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Karthik's India

Karthik's India

Author: Tarun Vijay
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 12, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3225864,flstry-1.cms

It's difficult to forget the picture of an 11-year-old Karthik leading the funeral procession of his father VV Rao, a young Indian Foreign Service officer who was killed in Kabul's fidayeen attack along with 40 others that included three Indians - Brig Mehta of the Indian army and Ajay Pathania and Roop Singh of the ITBP. What had Rao and the other 40 done to invite this sudden death?

One can only wish that the India to be inherited by Karthik and his generation would be free from hate, intolerance and terrorism.

His father was a brave man as were Brig Mehta, Ajay Pathania and Roop Singh. Patriotic Indians, who gave their lives for the cause of motherland. Those who caused the blast were cowards, so much full of hate and intolerance that they took their own life to kill others. Those fidayeens or suicide bombers must be having close relatives like parents, wife, children or sisters and brothers. It's impossible for us to imagine that when they decide to take their own life to kill others, they do not remember their children, if they have any, or some one whom they love. Those responsible for 9/11 and the attack on Parliament and those who provided local support and material to attackers for the final assault must have had the same kind of blood relations. So what made them to choose death and darkness over a flowering of life in their courtyard and in the homes of others?

Nothing, but an intense indoctrination by semi-literate clergymen to the effect that they believe their ideology alone is good and all others are false. Hence it's incumbent upon the faithful to bring the "others" under their umbrella. There is no space for a "no". It's "yes" or a bullet. This is what intolerance is all about. Disrespect for the other viewpoint and self-ordained responsibility to "civilize" the world as per their own interpretation of truth.

Once Kabul, where Rao was killed, had hundreds of Shiva temples. And a great statue of Buddha in Bamiyan. A mountain range known as Hinduraj.

Now there is no trace of any temple, no Buddha statue and the mountain range we know about is known as Hindukush, meaning the place where Hindus were decimated.

Only a community like the Hindus can tolerate a mountain range with a name that celebrates their elimination.

What makes a group, organisation or a person kill someone whom they do not know? No personal animosity, no relation whatsoever but their murder brings them a sort of joy and satisfaction and they swear to kill more. Since the times of Ram and Ravana, those who love their nation and live for her get their endurance and patience tested in a harshest manner. Everyone, who lives for noble ideals and dies in the line of duty, must remember this.
To understand it, the story of Joan of Arc helps.

She was just 19 and held the victory flag of her nation France with pride and courage.
The greatest national heroine of France, Joan was a peasant girl who led the French army to several important victories and was indirectly responsible for the coronation of King Charles VII. She was captured by the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court and burned at the stake. Her "crime" was patriotism, which was interpreted then by the religious bigots as vanity. The bishop who ordered her death was so insecure that when she was burnt and declared dead, once again her body was put to flames to ensure the charcoal turned into ashes and then those ashes were thrown into the Seine that runs through the middle of Paris so that people who loved her would not get even a trace of her body.

Before she died, Joan of Arc said: "Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die there." And she further added: "One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying."

Powerful words indeed. You need real steel in your veins to utter such immortal words when death is staring right in the face and you are just 19.

Twenty years later the English were thrown out of France and 24 years later the Holy See reviewed the decision of the ecclesiastical court, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. There are movies, picture galleries, books and celebrations in her name. She died a painful death but served her nation and became a martyr.

Those who died in Kabul, like Karthik's father, have not died in vain but for a purpose and a day is not far when all of these barbaric jihadis and coward fidayeens would be eliminated and thrown out of our nation and also from other places where they have found a hideout.

We must proclaim at the top of our voice that those who kill our people and live here as traitors, we do not know what love or hatred God has for them, but we do know that they will all be thrown out of India, except those who die here.
Such people remain more vocal always. Till the day of judgment finally arrives. None knew a JP would unleash a movement that would change the agenda and throw out the dictatorial elements; nor did anyone have a premonition that giants like Justice JML Sinha and Justice HR Khanna would stand fearlessly firm against abusers of state power. They made India proud. So don't notice people who live in abundance and die unsung. Like those kings who collaborated with the invaders to save their tiny kingdoms and those Rai Bahadurs and officers who served the British. Their collective wealth can't match the immense valour and patriotism of one single Bhagat Singh who was hanged by the alien rulers or Captain Hanifuddin who was martyred in the Kargil war.

There are people who say they are secular but they behave in the most dastardly, communal way. When I see their letters as comments on my column it makes me sad to know that how ignorant they are of their ancestors, their struggles and the common, shared heritage. They are as intolerant as those fidayeens who killed 41 innocent people in Kabul.

Karthik's generation must stand up to say no to all these injustices and unfair attitudes, with hatred for none, not even for the enemy. All the courage and valour must be reserved for the one unpardonable foe - the foe of the nation and our people collectively. Like our jawans do in a war, when ordered to do so by the constitutional authorities alone. Bearing the standard of the nation, the Tricolour.

To make this happen we have a great source of inspiration in Guru Govind Singh. When he was nine years old, as Govind Rai, he asked his father Guru Tegbahadur: "O father, who is greater than you to protect Kashmiri Hindus." Such was his grit and commitment to the cause of the nation. His father Guru Tegbahadur, was martyred for protecting Kashmiri Hindus from the same intolerant hateful elements and became known as Hind ki Chadar - the protector of Hindusthan. Later Govind Rai became the 10th Guru and established Khalsa. All his four sons gave their lives for the cause of the nation, the Dharma, protecting the weak and helpless people. His two elder sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh laid down their lives fighting the intolerant Pathans at the age of 17 and 15 respectively. And other two sons Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were buried alive in a wall, brick by brick by the intolerant bigots. The martyred sons were only seven and nine years old. With every brick coming up, the kazi would ask; "Do you accept Islam?" And the brave sahibzadas would say: " Wahe Guru ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru ki Fateh (We wont change our dharma.)" And they were buried in Sirhind fort.

That's our history. The history of Hakikat Rais and Laxmi bais and Vivekanandas and Sri Aurobindo.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose could have become one of the richest civil servant in India, perhaps more wealthy than the Raibahadurs and the kings who chose to become courtiers to the British crown. But he chose a harder, more difficult path and became the greatest source of inspiration to us.

That's our past. Those who try to forget it or give a twisted secularised colour, and propagate demonism against the assertive inheritors of national legacy; they betray their own soul. Deleting the past is deleting the future. Forgetting our ancestors and their struggles and pains is sinning against our own soil. Those who fought for the collective good against aliens were our people. We have their blood and valour in our veins. Remembering them must make us better humans in values and wisdom. And firm our resolve to come out of the present dark age sooner.

Now think of the two old "boys" Bush and Manmohan who are in their last leg of governance making way for the new set of people to take over in a couple of months. But they are forcing a treaty on us, forgetting any commitment to fight out terror forces. The charade of laying wreaths and visiting hospitals must be ended with a war on terrorism. But they are stuck in a deal nobody wants. A deal being opposed by more than half the parliamentarians belonging to diametrically opposed parties and ideologies. Can such governors and politicians provide a leadership that India needs in present turbulent times? The only good thing is that the present set of rulers is finally leaving and one can hope whatever comes next would be better than them.

- The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

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