Writing Obituaries For The Living.
The situation between India and Pakistan is tense. War has been looming for a week and today we stand in a situation where we are as close to war as we have been in the last 20 years. 2 nuclear nations on the brink of war and you know what infuriates me the most? People with almost no stakes in the war writing obituaries for living men.
If you wish to know more about the conflict between India and Pakistan, you can go through various articles, the links to which I will provide later. I am writing this article today not to share facts with you but to share something that has been troubling me since yesterday. Troops have been mobilized in large numbers on both sides and there really are people around me who are cheering on for war. “war is necessary. There is nothing else we can do.” You can hear them say but the same people then turn around and ask others to stand with the soldiers. No soldier goes into a war happily. They have to leave behind a family and have to live with the real risk of dying.
There are people from Army background around me and they are anything but happy about the possibility of war. You know what the irritating thing is though? People who have nothing to lose are telling them to be brave. They are saying that life and death is in no one’s hand and that there is nothing we can do. WELL OF COURSE THERE IS SOMETHING WE CAN DO! We could not say tributes and obituaries for someone as if they are already dead. Why is there an expectation among people that if someone is in the army then they will die in a battlefield? The same people then turn around and say that we should respect our soldiers. OBVIOUSLY WE SHOULD RESPECT THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR US BUT SHOULDN’T WE ALSO DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO KEEP THEM ALIVE?!
People are okay with soldiers dying. They even expect them to. They will glorify their death saying that a battleground demands blood and sacrifice but the truth is that it doesn’t. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured behind enemy lines in the aerial skirmishes that took place today. The people we are talking about are again talking about him as if he is dead.
“He is very brave. He is a role model for so many of us. I wish I could do something to help him.” They say. BUT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING. “I pray for his well-being” Tweet politicians but dear Mr. Politician, aren’t you a leader of the masses? How will praying solve anything? Don’t you have ANY power to pressure the government into doing everything they can to bring him back? Or is it that you don’t want them to do anything? Is it that you are okay with him dying as long as you get to display your useless sympathies for him? Tell me Mr. Politician, are you idiotically useless or just implicitly indifferent?
The truth is you don’t really mind a soldier dying. You will mourn them, you will say you will remember them and then you will forget them. The truth is that if these people had an actual conversation with a soldier with all the insincerities aside, it would go something like this,
Mr. Idiot McIdiotson: I am proud of what you are doing Mr. Soldier. You are very brave, and I have great respect for you.
SOLDIER: Thank you Mr. Idiot but what if I die?
McIdiotson: Well, we will mourn you….for a while. But we will REMEMBER you…. for around 5-6 years or less but we will PRAY for you….on some days of the year and that is better than nothing I guess.
The people who cheer for war are okay with people dying on their behalf. They will try to justify it by hiding behind the valor of the martyrs and show you a pseudo-respect for them. To them I say, at least be honest about what you really want, about what you are willing to pay for it and about what you are willing to make other innocent people pay for it. You want to fake helplessness when there is so much you could do and you enjoy talking about real, living human beings as if they are dead or are going to be.
Every Indian is proud of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman today but are we doing enough to make him proud of us?