Friday, March 17, 2006

Response to the Tribute FWD

Couple of weeks back I received this mail as a forward. {Please read the response to the forward below}

Late Mr. Surjan Singh Bhandari

N.S.G. Commando

During The Attack on Akshardham temple on 24th September 2002 this Brave Man fought the greatest battle of his life. Yes he was the N.S.G. Commando Late Mr. Surjan Singh , who sacrificed his life for the Nation. Sadly On 19th May 2004 he lost the Toughest an d Longest battle against life exactly after 600 Days being in Coma, he lost this life.

The Bullet which hit him in the head made him Unconscious for almost 600 days. His family members were hoping that one day their Hero will open his eyes but he didn't.

It was the Longest Wait for the family members of this Brave Man. When the whole India was busy in Guessing Who will be the Next PM of the country - Will it be Sonia or will it be Manmohan Singh, This man was fighting his Last battle. But it's so sad that in the hype of all the Political Drama, the News about his Death was Lost like a needle in a hay stack! Even the leading News Papers & So Called Best News Channels of India which Works on 24 X 7 basis, failed to highlight this story of the Brave Man. Unfortunately it was mentioned somewhere on the middle page of some newspaper.....This was the Reward for the Brave task for which he lost his life.

Besides his Family members, only one thing was there with him during those toughest 600 days. It was there near his bed till the last Moment. Can you guess what it was?............... It was the "Tiranga", yes! Our National Flag, which was saluting him for his Great cause. Absolutely No words can suffice our Gratitude towards him...

If news papers refuse to cover, TV channels refuse to cover, let us do our bit.

Please forward this mail to as many people as you can.

This is the only way we can salute his Bravery...

As a reply to this mail, I received another mail by mr Vijayan M J of Pakistan India People's Forum for peace and democracy. It was such a thoyght provoking mail that I could not stop myself from posting it here. Therefore with due permission, I reproduce the response to that forward.

Dear friends (response to mail below),

As an Indian, I fully support remembering (forever), sacrifices made by
brave men like Mr. Surjan and feels that we need to challege the 'selective'
public/governmental and media memory also... But do we only remember these
(like our media does to Kargil heroes and those jawans and officers who get
killed in Kashmir or other disputed areas of this great nation)?

Am asking this question and taking time to write this note as I feel mails like the one below are part of our own fraud attempts to forget these people and their 'sacrifices' and 'martyrdom' and an effort to boost our morale and patriotism. This is a self-inflicted 'feel good' that we are upto. Some get goose pimples by involving in this sort of nationalistic/patriotic/jingoistic acts. But sadly neither does this kind of e-activism contribute to remembering people like Surjan or others who have at different levels given their life for any cause, nor does these help prevent deaths of future surjans...

Do we know why??? Because it is an established national defence policy of countries like India and US (among some others) to waste people on the armed front and this is no guess - some of us are involved in related studies. We are an over populated country (as we have been repeatedly told) and it does not matter to us how many jawans of Indian origin are getting killed in internal egoistic battles that we have been figting over the past 59 years. We have prepared speeches that officers patriotically deliver when jawans and fellow men die to militant bulltes or grenades in Kashmir, Nagaland or elsewhere. We have ready press releases from the Ministry of Home afairs for them and about those who killed them (blaming ISI for every action in this country - like Pakistan blames RAW).

But we do not want to stop these killings or make sure atleast that we try our best to support the lives of those who are better living then dead. This forces me to say, in India, we prefer some soldiers dying every year (that too, thanks to Bofors scams where we end up buying fake weaponry, we eat money from their coffins even - like what our defence minister and co did during kargil, we boast about their sacrifice to their country after their death and immediaely forget about them, and most importantly we think - even while reading this mail that all these are problems created by a section of us called politicians, alone)...

As a people, we have done nothing to expose the culprits of Kargil war - those in our intellingence and political circles, who thought it was not even important to inform our soldiers in advance that Pakistani army had already dug graves for them, this left a thousand soldiers killed (in a semi-war that was necessary for the then BJP to survive in power and three US weapon companies to promote their arms trade with GOI). We do nothing when we hear about the regular 'practise warfare' that our soldiers are taught to fight in Kashmir - including the rapes, the fake encounters and the disappearances... Lets leave romanticism aside and ask ourselves since when is raping a woman important to protect our national sovereignity and integrity. I have heard from soldiers and more embarassingly from army officers that "since the women in Kashmir lift their skirts for Jehadis to make more jehadis, it is an important anti-insurgency strategy to sexually and pysically thrash them"... Would you and I stay quite if that was to happen in our backyards in Kerala, West Bengal or Maharashtra? Imagine Indian army man doing this to you or your sister and you will never utter the word patriotism (the way it is pronounced now by jingoists) again in your life, I promise...

So here we have a serious problem in hand. A government which has a policy to waste men in conflicts or to (expired) Mig-29 crashes on the one hand and WE who only want to remember the men who get killed by orchestrated and planned actions of any tom dick or harry...

Please remember, rarely people are born mad to kill others or to get killed on the first instance. They are taught and trained to do so in most instances... *Everyone, including our soldiers*, our *agricultural workers*(who are committing suicide in thousands in our villages due to starvation -
they are also equally patriotic and are giving their life for the nation, they pay the price for a nationally accepted policy called advanced capitalism), *our students* [yes they do get killed very often in Kashmir (remember fake encounters, whic govt has officially apologised for, now), in Meghalaya (ten school students were killed by state police and CRPF, for demonstrating against an unjust educational policy), in Assam (when they tried to protect the dignity of a fellow girl student, who was asked for favours by some jawans travelling in the train)], *our rural folk and tribal* *country men and women* in Kalinga Nagar (in Orissa) for asking the government to give their land back to them and not to MNCs and Indian corporates, etc etc *deserve to be remembered. None's life is more precious than some others... *

Unlike what our media tells us, there is no point in getting agitated only when a Manu Sharma laughs at our system and gets away with a murder in public, because of money power, we need to be equally agitated and active when Narendra Modi mocks justice in Gujarat and get away with killing 2000 of them or when Indira Gandhi and Rajiv got away with killing thousand of Sikhs in Punjab, Tamils in Sri Lanka (through our IPKF), etc... Is there an sms number of a channel I can send 'punish' to get Warren Anderson (of the famous Bopal Gas tragedy fame) punished for criminal negligence that resulted in a genocide of Indians!!! Will Bush and Manmohan be talking this time about bringing that fellow to justice??? No, never...

I realise life is not 'Rang De Basanti' and that this mail has already tested your patience. But let us atleast not fool ourselves and get bitten by patriotism and nationalism + concern for our fellow country men and women, only when it is convenient to us - to get goose pimples. Their memories and our lives are worth more than that!!!

Thanks to those who reached this part of the mail

Vijayan MJ


Garima said...

Hi, did recv the fwd related to gr8 man who did so much for our country but vanished away like nothng..its BAD..Its just politics , criminals or the funky celebs who always remain in limelyt. AS u r a journalist so i guess u ppl shud really work sincerely in highliyting such incidences ...let the feel of rang de basanti flow in every1's blood... BE A REBEL !! i really belv in it & v can chng the system if v really vsh too..
NICE try to awake the ppl around!!

manan said...

But let us atleast not fool ourselves and get bitten by patriotism and nationalism + concern for our fellow country men and women, only when it is convenient to us - to get goose pimples. Their memories and our lives are worth more than that!!!

I'm guessing this was Vijayan's point, and I don't think I agree completely. The one point I do agree on, is that we should look at the larger issue (in this case, whether we have a morally wrong policy of sacrificing men where it is not needed) when considering something like this.

His other point seems to be that India has not one but many problems and we should not focus on one of them but all of them, especially only those that give us "goose pimples". I disagree. I think people should identify precisely what gives them goose pimples and do something about that problem. Problems that give goose pimples are not "convenient" but problems that we feel personally about. India has a billion people and everyone will identify with a different issue.

As long as people are solving problems, its good enough for me. I don't get goose pimples over armed jawan's deaths not being covered in the media - I get goose pimples when I read about the homeless and illiterate children on the streets of India. We don't need to know or appreciate ALL of India's problems to solve one of them. But to solve any one problem well - we need to identify with it and to give it our attention. Thats what goose pimples are good for.

josh said...

Hi Shoba, nice work. Surjan's story is touching.

But is there any reason to believe that the editors deliberately chucked this story?

You are a journo. Just go ahead and do a recap on him in your paper/magazine.

As we know, ruing doesn't bring us the results. 'Doing' does.


reghu nath thooran said... really like to write on...