“He who has seen war, will never stop seeing it”
Out of innumerable options that life has to offer, be it luxury, comfort, family, or society, a soldier chose us. He chose our arrogance, ignorance, comfort, and ungratefulness over his life. Our respect for the man in uniform has always been instinctive and impulsive. There is no other manner to treat a man who sheds blood for me so that I can complain about the perspiration I get at 30 degree Celsius. The man on border has to keep his faith stronger than his fears; the faith that after killing another human being he’ll be able to live without any guilt. So how do you barter with supreme nobility. Is our respect enough?
India has not been in war for the past 15 years. This has made the public eye more fixated to olympics, tolerance and Bollywood breakups, and we ignored the primary cause of our sense of security i.e. the INDIAN ARMED FORCES. Four generals were exposed in a big corruption case involving 70 acres of land in Darjeeling. Recently, a soldier was removed from command and another was suspended over allegations that they killed three Muslim Civilians in a staged gun battle. The assurance of a well functioning weapon is also a distant dream. Most of our men are still handed the old INSAS instead of AKs. The riffles get blocked, magazines fall or the body parts break. Even the clothing is not efficiently bulletproof. It is very heavy which puts mountaineering and alertness of our soldiers in jeopardy. The fight against weather has not been too smooth either: blizzards, snow storms, avalanches along with a constant fear of bullet showers. It’s just not easy carrying out operations in such extreme environments. Life after retirement is more appealing for officers when compared to that of the servicemen. The drastic shift in environment from a forest of threats to a normal city, where having an opinion is the most unpatriotic thing you can do, takes a toll on their psychology. The above mentioned troubles are something they were prepared for. But they were never prepared for getting thrashed by the very people they sworn to protect. Recently, in Jammu and Kashmir, ten times more security men were injured than civilians. The men of honour restrained themselves even when the civilians threw grenades at them.
It is time we pay due attention to our soldiers. A government has to do what the people want it to do. It is when we demand silence to polarising comments and manipulative responses that have been served to us for decades, it is when we demand that our hard earned money be spent on a soldier in Siachen, so that he doesn’t have to rely on ready-to-make food for weeks, it is when we learn where our soldiers are currently deployed and also learn to mark those places on a map, it is by truly rising above superstitions, classes, politics and gossip that our debt will be paid. We have to stop questioning who a true patriot is and just start being one. We will have to stop taking for granted the ‘rest’ time we have been provided. We have no right to label an uninformed person ‘unpatriotic’ whenever there is a clash of ideologies. Because we as a Nation are not even able to provide basic necessities to our warriors. In the heat of protests, we should remember that we are throwing stones on men who gave us the prosperity to do so in the first place. The biggest blow of corruption has to be absorbed by the IAF. So why don’t we stop expecting a five digit balance in our accounts and start demanding two pair of durable, lightweight shoes for our mighty THOR. We have to take steps to educate ourselves of the constant fear of death they have to go through. We have to put ourselves in their shoes and take fruitful attempts in making those shoulders lighter and stronger.
There is no single person or an institution to blame. Blames and complaints will only make us less efficient, there will be no resolution. After the Uri attacks, we have united after a really long time. Let us not let this opportunity be missed and make this unity a facade of hashtags and tweets.
We owe it to our soldiers because, for the past 64 years, they have maintained an unquestionable standard of loyalty to the flag. Yes, we do sing ‘saare jahan se acha, Hindustaan humara’ twice a year. We are short-tempered and ill informed. But we are the same old country which is the birthplace of the man of the millennium. We have world’s fifth highest GDP, 3rd largest military. We are the seventh largest world economy. The most efficient youth resides in our country. We invented the cheapest method to reach Mars. We have the highest reserves of Thorium in the world which will boost us towards our Nuclear Dreams. 750 million MNCs have developed their R&D sectors in India. We are on our way to becoming the next superpower and we have to start with a shift in mindset. We find solace in dancing to a Bollywood song irrespective of the circumstances we are in. We eat the spiciest food in the world (on a regular basis!). We used to live, and taught the world how to live. We have to start singing the same old songs and steer ourselves up; up to a place, where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.