Do not divide army in name of State or religion
Defence commanded respect. It was like a holy cow. Nobody spoke ill of it. Defence personnel were kept in high esteem. In films, literature and other areas they were highly praised. Cut to Sonia and Rahul era. There is a new dawn. Not so beautiful. Questions are being asked about their bravery. Doubts are being expressed over their success. They are being dragged into controversies.
It is alright when they attack the Prime Minister, his government, his policies and programmes. He is not from the same party and the aim could be to see his back in next election. But the armymen cannot be removed after five years. They are there defending the borders, keeping away our enemies and giving us peaceful nights. To attack those who defend us is the worst crime. Those doing it are the country's enemies. They are worse than Pakistan and China.
The problem is, if you criticise these people, you are bracketed with some body or with some party. The left liberals and so-called secularists will pounce on you. This lobby has connections outside the country. So you will find articles or write-ups against you in other parts. They have supporters or sympathisers every where. Logic will thrown to the wind. No explanation is acceptable to them. You will become an untouchable for the pseudo seculars and left liberals.
A new trend which has emerged now is more painful. The army is being divided into regions, also on communal lines. It is one and undivided. Caste, religion or any such thing meant nothing to them. The defence personnel are above all this.
In the recent unarmed conflict between India and China, our bravehearts had broken the back of the enemies. The entire world has been a witness to it. They belonged to different state of the country.
For instance, in Galwan valley of Ladakh the defence personnel who clashed at 14000 feet height belonged to the 16th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment.
Most of them were not from Bihar. But these narrow minded people thought other wise. Some of them also linked it to Assembly elections in Bihar which is scheduled to be held in a couple of months.
There is no Bihari or Bengali or Tamilian in the army. They are all Indians.
These casteists and communalists will not project it like that. It is hard for any one to reason with them.
Still, I want to enlighten them. Bihar regiment's commanding officer Colonel B. Santosh Babu who was martyred was a native of Suryapet in Telangana. Subedar N Soren and Mayurbhanj belonged to Odisha.
Some other martyrs also hailed from other areas.
Subedar Mandeep Singh was from Patiala (Punjab), Havildar K Palani from Madurai (Tamil Nadu) ,Havildar Bipul Roy , from Meerut City (Uttar Pradesh), Subedar Satnam Singh from Gurdaspur (Punjab) , Deepak Kumar ,from Rewaan (Madhya Pradesh) , Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha , from Sahibganj (Jharkhand) , Sepoy Rajesh Orang from Birbhum (West Bengal) , Sepoy Ganesh Ram ,from Kanker (Chhattisgarh) , Chandrakant Pradhan , from Kandhamal (Orissa) , Sepoy Ankush ,from Hamirpur (Uttar Pradesh) , Sepoy Gurbinder ,from Sangrur (Punjab) and Sepoy Gurtej Singh , from Mansa (Punjab). Similarly, only Jats do not form part of the Jat Regiment or Gorkhas from Gorkha Regiment. Any regiment can have a young man from any part of the country .
If we look back, Bihar regiment was formed in 1941 by the British. It was formed after reorganising the 11th (Territorial) Battalion and 19th Hyderabad Regiment. It is one of the oldest infantry regiments of the Indian Army.
Srinivas Kumar Sinha, Lieutenant general (retired) of the Indian Army, who has received distinguished service medal, can be called the greatest warrior of Bihar. He was also the Governor of Assam , Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. He was born in Gaya district in Bihar. He joined the army in the year 1943 and was in Gorkha Regiment. He was also among the first batch of Indian soldiers entering Jammu and Kashmir when Pakistani tribals had attacked in 1947 . He resigned from the army when the Indira government ignored his seniority in 1983 and appointed General Arun Sridhar Vaidya as the Chief of the Indian Army. Later, he was appointed Ambassador and posted in neighbouring Nepal. He has authored five books, including one titled " A Soldier Recalls ' which is primarily an autobiographical book. He was not from the Bihar Regiment but from the Gorkha Regiment.
I want to give two more examples to this gang which is trying to divide the army.
First, Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, under whose leadership the Indian Army had won the Indo-Pakistan War in 1971 , resulting in creation of Bangladesh. He was born in a Parsi family in Amritsar. His family had moved to Punjab from the Gujarat city of Valsad. Manekshaw got his early education in Amritsar. He later joined Sherwood College, Nainital. He was in the Gorkha Regiment . Second, General F N Billimoria was also from the Parsi family of Hyderabad and was an officer in Gorkha Regiment.
More instances. Lieutenant General JFR Jacob, 1971 war veteran, was a Jew. He was the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command at that time. General Jacob, had entered East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and launched a massive attack on Pakistani forces. It was because of his war skills that more than ninety thousand Pakistani soldiers had surrendered to the Indian Army with their weapons, which is the largest military surrender of the world till date. Similarly, former Army Chief JJ Singh was from Maratha Regiment.
It should clear all doubts and re-establish that the Indian Army is completely secular and above regionalism. Every person associated with the army is always ready to sacrifice his life for the country. It has to be also kept in mind that China is still a threat to the country.
Troops of both countries are confronting each other on the Indo-China border. The whole country has to be on alert.
(The writer is a Senior Editor, Columnist and former MP)