Why Martyrs are not Honored in India? – ​Capt S B Tyagi

image001Words about military deaths come free and easy to many people, especially to politicians seeking votes, but soldiers’ families often have questions

for which answers are rarely as easy!

Major Mukund Varadarajan and Sepoy Vikram Singh, brave hearts of the Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles deployed at Shopian, South Kashmir achieved martyrdom battling Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in a fierce encounter. But for a few sound bites and grainy pictures in media and some visuals of wreath lying, their sacrifice was largely ignored and soon forgotten. My Salute to Maj Mukund Vardarajan for the valour and supreme sacrifice made for the country and may his soul rest in peace! May the Almighty give his family all the strength and courage in their life ahead!

During the cremations of these valiant souls, no wrath was placed on behalf of the President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister and there was no representative the state chief minister, not even representative of the District Magistrate! So what there were elections on, model code of conduct places no restrictions on such activities? But there have been streams of coffins unloaded regularly at Delhi Airport bringing bodies of warriors which have never been shown minimum respect and courtesies by the Nation’s leadership.

Col R V Veranda Rajalu (Retd) response to this tragic incident sums-up the anger of the fraternity, “I am feeling ashamed of the fact that the so called Supreme Commander – The President of India and the other political leaders who want all the benefits including name and fame have not even bothered to come and respect the bodies when they were flown from Delhi. I don’t understand what stopped  Anthony, the so called saint to come to Chennai and convey the Government’s condolences to the Family. The so called political class is enjoying all the benefits saying that their family has given their life for the country (you know who!). Shame! We the veterans should raise to the occasion and convey our protest to this misdeeds till such time the value of the soldiers are not recognised”.

I am reminded of recent sad incident involving a Deputy Commandant. In the morning news on various TV channels very disturbing news was shown in which one para-military officer (Deputy Commandant) was shown begging for medical attention which was not given to him for two hours! Ultimately officer succumbed to his injuries only to add one number to the official record of casualties suffered by para-military forces while combating the menace of Maoists! His heart rendering cries for help still disturb me as he was shown crying for help telling that his two small children will become orphan he is not given first-aid. Since there is no follow-up news we do not know the actions by the organization, by the society and by the Nation. We provable treat security and armed forces personnel as merely chaukidars (watchmen)! One politician has brazenly stated that armed forces personnel join the forces to die only and found nothing great about it!

Soon after the tragic martyrdom of Major Mukund Varadarajan and Sepoy Vikram Singh, Col Narindra Bhatia, Veteran has started a petition at change.org which can be signed – by clicking here.  There were some sombre responses and some very caustic criticism – all compelled me to analyse the reasons why we do not honour our martyrs?

Shri Vijayvir Mangla commented while signing the petition – “In present day scenario politicians have become so important that they are only considered martyr. Rajiv Gandhi died while canvassing for his political end, he is Shahid? Real people who risk their life for security of our country and give their life in this cause are forgotten.”

Brigadier (Retd) VAM Hussain of Prasar Bharati, while signing the petition has written, “Yes, The martyr is the young son of India who laid down his life in the highest tradition of glorious Indian Army. People of India; fill your eyes up with drops of tears. Let us ignore hypocrites who shed crocodile tears for publicity. Let us join Maj Mukund’s family to share their grief and reduce the pain that God has caused to Mukund’s young child and widow. Let us pray for the wellbeing of Indian soldiers – the pride of the Nation!”

A responsible country, a responsible government and a mature press always need to recognize the sacrifice of the Soldiers. A failure to do so may lead to adversities in future.

It’s time the army got its respect and credit to what it does. We need to recognize and understand the sacrifice of Defence service personnel for the Nation. If we cannot look after the family of those who died for this Nation, we do not have any right to seek a safe Nation. A country that forgets shamelessly its soldiers can never attain glory and place in the globe. India needs to see how other Nations showcase their military and learn from them.

Interestingly, while signing the petition Muhammad Azeem from Lahore, Cantt, Pakistan wrote, “We in Pakistan give full regard and take full responsibility for our martyrs because they die for our land and our safety. You must also look after yours as they give their lives for your safety.”

It is a selfless sacrifice the soldiers of this country make to defend this country from outside aggression & even from Anti National Elements to better and secure life of citizens of this country.  A soldier is the protector of this mankind from days immemorial! He has given his today for our tomorrow, it is the supreme sacrifice any human being can give. Our freedom and life which we take for granted would be at peril without these brave hearts! The least we could do as a Nation is to recognise their valour and give them respect and support.

In Today’s world no one appears to have value for the time one served with Armed Forces. The sad part and shame for this country is that they ex-serviceman are treated like beggars and considered as liability by our corrupt politicians & bureaucrats, who are more dangerous than real enemy. Prithvi Singh Brar from Panchkula says that, “Historically no Nation has survived as a great Nation without recognising the sacrifices of its soldiers”. Further to this thread of thought, Triambaka Kishore Tadepalli from Secunderabad, commented, “The Nation has to be reminded of the covenant All Civilized Societies have towards their Warriors!”

It is unfortunate that when it comes to give our soldiers their basic dues – pay and allowances, pensions (including disability), rank pay, NFFU, OROP (the list is endless) they have to run from pillar to post and beg these real traitors – Politicians & Bureaucrats, who get sadistic pleasure in delaying in sanctioning their dues. While even according sanction, they intentionally do mischiefs in that also so that soldiers don’t get their due benefits.

I have no respect for the corrupt Politicians & Bureaucrats, who have demoralized and demotivated our Armed Forces so badly, that pre-maturely they are shedding their uniform in large numbers and quality youths are not coming forward to join Armed Forces.

There are no proper and respectful resettlement for retired well disciplined & intelligent soldiers, who retire at early age, compare to useless & ill-disciplined civilian counterparts who retire at 60 years with assured promotions, without any competition and merit.

It is sad to see our retired Jawans working as security guards/peons/ chaukidars in banks, offices, apartments etc. after serving this country in inhospitable & difficult areas.

The poisonous attitude that ‘soldiers are meant to die’ needs to be condemned in strongest possible terms. Every citizen must be made to realize that he/she go about their daily chores with such security only because someone is sacrificing his leisure and his life at the borders.

Military service should be made compulsory for minimum 5 years for all Government jobs (Officers and staffs) so as to make them realize the tough and hard life of a soldier, besides bringing patriotic feelings in their thick skins. Like many of my course-mates who had only son and joined Army, I saw that my only son too joins Army. Yet I will not accept a situation where ungrateful leaders of the Nation forget or ignore their duties and respect towards our soldiers.  In Army we are taught and trained to serve with ‘chin-up and chest-out’? Yet when political leadership is immersed so much in self-glorification, someone has to get-up and get counted!

I have met few war-widows who are yet to get their dues after Kargil War! Their unimaginable miseries and lust and demands of the ‘babudome’ are beyond imagination and comprehension of common people. Who will fight for them since they are too weak or without resources to fight for themselves?

I have read the words of Barack Obama ….

”So long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.”

Is there such statement ever made by Indian leadership? ​What happened to the statement of our PM on OROP? The PM of the Nation cannot honor his own promise and cannot get his orders implemented!

My question to all officers and soldiers who have left the armed forces like me is “Have you started getting your rightful dues?” Now, you will say that it doesn’t matter and you will not beg for it, yet I am of the opinion that if soldiers do not stand-up for justice to themselves, their fight for justice for others is fundamentally weak and misplaced. The serving one cannot and must not agitate for their dues, but we, the ex-servicemen can fight for ours as well as their rightful dues! I recall that in 1978 at Agra, there was one officer (Para commando), whose wife was teased by some goons at a cinema hall and he thrashed three of them black-n-blue single-handedly. In his Summery of Evidence he stated that, “If I cannot use my training to defend the dignity of my wife, Nation will expect me to fail to defend its dignity!”

With best regards

Capt S B Tyagi, CSP, FISM, COAS’CC*

Source: Capt S B Tyagi via. WHN Publisher E-mail

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