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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 13 New Delhi March 16, 2019

Let’s Not Seek Vengeance

Sunday 17 March 2019


Oh, forty-plus martyred soldiers, I know not
Any of you, even if you are my fellow citizens.
To tell you the truth, I hate soldiers,
As I hate wars for which soldiers are meant.
I hate patriotism that warrants wars;
I hate seeing our neighbour as our enemy;
I hate talking retaliation for your deaths;
I hate seeking vengeance for your killings.

And yet, my heart bleeds when I think of you.
You laid down your lives for the Nation; and
I hate the existence of Nations that transform
Citizens into soldiers and sacrifice them
On the altar of national security which is a chimera;
As long as soldiers exist and weapons are made.
I grieve your deaths; and I grieve the death of
The terrorist who exploded himself with the
Explosives to eliminate you en masse.

Both you, the soldiers, and the suicide bomber,
The terrorist, are the victims of
Predator nationalisms whose outlook is
Too narrow to see human-beings beyond
The boundaries of ‘our own’ Nations.
World need not have national boundaries
That inspire humans to spill human blood;
World need not have soldiers who are
Destined to kill or to be killed.
I see no difference between patriotism
That begets hatred, seeks vengeance,
And the terrorists who kill fellow-humans
In the name of religion.

Oh, martyred soldiers, I bereave your tragic deaths
Yet I hate seeking vengeance for your killing.
And I hate speaking of war for your murder.
Let’s seek not vengeance; let’s seek peace.
Let’s talk not retaliation; let’s talk peace.
Let’s not be warmongers; let’s be peacemakers.
Let’s remind ourselves of the truth:
Terrorism can’t be eliminated by war,
As war itself is terrorism—"that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Sukumaran C.V.

Sukumaran C.V., a former student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, is now working as a senior clerk in the Kerala State Government service. He can be contacted at e-mail: lscvsuku[at]

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