Thursday, 11 August 2011


A Pakistani pilot writes a letter of apology for shooting down a civilian plane in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. As I watched the program on television I was once again swallowed up by the memories of my childhood, where from a very young I was never comfortable with the idea of "hired killing" in the name of nationalism. My father was an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who has fought in that battle. For me, as his daughter, I always have this deep conflict of pride and sorrow that I carry till today over the fact of my father was obliged, by his commitment to his job, to kill in the name of war.

Images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not easy to forget. The scars of the long drawn out Vietnam war that the Americans embarked upon in the 60's,  are visible till today in both countries as a stark reminder of the futility of making GI Joe's games become a reality.  Nobody wins in a war and yet it prevails as the chosen option of settling panga's across borders.

For any nation to sanction human destruction is a strange concept for me. That duty to ones nation then binds you to murder as a heroic action for which you are rewarded with medals of decoration, becomes equally painful an idea to comprehend.

Yet concepts of peace become merely idealised notional spaces that only transpire as great "treaty signing" photo-opportunities, that never translate into implemented modules of co-existence. Perhaps it is because human-beings have so much suppressed anger and violence that  erupts from small provocations, that war becomes an excusable exercise in settling scores. 

I have lived in close proximity of the heroic belief of military passion.  I do not know that I can ever feel the stirring of  such national pride that demands of me to take up the call of arms. Communication can always lead to negotiation if the will and desire prevail.

1 comment:

  1. Namasté Rekhajee; On the occasion of Independence Day, hats off to that patriotic spirit which links us to our motherland, for whose freedom millions have sacrificed their lives through the centuries...and thumbs down to those rulers who use this spirit to engender war and destruction where diplomacy and non-violent methods could have sufficed.