Few weeks back my brother called us one morning and chokingly told us one of his Officers of his Unit had died in an encounter with the militants in the Eastern Sector of India!! As an Infantry Officer, losing one of your men, be it an Officer or Jawan, is like losing one of your family members!! We all were in a state of grief and mourning upon hearing the news but I knew it was nowhere close to what my brother and his fellow Officers and Jawans must be going through!! Afterwards I decided to see if this was there in the news on TV!! I was shocked to know not only was it anywhere in the news but it wasn't even mentioned in the News Ticker that runs at the bottom of the screen on every News Channel!! That was the first thing that showed the sorry state of affairs of our country!! Next day I was expecting it to be there in the newspaper at least....but what did not appear in the Visual Media need not usually be expected from the Print Media either!! Now is this the best we can give to a soldier who died fighting for his own country, his own land and his own people?? The very country and people that does'nt even acknowledge leave alone appreciate his sacrifice!! Did'nt he just die an unknown and unwanted death??
During the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks, it was "all-hail Indian Army....all-hail NSG"!! Ask one person today the full-form of NSG and the closest anyone might get would be Nuclear Suppliers Group!! And this was a fact many civilians had sheepishly acknowledged that they did not even know the existence of NSG....they even went to the extent of saying that they thought such black suited mask-clad rifle-totting men existed only in Hollywood movies!! It seems to be our regular tendency....we remember our Men-In-Uniform only when God is nowhere in sight!! We send around emails with photos of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, his photos, his history and even his Orkut Profile link but today how many of us even rememeber his existence and his sacrifice??
Lets go back to the first issue that I touched....the Officer who died in the Eastern Sector!! Think of yourself as a parent whose son is in the Army and one day you get the news that he was martyred!! What do you think would hurt you the most....the fact that he died or the fact that the very country and the people for whom he died, doesn't even know about his sacrifice?? Won't you think you did a big mistake by letting your son join the Army and die for an ungrateful country that did not even think it was necessary to mention his death?? Is this the best we could give to our martyrs and their families?
I won't blame the people alone....its not their mistake if the news doesn't reach them!! Media has a major role to play in this shameless act as well!! There are many things about our media that frustrates me to the core....like why is it that a terrain becomes difficult and inhuman only when a reporter goes to that area!! They are more concerned about telling you what all the reporter has braved to reach that place rather than the hardships and courage of the men posted there!! They are more concerned with "Being There First" rather than the cause for which they are there!! And our soldiers are in news only when there is a glamor quotient to it....like in the case of 26/11 or the Akshardham attack....the sole reason being the media knows its happening in the core of the State and is going to last more than 24hrs!! Then they would get many "Exclusives" and a better opportunity to place their cameras at vantage-points so that their beloved viewers can have a better access to the "action"....of course who gives a damn bout the terrorists who also must be enjoying the same broadcast and planning their next course of action minute-by-minute!! And isn't it a well known fact that The Valley (Kashmir) witnesses such incidents on an almost daily basis?? Then why isn't there a similar round-the-clock coverage from there?? Oh....the TRPs....yes, almost forgot about them!! I did not know a soldier's life had a TRP too!! Now with all this, why should I feel proud to be an Indian??
Whilst we protect thee, thou shalt flourish, great and free!!