Is It Really Over?

PBM  Basaiawmoit

(a poem written fifteen years ago when it was learned that India had put 16 July, 199, as the deadline for withdrawal of Pakistani troops and Pakistan backed intruders from the Kargil, drass, Batalik sectors. It was contributed to Shillong Times then and now, almost the same situation has come up)

Sleepless night!
Tired limbs.
Yawning mouths and gaping eyes,
Trying to focus sight of the enemy
And listen to sounds of snipers.

It’s cold ! Its numb !
No newspaper,
No fresh food.
No trees, no grass;
All rugged.
Heights to climb,
Slips and boulders abound.
The enemy?
Maybe in front or just behind.

Guns, mortars, shells;
Smoke and fire.
Bodies lying here, lying there,
Life less.
And some, are missing.
Limbs scattered,
Brains splattered;
Hands and feet,
Asundered, forever.

Death and stench,
Grope for comradeship.
Hundreds gone, gone
To eternity.
Many hundreds injured,
Maimed and incapacitated
For life.

Is it really over ?

But does it matter
Who won or lost ?
Why quarrel and be suspicious ?
Why fight and bite
Thin air of egoism ?
Hypothetically called ‘nationalism’.

How many dead on both sides ?
Who suffers perpetually ?
Who gains momentarily ?
The void created - will
citation, compensation and sympathy
Ever fill ?

Tell me !
Is it really over ?
Wouldn’t some shyster
Again, ignite the fuse
With gung-ho ?
Back to ground zero.

But if it’s really over,
Then make it really over
Once for all.
Beat swords and guns to ploughshares;
Spears and mortars to pruning hooks.
Let’s be resolute to live
As brothers and sisters,
Together; forever.

(a few changes have been made from the original written in 1999 but the anguish and aspiration, remain the same)