Confusing bullets with confetti

Maninder Bains

People want peace, joy and not war. My husband was a fighter pilot when I married him. Every morning he went for his sortie, my heart missed a beat and prayed for his safe homecoming. Today, there are so many women whose husbands went in the morning but never returned. They all bundled their tears born of anguish and splashed them in courtyards. The government feels that they can be turned into rangoli with medals and pensions. They can’t comprehend how someone’s love flies out of the tresses, how someone’s laughter bounces out on to the thickets.

The arid mother earth is smeared with lifeblood. Many wasteful wars have already stained it. I desire to knock on thresholds where wreathes of war cry with agony, where widows and orphans are waiting for medals tarnished with guilt. What we see around are soldiers and victims of tyranny who are brainwashed into believing that race and religion are the enemies. The lawmakers on both sides, who talk of prosperity, must know that bullets would never transform into confetti. Rather, they would become paper flowers on tombs and epitaphs of unsung war heroes.

We read history, philosophy, religion but learn nothing from great thinkers. Egos, politics, self-pride, psyche come and take over. Kant talked of ‘perpetual peace’ and called it one of the highest ends of a political action. He was uneasy of that when he talked of peace, for he felt he might be considered a ‘traitor’ for criticising ‘militarism of the State’.

Homer’s Iliad does not eulogise war either. Even Shakespeare didn’t present a glorious picture of it. Einstein expressed his ideas about politics and peace to Sigmund Freud titled ‘Why War?’ Einstein lamented how inseparable the destructive and threatening instincts are bound up in the psyche of humans. Machiavelli felt war was just a means to obstruct ‘the plans of future against men’.

The world is a castle for a king; house of the beloved for a lover; an inscription for a calligrapher; and a coffin for a lost soldier who can’t race with the flocks of the wind.

These wars are of no use. Soldiers, civilians die and nothing is gained. Even God must be crying when he watches His children hurt one another. Ah tears! They give voice to the aching hearts of parents, wives, children, sisters and brothers. They easily disappear in dead eyes but are transformed in the eyes of the loved ones left behind. How difficult it is to be a stoic! Everyone can’t be Cato or Brutus.

I desire to go on a crusade of peace buried in the rubble of battles, airstrikes, death squads, detention camps and sirens. History will gulp these down as just another memory. I desire peace for humanity, not a theatre of missiles or a song veering from relevance to insanity. Let the lamp of love dispel darkness of revenge and hatred from every heart of a nation. Let there be ‘light’ for which Goethe yearned.

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