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Friday, 14 October 2016
Surgical strike row: We, the self-loathing Indians-Nobody lets India down more than Indians. The distorted discourse following the Uri attacks by Pakistan and the riposte from India is just one more example of this behaviour
Surgical strike row: We, the self-loathing Indians
Nobody lets India down more than Indians. The distorted discourse following the Uri attacks by Pakistan and the riposte from India is just one more example of this behaviour.
alt Chitra Subramaniam | Fri, 14 Oct 2016-08:00am , dna
The surgical ugliness of doubting our armed forces has a devastating effect on nation-building
We don’t question them when they quietly protect our borders while we sleep. When they do their job – protecting us - our waking hours are spent doubting their word, their work and their wisdom before we go back to sleep again as night falls. We demand concrete evidence of their work not so much to ensure they are doing it well (most of us are clueless anyway) but to prove that we are right and they are wrong. And there is a tedious pattern to it, one that never fails to strike, surgical or otherwise. It is the ugliness and irresponsibility of the spoken word that empties entire dictionaries of venom and hate. The results are devastating not just for the morale of India’s armed forces but for anyone who is trying to focus on nation-building without distraction.
Nobody lets India down more than Indians. The distorted discourse following the Uri attacks by Pakistan and the riposte from India is just one more example of this behaviour where there is neither reason nor respect but immense rancour. It is deeply disturbing because it strikes at the very heart of a country that is trying to get its act together on various fronts. I have lived and worked in several countries , all of them democracies. I speak several languages which makes it possible for me to read the local pulse and as a journalist I have had the privilege of seeing how other countries respond to terror. Rarely if ever have I seen the kind of viciousness that we as a people reserve for our women and men in uniform in India. It is as if they can do nothing right. Worse, certificates are given by people with a poor understanding of national security and strategic interests of a country.
No country in the world and certainly no people provide running commentary on the work of their armed forces during an operation of self-defence. No self-respecting people compare terrorists to soldiers or equate the work of diplomats with that of thugs and indicted criminals. National security is not a high-school debate. So deep is the attraction of some Indians to self and country loathing that they readily accommodate more that comes from Pakistan. When that happens, the language and voice of generals and dictators achieve parity with that of a healthy and vibrant democracy. Language matters because it influences thinking. Self loathing people believe other capitals more than we trust our own because some of us have no self esteem. We are the world’s largest democracy and potentially the largest market but that seems to fade into significance because the G-37 (my tag for same people, same time, same studios, similar ‘expertise’) insist on spewing venom and hate irrespective of what the topic is.
It is as if we must be ashamed to be successful, afraid to grow up as a nation because with new direction comes new responsibility. The people-to-people contact track of cultural exchanges and candles is one such discourse that works on the assumption that Indian soldiers can continue to die so long as New Delhi and Islamabad maintain cordial relations and send files to one another for generations. It is based on the ridiculous premise that Pakistan wants peace at all cost. It spouts inanities like ‘nobody wants war’ or even worse, ‘anyone who decides to be a soldier must be prepared to die’. It is the lazy argument, the convenient one and increasingly a dangerous one. Dangerous because it is without ambition and certainly devoid of any aspiration for a country India’s size and complexity.
It is one thing to question the government. It is quite another to live in perpetual doubt and suspicion which stifles mature dialogue. You don’t have to be a blind-supporter of the Narendra Modi government to understand that all Indians have to pull in one direction if we want to grow as a nation. Nation-building cannot be taught – it is a felt, shared and viewed experience. It works on trust, faith and robust questioning, not blind following. It also accepts that mistakes will be made and they will be amended. People who make no mistakes or always land on their feet are among those who have not done anything of consequence.
Surgical Strikes: Army took the shot but govt held the gun, says Parrikar
Consequence. There are consequences to our words and actions. India is fighting battles on various fronts be it trade or investments, unemployment, poverty and disease. The importance of not losing sight of economic growth cannot be overstated. If you don’t have self-respect, don’t expect others to respect you within India and outside. Indians who respect India and Indians are neither ultra-nationalists nor fascists. They are normal human beings who seek nothing more than jobs, healthcare, a secure future and above all secure borders