In memory of the martyrs of the Uri attack.
Never before in the twenty-six years of Kashmir’s insurgency has such a thing happened. Never. While the Kaluchak Massacre had a larger casualty figure, the number of personnel martyred in that attack was smaller. Yesterday morning, around dawn, four terrorists, all part of a fedayeen group from the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit, struck the rear area of an administrative complex near the Headquarters of 12 Infantry Brigade in Uri. They were armed with white phosphorous powder, AK-47s with under-barrel grenade launchers, grenades and a lot of ammunition. They had rations and area maps with them as well. Most of the equipment had Pakistani markings. Temporary shelters housing soldiers went up in flames as a result of the attack. Eighteen soldiers of the Indian Army were martyred in the single largest attack an Army base has seen in Kashmir. Many others were injured. Later in the day, the militants were neutralised.
Enough is enough! We’ve had till here with that terror-sponsoring nation called Pakistan. That country is not willing to mend its ways and it’s time for India, its politicians, bureaucrats and people to know that there can be no more talks with a country that harbours the ilk of Sayeed Salahuddeen, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Maulana Masood Azhar, to name a few. We’ve had Pathankot earlier this year and now Uri. In between, there has been the two month-long unrest in the Vale of Kashmir in response to the killing of militant Burhan Wani. Little of what I say will make any difference but I shall say it nonetheless. It’s time we grew some balls and fought fire with fire. But no, we must be all ahimsavaadi. There will be crazies who, despite the Uri and Pathankot attacks, will say that talks are the only way forward to mend relations between India and Pakistan. The unique relationship we share with that country can be extremely confusing: allow me to put forth a few points in that regard:
- This is the same country with whose backing tribals invaded Kashmir in October ’47. The tribals received logistical support from Pakistan. The tribals also had Pakistan Army regulars in their ranks.
- The same Pakistan initiated Operation Gibraltar, which resulted in the War of ’65.
- The same Pakistan went on a mass-murdering spree in its Eastern wing in March ’71. The country then bombed numerous Indian airfields in the northern parts of the country on Dec 3rd, 1971, which was the beginning of the 1971 Indo-Park War.
- After the war, we repatriated some 93,000 prisoners of war. These were all of Pakistan’s troops India had in custody. Pakistan still has not, over 40 years on, sent back at least 54 of our soldiers in their custody.
- In 1989, the insurgency in Kashmir kicked off. This very same Pakistan, along with Kashmir’s separatists, worked towards creating a war zone of the land they so desperately craved. They incited, brainwashed and trained many young Kashmiri boys in the use of weapons in order to wage a proxy war against the Indian Union. This war continues till today, sponsored by the state of Pakistan, the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, all hiding behind the United Jihad Council.
- In February 1999, Indian Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee travelled to Lahore to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in a bid to improve relations between the two neighbours. Unknown to us, troops from Pakistan’s Northern Light Infantry Regiment had already set up home in the mountains of Ladakh. The mountainous desert turned into a battlefield from early May to the 26th of July as India’s armed forces fought to push the invaders back.
- The same Pakistan is sheltering the men mentioned earlier.
- The same Pakistan assured India of action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks of November 26th, 2008.
- The same Pakistan promised an investigation into links within their homeland regarding the Pathankot Air Force Station attack of 3rd January 2016.
These are some of the instances where Pakistan has shown its true colours. Remember those wise words from Ronald Weasley: “Poisonous toadstools don’t change their spots.” We have, over a period of time, constantly made attempts to trust Pakistan and its establishment. And what has that brought us? Nothing. Nothing but bloodshed and coffins covered in the Tricolour. How is it that we still want to promote goodwill and peace with a country that is clearly a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Pakistan’s engagements on the proxy war fronts have gone too far this time around. We have to retaliate. As a nation, we have to show our soldiers that we do not consider them to be disposable assets. They brave all situations for the nation. We have to stand with them. There can be no two ways about it. A message should go out to Pakistan. No matter what they say, they will not get away with attacks like Uri and Pathankot. We have to make it clear to the United States of America that we are not going to cow down and talk to their friends, who happen to be our neighbours. The big guys want their goods to flourish in India, they’ve got to put a stop to their support for Pakistan. No use in talking to the United Nations. They literally give no damns about us and since China’s on the Security Council, we can expect as much help from them against Pakistan as we can from Rohit Sharma in winning the Tests against the Kiwis. We will not be threatened by nuclear weapons, lest Pakistan forget that we have a few of our own. ‘No First Use’ can go take a walk. Our policy should be ‘No First Use in a state of conventional war’. We should make it sufficiently clear that we will not shy away from nuking that miserable country if India and her assets are attacked like this. If war is what Pakistan so badly wants, they should know that we will not back down. To quote Sir Winston Churchill, “We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our country (changed from island), whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!” This is, of course, not to put forth the idea that I’d prefer war. But Pakistan deserves a response, so perhaps a surgical strike. Non-state actors aren’t an option anyway, since mercenaries will switch sides when offered more money.
The government is taking steps, which I believe. It would be foolish to reveal anything to the public at this point in time. However, talking tough will not be enough. We have to stop entertaining Pakistan now. I’m all for culture, sport and politics to stay apart from each other but Pakistan has taken one step too many this time. Allow all Pakistani artistes in the country to leave once their existing projects are wrapped up. No cricket matches. No hockey matches. No concerts. Nothing. Also, a word for our politicians. At a time when an attack like Uri has taken place, please, try to get along. Back the government, Opposition. Government, take note of what the Opposition has to say. This is playing into Pakistan’s hands. The establishment there knows that our politicians love to bicker with each other. Stop the constant blame games and get back to ground. The bureaucrats too must step up their game. Try to be mature and stop being all sulky about your tiffs with the Services. The media, get out of the field. I sincerely request you. There is no good in helping terrorists by giving them a live feed of the operations. And please stop licking Pakistan’s ass. If you love that country so much, leave India and settle down there. Human Rights groups, shut up. Or speak now. Say that the human rights of the eighteen martyrs were violated. But you won’t do that, will you? Human rights are only for militants, suspected and proven, and for stone-pelters. The ones who are at the receiving end don’t deserve human rights, according to you.
I’m okayishly active on WhatsApp. As a twelfth standard student, I’m well-versed, as are most of my peers, about current affairs. To my surprise, not one person said a single thing about the Uri attack today. On the class group, this was fine since that’s mostly for notices and stuff. But other groups with people who are touted as the future of the country were silent. Why? Are we so unconcerned about our soldiers’ lives? People felt shocked when I said I didn’t know a certain Dr RA Mashelkar, who is a chemical engineer and a former DG of the CSIR as per his Wikipedia page. Agreed. I should’ve known about him. My counter question: Have you heard the names of Colonel Santosh Mahadik, SC, SM? Captain Tushar Mahajan, SC? Captain Pawan Kumar, SC? Hav Hangpan Dada, AC? Do these names, and those of so many others, ring a bell? Are we really so forgetful? Or do we just not care? Does the life of a soldier carry any value for the people of the country they protect? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.
Diwali is coming. Eighteen families will not be able to celebrate it with the fervour and joy associated with the festival. Children, wives, parents, siblings, friends….all waiting for their loved ones to turn up. Alas, that shan’t be so. Let us not let these families, and all those of all the martyrs this nation has seen, down. Let us prove, once and for all, that India is a force to reckon with and her enemies better watch out. Jai Hind!
Featured Image: Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, New Delhi (Courtesy of Google Images)
Varun Bhakay’s Writer’s Block (2016)