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Friday, September 17, 2010

I love the Indian Army - but I must leave now : Gopalkarunakaran

It was purely by chance, I stumbled an article (in a blog ) of somebody who had served in Army. Out of reverence to Army, I started reading and before I could complete, I was trembling with an innate sense of how dead right he was on some issues, which the Nation / the media / the so called intelligentsia has tended to almost ignore. It is a grave threat in many ways that the Nation has not yet realized the real need.

We take pride that India achieved without bloodshed in its fight against Imperialistic British forces but forget to remember that instead of large scale celebrations, there were riots and mass killing, colossal loss of lives, destruction of property during the vivisection of this great land. It is quite unfortunate that in this vast land, separated by diverse cultures, languages, ethnicity and other differences, lot many things go unnoticed. The southern part of India was not the epicenter of wars and hence cannot understand the trials and tribulations which the northern part underwent.

Independence was not begotten on a platter, a huge spectrum of political organizations, philosophers, movements with the common aim of ending colonial rule had lost their generation in their tryst. There were radicals, there were others who had lost their property, family, life and themselves. There were self less leaders endowed with vision and forethought. The epic history dates back to longer periods. The massive epic war Mahabaratha at Kurukshetra will always have indelible impressions on the minds of all strategists.
A Nation can enjoy – its citizens can live happily only when its borders are courageously defended by an army which is selfless, has valour, honour, follows the excellent footsteps of illustrious predecessors and is trust worthy. These traits will constitute the safeguard of a Nation. The Nation is fortunate to have a highly disciplined and motivated army which has sacrified enough for ensuring peaceful living of the people. The Nation has seen major wars, infiltrations, insurgencies, internal civil strife, but the fine tuned Indian Army has taken upon itself that any of these have not affected the functioning of democracy.

The Army is manifestation of sacrifice and looks a modern army capable of fighting conventional as also the unconventional threats posed by terrorists and other evil forces. The safety, honour and welfare has been uppermost in the minds of soldiers. Their tradition is never to question but to do or die for the Name / honour of the Unit / Army / Nation, loyalty to the Nation.

BUT IS THE NATION REALLY DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE ARMY – for those who are battling for you and me ? Don’t they deserve the best of things ?

Why is that they are not the ones paid handsomely and treated with the highest dignity and honour in all public places ? WE as a Nation run behind stars of tinseldom treating them as heroes. Cine stars and Sportsmen (cricketers) earn in millions, many of them do not pay their taxes, many of them are not educated, some are not patriotic, many do not possess any special or good qualities – yet the Nation adores them. Stars of tinseldom preach as to what the Nation should do and their opinion on everything including the elections, public opinion on important things and even on National security. People and media pay heed to their words on how terrorists / extremists / insurgents should be treated and look to them on inter state disputes & the like. Why is that in none of the functions, the men on dais does not include a young Major or a Senior General.

This article of Mr Gopal Karunakaran, who served 27 years in the Indian Army and retired as a Colonel is thought provoking and imbues righteous earnestness in what he depicts. This revered man joined the Indian Army in 1981, served in Baramulla, Kupwara , a challenging stint at the highest mountain glacier of Siachen, did duty as UN Military observer on Iraq Kuwait demilitarized zone, taught at Indian Military Academy and commanded a unit on the Line of control, standing in the line of fire.

There are many apt questions : We expect the very best from our Army but do we do enough as a Nation to ensure that we have the best military the country can afford ? Why we do not have an integrated Chief of Defence Staff ? why is the establishment apathetic to the issues of military ? Why we do not have a Defence Secretary or Defense Minister, who has some military background and has served the Nation in a higher capacity in the army just as it happens in United States ? why we do not a have documented National counter-terrorism policy ? why don’t we have any military leader drafted in the leadership summits and conclaves ? why is the Indian media not exhibiting proper concern on larger dimensions of national security ?

Many such genuine concerns are addressed in the article of Col. (Retd) Gopal Karunakaran. The article in his blog titled : My Army Life 1977 – 2006 (I love the Indian Army – but I must leave Now!) would make many of us at least realize our mistakes in glorifying not so worthy men and in emulating and appreciating the greatness of Indian Army.

Please read the article here : My army life   or download the article in pdf. Army life

Regards – Sampathkumar S

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