I guess it’s the way we have been brought up; the societal pressure not to question or object, lest someone of significance takes offense. We don’t question elders, teachers or anyone who we feel may be offended. So, we put our heads down, lead our submissive lives and go to meet our maker, heads bowed.
This attitude extends to our national security. We are always tentative, always on the back foot.
Sample this. Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers, and a month does not pass by when Pakistan does not remind us, directly or obliquely, about this. The Pakistani play is simple; don’t think you can push us. We have nuclear weapons that can turn New Delhi and Mumbai into ash in a matter of minutes.
Under the protection of this nuclear umbrella, Pakistan launches Kargil, 26/11 and the Parliament attacks. It does so with absolute impunity, supremely confident that India will never respond. Well, that part is true. India has, true to form, never responded.
Not a year goes by when the People’s Liberation Army of China does not encroach upon Indian Territory, regular as the monsoon. China defeated us in a short vicious border war in 1962, with no mean help from the nation’s Chacha, the redoubtable Nehru and his defence minister Krishna Menon. Students keen on military history must read Brigadier John Dalvi’s iconic treatise, The Himalayan Blunder. So shocking were the facts that government of the day banned the book. But the truth is the truth. Ask any Indian Army officer, and he will swear by Dalvi’s magnificent 506 pages of pure truth.
The Indian Army has put the defeat behind it and has built, drilled, modernized and trained itself to an impossibly high degree of perfection. We have raised new mountain divisions and strike corps. Yes, the Chinese Army is still much larger and better equipped. But this is not 1962. And the Indian Army is no pushover.
We have the capability to make it extremely expensive for China to wage war. Let me put it simply; we have the means to seriously degrade and denude China’s war machine.
We are as honed to a razor’s edge, as we will ever be. But the Indian Army is like a Samurai’s Katana, forever in the scabbard of political will. And that is our greatest misfortune.
We are not warmongers. We are the last people on earth who want a war, because it is we who die and we who kill. It is our bodies, which come back, wrapped in the tri-color. But go to war, we must.
A man may live without food and water for days. He may even live without air for a few minutes. But how may a man live without honor, even for a moment?
It breaks a soldier’s heart when he sees Pakistan sending terrorists from across the Line of Control, and he is not allowed hot pursuit, back into Pakistan. A soldier dies a thousand deaths when his brother’s are martyred in Kargil, and there is no consequence for Pakistan. It crushes his spirit when the Chinese Army walks into Arunachal Pradesh and stakes claim on his motherland.
All because our political leadership has always been beset by imaginary fears.
Imaginary fears like, if we respond Pakistan will use tactical nuclear weapons. If we are aggressive, the world will think lesser of us and we will not be considered a mature democracy. And, China will be angry.
Every body dies. That is God’s law. Lets quit philosophizing about it. I remember what a Gurkha soldier had once told me in Kashmir – “Kaphar hunnu bhanda marnu ramro”. It is better to die, than to be a coward.
Political analysts will laugh at the simplicity of the Gurkha soldier. They may even derisively call him a simpleton, not understanding of how this complex world works. Maybe so. But a person who is willing to kill and die for his beliefs and his code of honor will always walk with the gods. His place will never be amongst those timid souls who lived their lives, beset by imaginary fears.
Not for a moment am I advocating war for war’s sake. I am as much for peace as the next person. I am willing to bend over backward if it can stop blood from being spilt.
But know this – a nation does not live on its knees. That is something that our political masters will have to understand.
Nothing will happen if you cross the LoC and give Pakistan a bloody nose. There will be no nuclear war. We are a nuclear power, too. That did not stop Pakistan from launching Kargil. Then why must we be so mentally fragile, so tentative? Let’s cross over and break Pakistan’s spine once; a quick and extremely violent operation near Lahore, the heart of Pakistan.
The next time you have the PLA troops crossing over into India, kill a few and capture the rest. There will be a diplomatic row. Indian political analysts will go on national TV and decry the sheer “immaturity” of the action. But our aim will have been achieved. China will get the message. China always gets the message if it is explained to them in the language they understand.
You cannot negotiate from a position of weakness. You cannot live on your knees.
Ancient Japanese sword makers would consider a Katana sharp enough only if it could cut through strands of hay floating in the air. The Indian Army is your Katana. Trust your Katana, for it is the most formidable fighting blade this world has ever seen.
Unleash us. Let the Katana cut through bone and sinew. That is who we truly are; hunters of men and gatherers of souls.