Wednesday, 11 November 2009

India 2 - The Ghum Memorial

The Gorkhas/Gurkhas form the fighting units of five countries. The UK, India, Singapore, Brunei and their native Nepal. In the UK they have been treated intolerably. While much of the world has moved on from the racist attitudes of the colonial era, the British Government still decides to act unscrupulously when it comes to the Gurkhas.

India also has its fair share of Gorkhas, many residing in and around the Darjeeling region. As a result, thee are calls for a separate state within the republic, which may occur depending on Central government. Like in the UK, the Gorkhas of India have fought for their adopted country in many wars.

War is a futile excuse for humanity to practice, but for now, we humans are still mistrustful of our neighbour and so war is a direct consequence of that. I never mock those who are in the armed forces, I only wish I had their bravery. I don't. But I do despise the politicians who send people off to war. While their own children are safe and sound, it is the children of others that has to fight in battles that will be forgotten in the future. Enemies become friends, new priorities take place and the cycle of war takes place elsewhere. And the lists of the dead get longer...

The war memorial at Ghum is a beautiful place. Located in the hills surrounding Darjeeling, it is a well maintained kept area, and a sombre reminder of the number of Gorkhas that have died in conflicts. The scary thing is the number of names on the memorial and the space left for future names.

Today is Armistice Day. To commemorate the war to end all wars. It has been hijacked for political reasons by politicians as always, by sections of the media as always. Some like to use it to wave a flag, an arbitrary symbol of identification. I have never lived through a war, I have never fought in one, but I have visited a war zone, but luckily, I was able to get out. War is nasty, it is terrifying, and the only winners are the arms dealers. War will continue for many years to come, we as a species have not overcome our mutual distrust of one another. But it is important to remember, that behind the names on these memorials, scattered around the world, are families left behind, in grief on all sides of conflicts. They are the names of real people on those memorials, and there are many more unnamed. It is tragic that these battles will still continue, more names will be added, more tears will be shed. It is important to remember this tragic loss of life before encouraging more destruction in the future. And it is important to respect the memory of those that have gone before, without the cheap politicising of such memories.


Asad said...

Hear, hear.

A great post.

magiceye said...