “It’s twisted logic to kill people to fix people, to redden man’s land with man’s blood, God gave us land to grow food, not hatred, destroy houses when the leaders should be building them for us,” the lady — who didn’t even know where Britain, Germany, the US and Japan were — said between deep sobs.

The flag of pride doesn’t flutter well when the pole is a pile of human carcasses
I could understand her feelings because I grew up listening to tales about just two events, the war and the division of India. My grandfather, my grandmother, my father, my uncles had actually lived through the two happenings that spoke more of carnage than of valour. They had a million stories to narrate. And all bloody.

It’s horrible that the armies based in the above countries were using innocents as ammunition. I still don’t know why the same people, who now talk of human and even animal rights, forgot all about them when they were engineering strategies, the first fallout of which had to be loss of human lives. And in millions.

But the painful part is that we haven’t changed.

Earlier this week North Korea displayed apparently new missiles as a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

Missiles appeared to be the main theme of the giant parade, with leader Kim Jong Un finding time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch of the military that oversees the missile arsenal.

A US navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests and has been regularly threatening to destroy the United States.

Two reasons why a war should be avoided. Let’s start at the start. Tens of thousands of civilians will die. Nationalism, the main aim of wars, shouldn’t be watered with blood. It can’t be nurtured with the bodies whose numbers add up to a nation. The flag of pride doesn’t flutter well when the pole is a pile of human carcasses. Lastly, the world is facing a horrible economic downturn. And that is going to worsen. And we don’t need a Lagarde to tell us that.
 
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