The Shadow Warriors
On television studios they scream
and shout. The crisscrossing visage
grows long and short
defacing the ugly patterns beneath a 1959 TIME cover
that hangs on my 2016 minimalist wall
A young Dalai Lama looks on in wonder,
is he thinking of the mule he rode to India?
The men, yes it's always the men
who decide on television screens
what the government should do—
counter-terrorist operations? yes!
Surgical strikes? Of course!
Under the mountain pass,
Any chance Pakistan might nuke us?
(What's a nuke? Google just crashed answering that question.)
Meanwhile, the moon makes
an appearance in Ladakh
where the skies are clear
and lit up with stars.
The borders are quiet.
Drass is cold
and the pashmina goats are sleeping,
the leopards are on the prowl.
On social media people are baying for blood;
for them war is romance
war is power
war is nationalism
war is patriotism
war is a cause
for a causeless generation,
that has everything and yet nothing—
for them war is a three letter word.
Far away in Syria,
a child starts in her sleep,
a toddler has a nightmare;
in his sleep the world shifts—
a drone drops a bomb, somewhere
under the rubble
the small hands and feet
stop moving finally,
the teddy bear sleeps.
Hundreds are vomiting blood
in a village in Sudan;
the army is using chemical weapons
dropping them in bombs from planes.
War is a three letter word
for a generation that has never known it.
Bring on the war!
So what, if some lives are lost?
You — safe behind your computer screens, in your cushy living rooms or swivelling office chairs, in your television studios.
Bring on the war!
Some lives will be lost.
But they won't be you.
Text (c) Nilanjana Bhowmick; Image via Muse.
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