Predictably, Indian politicians are busy scoring petty political points off each other in the face of the horrific tragedies unfolding in Uttarakhand. The politicians quickly became busy plotting a course to see how they could most visibly and noticeably ‘help’. Meanwhile the country’s Military, particularly the Indian Air Force and the Army quickly swung into action – swift, effective and calm – action which started to immediately make an actual difference on the ground where required the most.
THE POLITICAL POSTURING AND THE PHOTO OPS
Very visible was Narendra Modi’s rushing to Uttarakhand in what the media is calling his “Rambo Act” – where he claimed to ‘save’ thousands of Gujarati lives. Other Indian lives are perhaps less important in his limited view. I wonder what he did… Line up people and then say “Gujaratis come with me” or something to that effect? Even as a proud, true blue Guajarati, I thought this Guajarati messiah act unseemly in the face of such a massive tragedy.
And then there was his chest thumping assertion that he would rebuild the Kedarnath temple – in his skewed priorities, funding hospitals and schools is less important. This, in the face of urgent need of rescue and relief, of medicines, of food and shelter? If this is not supposed to send out a message and score political brownie points I don’t know what is.
And then there was the Congress reply to NaMo’s Rambo act – call it action, call it reaction – where the smiling, flag waving Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were seen to send off a convoy of trucks bound for the Uttarakhand rescue and relief operations.
What followed of course was a predictable babble of political voices in the media each accusing each other of window dressing while claiming to do all of the ‘real work’ themselves. Predictable, self serving, thoughtless, shortsighted, self centered; in other words, behavior highly characteristic of the Indian Politician. Sure they helped; but they made very, very sure that everyone saw them help.
THE REAL RESCUE & RELIEF BY THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES
As usual it was left to the Indian soldier to go in there and to start making a real difference on the ground – carrying the stranded to safety, bringing succor to the wounded, feeding the hungry, setting up makeshift relief camps and going intrepidly where entire roads and bridges have been swept away. Air lift rescues, putting up rope bridges across rivers in spate and using harnesses to escort people out of danger – this is all in a day’s work for the unsung Indian soldier.
Meanwhile terror strikes killed 8 jawans in Srinagar just ahead of PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to the Kashmir valley – scarcely an eyelid is batted. We are all much too busy observing squabbling politicians spewing vituperation at each other to grieve them.
PROUD TO BE AN AIR FORCE WIFE
“Our helicopter rotors will not stop churning till such time that we get each one of you. Hang in there, don’t lose hope.” This is the heartening message that the Indian Air Force sent out to the people even as it tirelessly continued its biggest ever rescue and relief operation in the inhospitable and inaccessible higher reaches of those stunningly beautiful, terribly treacherous mountains.
As the wife of an Air Force officer I know how hard these men and women work – their tirelessness, their dedication, their never-say-die spirit, their willingness to just do what needs to be done – all done without any chest thumping or sense of self congratulation.
These men and women take their aging machines – choppers and transport air craft that are well past their prime – these are the workhorses of the Indian Air Force – make sure they are flight worthy and fly off courageously into whichever danger zone they’re required to. (I never fail to be amazed and what tremendous resource utilization the Indian Air Force is capable of, given the paucity of those resources.)
As being somehow connected to this organisation, I am proud; I am humbled and just want to say JAI HIND to all Indian Soldiers and urge all the guardians of the skies; all the air warriors I know and those that I don’t – to keep doing what they do best: “TOUCH THE SKY WITH GLORY”!
Image Source: IANS