Monday, December 8, 2008



A Letter

                                                                            by Amrita Pritam


Dipping my pen

in the ink-pots of Sun and Moon

I am writing to you all.

My ruler friends!

Before you start firing-

bullets, guns and atoms

read this letter.

My Scientist friends!

before making bullets guns and atoms

read this letter!


Words of stars and language of rays

if you cannot read…

ask some lover to read it for you

ask some writer to read it for you.

It is every mother’s mother tongue,

get this letter read from a mother-

Moon and Sun are two ink-pots

lift your pen, reply to this letter,

and write a word or two

about the well being of this earth


My ruler friends! My Scientist friends!!


One is touched by the sensitive wisdom in the poetess’s words which are very apt in today’s context of India. Science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. But a poetess’ heart tells us that life can both be created and get destroyed.

 The other day, I read about two warring tribes in Papua, New Guinea whose battles have caused constant strife, bloodshed and terrible anguish to both the communities for twenty long years. The women of the two tribes, fed up of the constant wars, decided on a novel way to rid their society of them- a desperate means to bring peace in their communities. They began smothering all the male children of the tribe! Neither would the boy live, nor would he grow into a hostile soldier, killing others and himself- dying much before his appointed hour.

 It takes a mother’s womb to know the importance of a child just as it takes a creator’s wisdom to count this terrible cost to stop destruction!

 Destruction has never been difficult. Any mad man can destroy. But nurturing a whole generation of responsible and talented youth, building up a nation, developing its economy and progressing in all fields …. that takes efforts and it takes time. The destroyed statues of the Bamiyaan Buddhas are mute witnesses to this. Useless bloodshed, mindless mayhem, carpet bombing of spreading cities…. how long does this all take? An hour, sixty hours, a month? But creating a single life takes nine slow months of nurturing, caring, protecting and constant loving.

 I beseech the government and my ruler friends to please remember all this before taking a decision that may alter all our lives forever. Someone out there sure wants India to declare war on ‘Terrorist’ Pakistan. But let us not fall victims to the media blitz and never forget the cost of a war that will take the lives of hundreds of uninvolved soldiers and civilians, without gaining anything of much worth.

 Gandhiji had once said, ‘An eye for an eye will make for a nation of blind men.’ Let us heed the advice in his wise words.


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