The General and his eyebrows

This is an extract from ‘He who summoned the Magpie Robin’ by Nirjhor Barua.
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The month of March had been going rather weirdly. The political situation was a bit off-putting for some; they did not want trouble of-course.

Messing with an army government always meant a bullet up the arse; the army did not know a different language or response. A lot of these men as top-ranking officials had horrible childhoods from being sent to boarding or military schools by parents not bothering to take care of them. And then being mercilessly flogged on the bum for being evil delinquents, so putting things up other’s bum seemed to be their way of getting back at the world. Be it the boots, bullets, barrel of a gun, a penis or a finger, anything and everything worked; some had homo-erotic tendencies of course. The men in khaki shirts had a straightforward attitude about the whole East-Pakistan situation, the economic and political disparity issues are all bullshit. Shit. A la mierda.

The ‘bingo dogs’ create too much trouble. They so did with the Mughals, they so did with the British, the same with the west Pakis. The thing that troubled them was the disappearance of the word ‘East-Pakistan’ from East-Pakistan itself. Bengali dogs are referring to it as Bangla-Desh now. Bangla-Desh! B-A-N-G-L-A D-E-S-H! The official name simply disappearing in thin air, the beautiful moon-crescent flag being replaced in homes and shops with the new flag with a map crudely stitched in the middle. Another tragedy: The song, the great song, the great Paki anthem being slowly replaced by an ugly song made by the Hindu-Tagore dog. The song made no reference to the Al-mighty; it was expected from a ‘Hindu’ so-called poet. People cared too much of this Tagore guy and the song. Song speaking of land as mother, and golden as well, golden! Such malarkey, such pussies! The Bengalis called themselves Muslims? Namesake piss-shit is what they are, living under the shadows of the Hindu-agents. A good-old-Punjabi-Baton-up-their-arse should do the trick. General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan while thinking these thoughts was fiddling with his pen, a Dun-hill fountain pen, recent gift from a friend. He did not want to use it, but wanted to fiddle around with it, wanted to see how it felt in his fingers. He was not feeling great; a bit hung-over as a matter of fact; the whisky was a bit too much, single malt scotch-whisky that should be drank with class and moderation. Who cares about class and moderation when you have two beautiful sixteen year olds on one’s lap? Oh the soft skin … younger ones next time, the younger the better. He had to fix his mood soon. The press would arrive tomorrow to talk about the current situation about handing over power. Something he did not want to deal with after a heavy night that would ensue. Why can’t both Bhutto and Mujib piss-off and rot somewhere else? The current situation was a concern, it made him look incompetent. Even the presidential cooks would not cook for him in protest; he could not have his breakfast. The Bengalis were known for their hospitality. Where is the hospitality now? He was Grimy this morning when he woke up, felt the same during the talks with Mujib. He still felt ill and foul. He had never been so hung-over before, hangover almost stretching the full day. It couldn’t be helped, he was the President; he had to get on with it. Before the press arrived tomorrow, he reminded himself to make sure to check if his eyebrows were pointy enough. Rani Akhleem once said that it made him look sharp, so from then on he had his thick brows oiled to stand out like a British military moustache. Oh! Women….. It made him feel loved.   

A knock on the door and a very young man in his mid-twenties entered. Captain Persoudi, the youngest Captain in Pakistan’s Military history. After his customary military hand salute, to which he got no response, he set a package down on the table with his two hands. The Marshal Law administrator had sent him with the package, top-level secret, even he, the carrier of such secret, was not allowed to gain the knowledge. The young Captain had a reputation of being honest and hardworking, a commando from the ‘Special service group’ or SSG. He came here to get orders on what to do with the influx of army personnel flying in and dealing with MV SWAT situation, Mittha and Tikka both wanted answers. But he was handed the package and ordered to personally deliver it as well.

‘When did you become Tikka’s lackey?’ Yahya asked while tearing the seal on the top of the package. The young Captain remained silent. ‘Do you know what this is?’ the General again asked.

‘No sir’, Captain Persoudi replied.

‘Good. You’ll be briefed soon. Do not worry [chuckles]. Tikka has few tricks up his sleeves.’

‘Ok sir’

‘We did not have a war or anything for a while now. Young men like should are impatient, always wanting to do something. Do not worry you will get some targets to practise shooting on. Sixty-five seems like a long time now.’ Yayha spoke as he now looked up, trying to read into the thoughts of this young soldier of few words. A phone rang and the General picked up.

‘Sir, the National Security adviser is on the line to speak to you. It’s Mr. Kis…’ A woman on the other end of the line spoke, a secretary of some sort, but she was cut off shortly and interrupted.

‘….Ok ok put him through’, ordered the general, annoyed. If he ever knew being the president one had to handle so many things, he would have thought twice about being one. He signalled the Captain in his room to leave at once, shooing him away. He can come again later, now is not the time to speak about other things.

Richard Nixon Posing with Agha Yahya Khan

‘Mr President… did you like the pen I sent you? Yes I thought you wanted to speak to me about the assurances about Peking…’ the man on the other end nattered without going into many pleasantries, straight to point. The General could not have been any less interested then he already was, for the fact that the man on the other end of the phone was a Jew! However, it was important matters regarding the state, he must, he must listen on. All he wanted to do was go back to his smooth-skinned sixteen year olds and a new bottle of scotch whiskey, single malt.

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