Speak out and say Yes to Unity: Tarun Vijay

2 10 2008

Source TOI

Do we get bad leaders inspite of having good people ? If our people are great, why do we have leaders who fail? Where are the people if the leaders are not doing what we think they should be doing?

A people so intensely under attack by the terrorists can’t claim to be brave by sitting silently and petitioning state clerks. Those who fear get what they fear.

While China, having superbly completed the Olympics, sent a man for a space walk and Sarah Palin “delighted” our PM in the US with a handshake, India seems to be descending dangerously into communal polarisation, reinforced and powered by a secular lobby. In the process, the morale of the police and other security forces is being affected for they are facing the brunt from terrorists as well as the secularists in the government and the media who are running them down, doubting their intentions and integrity.

Suddenly yardsticks for our judgment have changed. Opinions, morphed as judgments, are passed not on merit or weighing its consequences for the society, but by the yardstick of the colour events wear. The Nanavati Commission’s report is to be discarded even before its pages are browsed because the Narendra Modi government instituted it and it shows Hindus as victims. The Bannerjee report is to be trusted because the secular Lalu Yadav instituted it and shows Hindus as aggressors. Strange logic.

Who speaks for the Indian?

Inspector M.C.Sharma’s funeral is not to be attended because he shot at Muslims. When the men in khaki arrested the Kanchi Shankaracharya, not a single secular channel or newspaper cast any doubt on the police reports and statements. But when the men in khaki arrested a few from Jamia Milia, doubts were raised immediately and investigative journalism flowered.

Anything written about patriotism, even a good word about Inspector Sharma, is sought to be embarrassed under a general head – Hindu media. I read this term being used first time in the aftermath of the Jamia controversy. Anything that Muslims show as a sign of solidarity with the rest of the India and condemnation of terrorism is either blacked out or shown apologetically.

Last week, 21st September to be exact, a few hundred young professional Muslim youth from Okhla and Jamia Nagar organized a silent procession at India Gate in New Delhi. They were condemning terrorism, asking for the harshest punishment for terrorists who use Islam for their crimes, and they wanted to be recognized as patriots. I didn’t see the coverage it deserved. Why?

Who is speaking for the Indians who were killed in the Delhi blasts? Why did they have to be turned lifeless in a sudden stroke?

Suddenly a blast occurs and their life is changed. You are going to see a movie, and next moment found dead. Someone bringing his daughter home from school – suddenly both are dead in a blast. Gone to market for shopping – minutes later a phone call at home says ‘Please come to claim the dead body’. Terrorism has changed our lives, our behaviour, our language and relations. Yet we feel hesitant to speak out.

What happens to those who were dependent on the terror-struck victim nobody knows. They are not news. Can’t we speak about Simran – whose father and grandfather were killed in the previous blast – and about Santosh, the sweet little kid who got killed in Mehrauli blast on Saturday?

“Son, what’s your religion?” – should that be our first query and decide what is said next?

Hard law is bad, because it was “used” against a particular community. Police is bad because it’s arresting and targeting a particular community.

Terror is secular, khaki is suspect

While the nation and her security forces – that includes the police too, stand firm to combat terrorism, the state power and the seculars are providing focused support to terrorists and enhancing their morale through statements and casting doubt on the motives of the anti-terror action. India’s secular cabinet ministers demanded lifting of a ban on a terrorist organization, proposed Indian citizenship to millions of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators, refused to say a word of encouragement to the security forces fighting terrorists but publicly assured help to the accused whom police, a part of the government, arrested for blasting Delhi and killing citizens.

All these secular statements had just one consideration – religion of the groups they want to support or oppose. The seculars have become the worst kind of communal hate spreaders, with their extreme one-sided postures and acidic language. In a way these rabble-rousing seculars have become a security threat affecting the societal fabric and the morale of the policemen and soldiers.

They ordered a communal head count in the army, ignored and downgraded celebrations of Bharat Vijay Diwas, 16th December, and Kargil Vijay Diwas, stopped observing the Pokharan test anniversary in Delhi and failed to show due respect to Field Marshall Manekshaw. All this can’t just be exceptions; they show a trend, an attitude.

These are the same elements who represent the governance and by virtue of being cabinet ministers, which ironically includes having taken an oath that obliges them to be loyal to the Constitution, succeed in facilitating comforts for the killers and create an atmosphere in which sympathies for the terrorists are generated and police become suspect with doubtful integrity. Words like – “they have a soft heart”, “they are our children and hence it’s our duty to provide them help”, “nothing can be said till they are proven guilty”, etc – are bandied about to warn the police and reassure those whom police caught at risk to their lives.

It’s good and admirable to stick to a universal assumption that everyone is innocent till proven guilty. But during wartime words spoken publicly have to be weighed against their possible impact on the elements that shoulder the responsibility to safeguard the nation. If you start being celestially virtuous by sympathizing with the pains and difficulties of those who have waged a war on the state, it’s bound to paralyze the enthusiasm of patriotic soldiers and civil resistance.

They know their side

In the secular dispensation, to be objective, liberal and broadminded and have sympathies on humanitarian grounds are reserved only for terror groups. Is it a secret that these seculars leave no stone unturned to create an atmosphere where procedural mechanism to punish the guilty is influenced and driven to believe that the arrested criminal is not the culprit, but the victim of an incompetent state apparatus.

Remember how a vigorous campaign to release a lecturer of the same Jamia Milia Islamia was launched in spite of Delhi police submitting a truckload of evidence about his involvement in the attack on Parliament? And the famous case of Abdul Mahdani, declared as the “main accused” in the Coimbatore bomb blast case, which left 58 dead? Karunanidhi went to see him in jail, provided all the facilities, including a regular masseur, and finally when on purely “technical” points he was released, Kerala’s Left Front cabinet ministers came out and accorded him a public felicitation?

The charges against Mahdani were as follows:

“Accused No. 14 Mahdani is one of the key conspirators in the Coimbatore bomb blasts case.”

“Accused of collecting and transferring explosives to the town, ripped by a series of bomb blasts on February 14, 1998.”

“Charged under Sections 302 IPC (Murder); 307 IPC (Attempt to Murder); 153-A IPC (Creating hatred among communities); Section 5 of the Explosives Act and Section 25 of the Arms Act.”

Public prosecutor Balasundarm, arguing against Mahdani, had expressed “surprise” over the judgment to release him and said he did a good job in assimilating the voluminous evidence of documents 1785 documents marked as evidence, 1300 witnesses and over 15,000 pages of investigation records. If indeed the case had been presented as thoroughly as claimed, why did it fail?

If such incidents do not open the eyes of the people leading our public life, then what’s the course left for a law-abiding patriot?

In any other country facing such a serious serial terror assault, those who publicly empathize with the terrorists would have been tried along with the arrested accused of the blasts.

Speak out and say yes to unity.

It’s the emergent duty of the media and political powers to help stop the dangerous polarization taking place in our social circles and polity post-bomb blasts and public shows of secular sympathies for the accused killers.

While care should be taken that no educational institution gets a bad name because of the actions of a few, it’s also the duty of the faculty and the students to show solidarity with the terror-struck people. Muslim leaders have to come out openly re-enforcing a citizen’s solidarity against terror. If students fail in duty and character, the teachers will have to share the responsibility for their bad behaviour. It’s also wrong and false that a few wronged people have taken up guns. What wrongs and if it is indeed so, how many Kashmiri Hindus will have to take up guns?

Rather, the goodness of the religion needs to be publicized and there will be no dearth of other communities joining with such Muslims. So far it’s only the Hindus who are coming out openly defending the goodness of the Indian Muslims and their religion. Nobody generalizes the community as terrorists, unlike in Europe and America. This difference remains unrecognized though. Maulanas are silent, teachers do not speak out and the common men suffer in silence. Is that the way we are going to deal with this war? If people don’t forge solidarity and revolt and keep looking to politicians for all solutions, even god will think twice about helping them.

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Field Marshal Manekshaw, hero of 1971 war, is dead

27 06 2008

Former Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw seen in 2004

New Delhi – One of India’s greatest war heroes, field marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, died Friday, the Defence Ministry said. He was 94.

Manekshaw died from a progressive lung disease at the military hospital in the southern Indian town of Wellington, the ministry said in a statement.

‘He had developed acute bronchopneumonia with associated complications, and his condition had been serious for the past four days,’ the statement said.

Born on April 3, 1914, Manekshaw was commissioned into the Indian army in 1934 when the country was under British rule.

Manekshaw became chief of Indian Army in 1969 and crafted what is considered India’s greatest military victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Manekshaw, whose military career spanned four decades and five wars, was conferred the rank of field marshal in 1973, one of only two Indian generals to have risen to that position, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mourned the death of Manekshaw, popularly known as Sam Bahadur, which means brave in Hindi.

Singh described him as ‘one of India’s greatest soldiers and a truly inspiring leader of the country.’

‘Military historians will forever record the strategic brilliance and the inspirational leadership of Sam Bahadur,’ Singh said in his condolence message.


Friday June 27 2008 11:22 IST

IANS

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (file photo)

CHENNAI: Former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who scripted India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan, died at the military hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after developing acute bronchopneumonia. He was 94.

Almost all his family members were at his bedside when the end came just after midnight, the defence ministry said.

Manekshaw, who became a household name after the 1971 victory led to the creation of Bangladesh, had been hospitalised at Wellington for some time due to a progressive lung disease. His condition had become serious in the past few days and he was being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Born April 3, 1914, Mankeshaw was a part of the first batch of officers to be commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1934.

He was the Indian army chief from 1969 to 1973. He was made a field marshal just before retirement in 1973.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, and won the Military Cross for his role in Myanmar, then Burma, during the Second World War when he was wounded.





Field Marshal Manekshaw, hero of 1971 war, is dead

27 06 2008

Former Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw seen in 2004

New Delhi – One of India’s greatest war heroes, field marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, died Friday, the Defence Ministry said. He was 94.

Manekshaw died from a progressive lung disease at the military hospital in the southern Indian town of Wellington, the ministry said in a statement.

‘He had developed acute bronchopneumonia with associated complications, and his condition had been serious for the past four days,’ the statement said.

Born on April 3, 1914, Manekshaw was commissioned into the Indian army in 1934 when the country was under British rule.

Manekshaw became chief of Indian Army in 1969 and crafted what is considered India’s greatest military victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Manekshaw, whose military career spanned four decades and five wars, was conferred the rank of field marshal in 1973, one of only two Indian generals to have risen to that position, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mourned the death of Manekshaw, popularly known as Sam Bahadur, which means brave in Hindi.

Singh described him as ‘one of India’s greatest soldiers and a truly inspiring leader of the country.’

‘Military historians will forever record the strategic brilliance and the inspirational leadership of Sam Bahadur,’ Singh said in his condolence message.


Friday June 27 2008 11:22 IST

IANS

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (file photo)

CHENNAI: Former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who scripted India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan, died at the military hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after developing acute bronchopneumonia. He was 94.

Almost all his family members were at his bedside when the end came just after midnight, the defence ministry said.

Manekshaw, who became a household name after the 1971 victory led to the creation of Bangladesh, had been hospitalised at Wellington for some time due to a progressive lung disease. His condition had become serious in the past few days and he was being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Born April 3, 1914, Mankeshaw was a part of the first batch of officers to be commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1934.

He was the Indian army chief from 1969 to 1973. He was made a field marshal just before retirement in 1973.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, and won the Military Cross for his role in Myanmar, then Burma, during the Second World War when he was wounded.





Stand up for the Indian soldier

7 06 2008

Harsh V Pant
June 06, 2008
Courtesy: Rediff.com

It is with a sense of disbelief that one hears the Indian minister of state for defence, sitting in his cozy air-conditioned seminar room, pontificating that ‘it is unbecoming’ of former soldiers to protest against the treatment meted out to them by the government. So here’s a non-soldier making a public protest. One hopes that it is not below the dignity of the minister to read this.
The minister would not have dared to make such a comment had the protestors been a part of his or his party’s vote bank. The fact that the Indian armed services do not go public with their grievances does not mean that they do not have any concerns and the fact that they have been forced to come to the streets should make the minister and his government acknowledge how desperate the situation might be.
The Indian government is fooling itself if it thinks that by dragging its feet on the issue of the armed forces dissatisfaction with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, it can make the issue go away.
A country that refuses to respect its armed forces will eventually end up getting forces that will not respect the nations’ aspirations. A country makes a sacred contract with its soldiers that while he/she will lay down his/her life when called upon to do so, the nation will take good care of his/her and his/her family’s needs to the extent its resources would permit.
This contract underpins the very survival of a nation as when its territorial integrity and political independence are under threat, the nation looks upon the only instrument that can protect it — its armed forces.
While all governments have to look for a considered bargain between their commitments and power and between power and resources, a responsible government will always be aware of the serious implications of not spending adequate resources on defence.
The debate as it has been made out to be in some quarters between defence and development is a spurious one. Unless adequate provisions are made for defence, no state will be able to pursue its developmental agenda. This is much more important for a country like India that faces a unique security environment with two of its ‘adversaries’ straddling it on two sides of its borders and problems on all sides of its periphery.
A government can keep spouting pious rhetoric about global peace and non-violence but it realises fully that force is the ultima ratio in international relations. Politics among nations is conducted in the brooding shadow of violence. Either a state remains able and willing to use force to preserve and enhance its interests or it is forced to live at the mercy of its militarily powerful counterpart.
Even Nehru, after neglecting defence for all the years after independence had to eventually concede in 1962 that India’s military weakness ‘has been a temptation, and a little military strength may be a deterrent.’
The Indian public and press remain apathetic on defence issues. We make Kargil into a television spectacle, an opportunity for our journalists to try to show their temporary bravery by going to the frontlines for a few hours and getting the excitement of covering a war from the inside. And then when it is all over, our soldiers have been interred into their graves, we move on to new and more exciting spectacles — to our song and dance reality shows and saas-bahu sagas, forgetting that soldiers are still on guard.
This is a nation that will cry with Lata Mangeshkar [Images] when she sings Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon but will not make any effort to understand the real problems and concerns of its soldiers. It is a sign of the highly skewed priorities of the Indian media that the rising turmoil and dissatisfaction within the ranks of nations’ armed forces is being given only perfunctory coverage.
It is an issue of nation’s very survival yet the media seems busy with its devotion of superficialities. Every rave and rant of Bollywood actors is religiously covered, detailed dissection of seemingly never-ending cricket matches are conducted, exorbitant pay rises in the corporate sector make it to the headlines but the one issue that can make or break the future of this country is consigned to the margins.
We continue to pray at the altar of our false heroes while our real heroes continue to face neglect and scorn.
The armed forces feel they have never got their due from various pay commissions over the years but the government in its wisdom decided to keep the armed forces away from any representation in the latest Pay Commission. The dominance of bureaucrats meant that while the interests of the bureaucrats were well-recognised, the armed services once again ended up getting a raw deal.
The discontent is so serious that some of the best and brightest in our services have refused to go for the Higher Command Courses and more and more are seeking an early retirement. Indian armed forces are desperately trying to fill vacancies as other professions are luring the young of the country.
Against the sanctioned strength of 300 per batch, the National Defence Academy finds that it can only attract 192 cadres this year. The same story repeats itself in the Indian Military Academy. A country that purports to be a rising power is facing a shortage of more than 11,000 officers.
The reason is pretty obvious: One can’t think of any major power in the world that treats its soldiers the way India does. It is indeed a sorry sight when India’s bravest have to literally cry out for help from a callous politico-bureaucratic elite.
Our politicians remain more than willing to waste tax payers money by routinely boycotting Parliament and have never shied away from increasing their own pay and allowances, claiming that they remain underpaid. Yet those who defend the sanctity of Parliament are given a short shrift.
The abysmal knowledge of defence issues that pervades the Indian political class probably gives them an illusion that the country is being protected by divine blessings.
Political apathy and bureaucratic design are rapidly eroding the self-esteem of our forces. A functioning liberal democracy needs a loyal soldier that can take care of the state’s security, allowing the state to look after its citizenry. In India, the State is gradually withering away, all that’s left is the loyal soldier. How long will this soldier, under siege from all sides, remain steadfast to its commitments, is a question all Indians should seriously ponder on.
Dr Harsh V Pant teaches at King’s College London [Images].





2008 Shivaji-FACT Award of Courage

2 03 2008

On 26th June 1987, Subedar Major Bana Singh led his platoon on the Siachen glacier, at a height of nearly 5000 metres, against a Pakistani post which was threatening Indian security. The post was virtually an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls, high, on either side. Lobbing hand-grenades, charging with a bayonet and moving from trench to trench, he cleared the post of all intruders. For this act of valor Bana Singh Captain Bana Singh received from the hands of H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the 2008 Shivaji-FACT Award of Courage

For more info on the proud Siachen man see the liks here

Rediff interview by Claude Arpi

Indian army website PVC

Rediff column on PVC Bana singh