I’m a patriot to the core, I love this country with all its greatness, beauty and its shadows. I am proud to be born Indian and would not change that, no matter what the choices are in any life this or the next.
I’m a patriot. My heart swells up and I stand taller every time I see the tricolor. I have seen it fly high and wrapped around the patriots I am indebted to. 4 generations of olive greens and I’m proud it flows through my veins.
I grew up in the India where soldiers were “martyred” in battle and only the enemy was “killed”. Where the family of a martyr was seen to have earned a lifetime of respect. Where the small city stood still just to get news of those fighting at the front so everyone else could hold up their head. Where medals were recognized as blood and sacrifice not metal. Where every one knew the real meaning of Naam. Namak. Nishan.
I’m a patriot but I have seen what no patriot should ever have had to witness. I saw a media falling over itself to cover a murder and ignore those who gave their lives to protect this country. I saw the same media mention in 2 lines an encounter where 5 terrorists were killed by the army in a “fierce battle”. I saw the forces called to maintain peace where people were burning tax payers property because they wanted their demand for special treatment met and in the same breath I saw the media print propaganda against the veterans calling their demands a burden on the GDP. I saw a 22 year old threaten the peace of an entire state bringing it to its knees and I saw the medals and respect ripped off a veteran on peaceful protest by the police. I saw thousands of crores being promised for votes and I saw the veterans being evaluated as a burden on the GDP. I saw the flowers being laid amidst flashing cameras in a tokenism of “respect” for the martyrs of 65 while the wife of a Param Vir Chakra holder of that war has to wash utensils to keep alive because the 5000 Rupees of pension does not last the week. I saw the media at its prestitute worst calling the boycott of the very same war event by those who won it “disrespectful”.
I saw the thankless people sitting in their air conditioned rooms trolling the veterans on social media complaining of a burden on the GDP and I saw the media print propaganda, I saw paid Twitter trolls amplify propaganda in an effort to break morale and systematically destroy public support for the very same #OROP that the babus quietly signed for themselves decades ago.
I saw people call our veterans impatient, greedy, stubborn and as the media mocked all this or ignored it. I saw the tiny ticker of “PAK Firing: 3 killed 22 injured. Cease fire violation yet again firing from across the border escalates” on news channels. I saw for the first time ever indians quoting the enemy taunting our troops “humse Jo takrayega jantar mantar pe dande khaye ga”
Meanwhile the widow of the Param Vir Chakra awardee from the war of 1965 we celebrated the golden jubilee of today… Lives in extreme poverty and that news ticker which announced “3killed really said 3 more are now in line for a lifetime of thanklessness”
I saw the future but I am afraid to voice it for it may come true.