My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It is ironical but true. Field Marshal Manekshaw made it to the utterly butterly hoarding, but was arrogantly ignored by those who count — at least in civil society. Our great commander-in-chief of the armed forces, President Pratibha Patil, with more than enough time on her hands, was missing. So were several other worthies. Here's a short list: Hamid Ansari, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, L K Advani, M Karunanidhi, Surjit Singh Barnala, A K Anthony, the three chiefs of staff (army, navy, air force)... This is insulting, shocking, shabby and shameful.

Sam, as he was popularly called, was a gentleman-soldier par excellence. And for such a man to be virtually marginalised in death, says a lot about the current crop of dignitaries, most of whom are self-seeking opportunists, loyal only to themselves. This is not just about sentimentality, but basic decency. As an irate citizen pointed out via email, "Is this how we say goodbye to such a towering and inspiring hero? No wonder a commercial film like Rang De Basanti clicked — it successfully tapped into the angst of an entire generation."

Just look at the pathetic excuses now being trotted out for the no-shows. That Sam was critically ill was known to all. It was a matter of time — perhaps a few days, if not hours, for the end to come. Sufficient notice to reschedule foreign junkets and other jaunts. That none of the above thought it important enough to honour the memory of the one man who stood head and shoulders above the rest, says a lot about them....and the overall erosion of values in our society. Not that Sam would have cared a damn. He was the last one to demand such protocol. Always the bon vivant (there are enough stories about this ladies' man to inspire several books), Sam's irreverence had seen him through worse situations. It was left to the ordinary people of India to show their love for the legend. They turned up in impressive numbers to say their farewells, and display their gratitude to the man they adored. The man who put his own life on the line for them. That he was also India's only Field Marshal when in active service, makes his achievements that much more unique.

Well, he is no more. What he took with him was not just personal glory, but an entire era of grace and tradition.

More importantly, his funeral highlighted the tattered and selfish state of those in power today. 'Sweetie's (Sam's name for Indira Gandhi) daughter-in-law Sonia,was better occupied doing her math (to avoid an earlier disaster when she'd got her sums wrong), and the others were too lazy to bother going 'all the way' to Wellington (the hill station in India, not the city in New Zealand). Desperate netas were courting old foes and sleeping with the enemy — why take precious time off for a man they had no further use of? Had Sam been considerate enough to die in Delhi or Mumbai, they would have turned up for the photo op. Better still, had Sam been a Bollywood star, everybody would have 'air dashed' for the funeral.

Alas, Sam was but an old soldier... he had to fade away. Yes, those callous VVIPs will wake up now and indulge in damage control. What's the bet Sam will be up for the Bharat Ratna? The sad truth is, in people's hearts, he was a ratna already. And Sam certainly would have scoffed at the thought of being thus honoured by the very people he had such contempt for. Will a few heads roll? Yup. But not on account of Sam — who will remain 'amar', with or without that Bharat Ratna. The heads might roll for canny Amar (Singh), who is demanding his pound of flesh from Sonia and friends, so they can hang in there a little longer, when they ought to be hanging their heads in shame instead.Thank God aapro Sam isn't around to witness India's latest act of shame.
-Ms.Shobha De
(Times Of India, 06:07:2008)



Post a Comment

<< Home