The exact identity of those who raised the ugly slogans at JNU has not been established. Pinning the entire blame on the organizers of the event without establishing the exact identity of those who raised the objectionable slogans is unjust.
But the slogans, taken in themselves, undoubtedly hurt and can incite anger. On one side are definitely the soldiers who have laid down their lives or who put their lives at risk in defending the country or keeping it together; and, on the other side, were these slogans that talked the opposite. The slogans trivialize the worth and value of the Indian soldier putting his life at risk in keeping the country together.
But is there anything else coming out of the ugly slogans in question in connection with the worth, value and well-being of the Indian soldier?
To see this, one shall have to have regard to the history of indigenous armies on the Indian subcontinent. There was a time, say under the great Ashoka, that the Indian Empire was one of the largest witnessed. But that was a time when India kept abreast of the developments in technology through regular touch with the outside world through campaigns such as that of Dhammavijaya that Ashoka inspired and initiated far and wide outside the subcontinent.
But once India started falling behind developments in technology – which started roughly from fifth-sixth century A.D. onwards; indigenous armies of the Indian subcontinent started suffering reverses. Invading armies from the outside had better weapons and better strategies acquired from developments regarding the same outside India. Numerically much smaller foreign armies repeatedly defeated much larger indigenous armies of the Indian subcontinent.
But the fighting quality of the Indian soldier was well known. The British immediately, given their meticulously crafted practical approach, recognized this and organized the Indian soldier on modern lines by giving them modern weapons and training them into latest fighting skills. The resultant Indian Army, thereafter, ranks with the best in the world.
Given the problem in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East region of the country; Indian Army is – and has been – deployed in massive numbers in these areas in defending and keeping the country together.
Few will question that it is through military deployment that India is keeping Kashmir as part of India and few will again question that it is military deployment through which insurgency movements in the north-east has been largely controlled or suppressed. In doing so, undoubtedly the Indian soldier has sacrificed his limb and life and continually puts the same at risk.
But the Indian soldier is also a human being. He is also a father, a son, a brother and a husband. He also would like to live and to avoid crippling injury.
The massive deployments in Jammu and Kashmir and the significant deployments in the Northeast regions for the purposes of fighting insurgency exposes the Indian soldiers near continually to risk of life and limb.
Is it through the might of the Indian Army or the fighting quality of the Indian jawans alone that should enable the country to be kept together? Doesn’t that expose the Indian soldier abnormally and unfairly to risk of life and limb by such continuous massive deployments to fight insurgency within the territories of India?
Shouldn’t there be massive initiatives instead to try to earn the goodwill of the regions facing insurgency threats in such manner and magnitude that it is not through the might of the Indian Army alone that such insurgency is quelled?
That, it is submitted, is another message coming out of the slogans raised at JNU recently, howsoever ugly they may be.
This other message is that for keeping the country together and for quelling the insurgency movements where they are ongoing within the territories of India; initiatives of considerable magnitude and manner need to be initiated to try to earn the goodwill in these regions towards quelling the insurgency movements; rather than mostly relying on the might of the Indian Army alone for the same.
If there is urgent focus on earning the goodwill of the regions facing insurgency threats; that has good potential, with the passage of time, to require less deployment of the Indian Army toward suppressing insurgency. Lesser deployment will mean lessening the massive exposure that the Indian soldier currently is facing to risk of life and limb within the territories of India towards fighting insurgency movements & threats. Wouldn’t that be in the interests of our Indian soldiers? After all, aren’t they also fathers, brothers, husbands and sons? Don’t they also deserve more chances to have lesser risks to their lives and limbs?
It is submitted, therefore, that the other message, not being seen right now, is that howsoever the slogans in question may be ugly; there needs to be generated initiatives, new and fresh, of magnitude and significance to try to earn the goodwill on overwhelming scale of the regions facing insurgency threats. Doing so will help keep the country together and in dealing with insurgency movements without relying on the Indian Army alone.
Lesser and reasonable exposure of the Indian soldier in suppressing and dealing with insurgency will be in the interests of Indian soldiers and if we care for our soldiers; we should measure the worth of this other message also and press for goodwill initiatives, fresh & urgent and of as deep a magnitude as reasonably possible in the Indian regions affected by insurgency.
And yes; the last, but not the least.
History of the Indian subcontinent has the message that dissent, howsoever ugly, should be paid attention to.
If the Status Quoists on the Indian Subcontinent had not stifled and suppressed all dissent questioning the social or political state of things in the Indian subcontinent and if the Status Quoists – far from trying to learn from developments abroad on basis of such dissents – had not tried their best to cut off India from the developments in the rest of the world in order to safeguard their vested interests from being questioned or threatened by such developments and advancements elsewhere; India, then, in that case, would not have been raped, looted, pillaged and humiliated so often as it was in history by just about any foreign invading army from roughly 5th – 6th AD onwards.
The yet other message thus from the slogans at JNU, howsoever ugly they may be, is that in the process of resisting insurgency and keeping the country together; the Indian soldier has to be given weapons, training, protection and battle gear at par with the best in the world; and has to be given facilities that are as reasonably best as possible; rather than the all out witch-hunting & name-calling that has commenced instead.
By Sanjay Kumar Singh at indiaopines blog
The author also blogs here