Jai Jawan Jai Kisan — Much needs to be done | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Jai Jawan Jai Kisan — Much needs to be done

chandigarh Updated: Jul 26, 2015 17:05 IST
CS Grewal
CS Grewal
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In 1971, my father, then a Major, was posted in Jalandhar. I remember the pride in his eyes when he showed me a letter sent to him by his grandfather (my great grandfather). He and a few neighbouring sarpanches had gotten together and sent it; the gist of which was: Tell your commanders that if the Pakistanis should come this side, we will take care of them ourselves — you all need not worry.

Going back a few more years, if a young officer had to cancel his honeymoon to be in North-East Frontier Agency to fight the Chinese, he did so willingly and on his own expense.

It had to be done. There was no other way.

Those decades also saw the Green Revolution. Farmers made great sacrifices to convert unfertile land into a productive one. Fighting vagaries of nature, braving temperatures ranging from freezing to near boiling, they turned India from an importer of food to a self-reliant nation.
It had to be done. There was no other way.

That was then. Cut to today.

The jawans continue to give their all for the country. The kisan continues the same godforsaken toil. No questions asked.

It has to be done. There is no other way.

The situation of the kisan has worsened substantially. Can we even begin to grasp the desperation that leads a person to take his own life, knowing that he is leaving his family members to fend for themselves — a job he could not do himself.

But he feels it needs to be done, and sadly there appears to be no other way.

Some jawans are deployed at flashpoints and whenever skirmishes are reported, one always reads of an officer giving the ultimate sacrifice along with his jawans. Because in the finest traditions of the Indian armed forces, the officers lead from the front. And all the jawans follow.

It has to be done. There is no other way.

No longer are a jawan and his wardi (uniform) respected. So it should not come as a surprise when the “civilian” will not matter to the jawan. If he is giving up his everything, it is because his officer is also doing the same. Why?

Because it has to be done. There is no other way.

Most jawans come from villages where farmers, who may be his relative, friend or neighbour, are committing suicide at a rate exceeding the previous year’s. By not addressing this issue, the nation is losing its first line of workers who put food on the table. We know that your profit is directly tied to value addition. Is there any greater value addition than producing food? And yet the farmer must kill himself?

Does it have to be done? Is there no other way?

Where would we be if the farmer found another way to survive? Or if the jawans decided to follow an officer wanting to right the wrongs to his brethren? And if the ex-servicemen joined him?

Does it have to be like this? Is there no other way?

Ex-servicemen have started protests demanding what was promised to them decades ago as one rank, one pension. How long before this movement percolates to those still in service? Once osmosis breaks this serving-retired servicemen’s barrier, there is no going back.

Despite all the glory of the Indian armed forces, a rot has set in here as well — none of the serving chiefs have the gumption to put out a single statement in favour of the rights of those under whom they served, or those who served under them so honourably!

Let’s not reach a point of no return, where we have to miserably moan and say — It should have been done. There was no other way.
(The writer is a Chandigarh-based farmer and belongs to a distinguished family of armymen)