The Indian Army, like no other
Either I will come back after hoisting the Tricolor, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure. – Capt. Vikram Batra, PVC (posthumous)
I once was in deep conversation with a Major from the Indian Army, many summers ago. We spoke of his experiences in Kashmir valley where he was stationed at that time. What struck me the most about this young man’s narration of his experiences was the sincerity and love in serving the Kashmiris despite his stories being riddled with tales of treachery and suspicion and being perceived to be ‘occupiers’ of ‘another’s’ land. For the men and women in olive, there is no religion or race and there is no ‘suspicion’ when it comes to execution of services for the country and for her people. To serve is their motto, to protect is their religion. For a man who doth not think his uniform to be his guiding light in all the decisions he takes and for a man who doth not think anything besides selfless service to his nation, would be a traitor in his own eyes.
The Army has a huge presence in Kashmir and its mission right now is to rescue every single Kashmiri. The pictures that have been coming from the disaster areas amply prove how the Indian Army has swung into action whilst the Omar Abdullah Government remains placid in inaction. And yet, how many times do we take a minute to contemplate how well protected we truly are, courtesy the Indian Army? Even if the State does not come to the rescue, one can almost certainly count on the Army to. And yet at the same time it has been disturbing to see Hate raise her ugly head and disrupt rescue activities by the Indian Army in the valley. It has been reported that the hate mongers and the fanatics have stopped four Indian Army helicopters from landing at rescue sites. Our men have also been greeted with stones in a few villages and yet they strive on. The defense forces tirelessly build bridges; carry medicines and basic necessities even as they continue to rescue stranded Kashmiris from rooftops and flooded houses. The Indian army have rescued close to a hundred thousand people. And yet, the saviors are hated by the Hurriyat for fear that the Kashmiris would ‘soften’ their stance against the Indian Army. And why should they not soften their stance? After all when it comes to a life and death situation is the average Kashmiri not smart enough to know who they can trust? If they have not opened their eyes now, forever they will wallow in the dark.
The desperation across the valley by the radicals and the terrorists is obvious. WhenHafiz Saeed type of lunatics link the recent natural disaster to acts of terrorism by India, it cannot get more clearer as to the levels of disillusionment that adorns the minds and hearts of Pakistanis, terrorists, radicals and brain washed Kashmiris. There needs to be an operation intellectual terrorism that needs to take place on the minds and brains of the misinformed and the susceptible. Will they change? No. But one hopes that the ‘brain washed’ Kashmiris do accept the gargantuan selfless acts of rescue by the Indian Army with grace and gratitude. The Indian Army deserves not only our deepest respect and love, they deserve the highest form of appreciation for what they have and continue to do in the valley. What is also interesting is the manner in which the Indian Army has utilized social media to broadcast their rescue efforts. They have been providing continual updates on Facebook and Twitter with details of people rescued. More importantly, they are tweeting back and replying to queries on missing people on Facebook almost immediately. The timeliness is most appreciated and definitely the need of the hour.
There is no bigger and brighter word for our men and women of the armed forces than honour. And by honour they stand and for honour they die. And when men and women of the Armed Forces are not accorded the respect that they rightfully deserve we dishonour our country and ourselves. There are countless stories of the gallant who laid down their lives so that we may continue to lead normal lives. When young Major Mukund Vardarajan (Rajput Regiment) laid down his life in the now flood ravaged valley of Jammu & Kashmir whilst killing three terrorists of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Shupiyan district, he merely did what he was meant to do, to protect us and to protect this country. But, how often do we merely say a silent prayer for these brave men and their families? If you have not done it as yet, it’s about time you do. It is our job to remain grateful for the job that these brave souls do. Jai Hind!