Hailing from a town of less relevance, living with a starry eyed dream of making a career someday on my own, growing in absence of extravagance and watching my parents enduring the chores which filled their everyday life, the life which tried preserving every little penny on a hope of a grandiose living, i never had time to spare for observing the town, the living, the trends and the rhythm that the nation was on.
That’s not just me, that’s the story of every middle class child as he grows by and by going through the rigmarole of school, college and the university. Always focused on making a career, equipping himself with ample academics to join the relay race his parents have been in for decades. Losing focus was way too adventurous and losing focus for the sake of making firm perceptions about the world around wasn’t worth the risk.
As an Architect making a niche for myself and slowly building up my career, marrying an Army Officer was a decision that changed me and the way future unfolded in more than just one way. Peers told me i was killing my career but then looking back i thank myself for making that decision everyday, it was a revelation traveling around the nation, observing and developing a perception about what happened around me. I owe to that one momentous decision the opinions i make and the anecdotes i share and the reason enough my writings have an “olive green” hue, cant help, i am wedded to the olive greens.
well then, there is something i always felt, always wanted to convey loud and profound ‘we the indian citizen are killing our savior’, now that statement might raise some hackles but then hackles don’t intimidate the truth.
Out there on mountains, in jungles leeches bite, frost bites, man and beast gasp for air as they pant climbing cliffs, they pant in togetherness yet they carry on, some say the patriotism motivates them, naah, not at this moment, the only motivation is to reach his post, the man has assumed that to be his home, he sweats, experience the stich pain but keeps moving. He needs to reach and he knows no heroes welcome or paparazzi chase, all he’d rather be assured and contend with is some hot roti and daal, some rest and then perhaps a sentry duty on a bad day. He is human, yes he is and he too has plans and ambitions though not pretty far fetched yet he does plan to take off his shoes and remove those leeches and hope for a bath on reaching, be assured his buddy would prepare tadka for his daal(theres no racial profiling either, he doesn’t know these fine terms, he may be a tall burly Jagtar Singh from Mansa, Punjab and his buddy an aao Naga from mokokchung, Nagaland or a yum Bahadur Subba from YUKSOM, Sikkim) he’ll expect that buddy to keep his food hot and wait for him to arrive, they are a family. He prays that the company havaldar major will spare him tonight’s sentry watch and that’s a major deal sir.
No, this soldier didn’t plan for this life, he wouldn’t, had he he’d not be here, yes he’s got liabilities back home, he’s got stomachs to feed, yes sir he chose a profession but hell yeah, it breaks him when he hears you question his decision to stand guard at the thin red line, someone had to.
Well as of now he’s not worried, he lives and dies alone, a paltry procession in his native village when he dies is all the publicity he’s guaranteed. He takes off his shoes, removes leeches, thank his gods that he’ll rest as he has not been detailed for sentry duty tonight, unroll his mat and sleeping bag. He’ll not let leeches affect. That modest, cheerful commoner is your “Savior” in flood, earthquake, drought, tsunami and yes in war. Yet the savior fears you!
Respect his flag, his anthem, the banner and his allegiance, that’s all we can do and the least we can do and many would argue they do all that already, no! collectively as a nation we don’t. What does he stand for, its the the cohesion, the resin than binds this nation together, the sanctity of its physical borders and the life of the common citizen governed by the constitution of this country.
That is what he stands for, he isn’t just guarding a thin red line on the political map of this landmass, nation means you to him. He draws his support, his inspiration from the sentiments that you exhibit towards him, his cause.
Every time we have a riot threatening the unity, the social fabric of the nation, you, the mob collectively deal a blow to the very spirit he stands for. Every caste, clan, religion biased political statement is a wound dealt afresh to him. Every time you hold his entire religion responsible for one rape just because some bollywood jester held a banner for his own movie’s popularity, you just hop into the vehicle of propaganda and share the banner on social media without realising what manifestation it would have.
The “celebrities” owing to their persistent ride on the minds of naive followers have the power of “trending” any nonsense and nonsense wouldn’t bother the commoner like me much but the sinister lack of responsibility does.
We, the 1.3 Billion, the nation, yes that landmass isn’t the nation but the 1.3 Billion dwellers. We, the fourth most powerful nation in the living world, the nation which is probing Mars and we choose our heroes, our icons way too sloppily, we choose some bollywood harlequin to go after and follow .
A commoner’s opinion springs from his everyday fight for the basics that he has to earn for his family, real memoirs are soaked in blood, sweat and some broken dreams. Memoirs are never made on a vision through a pair of “Louis Vuitton” peepers, real walk of life can never be on “Jimmy Choo”. How then, one can expect that gumption, that honest, real opinion from those cocooned in air conditioned niche of theirs. Every campaign by them has to be seen skeptically, they are dangerous creatures in the era of social media, would go to any neighborhood for furthering their commercial goals . You, my countrymen would do well to just enjoy the frolics and not become groping followers, you are being used as vehicles of evangelism without you even realising it.
Lets put things in perspective now, do you even distantly realise the effect of every social media post that you share or comment upon? India is a nation of billions and quintessentially a case study of diversity. Name a country which has as many religions, clans, tribes, castes, ethnicity and divides, i am sure you cannot. With diversity comes the burden of preserving the unity, bridging the fissures in society and healing the fractures. Every state in India would have some or the other fracture line of varied intensity and we in the age of social media have been on a relentless campaign to exploit every fracture line to the hilt, “Bhima Koregaon” was a non issue blown out of proportion and a riot manufactured damaging the goverment’s property and costed the exchequer a fortune but yet that damage wasnt as sinister, as threatening as the damage to the unity, the bedrock of the national survival.
We have our heroes studying in government sponsored universities, heroes who are career politicians even before they pass out from the same university they organise their campaigns in, universities arent meant for political agenda pushing, are they?
India has fought five wars post independence, none has been as threatening as the damage to the unity posed by irresponsible hero worshiping and agenda pushing on social media is.
There is no relevance of a strong army guarding your frontiers if you eat your nation from within and that’s what our collective naivety does. Every wound inflicted on the integrity of the nation by irresponsibly becoming an instrument of exploiting the fractures within our society, our nation is death of the “Savior”.
Choose your heroes responsibly India, don’t kill your savior !