Yet again India lost her brave hearts at Pulwama, in a never ending saga of terrorist attacks. While our army and political leadership would definitely take stern action against systemic perpetrators, we as a nation need to review our internal weaknesses critically. Let us not forget that a body having poor immunity and flaws is certainly affected by diseases.
When the great hero Field Marshal Sam Mankekshaw died on 27 June 2008, the government of India was represented by a sole junior minister at his funeral. “We, as a nation, simply don’t respect or remember our heroes. Cricketing ones are honoured even after 25 years of winning a world cup, soldiering ones are forgotten promptly after the war is over. The nation turns to the armed forces only in times of emergency,” said a Brigadier in the Indian Army.
When soldiers leave home, no one can say when would they come back, or whether they ever would? They may avoid seeing loved ones in their eyes as they leave their homes, out of fear of never seeing them again.
Losing life in a battle field is painful, yet acceptable as an act of heroism in action. Losing life traveling in a bus or sleeping in bunkers, could be doubly painful. But who cares, really? They are out doing their job, after all. This sentence may make you angry, and rightfully so. Yet, a few days later we would all forget. Families of the dead would continue to suffer their utmost loss, forever.
Can we as a nation do better? Can we go beyond offering condolences? Could we strive to be a nation that deserves sacrifice of their soldiers?
To begin with, can each one of us make sure that we contribute some part of our income, that no soldier’s family ever feels deprived for money, at least? But then could we simply buy our peace by trading their deaths with money? Ideally shouldn’t we all get to be a soldier for some time during our lifetime?
And what about the nationhood? Can we not stand together as one and outcast the farce claimants of free speech and freedom who dare to decry the ‘very purpose of nationhood’, in our University campuses? Why should a soldier die, if the nation is not viewed as ‘one’ really? Can a section of cunning and selfish media, and political people or anyone not be held legally accountable when they purport such nation-breaking propaganda in the name of free speech? Why should we continue to blame outsiders, when we are inflicted with enemies from within?
And how about our obsession with our own selves. Could we stop pretending to be concerned for the society, while we are simply interested in sucking it up?
Could we shed petty selfishness for short-term gains, to make an extra buck unfairly by manipulating others? Past generations may have failed badly, but could our youth rise to the occasion, and take pride in growing through excellence and merit, rather than short-cuts and easy money?
Getting ahead in India was never meant to be at the cost of society or nature, or else our civilisation would have never survived for thousands of years in coexistence. Do we really deserve to be a nation if we are not concerned of our collective well-being at all levels? The question is: Could we act with the spirit of a soldier when we go to our work place, tomorrow?