A few weeks back when Col Santosh Mahadik, SM, made the Supreme Sacrifice in J&K, the Northern Army Commander said – “The ethos of the Indian Army, the culture of the Indian Army – these are things that are sometimes not very well understood. We have a concept of unlimited liability. A man goes into battle, a man faces terrorists and he faces them sometimes with certainty that he could lose his life.
This Unlimited Liability is what set me thinking. For someone who is ready to give his/ her life, what are we, as a Nation giving him back? If he has Unlimited Liability don’t we have any Liability to those who gave their Life for us, or those who are left behind because of it?
The stark reality of facts, is that I see old veterans in their sunset years, sitting at Jantar Mantar everyday asking their rightful dues. I don’t see those in power listening to them. These are living souls who are being treated such, then what about those souls who died fighting for us.
On Diwali day, I contacted my colleague’s wife. My colleague is up with the God’s having lost his life, fighting terrorists this year. Her WhatsApp status hit me right in the face – “Sach kaha thaa kisee ne, Tanhayi mein jeena seekhlo; Mohabbat jitnee bhi sachhi ho, Saath chod hi jaati hai”. To cheer her up, I messaged my Diwali Greetings to her. Her reply rattled me again – “Diwali, Dusshera, Holi saare festival apni life se nikal diya…Ab inki meri life mein koi zarurat nahi, Ab toh bus zindagi…kisee tarah chal rahi hai.” This is the Truth of those who had Unlimited Liability for our Nation. Can anyone get her “Suhaag” back? I am ready to pay. Life is not measured in money. Yet, those who are ready to die for us are called by some as “Paid to Die” or “Have lost relevance due to no wars in last 40 years”. This attitude of condescending is what hurts. Soldiers do not join only for the pay or money. They are a motivated lot. Mercenaries come for Money. It doesn’t take much intelligence to understand the difference.
How Do Other Nations Value their Soldiers? I have come across many examples which show how much the US or UK governments value this Unlimited Liability. They still salute their Heroes who gave their lives decades ago. They still honour them, they still value them, and they still celebrate them. They give them a place among the highest. This picture shows Prince Charles visiting their fallen Heroes in an Indian Cemetery in Pune. That sets me wondering, may be it is that attitude of theirs, that made them stand apart, and rule the world once, and are still among many nations that count in the international arena.
Don’t we as a Nation aspire to be the greatest in the world? Don’t we as a Nation want to have a Defence Force that is the pride of the Nation? Don’t we want the youth prefer to join the profession of Arms? If Yes, then the time to rewrite history is NOW! Show the Forces your support.
How Can You show them Your Support? Where ever You are, in whatever position You are, voice Your opinion in support of these men and women. If You come across a Veteran or a Serving Soldier give him more than his due. Go and be present when somebody nearby is being given their “Antim Salute”. Support the cause of the Veterans, by sharing their stories of valour, or stories of deprivation, in social media. Support the cause for creating a Veterans Day. Light a Candle for those who lose their life each day somewhere. Voice Yourself for their rights which gets denied to them. Show them that You are proud of them, show them that, we as a Nation, are worth the lives they are ready to sacrifice. Cheer for them as you would cheer in the cricket stadium. Keep these people in Your prayers every day. Even God can’t be deaf to a Billion Prayers.
Let us be that One Drop which will one day make the Mighty Ocean. Do Your bit- Will You?