“People join the Army and Police to die and are paid to die…” said the self-assured Bihar minister as millions of TV viewers watched aghast at the insensitivity and brazenness of an arrogant politician.
The hue and cry raised over the issue frankly left me untouched and unmoved as do many of the concerns raised by the media and the so called political parties. Why you may ask am I not angry at the rant of this callous man who feels that people act and behave in a particular way only because they are paid for it?
That’s because I have heard it before…from not one, not two but many people who feel that the people employed in the Armed Forces are a blessed lot who party and drink with great gusto and then….well that is all that they do. According to most people (civilians as they are referred to), the job involves ‘free rations, Canteen facilities, cheap and good liquor and subsidised accommodation.’
As an Air Force daughter (21 years) and now a wife (18 years) I have been born and brought up in the Forces and then married into it. As one who plays a supporting role in the Armed Forces I have only to say this, “Nothing dear civilians is further from the truth as the above”.
As a pilot’s wife I know but can never describe how it feels sending off my husband each day knowing fully well that it may be the last I ever see him. While he is away flying a fighter aircraft with a passion only he can feel like all other soldiers, pilots and sailors who join the forces, not because it’s a lucrative job option but because they want to be soldiers above all else; a feeling apparently not shared by many of those ‘civilians’ out there, I keep his home, waiting for him to come back safe and sound.
My heart still thumps after so many years, fearing the worst, fearing that he may have flown away never to land again. I still haven’t and will never get used to it.
All soldiers do understand that they are duty bound to care about their nation first, then their families and then and only then themselves, they are also people who want to live a good life and spend time with their families and children and parents and grow old to be with their grandchildren like all others.
They don’t join the military to die, they become soldiers so that they can live …live long enough to fulfil their duties as a soldier and protect and serve their country. With the recent deaths of our soldiers and sailors I realised that it was not just they who died, but with them died their families who have been left bereft of a husband, son, father, brother. But most of all I believe it is the death of a nation, a nation which does not respect those who live to protect and serve and then feel pride in giving up their lives for a nation which can never prosper and flourish because it does not respect its soldiers.
A life gone for a cause unknown, for a cause made their own as they have been taught all their lives to do.
But this is not the first time in this country that such a situation has been faced. Long ago, Kautilya or Chanakya, as he is better known as, had to bring to the notice of his Emperor the following: