Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Cruelty of the Japanese Army in the Eastern Front, As Told by Richard Flanagan in the Booker-winning Novel "The Narrow Road to the Deep North"

Reading as I am Booker-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North (author: Richard Flannagan) I am convinced that the act of bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. Here we see a race that has no compassion, love, grace, or, for that matter an approximation of justice. The scenes depicting the cruelty meted out to prisoners on the Death Railway built at that time from Thailand to Burma is indeed horror-filled, inhuman, and insane. If such a people had captured India, our plight would have been worse than under the British. Yes.

Disclaimer: my uncle died in this great and ambitious struggle. He had been enlisted in the British army and then drafted by the Indian National Army of Subash Bose. Impetuous and compulsive (also good looking) he was my grandparents' favourite son. The last letter received from him talked of taking my father to Singapore where he was stationed, before the Nips (as Japanese were described at that time) invaded it. (Aside: if he had taken my father to Singapore I wouldn't have existed, so wouldn't this blog. My father would surely have died with him before siring me! What a sick, but probable thought!) Subsequently, all communication stopped, because the Nips didn't transmit any letters, knowing the cruelty they were inflicting would become known. So, no records exist. That itself is a larger cruelty than killing the soldiers with work, without food, without medicines, without rest, and without tools. Prisoners were punished for simple transgressions as resting when they were sick. He is believed to have died of starvation, though he was a soldier of a friendly army.

The greatest irony of the war in the eastern front is that there are no records, no letters, no any diaries. That is why this novel assumes importance and deservedly has won the Booker. The names of people who have died are also not known. It's a strange mixture of extreme cruelty and atrocious suffering inflicted on people and should be researched, at least, to correct the wrongs done by history.

The Nips were all duty-bound to obey the emperor, obsequiously so. But why deny human beings common facilities like medicine and food? The cruelties on the eastern front surpasses, if not equals that of the Jewish genocide in Europe. Will history forgive the perpetrators? Will some justice come to those who died?

My mind flusters, it goes blank, I am not able write anymore. 

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