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Inglorious War

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Visuals of People’s Liberation Army soldiers crying while listening to ‘emotional’ songs as they are reportedly transported to the border with India – where trouble is brewing – have been making the rounds on social media. Taiwanese, who obtained and released the video, have been making fun of these ‘spoiled brats’ of China’s one-child policy. Sadly, this is a universal phenomenon – going off to war for reasons out of one’s individual control is certainly not a pleasant experience. This is why, over thousands of years, one of societies’ principal objectives has been development of the ‘martial spirit’, inculcated through training and psychological manipulation in hardened ‘warriors’. In India, it has been known as the Kshatriya code, a mental preparation for war, summed up philosophically in the Bhagwat Gita by Krishna, to prepare Arjun – suffering doubts not unsimilar to those of the Chinese soldiers – for the coming conflict. In Japan, it was the way of the Samurai.

In the past, when battles were fought at close quarters, the warrior’s resolve and physical prowess played an important role in determining who won. In the wars of the modern era, however, soldiers can die just sitting in their trenches, not even having seen the enemy’s face or being told it was time to fight or die. It is long distance warfare, today, nothing gladiatorial about it. One can be targeted by a lifeless drone many kilometres away, operated possibly by someone on another continent, while casually having a burger and coke.

India and China have been facing off on the LAC in Ladakh and there has been much comparison made of the quality of personnel and equipment by armchair experts itching for a fight. However, if a sense of what could pointlessly happen has to be obtained, one need only see the visuals coming in from the conflict that has broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has already claimed dozens of lives in a couple of days. The sight of tanks and military outposts going up in flames without warning should give any viewer an idea of the ‘unglamorous’, ignoble nature of such conflict. Eventually, of course, when it comes to occupation of territory, those who survive may get the opportunity to display fighting spirit and ability, but going by the outcomes of such wars in other parts of the world, nothing is gained. Consider Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., it has resulted in enormous suffering for the populace, particularly innocent civilians – all because of the inability to overcome ethnic, religious and economic differences in a civilised manner. So, if the Chinese lads were weeping, they had good cause – perhaps the world should pay greater heed.