A video clip on Twitter shows the ExCM of J&K Farookh Abdullah dancing merrily in some wedding or some Happy social gathering. Some fellow Indians are deeply disappointed by seeing the Clip. There disappointment comes from this thought: ExCM of J&K Farookh Abdullah makes merry while the soldiers die on the borders defending the country and Kashmir is burning.
With due respect to their disappointment, I find the clubbing together of the two as misplaced.
You see India is not a military State. It’s a Republic Nation, where the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives. Army is just one of the many institutions safeguarding the country. Nothing more.
Saying this as it’s not the Army alone which is safeguarding India, other factors are contributing to its safety as well. For instance, the elected Government’s diplomatic policies and relations with neighboring countries and others. This is exactly what it means when we hear terms such as preventive diplomacy, soft power, economic diplomacy etc.
In simple, things cannot be seen from a very limited “Soldiers are dying” perspective.
In a republic the more important situation is: People are Dying.
And whenever people die, the elected representatives need to introspect and look at the Government policies.
Here it’s important to understand that a soldier does not come under “people” here. He’s a component of an institution run and maintained by the Nation to safeguard its geographic borders. Any young man or woman can understand this distinction easily — A soldier is trained and armed (given a weapon) to do his duty. “People” neither have such a training, nor have a weapon to safeguard the borders or defend self. And rightly so.
What’s important here for the people to understand is that the habit of pointing to the service rendered by a soldier to understand India, is not good. India is not what its army does. India is its people. The moment we see a soldier representing India, we not only clog our thinking, we also blunt our voice on more pressing issues of “Governance for people” — such as employment, price rise, Health and Education etc.
As far as a public representative is concerned (people rule through him/her), his/her becoming vocal about an issue is sufficient. In this respect the comment about Ex-CM of J&K becomes unnecessary. He has already spoken in support of people in the state. Things would have totally been different if he had shirked (run away) from speaking in support of people.
That said, if a public representative can frame policies to have more peaceful borders, then he/she must do so. If maintaining an Army or defense apparatus takes money (which can otherwise be channelized to employment, education, decline in essential commodity prices, health and good life for people), then the Government must make every policy to reduce any loss in the Army in the form of man power and resources.
But above anything, a public representative must not tolerate collateral damage (Collateral damage is a general term for deaths, injuries, or other damage inflicted on an unintended target i.e. to civilian or People). Why, simple : India is ruled by the people, for the people.
To conclude, in a country where people are supreme, the focus is on and must be on people. People don’t include Institutions. For logical reasons.
If people keep looking at Soldiers, then they will not be able to press their representatives on more important questions. More pressing questions affecting the lives of crores, such as — employment, education, decline in essential commodity prices, health and good life for people — will get relegated to oblivion.