Are We Up For A Battle For Peace?

national flag

Last night my 11 year old son asked me, “Abba, if war breaks out between India and Pakistan can we go to some other country? What will we do if they drop a nuclear bomb?” I told him that it’s not possible to go to another country. They won’t accept us. However, I assured him that there will be no war. Peace will prevail. But, I did not have the courage to tell him that millions of children were/are being killed in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Rwanda, Palestine and even in Pakistan.

The question before us is loud and clear. What if a war breaks out? News anchors from their cosy air conditioned studios are baying for war. BJP/RSS and other far right elements in India are also calling for war. Opposition in India are silent or standing by the government in their blood thirsty pursuit. How did we come to this sad, pathetic situation?

Even after 70 odd years after independence India and Pakistan couldn’t solve the Kashmir issue amicably. India has killed over one hundred thousand Kashmiris after independence. Tens of thousands have been disappeared. Thousands of women were raped by soldiers. Instead to treating Kashmir as a political problem, India is handling Kashmir as a law and order issue. This culminated in the Pulwama attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans.

Pulwama attack happened because of a clear case of security lapse on the part of Indian authorities. There was intelligence report about a terrorist attack. That was ignored. The request by CRPF to airlift the convoy was ignored. How come a young Kashmiri who was under the radar of the Kashmir police managed to procure and transport 300 kg RDX? How did he manage to procure a vehicle? How did he know the the exact timing of the passage of the convoy? How did he manage to ram his vehicle into a high security convoy? In the nationalist euphoria, these questions were ignored by the media and the public. No one except Mamata Banerjee of Trinamul Congress tried to question the government on such obvious security lapse. Opposition parties including Left and the Congress gave the government a free hand. They did not have the courage to raise these questions for fear of being dubbed as anti-nationals.

The outcome was the 26 February morning air raid by Indian air force on a Jaish E Mohammad camp in Balakot, Pakistan. Indian media in its nationalist euphoria trumpeted that 300-400 terrorists were killed. The international media dumped the claim. International media reported that only a few trees were destroyed.  On 27th February, Pakistan counter attacked and dropped bombs in empty spaces in Indian side of Kashmir. They said it was just to demonstrate that Pakistan was capable to attack India. In the ensuing air battle Indian Air Force’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for negotiations between two nuclear armed neighbours. India has not yet responded.

The spectre of war is on the horizon. Political parties in India with an eye on the coming national elections are silent. They are giving full support to the war mongers.

It is time for true nationalists to stand up for the security of the region. It is high time that we, the common people, called the politician’s bluff. It is time for people from both sides of the border to hit the street demanding peace. We must do it for the security of the lives of our soldiers, our civilians and our children. There must be anti-war protests in every city, town, village, university, college and by trade unions. Are we up for a battle for peace?

Binu Mathew is the editor of


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