Soldiers are not born to tying shoelaces of ministers

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By Shazia Anwer Cheema

“Regard your soldiers as your children and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons and they will stand by you even unto death,” says Chines commander Sun Tzu in his top-read book among army leaders and that is —– The Art of War

Alexander the Great was shivering with fever because the poison of an arrow he got at Multan battle had already mixed in his blood when he was crossing rough and barren terrain before the coastal area of Makran. He stopped his horse and asked his commanders to gather around him. He gave a speech to them because he was fearing his death.

He said to his commanders:

“I do not know whether I would be able to lead any more battle or not. Any of you will replace me. You know what to do and how to crush enemies. I just want to suggest to you how to behave with your soldiers if you wish as successful as me. “Soldiers give their lives for you, and for your cause, and on your instructions, under your command. They need a share in war booty, good food, and little rest before the next battle. But most of it he (solider) needs and have the expectation to be treated with dignity and respect. Treating Soldiers with the proper respect they deserve often directly influences how well they perform their duties”.

The incident of civil war between Mao separatist and the Indian Army in Chateesghar directed a whispering debate in Indian media, that why a regular Army was insufficient for the bunch of Mao militants? How come videos viral on social media clearly showing Indian soldiers running for their lives?

I sometimes wonder how it can be possible that an army cannot control a group of individuals. No matter how furious the unrest could have been if one or more battalions decide to normalize the event they must do it.

The definition of a regular army it is a group of well-trained and well-equipped force. If we accept this definition then how come a privately organized militant band can compel regular army soldiers to run for their lives leaving so many dead and wounded soldiers behind?

My argument is not about who is right and who is wrong but my only concern is Naxalites cannot be more resourceful than the infamous drug lords of Latin America. These drug lords are far more trained than police and law enforcement agencies, but national armies are still capable to control them. The set of skills that solder has is unique and extraordinary and the war machinery he uses is not just an assault rifle.

The textbook examples we find in the region include the war against terrorism that Pakistan fought in North and South Waziristan, reclaiming law and order in Swat valley, and consolidating Pak-Afghan Border. Pakistan Army wrote history with his blood but won the foreign-sponsored insurgency with the shortest possible time. On the other hand, Indian state forces are engaged in seven sister states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim) for the last 20 years with no sign of winning the situation.

Let’s not dwell on the pros and cons of that for the moment, coming back to my argument; a soldier is trained to keep order and pumped by the glory of victory.

A few weeks ago a video was viral on social media in which a group of Indian Punjabi soldiers was threatening the government to treat members of Kisan Morcha decently or they (soldiers) will leave their posting stations and will join the Kisan Morcha.

If morality means subjugation and subjugation means tying shoelaces of a minister then a sense of duty and the concept of glory or martyrdom all get blurred.

I remember an incident of the year 2014 when a video got viral and created hue and cry on Indian Media. Video showing Rajnath Singh Minister for Defence sitting on a chair and an on-duty uniformed, fully decorated soldier is tying his shoelaces while bending on knees. A large number of retired soldiers and officers of the Indian Army in media condemned this scene.

A soldier is a human being first, meaning his cognitive system cannot be different from a civilian. The conduct which is not acceptable for any human being solely on the ground of humanity is equally unacceptable for a soldier too.

BJP government has woven a web of distraction for their citizens but a distracted soldier is a dead soldier.

Let us suppose I am a soldier working in any particular army and my family, my relatives including women, children and elderlies are protesting for their existence (Kisan Morcha Movement). How can I boost my self-respect and on what ground I can keep my moral compass intact? In that case, for me, morality, sense of duty, and glory all will become relative.

Unlike civilians, soldiers are not protesting against Modi-ism and its adventurism, instead, they are distracted enough to be claimed dead.

If morality means subjugation and subjugation means tying shoelaces of a minister then a sense of duty and the concept of glory or martyrdom all get blurred.

Soldiers fight for a cause, and that cause is being induced in them from the very beginning. If a call for duty, self-respect, and dignity got entangled, in that case, a soldier is programmed to fight for his mother lands’ respect. It is simple math, if a soldier is suffering from personal humiliation and self-worth, he will retaliate. Distractions such as his land being snatched by the government (Agri Bills reference), his sister being raped by an upper cast man, his family is terrified to prove their identity (Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019) because the government has introduced a new Citizen Act and above all, he has to kneel down in front of a minister to tie shoelaces while someone is filming the entire episode with the clear mood to publish it on social media, where his entire village along with family and friends will get the first-hand knowledge of the power and prestige of that uniform upon they were proud so much and for so long.

BJP government has woven a web of distraction for their citizens but a distracted soldier is a dead soldier.

Unlike civilians, soldiers are not protesting against Modi-ism and its adventurism, instead, they are distracted enough to be claimed dead.

George Smith Patton Junior was an Army General in the United States Army who commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the United States Army Central in France and Germany after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. His words are considered “Golden words” by military historians for portraying what a soldier must be. He says:

“It is a proud privilege to be a soldier – a good soldier [with] discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to comrades and to his superiors, and a self-confidence born of demonstrated ability.”  A soldier cannot live with peace unless he has high self-respect.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

Central Desk
Central News Desk.

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