No. Why would you? Hell! It is their duty. Don’t they get paid for it? And who asked them to join the Army and put their lives in danger? Not you!
Many of you might have come across the name of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. It might have been that name you just happened across somewhere or read in some book. Nevertheless, you know him. He was a legend; India’s greatest military commander whose distinguished military career spanned four decades and five wars. When he died in 2008, the manner in which the government at the time treated him evoked pure disgust and anguish in many hearts. No wreaths were placed on behalf of the then Prime Minister. Our Defense Minister was too busy in his political meetings. Instead, he sent a Minister Of State, the most senior representative of the government. If a Field Marshal was treated so badly, the condition of the martyrs’ families were worse. Deep rooted corruption in our political system does make sure that the rightfully deserved compensation given to the martyrs families does not reach them but instead ends up in the bank accounts of our political leaders. Manekshaw was right when he said, "I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defense of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor, a gun from a howitzer; a guerilla from a gorilla although a great many resemble the latter.” Is this the way we treat those who dedicated their lives to our nation? Unfortunately,it is this loathsome attitude of ours towards the Armed Forces which disappoint those brave hearts and prove detrimental to the interest of the Army aspirants.
Take the example of Kashmir itself. A couple of years ago, when the floods ravaged the state, the Army was in no time out there, carrying out operations at a break-neck speed. The torrential downpour made their jobs difficult but our soldiers continued with their operations with an iron grit. But the absence of so called 'Saviours of Kashmiris' that is the Huriyats was conspicous. So, where were the likes of Yasin Malik and Sayed Ali Shah Geelani?
While Geelani was safe inside the comforts of his house, Malik was in Delhi, trying to help the Kashmiris in such tragic times. How? By inciting hatred in them against the Indian Armed Forces. While most of them paid no heed to his rubbish, some of his supporters started pelting stones on those who had come to rescue them! Well done!
Eyebrows did raise when the Pakistani flags were hurled in Kashmir without any hesitation because most of the political analysts had hoped that after the stupendous task carried out by the Indian Army during the floods, the Kashmiris would overcome their persistent bitterness towards the Indian Army. Pity that they did not realize that even though a few of them had a soft corner for Indian Forces, there are others who are blinded by their hatred towards India. There is no hope for the improvisation of Army-Kashmiris relationship because the youth is largely influenced by the Pakistani Agenda.
When the Kashmiris celebrated Eid with Pakistan, a day after the celebrations in India, our 'neighbour' rejoiced! It was a victory for them. The idea of brotherhood and harmony that the festival held was lost in the hatred they had for our country. And then we are asked by the 'liberal thinkers' to ask ourselves if we really love Kashmir... Sure. Why not?
It is not unknown to us that we share borders with troublesome nations like China and Pakistan which are itching to start a war. The ‘Anti-India’ attitude fostered by Pakistan is disturbing. In situations like these, the need to fill the vacancies in the Armed Forces is greater than ever. But there are very few people who are willing to join the Army. The youth of today has had everything too easy in life, as a result of which,they are not ready to get out of their cosy cocoons and face the tough challenges that lie ahead. The present education system does little to provide information about the Indian Army and even less to inspire students to join the forces.This is another reason for lack of interest among youth to join the Army. If you don’t develop a passion towards it, there is no way you can join it! For some of them, joining Army is the last option. If they fail to get jobs in the fields of their choice, they end up joining Army. And that has grown to be the general concensus. Fail in everything else. Join the Army. Jai Hind!
My brothers and sisters of this country, this Independence day instead asking the age old question "Are we really Independent," and sit for a moment and think. If not for those brave souls, guarding our borders day and night, would you be sitting comfortably in your room, infront of your computer, browsing through a million websites...?
If it isn't for those brave men, we wouldn't be sitting inside the comforts of our home, bragging about our patriotism and liberalism. We have taken them for granted for far too long. Its about time that we finally recognize their sacrifices towards our nation. They deserve to be treated better.
I rest my case.
The Ghost Writer
Parts in conversation with Nirmith and Adrian. Many thanks to them.