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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thoughts on India's 65th year of Independence


Our mind throws up thoughts all the time.....

And the mind is extremely powerful.....think of persecution, and persecuted you shall be.

Think of success and the ways to approach that goal, successful in that venture you shall be.

Think you are less....less you shall become.

Yesterday, I heard our PM speak.....he read out in a monotone. He did not believe in what he was reading out...he made me  feel a sort of disgusted panic.....India is doomed, I thought! Our leadership is in such hands, that we cannot hope to achieve what we splash about so merrily ..."India shining"..."Mera Bharat mahan".....I left the room.

Each year, the same stolid way of unfurling our National flag, the same droning speeches.....one could show the previous year's recorded programme instead of covering the live one, and we shall be none the wiser!

At night, Ajit yelled for me! The gallantry award show was on....very late show, but it was on!

Prime slots are given to saas-bahu shows and naturally, real life heroes get the least popular time! 

I heard them speak....no self congratulatory smiles, not the hint of a boastful attitude! 
Haircuts so merciless that there was just a suggestion of hair on the heads! 

Clean cut faces......honest eyes.....honest talk. 

When they spoke quietly, their passion shone forth!

There was this handsome face (people vote Brad Pitt as the most handsome man alive, I found no man more masculine than this Army officer....) with one damaged eye, speaking matter of factly! A young man, who in the course of duty, gave an eye for his nation. 

Doesn't impress you, does it? So many of us lose limbs while boarding trains, in accidents! I wonder what a missing eye feels like, when one knows one lost it in a glorious cause! 

Everyday when he looks in the mirror, he knows he rose to the challenge and he's an exceptional man! His missing eye is his permanent medal and proof.....I see it thus. 
He lost his eye while fighting terror in Mumbai. 

The chopper pilot, who was actually grinning widely when he spoke of being ambushed and how the hail of bullets sounded when it struck his helicopter. Grinning!!!!

Col Shekhawat, with a Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Sena Medal and another honour pinned to his chest....speaking of "naam, namak, nishaan", the reason which inspires him to fight on and on!

An old yet vigorous father of a martyred 22 year old Army officer was also there...Retd Col Thapar, father of Capt Vijayant Thapar. I write to this gentleman each year, on Vijay Diwas. And he lived up to my mental image. The weak cannot sire greatness....so such a brave lad would come from unshakeable, equally worthy stock! No tears or a glum face on that father! He did his son proud, he did us proud! 

Or the youngster who hunted down two terrorists in Kashmir and was shot in the stomach...and he thought he should help himself as he was alone...so he got up and walked! Gut-shot! Alone! And he walked in the bitterly cold dark....towards help! 

I heard all these men speak, and a peace rose within me!

India still has hope!

We are not doomed!

So long as we have even a small percent of men who so determinedly do what should be done, as part of their duty...we have hope.

They set their own records and are inspired from within...they are not affected by the 'winds of today' and the outside!

Their work has such honest passion that it cannot be undermined! 

We SHALL prevail!

As I was rabidly posting on FB two days back, my violent thoughts about the rally and what our treatment of such people should be, another Army guy came online..."Ma'am, dare I say, for you to cool down a bit?' and we then chatted. He told me "We are too big...such incidents do not matter" He was right. I know now what he meant and how HE could maintain such equanimity! The Armed Forces IS big...in numbers, in heart, in their determination! There are still some die-hards there, still the romantics. Still some who think in terms of honour! Still those who keep a bit of Indian 'mitti' on them....I did this when I went abroad for the first time! I kept a pinch of my garden soil in my suitcase! Its a completely over-the-top, ridiculous gesture...and I did it! Kargil war was going on then and my leaving for a 10 day holiday meant to me, like I was abandoning my country in its hour of need. 

It pleases me to know that there are people who think more emotionally than me...and are able to do something about it!

It pleases me to hear the big Army man softly say "We were asked to do something and we did it!" when he described briefly how he and his men regained a key position on top of a hill, in biting cold, with no food or water for 16 days! Lying down in the open, under miserable cover, pinned down by an enemy who was uphill and able to keep an eye on them all the time! 

Such bravery and determination summed up so straightforwardly!

THIS is what they should air on prime time...THIS is whom we must listen to, on Independence Day...This is how we should celebrate.

Independence Day is the day of the soldier, the defender...not the politician!

The soldier brought it about...and he should take centre-stage!

It is such pathetic irony that the bravest of the brave salute those who have never heard the sound of an enemy bullet, never spent one night in India's defence on any border, never gone without food or drink on an icy slope, wrestling with a slippery, twisted enemy.........

Its a shame!


Nishi

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