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On heroes, martyrs, and beheadings…

Shared on my friend’s Facebook wall – a point of view from an army man (friend’s friend) who has served at the LOC (don’t know when or for how long). Provides a fresh perspective on what exactly the ‘beheading’ might have been and also on the issue of heroes vs. martyrs.

– Quote –

“I have always been proud of our Army and our soldiers – not only are they professionals but also patriots. I probably represent the miniscule national fraternity that does not see soldiers who have died on the line of duty as ‘martyrs’. To my understanding martyrs are those who die fighting odds in a cause other than their own chosen vocation. As professional soldiers, we choose to wield arms for national service voluntarily, aware of the risks and perks. We were trained to defend our lives and kill for a higher cause – that of defending our nation. While every soldier who loses his life or limb in the course of his professional calling is a hero, he is not a martyr. Don’t eugolise him as such – instead introspect whether he died for the right cause, or was he trained well enough, led well enough or prepared well enough? Look after his family that they are proud of their hero and don’t miss out on their existential necessities of everyday life and prosperity.

This nation of ours beats its puny chest for its ‘martyrs’ and does little more. For instance, the security folk who died when Parliament was attacked are eugolised annually as martyrs. This is insulting not only to their memories but hundreds others who die in the course of their duty. They died doing what they were trained, equipped, led, paid & expected to do – defend Parliamentry premises against unauthorised entry at all costs. If they failed, which they clearly did despite being superior numerically and by way of organisation, they died trying to make amends. They were no martyrs; probably no heroes too. Carelessness or complacency on the job, or both, may have actually cost them their lives.

This latest incident on the LoC with Pakistan has news channels abuzz with veterans joining retired bureaucrats in chestbeating over alleged mutilation of Indian soldiers, and chest-thumping over the need to respond by upping the ante. What a bucketload of poppy-cock (crap actually)! A professional analysis of the incident(s) will probably reveal that we Indians may have drawn first blood & fired the first shots in response to Pak provocations (they know how to stir the pot) in crossing the LoC in Uri to sort out a particular tactical irritant. These local tactical actions involve employing a small team of specially trained soldiers who infiltrate across the LoC to reach their intended target by stealth. Sentries are overcome using silent methods such as knife kills before rushing the objective for its worth.

I can only guess that we would have knocked off a Pakistani Observation Post by small trans-LoC commando action. Churunda, developed as a model village after the Uri quake, was right in the show-window on the LoC and certainly had no utility as an ingress point for infiltrating terrorists.

The Pakistanis have responded in the manner expected having allegedly lost a couple of soldiers. Given the snow conditions in the Valley, as well as the heightened alert on account of an anticipated enemy response, the Pakis reciprocated in kind in the Poonch-Rajauri sector. In doing so they to would have infiltrated a small Border Action Team across the LoC with a tactical mandate similar to that achieved earlier by the Indians. Sentry silencing on such missions using knives or other ‘traditional’ non-ballistic means is now being bandied about as mutilation. If the Pakistanis have deliberately beheaded an Indian soldier and carried off the head as a trophy, which they do, it is a brutal, barbaric anti-escalatory retort; Something like John Rambo’s menacing drawl in First Blood, “Let it go!”

Why are we whining about a lack of candle-light marches our public sympathy for fallen soldiers who have died in the line of duty? That they may have suffered barbaric mutilation is not a cause for public sympathy – it calls for due investigation and an appropriate response. Whether we behead a multitude of the enemy in counter-response or obliterate the enemy battalion’s posts through a high-explosive response, or seek civil means of settling the score and having the last say, is a matter for the wise and those in authority to decide.

Heroes not martyrs !
Unquote

 

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