Rochelle sets us a one hundred word flash fiction challenge, prompted by a photo, every week.  Come and have a go, if you think you’re bard enough.

He was all wrong for a beggar: always in a collar and tie, though his clothes were very old; too haughty, too disinterested. He was in the tunnel on my walk to work. I donated in the early days but something in his manner put me off. Then, one day, he wasn’t there and I didn’t give him a second thought. Yesterday, I read the local newspaper and felt sick to my core. “Sergeant Angrive Hanghi of the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade or “Chindits”, awarded the DCM in 1945 for activity behind enemy lines in Burma, died aged ninety-four. He was captured and tortured prior to VJ day.” (108)

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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in fiction, race, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Chindit

  1. Heartbreaking story, Mick. My husband’s uncle, an officer in the Indian army, fought alongside the British soldiers in hand-to-hand combat against the Japanese in Burma. He was a career soldier and lived comfortably in India when he retired. He was one of the fortunate ones. A bomb fell on their camp and narrowly missed him. Well done. —- Suzanne

  2. gahlearner says:

    A heartbreaking story. I so agree with your view on charity. Any state worth its name should be able to care for its people, no matter who or what they are.

    • micklively says:

      Many thanks. “The state should provide” is a Stalinist mantra and so out of favour.

      • gahlearner says:

        Is it? I didn’t know that. I only know that I pay taxes, a lot, likewise social insurance and health care, and my state calls itself a solidarity union, so I expect things to be dealt with with dignity… which works to a certain point.

  3. mjlstories says:

    Great thought-provoking piece. Good one.
    I have an odd relationship with the very young, very shy Big Issue seller outside my local Morrisons – I shyly hand over a fiver when I see her there and she shyly accepts. Not sure which of us is more embarrassed. Maybe one day we’ll try a conversation!
    Your piece reminded me of a West Wing episode where Toby arranges a military funeral for a homeless veteran who dies on a park bench wearing his old coat.

  4. rogershipp says:

    A heart-wrenching story…. Well done.

  5. We have such negative views of the homeless, but the truth is so different and heartbreaking in most all cases. Well written.

  6. gravadee says:

    Any thing related to war veterans makes me feel sd for them

  7. Dale says:

    Way too often do you hear of Veterans reduced to begging. Breaks my heart.

    • micklively says:

      War is never pretty but the campaign in Burma, to keeps the Japs out of India, was particularly grueling. The Chindits were called a forgotten army. But it got worse after VJ day. Whilst “our” lads came home to a hero’s welcome, the Chindits were ignored.

  8. You never know with beggars. Best thing is to keep giving.

  9. Liz Young says:

    Can one tell from their demeanour which beggars are genuine? We have gangs of them over here and I never give. A bad reputation has spoiled things for the few truly needy souls.

    • micklively says:

      There’s enough wealth in the world for everyone to be safe, fed, watered, sheltered and educated. Charity isn’t the answer.
      Many thanks Liz.

  10. Margaret says:

    How tragic that a hero is reduced to begging for a living. I like the point of view you’ve used here – your narrator’s voice rings true.

  11. ceayr says:

    Well written and thought provoking.
    Nicely done.

  12. uehobbyist says:

    My father and I debate homeless and beggars all the time. I live in a town with a large base. We have many of these forgotten veterans here. Whatever their actions today, they deserve respect for their past. Well done.

  13. You can never know do you.. sometimes a minute of our time is worth more than a coin… but I have never done it.

    • micklively says:

      How can you give a beggar dignity? I’m not sure it’s possible. Our economic systems don’t work for everyone. Maybe they’re not intended to.

  14. Vinay Leo R. says:

    Oh dear. Not the way to find out that story, I think, but then again, we can’t ask everyone’s story either. Maybe the best we can do is not judge them for what we see.

    Enjoyed the poignant read, Mick.

  15. Sightsnbytes says:

    Great job! I really enjoyed reading this

  16. Nobody ever knows somebody else’s story unless they take the time to find it out. A well written piece.

  17. Sandra says:

    I dwelt on the ‘something in his manner’. Makes you consider whether we expect a certain attitude from the recipients of our charity. Good one Mick.

    • micklively says:

      Well, that isn’t what I had in mind when I wrote it but I think you have a valid point nonetheless. I was thinking more of his indomitable spirit, unbroken by the Japanese, and now unbroken by him poverty.

  18. Dear Mick,

    We never know another person’s story, do we? Well done piece that makes one think.



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