This note has been posted in the comments section. I felt it requires a detailed response. I welcome whatever criticism I get, but I think I have pretty much said what I have wanted to for now.
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1 I read your article and was surprised on lack of understanding of how armed forces function because of a few bad eggs which is there in every org and society including foreign armies.
2 Next time you write another article disgracing Indian Army, consider following
(a) Every time I went on leave from a field/ops/RR or for that matter, reached Guhati or
( b) A common man even my own brother were never aware of how a dead body gets stiff within seconds, how a man loses his limbs in seconds on a patrol when RPG blast through a vehicle body or how a full family in a village or a town is destroyed when their son, brother or husband ie an officer/soldier becomes a fatal or nonfatal cas.
( c) Infact at
( d) Infact we shift TV channels fast to see Sanjay dutt smiling and shaking handshake with Jail warden as we feel watching a casket of dead officer on TV is boring.
( e) We also feel sympathetic for SANJAY Dutt but no feeling for that widow of a martyr soldier . The TV also does not waste time on them as there will be a loss in TV ratings. Why don’t you haul up TV channels for all this nonsense as breaking news for them is anything other than an officer or a Jawan ha sided, it is a routine liner for all to read and forget about it and enjoy the sas bahu serial.
( f) We also allow you to claim that you have been pursing POW s status, Don’t we know it is for media mileage, how many children you have adopted or widows cared for or Ex Serviceman looked after. Have you visited a leper Colony in NE Along where the army has adopted the whole village.
( g) We also allow you to rubbish our Services on a few bad eggs, but we don’t hear you claiming Film Industry is bad because of Underworld nexus links or Industrialist not paying taxes despite being photographed for richest Indian in the world etcccccc because then you will not be invited for page 2 parties.
( h) I think you must make visit to real working conditions of J& K /NE of Indian army where motivated youngsters and Jawans are living in pathetic conditions and fighting enemy so that you can party around, making paintings etc. Every ni at least a million jawans are on guard all over the country so that you can sleep. Every Ni a boy dies in Jungles of J&K so that your boy/ relative can play around safely.
( j) Now why do you crib on those who are leaving, it is not wrong as every man has a right to grow in life. If not here somewhere else. At least they have given best part of their youth to this country when you were living a secured life,
2 Judge the services for what they are doing for your existence, not on a few incidents.
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Thank you for the detailed response. Here is what I have to say...
My article was not about how the armed forces function; let me clarify that, just in case it has not come across. These were about the bad eggs, and agreed they are there in every organisation.
I completely understand what you are saying, from the perspective of an outsider, and you will appreciate I am not making tall claims about knowing how it feels to be in your shoes; I cannot. I also accept that the public lack security consciousness (as well as civic).
I cannot even ask you to read my earlier posts to know that I have shown no sympathy for how the media portrays the film industry, industrialists, even NGOs and the so-called fast-track justice reserved for some favoured groups. I have taken up those issues, but I will not expect you to read those because it isn’t important enough. You just have to take my word for it. And I say this because you do not know me and feel the need to lay down my POV with regard to those others, since you have reached conclusions about me personally.
I have written against the Sanjay Dutt tamasha. And how TV channels went overboard with this. However, these same TV channels take film stars to different army postings and we see the jawans asking them questions and performing for them. I suppose you don’t mind that.
Do you think TV channels showing the casket of a dead soldier would help your cause? Wouldn’t it be of far greater importance if the soldiers had raised a voice against the infamous coffin deal?
You say, with much arrogance (and I am afraid I am not given to pussyfooting), “We also allow you to claim that you have been pursing POW s status, Don’t we know it is for media mileage, how many children you have adopted or widows cared for or Ex Serviceman looked after. Have you visited a leper Colony in NE Along where the army has adopted the whole village.”
You do not allow me, you cannot, because the claim is a reality and on record and been appreciated by those families who are pursuing the case without any help from your Armed Forces, whose business it should be along with the inept and completely heartless attitude of the various governments in power. You are talking about feeling sympathy for the widow of a martyr…what about those who had to pretend to be widows at that time? Is it history for you too? This will not dissuade me from writing about the issue again, if I think it should be brought to attention. Because I don’t feel the need to get defensive about my actions only because of a few disgruntled people who want us to accept that there are bad eggs, but do not realise that it is not a good thing to have them. The fact is you have not been able to counter anything I have said.
When I first wrote about the POW issue, it was on my own during a casual conversation. I was not even sure about what it would entail and I had difficulty getting it published. I don’t have organisational backing. If I wanted media mileage, I could write on film stars, right? By questioning my motives, you are contradicting your own assertion that those get more people interested. And do not forget it was the Army who invited Vivek Oberoi to join it; I don’t give a tosh for him or anyone.
I do not party at all, and do not get invited to these socialite ones, just in case it is of any consequence. I am sure the mess has many more of those; the Navy Ball in my city is a big hit. Incidentally, do you realise that there are some sections that I write about who do not even have the facilities and the basic skills to convey the privations they go through? Because they are illiterate, poor and lack marketing skills, if they even know what that is.
You, my friend, are in no position to allow me to write or not write on anything, okay? But if you have time, click on the labels column, article, media and you might find something that will show you that I do a little more than just paint. I don’t have any idea why these poor paintings have become a target. I am certain if an armyman painted, he would be feted in the same Page 3 you criticise and been quite happy about it. Oh yes, I have also been extremely critical of the Page 3 types…
I am not denying there are a million jawans posted in various parts of the border areas; I will even grant that in some ways I can sleep safely because of that…it might interest you to know that a few blocks from my secured existence (had to add special grilles during the 1993 riots) a retired armyman has bought a house worth Rs. 8 crore. I am sure he has earned his stripes.
I am not cribbing about people leaving the Services. It is a relevant question and after all that you have written about my secure existence and sleeping well while you guys are in some remote areas (all true), you should be wondering about it too. If you think “it is not wrong as every man has a right to grow in life”, then you are in fact suggesting that growth within the army is of less consequence, that an armyman is allowed to go out and seek better avenues whereas an ordinary citizen cannot paint or write and has to feel indebted to such an Army and not raise a voice at all…in reality it is not my criticism that is harmful but these people leaving that is a slap to the organisation.
You should also be asking yourselves why there are so many suicides, why armymen are killing each other.
You may ask me to keep quiet (that I won’t is another matter), but will you be able to stem the rot? It is heart-warming to know that the Army has adopted a leper colony in the North East; the Army has; not an individual armyman. Right? So, how and why do you ask me as an individual to do so? Do you know what I do for what may be termed ‘less privileged’ people, and not just by writing but contributing in any way I can?
I would visit those camps you tell me about, but going by your reasoning would you not accuse me of doing it for media mileage?
The idea is not to sound insensitive to what soldiers go through but to look at other aspects as well.
“paye fateha koi aaye kyon koi chaar phool chadaaye kyon
koi aake shammaa jalaaye kyon main woh bekasi ka mazaar hoon”
This couplet by Zafar could apply to anyone who is helpless…should we create a tomb for that or transform the helplessness into vigilance?