Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nationalism and Militarism is our worst Enemy

Their was a fantastic Indian band called "Rock Machine" ("Indus Creed (?)", later on). If it was a Western (American) band they would've been as popular as U2......they were that good!

In one of their songs, the lyrics go:

".....And the politicians played their game.
How come they never die for their country?......."


Dear Brian,
This nationalistic mumbo-jumbo is nothing but paranoid narcissism of the neurotic. It's a very clever ploy by the ruling elites(all over the world) who comprise not more than 1% of the world's population to enlist the have nots in their personal battle to kill their own brethren.
We need to beware of this nationalistic jingoism of the elites. The poor have no nationality or religion. They just want a dignified life which has been denied so far to them.I love the defence forces, all over the world, even the Chinese and the Pakistanis. They are certainly sacrificing a lot. But it's high time one realizes that they are just a tool in the hands of the status quo.
The world is one large family, as beautifully expressed in the concept of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam. And all of us need to LIVE to make this a reality.The martyr suffers from a huge victim complex, which is a complete delusion.Our only mandate is to leave the world a better place than we found it.And killing each other is certainly the last thing to achieve this objective,no matter how lofty? the ideal.
I'm sorry, my friend, to be spoiling the party. But how long can we go on fighting, rather than LOVING, each other.


Spare a thought for Indian soldier
By Vir Sanghvi .... 10 Oct 2010

I was watching British television news last week. A big story
concerned the death of a Lieutenant Colonel in Afghanistan.
Apparently, some British soldiers carry video cameras strapped to
their headgear and so the shooting of the officer was recorded on
videotape. It made for gruesome viewing.

The story was about the lack of facilities that led to his death. The
Colonel commanded a small detachment of men who came under fire from
the Taliban. When the attack began, they tried to radio for help but
found that they could not get a signal in the covered space they were
taking refuge in. So, the Colonel went out to try and get a signal.
This made him an easy target for the Taliban who shot him. The bullet
entered his shoulder and severed an artery.

His horrified troops then radioed the base and asked for a helicopter
to pick up the Colonel and to take him to hospital. According to the
TV channel, it took 40 minutes for the despatch of the helicopter to
be approved once the message had reached. The helicopter took some
time to reach the Colonel and overall, it was over an hour before he
was placed in the helicopter to be taken to hospital. Though doctors
did their best, he died three hours later.

It was a horrific story made more poignant by the demands for an
enquiry from the Colonel’s mother. Why hadn’t the radios worked
properly? Why had it taken so long to approve a helicopter?

The defence ministry was asked to respond by the TV channel. That
response made the point that a) the radios were working fine, which
cannot be right because no soldier would risk his life and expose
himself to hostile fire trying to get a signal out in the open if he
could simply use the radio from his secure, sheltered spot and b) even
if the helicopter had reached earlier, the Colonel would still have
died. The Taliban bullet had severed a key artery and death was

That response was clearly unsatisfactory. At the time that the base
delayed sending the helicopter nobody knew how serious the Colonel’s
injuries were or whether his life could have been saved by rushing him
to hospital. It was not as though some officer said, “Oh, he is going
to die anyway,” and therefore decided to dilly-dally over sending a

That same day, Prime Minister David Cameron was asked to comment on
the incident. Cameron made all the right noises, but essentially his
response was that British forces in Afghanistan did not have enough
helicopters or helicopter pilots. However, the Colonel had died when
Labour was in power. Now that the Conservatives had taken office, the
British army had been given the choppers and pilots it needed.

It would seem to me that the army behaved scandalously. But that is
not my concern this Sunday. What struck me while watching that report
was how seriously the British took the death of a single officer in
war time. Months after the event, it was the lead story on
the news and the Prime Minister was being asked to explain the
circumstances of the tragic death.

Contrast the British example with the way in which we respond to the
deaths of our soldiers — both army and para-military — even though we
know that they have given their lives so that we can be safe and

First of all, we would have no video-recording because nobody bothers
to give our soldiers cameras.

Secondly, no soldier would believe that he was entitled to get a
chopper to come and pick him up from the battlefield once he had been
shot. We simply don’t extend that sort of facility to our troops.

Thirdly, the circumstances of the death would never be made public.
The video-footage would never get out. We would never hear about how
long it took for a rescue to be organised.

Fourthly, we in the media would never dare question the Prime Minister
about the death of an individual soldier. We would act as though the
PM was too important a man to bother with the death of a single
officer. And finally, the reason why none of this would happen is
because at some basic level, we simply do not care enough for the
lives of our fighting men.

Consider the news items we come across every day. Soldiers are killed
trying to do a job they have no business to attempt, imposing the law
of the state in some insurgency-ridden
part of India. Soldiers die in pointless clashes — during peace time!
— on the border with Pakistan. Soldiers are ambushed by Naxalites and
killed by the dozen.

Go through the newspapers for the last year and try and add up how
many lives have been lost. Now, we are so brutalised by the constant
litany of deaths that they no longer necessarily make page one. The
killings are buried in some small item on some inside page. And yet,
much of what we are as a nation is due to the sacrifices of our
troops. It is easy for you and me to sit at home and criticise the way
in which the CRPF is battling the Naxalites. But it is not so easy for
the sons, daughters and widows of the hundreds of men who have died in
this battle to bother with armchair criticism. Poorly-led,
inadequately armed, insufficiently trained and bereft of accurate
intelligence, our soldiers are sent off to their deaths. And when they
fail to come back, only their families weep. The rest of us do not
even notice.

The difference between India and a Western country is that we still
have people willing to die for us. In the West, citizens are no longer
willing to risk their lives in warfare. As long as battles are
conducted with missiles and drones, the population is
content to watch the spectacle on television. But once lives begin to
be lost, the public turns against the war and demands an immediate

Consider the US and Vietnam. Until the body count became high, Lyndon
Johnson was a popular President. But as more and more soldiers began
to die, he was vilified, the war lost public support and the US’s
priority became to look for a way to get out. So it was with Tony
Blair. History will remember him as one of Britain’s more successful
prime ministers. But within his own country, he is treated as a
villain or a ‘war criminal’ even, because he risked British lives in
Iraq. And now, Barack Obama’s principal priority is to pull troops out
of Afghanistan even though the consequence of a US withdrawal would be
a certain return to the pre-2001 situation.

No Western nation could live with the casualties we suffer each week
in the battle against the Maoists. By now, public resolve would have
crumbled and there would be calls for some kind of deal to avoid
further bloodshed. And no Western nation would have had the stomach
for something like Kargil, where each hill was recaptured after
close-proximity combat and many officers lost their lives.

The reason we know that we can fight challenges to our sovereignty and
to the rule of law is because we are sure that we can count on our
armed forces. Time after time we ask them to risk their lives for us.
And they never ever let India down.

So, spare a thought, this Sunday, for the Indian soldier. We never
give him the facilities that are his due. And we never greet his death
with the respect or concern it deserves.

But all of us recognise that one reason why we are still a free and
sovereign nation is because he is willing to die so that we can live.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.