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THE SHAPE OF EVENTS TO COME

(iv)

The human world, divided into parts,
Riven by envy, hate, malicious hearts,
Dissension, rivalry and deathless feuds,
Antagonistic views and attitudes,
So deep and on such basic principles
That e'en if half of mankind firmly wills
The problem of world peace cannot be solved
Unless the fundamentals are resolved.

In such an atmosphere the imp of war,
With all his dreadful gear, is never far,
So every prudent nation from each dawn
To dusk, at all hours, keeps her armor on.

Too credulous and simple is the man
Who, with the vista of the previous span
Of current century before his eyes,
Still hopes that all these loud, appealing cries
For world peace and disarmament might tend
To ease the tension and the menace end.

These efforts might have borne abundant fruit
Had warfare but in man's own choice its root.
But since it is a symptom of disease,
Which must be rooted out ere it can cease,
The lukewarm efforts made now, like a cry
In wilderness, without an answer die.

In fairness to the leaders, known to fame,
On top in various lands, whom we now blame
For all unpleasant happenings in the world,
It must be said that they themselves are whirled
By international crises, never far,
Which, if not solved with skill, can cause a war.

There is no one ideal for all mankind
That into one great brotherhood can bind
The nations of the earth which meets the needs
Of politics and all religious creeds,
This only evolution can supply
By holding a great prize before the eye
Of all the race, for the goal is one
The way is one, and one the effort done.
Mankind can then push forward as one whole,
A mighty Caravan bound for one Goal,
Compared to which the treasures of the earth
Are less alluring and far less in worth.

In fact, but for our own self-seeking trend
And vanity, this is the aim and end
Of all religions, this faith in one God
One great ideal to worship, love and laud,
Faith that our soul can rise to heights, beyond
Our thought, provide for peace a common bond.

Can you resolve this tangle in your mind,
When you consider all the strings which bind
The wealthier nations, who their utmost try
To keep themselves safe from the evil eye
Of needy ones, whose hungry millions lack,
Sufficient room their ill-fed mass to pack,
And are resolved their boundaries to expand
By snatching every piece of vacant land
From others, as keen to defend their right
And save their own from theft with bloody fight?

How can you curb the native urge to thrive
In Want, and hold back its impulsive drive
To garner plenty at the highest price,
And in a manner that may not be nice;
Or force Abundance to relax her hold
On treasured assets, territory and gold,
To end contention and disastrous fight
Which both the sides have always well in sight?
Since neither Plenty nor can Want relax
Their efforts, we but our own patience tax
By hoping vainly that a day will come,
When peace bells would replace the battle drum.

A most distracting problem in the mind
Of rich and powerful nations is to find
A way to end the e'er existing threat,
Posed by the rise of poorer countries set
On climbing rapidly to the same height
In weapons, army and aggressive might.
The methods now employed by leading states
To muster all their strength for heavy spates
Of war production, using ablest hands
And all resources that the state commands,
To excel, outnumber and outmatch a foe
In armies, armor and the weight of blow,
Are spreading rapidly to poorer realms
That have ambitious rulers at their helms,
Wrapt in alluring dreams of mastery,
And eager on the highest peak to be.

As it is possible for a larger land,
Fivefold in population, to command
Five times the craftsmen to prepare the arms,
Five times the labor and five times the swarms
Of armed assailants at a chosen front,
A total conflict, it is evident,
Confers a clear advantage, if not now,
As soon as their own progress can allow,
On populous lands which must emerge ere long
If not superior to, at least, as strong
As are the mightiest nations of the day,
For e'er as hated rival powers to stay,
Until this constant state of siege incites,
As it does often, both to deadly fights.

As learning, technical know-how and skill
Can never be subservient to the will
Of any favored land or gifted mind,
(For bias does not heaven's bounties bind)
They sadly lack in common sense, indeed,
Who of the recent lessons take no heed,
And still have some illusion on the score
That time will ne'er come for a backward shore
To match them, point by point, if not outpace
In what is now a suicidal race
Towards destruction-nature's last resort
To cut humanity's rebellion short.

Although we may well from the notion shrink
That great men can to such low levels sink
As to engage the finest human brains
To win in world-destroying death campaigns,
Yet this exactly is the main concern
Of those who now the chairs of power adorn,
More so, in super-states, behind the scenes
For man's extinction who devise the means!

Assuming that on some day, not now far,
Some less advanced land will be nigh on par
With forward ones in every foul device,
Which lust for power invents at any price,
What force or measures can we use to bar
The former from resorting then to war,
When but superior numbers can decide
The fight in favor of the larger side?

(v)

The leading nations that are facing now
This threat to their position ne'er allow,
By word or gesture, e'en a hint to escape,
That they are worried but discreetly shape
Their policy to smother and delay
The growth in strength, unto the farthest day,
Of warlike people, who reveal a scope
For prowess, with which it is hard to cope.

Hence diplomatic battles rage around,
And ships of less advanced lands run aground,
Hence dark conspiracies, intrigues and plots
Befoul the face of earth at many spots,
Hence gold, like water, flows through hidden hands
To buy the scum and filth of other lands,
For mutinies, rebellions and revolts,
Which rend and tear their clime, like thunderbolts,
Leading to those horrific bloody deeds
Of which one in the daily papers reads;
Hence states incited against each other fight
To bring down or exhaust their growing might.

This is the elevating spectacle
Which we present, when at the pinnacle
Of progress, science and technology,
When we are cultured to a high degree,
With such amenities and lavish means
Our sires could not imagine in their dreams;
And yet are guilty of a hideous rape
Of morals, such that no one can escape
Its vicious influence, more so the young,
Whose artless minds, exposed to all this dung
And filth, soon learn the tricks their elders play,
To beat them in this wicked game one day;
And, while declaring faith in God, make it
Their choice to act the Devil with their wit.

Since these ignoble methods ne'er ensure
Of Lust-to-Power's unrest a lasting cure,
And countries, long subjected to these tricks,
Soon learn to counter them with similar pricks.
But then the tricksters learn new ways to guard
Themselves and use e'en subtler tricks and fraud,
To put off to the last the dreaded day,
When they are equally matched for a fray,
When their proud armies, erstwhile at the top,
From this commanding height to bottom drop.

That they are wholly helpless needs no proof,
For in this epoch who can stay aloof,
When vengeful opponents can reach his door
In but a few hours from a distant shore?
When avaricious hosts his wealth to share
Would stop at no risk and all hazard dare?

The only way to keep the hordes away,
Or, at least, for a period to delay,
Their onslaught, was to forge a fiendish arm
Which, with the open threat of grievous harm
And devastating loss of life, would keep
A foe from taking such a fatal leap.

That is why oft a stony silence greets
The pacifists, when they parade the streets,
To shout against war and the nuclear arm,
And why the rest who, too, view with alarm
The growing nuclear stockpiles keep so mum,
For they know that the swinging pendulum
Of power makes it essential for their land
To have a frightful weapon in her hand
To save their treasures and their balmy clime
From fierce, rapacious hosts who bide their time;
That is why there are now less chances for
Lovers of peace to end the threat of war.

That is why public figures of today,
At least those to parochial trends a prey,
Renounce their principles to glide at ease
On popular currents the crowd to please.
While for the sake of Truth and Safety both
They should denounce this new malignant growth,
Which grants security but to destroy,
And adds to prestige only to decoy
Into a flaming hell, which soon shall rage,
To mark the birth pangs of a Golden Age.

Against the over-hanging threat innate
In the existence of the sovereign state,
Unsuited now to man's progressive trend,
Which, therefore, nature is resolved to end,
The forward lands, on guard 'gainst envious eyes,
For their assured protection think it wise
To have atomic arms to keep their shores
Safe from a numerically superior force.
They can no more exist without this than
A bank can do without a night watchman.

This mode of thinking, too, has serious faults,
For it takes no account of sudden assaults
Made with the same infernal engines, they
Possess to keep the invading hordes at bay.
But when they too possess the dreaded arm,
And madly bent on doing grievous harm,
What can prevent them from a step designed
To plunge into a maelstrom all mankind?

(vi)

Existence of the nuclear arm, designed
To calm the unrest of a troubled mind,
By its extreme destructiveness, reveals
How its possessor for his safety feels.
This most elaborate, destructive gear
Consuming tons of gold, extremely dear,
Is not the outcome merely of a whim,
But of a purpose most profane and grim,
To gain an end that cannot be fulfilled,
Save with this foul device that would have killed
Full many scores of millions ere mankind
The safest route to lasting peace will find.

What means can you suggest to stop this flood
Of nuclear arms from sucking all the blood
Of mankind, for this costly weapon will
Exhaust poor nations, crowds with hunger kill.
But hate, mistrust or rivalry will force
Full scores of them to this disastrous course;
And those who set the example will repent
The wrong lead taken and the treasures spent.

This crisis, which our thinking must revise,
Is now envisioned clearly by the wise,
And hence to settle interstate disputes
All try their best to use pacific routes,
Knowing full well the storm that will arise,
Should statesmanship once fail to compromise.
Hence shuttle diplomacy, hurried trips,
With problems on the spot to come to grips,
By high dignitaries of premier states
To buy potential foes with tempting baits,
So that a major war may not erupt
Their own ambitious dreams to interrupt.

Except one world regime, there is no way
The fire of hate or thirst for blood to allay.
For who descending from his perch aloft
With love, humility and manner soft,
Would raise the trodden from their lowly plane,
A task that keeps evolving mortals sane,
And in this way combining West and East
Lay the foundation of abiding peace.

Except this certain cure there is no way
To stop the conflict now or any day.
The top-rank statesmen of the premier realms-
The men who sway their fate and hold the helms-
Already have the problem on their mind,
And try their best some remedy to find.
But they have found no means, no certain way
To stop formation of this strong array
Of power against them; they find no way out
To avoid this dread, inevitable bout
With steadily advancing needy swarms,
Save by the atrocious force of nuclear arms.

This throws a flood of light on many things,
So far obscure, on many hidden strings
That daily make a host of puppets act,
Disguised and marshaled with exceeding tact.
This makes it clear why such enormous wealth
Is spent to bring to life a threat to health;
A monstrous weapon with a murderous aim
Of which posterity will take the name
With horror, shrinking at the frame of mind
That could make use of weapons of this kind,
Reducing war to plainest massacre
Without experiencing the slightest stir
Of conscience that it is a heinous crime;
The most abhorrent evil of all time!

It is apparent that the premier states
Want this device to guard their large estates,
Their dominant position and control
On earth's economy, their leading role
Amongst the nations, and to this end need
A strong deterrent for all those to heed,
Who hostile, jealous or ambitious dream
Of e'er replacing them to reign supreme.

Now that they both, the mighty of the day
And their contestants, hunters and their prey,
Have at their elbow this profane device,
And none of them would like to pay the price
Of climbing down from his adopted stand
Towards a compromise or stretch his hand,
There is no hope that mankind will escape
The dreadful outcome of this wanton rape
Of reason, of this hate that has begun
In place of love in all her veins to run.

The leading powers cannot afford to scrap
This millionfold destructive thunderclap,
Which, when discharged, with one earth-shaking roar
Can fill with terror the most distant shore,
Can anywhere with one tremendous leap
Like to a white-hot solar tempest sweep.
They cannot for their safety now discard
This most destructive, diabolic guard
Which, at the least encroachment, with one bound
A whole dominion can to pieces pound,
And, reaching every place on land and sea,
Deter the most audacious enemy
From making any move that would provoke
Retaliation with this thunder-stroke.

They need a hellish engine of this sort
To cover many a distant harbor, port,
Commercial sea route or strategic site,
To guard approaches and augment their might;
Full many a distant palace, castle, fort:
Adornments of a vast, imperial court,
Which, as did Alexander in his day,
They hold to guarantee perennial sway,
Again to meet the same unhappy fate,
And lose the hollow greatness soon or late.

It is not easy for a kingdom spread
All o'er the earth to function at the head
Of fast-competing countries, or to guard
Her distant bastions, built with labor hard,
With e'en the deadliest of the older arms,
For time despoils all weapons of their charms.
Such countries must have, in this giddy age,
A lightning-like device of war to wage
Their battles from a distance to defend
The widely scattered empire at each end.

How can rival powers be true or sincere,
When they each other like the devil fear,
In their professed desire for lasting peace,
Disarmament or e'en a small decrease
In nuclear arms or armies; when each views
The other with extreme distrust and lives
To show him down, out-match him and excel
In power and prestige, built on bomb and shell?

How can this race to death impelled by greed
And lust for power or wealth abate, indeed,
And not grow faster as more decades pass,
Gathering alarmingly in speed and mass,
Till, like an avalanche with thundering roar,
And fierce concussion, never felt before,
It swallows millions more than one can tell,
And makes of millions more their life a hell?

And so disarmament will e'er remain
A dream unrealized, a longing vain
Of sober minds that know the outcome well,
If nuclear weapons multiply and swell
At such a rate, and if still more domains
Act by this latest flash of clever brains.
They know the awful outcome which will be
In part destruction of humanity.

For no man born can hold the hand of chance
Or guard against the now haphazard dance
Of world's disruptive forces, or forebode
Where and when will a hidden mine explode
During the cold war and the struggle hard
Between the rival groups, fought at each yard
Of the earth's surface they claim as their sod,
Entirely mindless of the will of God.

Since all the summit powers are firmly bent
On owning this plutonian engine meant
To guard their grandeur from the greedy paws
Of poorer folk, who can take up the cause
Of peace or raise a finger to denounce
This dread conspiracy, as they will pounce
On them, and clever penmen tear to bits
One who this weak spot in their armor hits.

That is why knowledge, wisdom, skill and wit
Against a deadly challenge calmly sit,
And do not raise their voice in protest bold
Which o'er the earth like thunder should have rolled
Against this mortal threat to morals, life
And health of humankind; against this knife
Which stabbing at a city in the dead
Of night can every townsman kill in bed;
Against this horrible example set
By more enlightened nations, who forget
That those who won their greatness with the sword
Were always emulated, word for word,
By people less advanced who, in the past,
Defeated them at their own game at last.

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Written by: Gopi Krishna


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