A nation forgets?
449 brave soldiers killed…..Five pages of just names…..The horror of it!
And India doesn’t even remember!
Martyrs who might just be names to some of us, but a lifetime of grief and heartache for those they have left behind…
Did you ever think you would see such a sight?
Do you have any idea…………can you even begin to realize what the word honour….the word Izzat means to a man in uniform?
Of how utterly bereft of hope the ones who should have been ‘ happily’ retired must have felt before they sat down to protest on the streets demanding that which this nation should have given to them without their having to ask?
And have we even now given it? Given whats their due?
Did the sixth Pay Commission do justice to all that they did and even now do???
Why is is it that as a nation we can shed tears at a particular moment and yet be as cruel and as apathetic as human beings can possibly be.
Why is it that we still don’t have a memorial for our soldiers?
Oh! but wait! We DO have a sea link named after a former PM!
Yes, that’s enough I think. Really! Its all that matters.
We could have named it after a martyr of 26/11 of course but we chose not to.
You see we are quite screwed up that way.
Our priorities define who we are.
And what we are isn’t the most pretty sight.
Read the letter below and tell me if this is the act of a normal human being.
Does it take rare courage to write such a letter I wonder. Does God make some people more special than others?
A letter written by Captain Vijayant Thapar to his parents before he went into battle. (his nickname was Robin)
There was another letter this one by a mother addressed to Musharraf demanding that he apologise to her grand daughter after her son, whom she still refers to as 2 RR (Rajputana Rifles), had sacrificed his life for the country. Also a little girl who has never seen her father. She was born after her father died fighting a war that this nation doesn’t even remember.
There are many stories …..some poignant , some that make you smile…
Did you know about little Ruksana and her connection with Vijayant Thapar?
Did you know that these were not men but young boys ? On the cusp of discovering all that this world had to offer them?
The jawans , the officers…bound together by a camaraderie that is beyond our wildest imagination…
These men could lay down their lives for a friend. And they did.
Yeh dil maange more .. words made immortal by a young boy of 24.
A nation watched….enchanted by the sight of this grinning I-dont-give-a-damn soldier who seemed to challenge death itself.
One could feel his euphoria. He looked invincible and we felt invincible too when we heard those words in the comfort of our homes.
I remember I was preparing hard for my unit tests when we heard the news. That man, that soldier, that Indian who had sat there in a bunker smiling and saying words which were to become a slogan for generations to come was no more.
One felt hard pressed to believe it.
We all seemed to know him.
India watched in disbelief. Had we not seen him on TV just a few days earlier?
Then how was it possible ?
But a nation was to realize that these brave hearts for all their courage were mortals.
Mortals who could put many to shame. Men of steel but men nevertheless.
Of how with a horrified look one stares at the TV screen even now when his face is flashed on it saying those words over and over again until they are seared into your brain.
Would he have said it any differently had he known?
I dont think so.
He would have said the very same words with even more josh if it was possible.
Sher Shah! even ‘they’ were forced to call him. And Sher Shah he was.
Then there were those bravehearts who even in death, united a nation like never before.
No homage to the heroes of Kargil can be complete without the examples of two martyrs from the northeast – Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum of the 12 J&K Light Infantry and Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse of the 2 Rajputana Rifles.
Nongrum died on on July 1, 1999, while leading the charge on Point 4812.
Tales of his valour are now the stuff of legend in his native Meghalaya; Point 4812 has become a pilgrimage spot for many Khasis.
“And many more of his tribesmen are now signing up to wear stars and service stripes (local lingo for military service), as he used to exhort the youth in his native state to do when on leave,” said Peter Keishing, 62, his father.
Kenguruse’s story was even more inspiring. Belonging to a generation of Nagas that grew up hating or fighting the Indian army, few expected the wiry Neibu (his nickname) to don military colours.
“Neibu was aware of the churning back home when he was training hard to earn his stripes,” said Neiselie, 64, his father in Nagamese, a Hindi-Assamese hybrid that is very popular in Nagaland.
His native village Nerhema, 22 km north of Kohima, was burnt down twice during five decades of counter-insurgency operations.
But when he returned – in a coffin – a very different Nagaland welcomed him. The day his body arrived at Dimapur, thousands lined the road to Nerhema.
“Neibu did more than make us proud; he changed our perception of the Indian army,” said his father. And, arguably, triggered the mainstreaming – of sorts – of Naga society, inspiring, like Nongrum, an assembly line of youths to enlist for the army. [LINK]
Captain (Dr) Rajshree Gupta, Army Medical Corps (AMC), salutes the tricolour-draped coffin of her husband, Major Vivek Gupta of the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, who died fighting the enemies.
Tell me how to control my anguish and not feel murderous when I see, read and hear this below.
After listening to a third-rate political spat between Jayanthi Natarajan of the Congress and Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP in which both tried to score cheap political points on Kargil, the General was compelled to say what the whole nation feels: ” It is a political debate which must be buried along with political parties…These nauseating, disgusting, shrill, vituperative debates have no meaning for the Indian Defence Services.“[LINK-India Retold]
One political party wants to celebrate the Kargil victory and ‘remember’ martyrs but ONLY to score a political point over its opponent.
The other asks…. Kargil? ? Which Kargil?
We fought a war?
This party prefers to celebrate ONLY the 1971 victory.
Tell me how to give up my murderous fantasy of killing each slimy politician of this country.
Do you think the slime that are India’s politicians would have felt the least bit ashamed of themselves when they read this below?
Asked if they are hurt by the UPA government’s decision not to celebrate Vijay Diwas, the Kargil anniversary, pat came Vimalacharya’s reply like an arrow: ‘‘We are apolitcal people. Sacrifice has been taught to us right from our childhood. Had my son and many others like him not died, Pakistanis would have captured half of India.’’
Read this article. (lines from which have been given below)
A country that refuses to respect its armed forces will eventually end up getting forces that will not respect the nations’ aspirations. A country makes a sacred contract with its soldiers that while he/she will lay down his/her life when called upon to do so, the nation will take good care of his/her and his/her family’s needs to the extent its resources would permit.
This contract underpins the very survival of a nation as when its territorial integrity and political independence are under threat, the nation looks upon the only instrument that can protect it — its armed forces.
This is a nation that will cry with Lata Mangeshkar when she sings Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon but will not make any effort to understand the real problems and concerns of its soldiers. It is a sign of the highly skewed priorities of the Indian media that the rising turmoil and dissatisfaction within the ranks of nations’ armed forces is being given only perfunctory coverage.
It is an issue of nation’s very survival yet the media seems busy with its devotion of superficialities. Every rave and rant of Bollywood actors is religiously covered, detailed dissection of seemingly never-ending cricket matches are conducted, exorbitant pay rises in the corporate sector make it to the headlines but the one issue that can make or break the future of this country is consigned to the margins.
We continue to pray at the altar of our false heroes while our real heroes continue to face neglect and scorn.
A few questions for all of you . Actually anyone who is reading this…will be reading this.
Are you a parent?
If so, have you told your children about the wars that your nation fought?
That its bravehearts fought?
No, it doesn’t have to be a dining table formal conversation. It didnt for us. But we knew.
Our parents made sure we knew. We did not see or read about the 71 war but our parents made sure we knew.
They didn’t live through the 47 war and they cant remember the 71 one. But THEIR parents made sure they knew.
So have you made sure your children know?
Are you a teacher?
Are your students aware of all that India has been through?
No, it doesn’t have to be a part of the syllabus for you to tell them. It should be but it isn’t. So have you told them?
Are you willing to support your child if he/she decides to be part of the defence forces?
One last question.
Answer it honestly but I don’t think you will.
Yes, the cynic in me rears its ugly head.
Are you in favour of conscription?
No, not to combat the shortage of officers in the defence forces.
But to see if YOU are willing to walk the talk.
Your eyes are moist ..were moist then too when you saw the bodies of the martyrs being carried home.
Would you be willing to send your son/daughter to enlist knowing fully well that exactly such a homecoming could take place? One where a loved one comes home draped in a tricolour sleeping the sleep of the innocent?
No is the primary sentiment is it? After all who gives a damn about this profession. Can it be even called a profession?
They are paid peanuts. Dismal living standards. The dangers to one’s life.
Nah! not worth it you say.
And if indeed this is so, then please don’t ask any more questions as to why our politicians..our decision makers don’t listen to the demands of a soldier..demands that he has been forced to make after a long graceful silence because he has realised that YOU WONT fight the battle for him .
That YOU are NOT WILLING to.
Because there is nothing in it for you eh?
We all love martyrs. We put them on pedestals and want to worship them forever(though in this nation not even that)
But we all want the martys to be from a neighbour’s home. Not ours.
And that is what this nation’s problem is. This is what defines us.
Were your eyes moist when you read all the words here?
I bet you even shed a few tears when the war was happening.
And what did you do since then? In the last ten years? Did you talk about it with a few friends? Tut tutted about how pathetic the condition of the soldiers is?
If you did, I am extremely grateful.
You see….at least you talked about them. You remembered them…oh!not all of them! Come one!how can you remember so many names.Poor you!
But I am grateful for whatever crumbs I get.
Did you read all the names of the martyrs given in the first link and in the last video?
Or did you get tired? Or did you gasp in horror?
Which reaction was it?
Tell me too so I can take a sliver of hope that this nation does care for its soldiers. If only in name.
Tears are cheap aren’t they?
Shed a few at the appropriate time and be done with it.
You all had questions during and after 26/11 didn’t you?
How was this possible? You shouted!
You gasped in horror at the tragedy of it all.You wondered how the enemy could strike right at the heart of our nation. You wanted nothing more than to murder a terrorist or two. You wanted to know why India was bleeding.
THIS was why it was possible.
What lessons will a nation take from history when it prefers to forget it?
Sandeep Unnikrishnan is now only a name among many others in the collective memory of this nation.Nothing more.
We will forget him a few months down the line.
10 years later?
Are you kidding me?
Sandeep who?… will be the question.
Go India. Prosper like never before. Celebrate life each day. Sleep comfortably in yur homes.
But know this.
One day all of this will be taken away in a flash.
And that will be the day you will regret so much.
What is it they say?
About words left unsaid and deeds left undone?…..
Words are cheap in this country of ours. Promises are even cheaper. But the cheapest of all is the life of a soldier.
Oh! and yes! I too have fulfilled my duty as an Indian citizen. The words of tokenism have been written. Lets all go and sleep today and every day with the thought that we really and truly are Indians.
”Our God and soldiers we alike adore ev’n at the brink of danger; not before: After deliverance, both alike requited, our Gods forgotten and our soldiers slighted”- Francis Quarles
You read many books do you?
Fiction..non-fiction and what have you..
A Soldier’s Diary by Harinder Baweja
Add this as one among many that you have. It is not dramatic. It certainly is not a romanticized version of the war. It just tells it as it was.