Dead people don’t play foothill

Two countries that cannot even play soccer propose to nuke each other, and we are all supposed to sit back and enjoy the show. At least they could hold the fireworks here in South Asia until the World Cup is over in East Asia. We will root for Argentina, we will cheer for Senegal, and not consider it at all incongruous that India and Pakistan are not on the field – they probably never will the way things are progressing. Irradiated people make bad football players and vapourised people are not even there.

Funny thing is, much of the Indus and Ganga plains, where these fierce fighting people live, is ideal soccer territory. It is flat, see. And it is a terrible place to test your ballistic nuclear missiles. Because it is populated, see. It is not as if Noida or Orangi are empty like Lop Nor or the Bikini atoll. If only the great strategists on Star News and PTV discussed the reasons why we cannot make it to the World Cup… the stunting, the malnutrition, the diet, the facilities, the training, we would begin to get a glimmer of the misplaced priorities. Hai nn? Lekin, till the bile rises up the gullet, they will talk about "coercive diplomacy" and nuclear throw-weight, kilotons and megatons.

Okay, the Americans and Brits – and Scandanavians, Japanese, Untied Nations staff, and even the Koreans – want their citizens out of the confrontation zone and have already evacuated. See how they value the lives of their citizens? But whoever said EU and ASEAN lives are more precious than SAARC ones?

Sheikh Hasina – sorry, Begum Zia – should immediately pick up the phone and call someone, anyone, and order the evacuation of the millions of Bangladeshi labourers, domestics and sweatshop workers from Karachi, Gujranwallah, Delhi (both cis- Jamuna and trans-Jamuna), and Hissar.

Kathmandu's government should send out an urgent travel advisory to all million-plus desbaasis living and working in the arch from the apple terraces of Himachal to the cages of Bombay. No better time to return to the motherland. Better to starve slowly to death than be incinerated instantaneously, unless you think otherwise.

Actually, West Nepal is so close to the possible nuclear theatre – the airforce base at Bareilly is just a stone's throw away from the Tanakpur – that the country should plan to evacuate its entire western half and use night buses to ferry the janata to the eastern half. The latter is a good host for refugees, fortunately, for this is where the Lhotshampa from Bhutan have camped for a full decade now with nary an untoward incident, as they say. In the spirit of live and let live, I propose that in the next week or so, all Tamils, Kannadigas, Malayalis and whoever else with origins (and family) south of the Vindhyas evacuate all North India. All Bengalis, Assamese and Northeasterners living west of Varanasi should likewise pack up and pull back. Since all of Pakistan would probably be gone, Balochis and Pathans should head north to Afghanistan, which is today the safest place in the Subcon. Sindhis can take the boat out to the Gulf.

What is the purpose of all this? The purpose, dear sir/madam, is to leave North India-Pakistan populated only by those who actually want a nuclear war, and who believe that such a war is nice and appropriate under the circumstances, and can have the satisfaction of having fought one. They want a nuclear Kurukshetra (the ancient equivalent of modern day Armageddon) overlaid over exactly where the first one was fought. Let 'em have it.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian