War or Peace – An Eternal Conflict
“Originally written in Hindi by the great poet, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and published just before India’s independence, in the aftermath of the two World Wars; ‘Kurukshetra’ is regarded as an all-time classic war-epic. Unlike most work on war which eulogizes the victor, this grand work puts forth a novel war philosophy – in war no one either wins or loses; it is humanity which is crushed.
When Ramdhari Singh Dinkar was writing ‘Kurukshetra’; India was facing great turmoil in its struggle for independence. Exploited for centuries, many countries were enslaved and poor. The World itself was embroiled in an immense power struggle. Even today, people continue to suffer from oppression, exploitation, violence and poverty. Under these circumstances ‘Kurukshetra’ ponderance over the larger question of war or peace, violence or non-violence becomes significant.
The book by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is in the form of a dialogue between the two central characters of Mahabharata; Yudhishthira and Bhishma and reflects genuine reservations of Yudhishthira who views war as an act of sin resulting in massacre, pain and loss. Yudhishthira raises the most important question, as to who is to be blamed for the war. Whether the oppressor or the oppressed is compelled to retaliate. He views the renunciation of war as the ultimate act that will lead mankind towards eternal peace.
This all-time classic epic has been restricted to readers of Hindi. My objective is to render not a translation but the essence of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s philosophy to a wider audience of readers in the English language, as it remains relevant even after seventy-five years. I would be satisfied if the book succeeds even minutely in drawing the attention of the world to Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s ideals.”
About The Author
“Born on 01 September 1955 to Shri Awadhesh Kumar Rai and Shrimati Hansrani Devi Rai at village Narahi, Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, Brigadier Umesh Kumar Rai after graduation in science joined the Indian Army in 1978 in Fourteenth Battalion, the Bihar Regiment. He later moved to the Fifteenth Battalion of the same Regiment and commanded it along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh. He served as a member of the Complaint Advisory Board in the Chief of Army Staff Secretariat and commanded a Brigade in the Gurez Sector in Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control adjoining Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. For his services, he was awarded with The Chief of Army Staff Commendation in 2005. He bid adieu to Army and became a veteran in 2011. He has done his Masters of Science and Masters of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras and is also a Masters in Management Studies from the Osmania University. While being in Army, he wrote two articles, one on ‘Birsa Munda – Life and Times’ and the second Indian and China – Their Emerging Superpower Status and Implications for India’. This is in essence his first book.”