23.5.09

Did anybody remember a soldier today?

America commemorates the soldiers who have died in wars on Memorial Day. For most people it is a long weekend about things they will do – go to the supermarket, stock up on what they need to live, plan a short trip out of town, watch lots of movies, call friends over for a barbeque, rustle up some fancy meals, clean out cupboards, complete pending paperwork, go swimming-walking-cycling-snorkelling-rock climbing-bungee jumping, open that special bottle of wine.

Dead soldiers are not on most people’s minds.

You might question me about the cynicism. After all, I do not object to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, the day of the jackal and stuff, so why this? Because wars are vicious. Soldiers do not plan them; politicians do and in military dictatorships generals do, though politicians in some societies decide what the generals must do.

Those who die rarely know about the cause they are fighting for. They are young people who are conscripted. Patriotism creates guinea pigs of people who ought to be contributing towards peace. It is what they want. Their parents want. Their spouses want. Their children want.

In India, the armed forces celebrate these events. Some people are given honours posthumously. The ordinary citizen gets to know about it in next day’s newspapers. So, we do not have a long weekend. But am sure, if we did then we’d do exactly the things mentioned.

Flowers on graveyards tomorrow will be wilted. That should tell us what such days truly mean…

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War, like other dramatic spectacles, might possibly cease for want of a "public." – George Eliot

6 comments:

  1. We have so many public holidays for all this,every thing is only for show

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  2. I agree that we too have many public holidays and we are not thinking about the occasion. But some require an element of solemnity and since that is not possible they turn farcical.

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  3. we are in catch 22....soldier is spurred to run towards sure death by emotions....of izzat ...but now he is asking for hardcash to compensate for hardships..but hard cash can only create a calculating employee...not a NOT AFRAID OF DEATH...soldier....so my country men will do well to spare some emotions...as lata mangeshkar pleaded..zaraa aankh main bhar lo paani.
    regards

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  4. Come on, hard cash does not always mean a calculating employee...the soldier has a family, has needs...it isn't a war zone everyday and some are teetotalers, so the mess booze is of no use (rhyme!)...and as for the song, filled with emotion though it is, I prefer climbing the peaks of the Himalaya than a 'ghayal hua Himalaya'.

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  5. hmmm....by forcing soldiers to demand for compensations...government has started a fierece debate in military circles..to top it..training schools were running at half strength coz of non availability of suitable volunteers...earlier..money though required was always deemed to be adequate and performance on duty was delinked from pay..one was drawing.by calculating i mean..when soldiers start implying itna paisa main itna hee milega...:D

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  6. Well, do the soldiers have such a choice? I have been rather harsh with the army for several reasons here, but I don't think like employees in many offices they can do a pens down while on the job. They can't say, itna mil raha hai tau itni hi golee chalaenge ya itni hi chont khayenge:)

    If interested in more on this, here...

    http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2009/04/army-at-war-with-itself.html

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