Tue, Oct 25, 2016 | updated 12:12 PM IST

Nation needs to remember, respect its defender-protector-guardian angel heroes

Updated: Sep 20, 2016 18:18 IST

By Air Marshal Satish Inamdar

Gurgaon (Haryana) [India], Sept.20 (ANI): Who were these 17 men burnt to death while they slept off duty, at Uri? Is the nation truly disturbed.... even bothered?!

Afzal Guru, leading an armed attack on the Indian Parliament, is caught and hanged after an extraordinarily long and due legal process, and campuses and streets rise up in indignation, grief and mortification!

How many will take to the streets with similar energy, fervour and feeling for our 17 dead soldiers?!

Does a nation that "cannot" acknowledge, remember and respect its defender-protector-guardian angel heroes, standing guard day and night, in weather fair and foul, at freezing and dizzy heights, hundreds of miles away from their homes, all smiles, proud, intrepid and erect, at huge risk to life and limb, deserve to be free?

These troops do all that with nary a complaint, year after year after year, tirelessly and sleeplessly, only so that India can repose peacefully at night, secure in the trust that her distant borders are "inviolate".... her "integrity and sovereignty" thus guaranteed!! Many back home, caught up in their routine drudgery, may not even understand the full import of these two terms!

Men such as these 17 do not indeed fill the national coffers with grain, goods and gold, but they do ensure the nation "continues to exist"......the very sine qua non pre-requisite to the nation begetting grain, goods and gold....and Greatness!!

Referring to Pataliputra's increasing apathy for and indifference to the Mauryan Army, Chanakya had advised Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, over 2000 years ago, thus:

"If these issues are not addressed with empathy, despatch and substance, the nation will do great disservice to itself! Any delay in so addressing the issue, will inevitably result in a slow, but irreversible erosion.....that could spell, at the very least, the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire! If that comes to pass, my Lord, Magadha will be in serious jeopardy, I will not deserve to be your mentor and you will lose all moral sanction to be King".

And here we go and allow our cops to rough up, shove around and drag our military veterans, many highly decorated, some in their 70's and 80's, on the streets of the capital where they had gathered for an orderly, peaceful demonstration concerning their legitimate pensionary dues!In full public view, in front of television cameras?

To dismiss it as just a one off aberration and to then brush it under the carpet with measured nonchalance, would betray gross lack of understanding of the "Erosion" Chanakya writes about!

The views expressed in the above article are that of Air Marshal (Retired) Satish G Inamdar, a former Vice Chief of Air Staff, and member of the IDSA Executive Council (ANI)