Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Homage to 1965 War Martyrs! India can still love neighbour Pakistan

Any army or group of patriot Indians cannot solve the riddle created by confused intellectuals or motivated foreign media.   

I have heard something about Chanakya niti(principles): “It’s folly to advise a foolish disciple…in such case even a scholar has to suffer the pain”. 
It was a sunny afternoon in Delhi’s heat. Even though May-June type merciless-mercury reading has dipped down in north India, mid-September is still not pleasant to be in the sun in Lutyen’s city. But I insisted that I will take my daughter – Tanvi Dev – to the “commemorative carnival” to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 India-Pakistan war – at Rajpath, near India Gate.
I was pleasantly surprised at the huge turnout. People of all age and religions – had thronged in. The enthusiasm shown by all and sundry to take selfies (an alleged only Narendra Modi variety of syndrome) and of course appreciate the 'sacrifices' of valiant soldiers left one touched. We Indians do love our country!
Tri-colour depicting capture of Barkee
Amid the hoopla of patriotism and appreciation of the leadership of then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, in the crowd there was whispering about One Rank One Pension controversy with refrain of 'jealous Indians' being: “ab toh fauz mein chandi hae (There are good times for the Indian military these days)”.
A few also whispered – little vocally – “Pakistan toh shayed afsos kar raha hoga (Pakistan must be regretting about this war)”.
As a dotting papa I tried to brief my daughter and occasionally her dominating mother about the 1965 war – how much little I knew and could remember off hand. But for reasons probably known to my ‘Narendra Modi-dedicated’ spirit -- I was repeatedly telling them: that the 1965 India’s victory in 1965 was hardly given its due place.

Tanvi quizzed, “why?” 
The Statesman reportage well depicted in Shauranjali Exhibition
I paused; and did not reply her in as much details. But within me, my guess always has been it has been Congress party’s and the dedication to first-family spirit that prevented India to celebrate 1965 valour. After all, no dynasty-man/woman or bahu was Prime Minister then. It was the leadership of Lal Bahadur Shastri and his slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ that had a magical spell over Indians.
Certainly, dynasty and even a large section of intellectuals – also lovingly calling themselves – seculars – did not quite approve of this. Imagine, the author of ‘suit-boot-ke-sarkar’ jibe had given a slogan to infuse confidence among peasants and soldiers!
Just a few days back, country’s self-styled champion of secularism (read RSS bashing), ‘Indian Express’ passed a verdict: “India has never celebrated any of its wars on such a grand scale, not even the 1971 war that ended in the surrender of 80,000 Pakistani troops”.
The suggestion was implicit, does Modi government have no other purpose?

Political players in Pakistan reacted to India’s plans over the exhibition and predictably so. “Muscular articulations such as these will do very little in the way of resuming dialogue, which the BJP leader has stated his government’s interest in,” Pakistan People’s Party vice-president Sherry Rehman said in a statement.

BBC as most of the time gave a cover up for its anti-India bias and ran a story with a questionable headline, “Are India's plans to celebrate 1965 war 'victory' in 'bad taste'? 
Graveyard of Paki tanks
I found their headline in ‘bad taste’!!
 Creditably, however, BBC tried to reach out to Pakistan officials for a reaction to Indian exhibition, but had none.
"It's 50 years since we won the war, if you won't celebrate it now then when will you do?" asked the defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar, according to the BBC story itself.
But the 1965 war had its merits along with demerits and thus a few lessons too. It had a few milestones and achievements and that probably changed the course of India’s defence history and preparedness to a large extent. “From the military point of view, the war helped repair the trust deficit with the civil political leadership,” wrote a senior colleague Surya Gangadharan for ‘The Parliamentarian’ magazine.
The reference was obviously to 1962 debacle under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru against China.
“Strange but true: The war India and China fought 53 years ago in the high Himalayas and which we lost, is known to the younger generation of Indians (courtesy the media). But a war that India fought with Pakistan 50 years ago remains largely forgotten,” wrote Gangadharan.
Witness to history: At Exhibition venue
There remains some ambiguity about the outcome of the 1965  war.
 American author Stanley Wolpert says: "The war ended in what appeared to be a draw when the embargo placed by Washington on US ammunition and replacements for both armies forced cessation of conflict before either side won a clear victory”.
American diplomat Dennis Kux wrote, “Delhi achieved its basic goal of thwarting Pakistan's attempt to seize Kashmir by force. Pakistan gained nothing from a conflict which it had instigated."
I told my daughter, still in Class IV, that she ought to know certain facets of country’s history and 1965 war is one of them. I told her about Param Vir Chakras as we clicked over 100 snaps at the exhibition. I also recalled in gratitude the valour of Havildar Abdul Hamid, who had destroyed five enemy Patton tanks. 

In some corners at the exhibition venue, we saw old couples. One senior gentleman from Rajasthan said, “I had lost friends and relatives in this war”. His eyes had turned up moist.
The country and the world have changed a lot since then. The old middle class values have been replaced - Lie, deception, corruption – everything is acceptable today, if it can fetch benefits and money. Role models keep changing.
How many times these days, we hear of Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was India’s Prime Minister only for 19 months (9 June 1964 to 11 January 1966)?
Huge crowd had gathered for the exhibition. Or was it a time pass? Was it for snaps on Facebook? Post 1991 India has virtually legitimized the greed and corruption. MBA degrees are like medals on the chests – Abdul Hamids died for.

Post Script

Two pointers: ## Indian military forces still suffer from lack of manpower and who did not know – our population keeps increasing.

n  An innocuous message, but important, it’s no jingoism --- let us pay homage to martyred soldiers of 1965 war. That however, does not mean, India cannot stay in peace with neighbour Pakistan.  

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