Havildar Ravi Pal, Jammu
Sepoy Rakesh Singh, Bihar
Sepoy Javra Munda, Jharkhand
Sepoy Janrao Uke, Maharashtra
Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai, West Bengal
Lance Naik R K Yadav, Uttar Pradesh
These are some of the names of the 17 Indian soldiers who were martyred in the #UriAttack. Who were these people? Were they Maratha, Jat, OBC, Dalit, Adivasi, Brahmins or any other caste? What was their skin colour, were they fair, dark, or ‘wheatish complexioned’? What language did they speak? Marathi, Dogri, Maithili or Bengali? What water did they drink? The water of Cauvery, Krishna, Ganga or Yamuna?
Truth is, these soldiers had only ONE identity, that of a Jawan. They had only one colour, – that of their uniform and they spoke only one language, that of Naam, Namak Aur Nishaan!
These soldiers were burnt alive while they were in their sleep. Does their death bother us at all? Does it make us feel so desolate and angry that we are desperate to do something?
One Rohit Vemula kills himself and thousands of people are made to mourn his death systematically. One convicted terrorist Yakub Memon is hanged and thousands accompany his Janaza. One terrorist Burhan Wani is killed in an encounter and reams of sympathy literature being circulated about his ‘school headmaster’ father. How many people will accompany the final journey of these seventeen?
In this country, every day, thousands of people take to the streets and burn public property, sometimes to demand water, sometimes to beg for reservations, sometimes for their language, sometimes to express solidarity with criminals and terrorists. How many will take to the streets for our soldiers?
Yesterday, seventeen of our soldiers died, tomorrow twenty-five will, and what will be our response as a nation? Play cricket with Pakistan? Arrange Ghulam Ali concerts, make mediocre movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan a super-hit? Drool over Pakistani actors?
A nation that cannot respect its heroes does NOT deserve to be free!