The Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Old road in Ladakh has 37 bridges over snow-fed rivers in spate during summer melt. It leads to Karakoram Pass where, on 15 June two-thousand-and-twenty, Chinese warriors ambushed Indian warriors with rocks, staves & nail-studded clubs, tossing dead & dying over cliffs into the Galwan River.
It’s the stuff of hoary epic: In the frigid barrens of the Karakoram, two ancient civilizations go mano a mano contesting the Aksai Chin, an alkaline desert that abuts Xinjiang province, where Mother Earth demos her end.
I’m brought to consider the perennial terror that poetry, besotted with love & death, milks from the human condition in sulfurous spate; how bloody life imitates hoary art over and over and over.
(Ajai Shukla, “How China and India Came to Lethal Blows,” NYTimes, 6-19-20)
(c) 2020 JMN