Panem et Circenses,  Bread and Games  – Juventus

Buckingham Palace Guards

The men you will see in front of Buckingham Palace, are not just ceremonial guards but also serving soldiers. While upholding the traditions of the past, they also perform duties throughout the world as professional soldiers and are known as some of the most elite and skilled soldiers in the British Army. Soldiers from one of seven regiments will be outside Buckingham Palace, and this dates back to the time of Henry VII (1485-1509).

Two-Nation Abomination: Blisters on patriotic feet, that tread where angels fear…

The Grand Evening Ceremony, at the Wagah – Attari border, commenced in 1959, a good twelve years after the two nations acquired independent status, and takes place with the Border Security Force of India, and the Pakistani Rangers, with about 45 minutes of choreographed display, and is a tourist attraction by its own right. One scribe had described it as the  “ultimate in cross-border nonsense “.  In fact, most people from outside the sub-continent who witnessed this circus, were at a loss to distinguish who’s who, coloured plumes with thumping boots notwithstanding.

The good news, for the luckless soldiers performing these stunts, as well as those cogitating on today versus yesterday versus tomorrow, was that last year, the brass on either side actually decided not just to tone down the antics, but considered doing away with it altogether.  Bravo !

My Golden Bengal ( Amar Shonar Bangla ) – Pronam !!

Now let’s move across a bit, Eastward ho!  Have to give this piece of poetry of the Bard of Bengal, and which needs no introduction to any Bengali on either side of the border.

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

But why am I bursting into poetry like your lotus-eater round the corner, today ? Aww, today’s paper actually carries in detail what was mentioned in the news over the past few days, that the  Border Security Force is in congenial talks with Border Guards Bangladesh, to have the antics which I have described above, replicated at Petrapole, near Bongaon, and with public approbation, followed by Akhaura and Phoolbani.

I don’t doubt for a single second that this asinine idea is NOT going to succeed, will be a still-born non-starter. Neither will it have the goodwill and support of the Bengalis on either side of the border, nor will it attract any numbers to witness the event. The kind of evening circus that’s been put up for over half a century, in the Punjab, will be scorned with derision, from the first display itself, by the Bengali, when displayed close to home.

If at all, the respective governments want to promote healthy interaction, at these very border checkposts, what could be considered is an audio-visual and interactive presentation of the likes of Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and others who are representative of the shared history of the Bengalis.   And anyone in India or Bangladesh, having second thoughts on this, may do so after considering your national anthem to yourself – after all it’s the same personage with flowing beard, who penned it, for both the countries