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After the Pulwama tragedy, there have been calls for revenge from leaders, with not much consideration for what the families of these “martyrs” actually go through, and what they want.
Neha Sharma, a writer who is also an army kid, was allegedly asked to write an article on the Pulwama tragedy, with an insider’s point of view. Once it was written, however, she says the portal refused to publish it, on the grounds that “it goes against the national sentiment”.
She has shared it on social media, because these are things that need to be said, never mind that mainstream media will not publish it.
Since then, the article has been shared many times, and there are plenty of comments on it and on the shares by people who are actually from army families – army kids or army wives, who know exactly how life is there, and that it is not all glory as the eulogies of martyrdom seem to suggest. Nor are these women from army families keen on upholding the jingoism about war and revenge that has taken hold of the above mentioned “national sentiment”. Ordinary people do not wish for further violence, but those with vested interests and their followers, and the “cyber army”, as she calls it, of trolls, calling out for war from their chairs.
“Professor SK Nayyar, the father of Kargil martyr Captain Anuj Nayyar whose bravery is documented in various articles and essays , had to wage a long battle to get what his son was due. His struggle has been described in the Sanjay Suri-Gul Panag starrer film Dhoop. Professor Nayyar was asked by a cop to prove that he was indeed Captain Nayyar’s father in return for an NOC for a petrol pump given to the family as ‘compensation’. He went back to the police station with a few photographs and told the cop if this wasn’t proof enough, he could bring his wife the next day, as a mother could best tell who the father of her child is. This is only one one such story. The war had seen more than 500 casualties.
Many war widows face this cycle of humiliation and mental torture. They lose their husbands, bring up their kids single handedly while painfully running around, seeking what is rightfully theirs.
War comes at a very huge price and people who ask for it are the ones who are sure that the guns will never be pointed at them and that they won’t ever be billed for it.
They don’t care about the soldiers, or their families and what happens to them when war is over. Who asks after them them or helps them in their everyday fight with bureaucracy ? They only care about their warped idea of revenge and thirst for bloodshed.”
So, as a nation, what should we choose? Jingoism and nationalism under the garb of patriotism, that will lead to reactionary violence, and further violence, that often puts women and children as the real casualties in the long run while their men are deemed to be “martyred”? Or the better yet less “popular” route of choosing what’s best for our country and its people? Especially for the armed forces and their families?
Yes, as the writer says, “The primary job of the military is to defend the nation. And the powers that be will make informed decisions. But if you really want a war, make sure it is against those who humiliate families of slain soldiers, make them run pillar to post to claim what is promised to them, and insult the martyrdom. Promise yourself that no family of a martyr will be harassed under your watch. Let us make ourselves deserving of their sacrifice.”
Shouldn’t we then take the opinions of those whom war affects the most?
Image source: a still from Uri
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I may look sleepy, but I'm pretty wide awake. Feminist techie. Haunts the library.
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