Let us travel a few years back in time when India stood behind its armed forces as they fought the famous Kargil war in conditions considered to be unsuitable for human survival. Today, Their families fight each battle of life alone.
I still remember the times when India was busy celebrating Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Lahore visit and suddenly One fine day India woke up to a war. Pakistan got a befitting reply to its misadventure and our pride was restored as a result of supreme sacrifices made by our brave men and officers. Today 26 July is, celebrated as Vijay Divas, a reminder of the victory of our brave soldiers, our victory. In the year 1999 it was on this day that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. The trouble started on May 8 when Pakistani forces were detected atop the Kargil ridges. Although Indian army initially suffered losses they gained control of enemy occupied heights in good time. Despite an uphill fight all the way the brave Indian officers and jawans fought through the Pakistani barricades to fly the tricolour atop every single ridge in Kargil . Though a nation rejoiced in victory but Kargil left us with many lessons as well. Kargil has lessons in intelligence failure and we must make sure that such lapses are never ever repeated. Over and above this many citizens feel there is also a lesson from Kargil for senior officers in command as well as our politicians to not just look for a scapegoat for a joint intelligence failure, negligence and an incorrect or weak political will and hang the future and pride of some very fine officer like Brig Surinder Singh. Written by his immediate superior at the height of the Kargil campaign, Brigadier Surinder Singh's internal confidential report gave him 122 marks out of a possible 144, which was an exceptional score. His highest score, nine out of nine, came for qualities such as "boldness and resoluteness in the execution of his duties" and "acumen in judicious utilization of human and material resources.
What happened next is clear from these few lines from an article by PRAVEEN SWAMI in New Delhi
Quote - On August 22,of the year 2000 the outgoing Chief of the Army Staff General V.P. Malik issued a show-cause notice, holding out the threat of dismissal under Rule 19 of the Army service rules. The notice charged Brig. Surinder Singh with having leaked classified documents to the media, and of having vacated a forward post in the Kaksar sub-sector without authorisation. It also pointed to criticism of the Brigadier in the official Kargil Review Committee (KRC), chaired by defence analyst K. Subrahmanyam, and in the Army's own internal investigation of Kargil operations, conducted by Lieutenant-General A.R.K. Reddy. Gen. Malik's successor, General S. Padmanabhan, subsequently allowed Surinder Singh to resume duties at Ranchi, but eventually succumbed to institutional pressure to make the Brigadier a scapegoat - Unquote.
It’s a pity and a shame that a fine officer of the armed forces was shamelessly victimised to do some unrequired facesaving. By accepting joint failure the senior bosses would have shown maturity and grace.

The nation needs to be reminded that wars or big time military operations are not initiated by colonels or brigadiers but all info goes to higher commands and further on till Delhi where the top Generals take in to confidence the government and nothing can move on ground till the orders come from the very top and once the orders come the concerned commander on ground will take the requisite actions. I salute all the braves who made the supreme sacrifice and also the living legends who fought and survived but I also salute the brave and disciplined officers and men who were itching to go against the enemy but on their own could not have carried out such an operation at a brigade level alone without proper mobilisation and reinforcement and above all a yes from our akkas in Delhi. If this delay in a strike back at the enemy is to be blamed on some one it is not fair to have hung a brigade commander who is nothing more than an operator of a small part of a huge government and military machinery and who by default moves his little machine only if the power is first switched on from Delhi and than down the line through the so called proper channel all the way back to him. Lets not forget that kargil was not a local operation to which a local unit commander could have localy reacted. When a proud sentinel of the border informs his unit commander of any abnormal build up or movement on or around the line of control the info moves up to divison and core level quite quickly, and from there onward, till AHQs, a little slowly because from here on a situational report or a sitrep is not just a situation report but also has to be a detailed threat perception analyses and reactionary plans. Once it reaches the AHQ the biggest road block emerges as now the Babus and the politicians step in and they hardly have time for the truly pressing matters of India. It can be safely said that these are matters they are quite incapable of truly understanding and the responsibility of making them see reason and understand priorities also lies with tnly and only the top brass of forces. Our political leadership is in any case busy breaking or re making mosques and temples and fighting over whose maximum family members are ministers or some times to make up for the sports that they missed in school by throwing shoes and mikes at each other or may be slapping a poor bank manager or may be recieving kickbacks from arm deals as reported in media. It’s at places where they are supposed to be working with utmost honesty and speed that delays like the so called delay in kargil take place and not because of some colonel, brigadier or even a Maj general. So it is unfair to cut a little finger if the head is where the tumor lies. This same game was played on the other side of the border as well where Pak PM Nawaz Sharif conveniently passed the blame on to Musharaf and went up to the extent of saying that he came to know about the Kargil fiasco from the Indian PM. “What a joke!” This became the stimulus for reactionary actions on part of Mush to seize power and send Sharif packing bag and baggage to Saudi Arabia. Sadly we miss out on such spunk even. Wake up the Higher commands and the politicians. Fix these chameleons if you can and don’t look for easy shooting ducks to calm and balm the hurt and let down sentiments of a nation.

It seems that we have now forgotten the unsung heroes of our motherland as it was directed to keep celebrations of Kargil victory, a low profile event in subsequent years. The media also it seems is only interested in creating cheap thrills by reporting in news as to what the ‘saas’ or a ‘bahu’ in a idiotic serial are up to. Sadly Vijay divas no more finds a worthy mention in the news. I salute the heroes and also shed a tear for those who had to pay the price for some one else’s mistakes. Long live the olive green and long live the tricolour.
Roohon ko shaheedon ki tabhi chain mile gaa,
Agar is desh ke vassi unhen yaadon mein jagah dein,
Agar baki dino kamzarfiat se na mile fursat,
kam se kam ek din un ke lie aansoo hi bahaa dein.
रूहों को शहीदों की तभी चैन मिले गा,
अगर इस देश के वासी उन्हे यादों में जगह दें,
अगर बाकी दिनों कंमज़रफ़ियत से ना मिले फ़ुर्सत,
कम से कम एक दिन उनके लिए आँसू ही बहा दें.

Jai Hind.
'Bashu' Balwant gurunay......

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