The Indian Army, today, is honouring Colonel Santosh Mahadik who succumbed to bullet wounds received during a fierce gunbattle with terrorists in the forests of Kupwara in north Kashmir.
Academic and humanitarian discourse aside, we need Col Santosh Mahadik and all our people who serve the ‘nation’. The nation is us. The nation is made of you, me and hundreds of the order of Col Santosh Mahadik.
The debate of need of armed forces on our borders is merely academic as, in the times when rogue states like Pakistan are amassing nuclear warheads and threaten to use them every day, we can’t afford to ‘debate’ and experiment.
Because, seriously, Siachin and Kashmir are not central universities holding seminars. Nor do the infiltrators and terrorists come there to present papers.
I have always maintained that each one of us is contributing towards nation building. Be it my farmer father working with a spade in his fields, a teacher educating kids, a banker calculating the interest rate in his office or a person with an Insas in Siachin, we are all stakeholders in nation’s progress.
The Orwellian quote goes, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” On a positive interpretation, I have always maintained that even when these men in uniform chose to take arms as a career, they are “more equal than others” who are farming, teaching or working as a journalist.
Simple thing is, an unedited headline would not tear flesh off your shoulders or as you sleep, you won’t be watched by two snow leopards on your door.
If you don’t like your job you leave it, but here are these men in uniform who choose to join duty as soon as they are out of the bed after being hit by bullets and shrapnel.
Debate as much as you can but Col Santosh Mahadik died for us. They always die for us. They don’t die for recognition. In a practical world which isn’t a seminar on the need of borders, armed forces are a necessity. Debate is also necessary to elevate the human thought process as a whole, but this is not the time.
The least we can have for them is respect. You or I can’t understand the pain these families go through. A father may be proud of his son’s death, a wife can hold her tears while speaking about the martyred valiant man she always found by her side, but the pain always stays.
Pride doesn’t wipe pain.
Taking pride in our men is our gratitude but at the same time we must try to understand the pain and share it. Pain needs to be shared. Pain needs to be conveyed. Pain needs to be understood.
Col Santosh Mahadik lives as do hundreds of our men in uniform who left defending the boundaries. They always live with our present and guard our future.