But, why shouldn’t the General speak?

Shiban Khaibri

General Bipin Rawat, the former Army Chief is an Indian and is guaranteed the right to free speech and expression and why should the select political leadership be so much upset as to criticise him with unsolicited advice to keep “away from politics”. Like every patriotic Indian, the General must be having indignant and vexatious feelings about how massive loss of property and arson and frenzied pelting by riotous unruly mobs took place who mostly in BJP ruled states and in the select , so called “sensitive localities” of the union capital , Delhi went on rampage and berserk and in select universities, raising derogatory and offensive slogans as also anti national and anti Indian cries were replete throughout these “peaceful” protests and “democratic” protests only under the garb of “protecting constitution and secularism”.
When a valiant army jawan is standing like a rock in minus 42 degrees temperature in Siachin glacier in Korakaram region in the Himalayas and never letting the guard of our borders getting off for a second and where frozen snow is his floor , bedding and things around to be “seen and enjoyed” , when holding the National Flag of the country is preferred by him to his precious life and when wild and hostile deserts , scorching sun, venomous reptiles and allied challenges are braved by him triumphantly during posting only and only for this country and its Flag, should not his Chief lament over this very flag being carried in hands by riotous mobs as a camouflage to destroy public property and endanger civil tranquillity and peace?
When this very flag, upholding the dignity and honour for which thousands of the nearest and dearest ones of this country laid down their lives in wars, battles, on borders and fighting terrorism , is seen by the Army Chief being insulted by replacing the Ashok Chakra in the middle with a place of prayer in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit, Poorunpur, can he be asked not to speak a word as that was amounting to “doing politics”. Should no one dare to question and put in tightest stockings such elements who otherwise were in silent mode but never inactive in their nefarious designs but carrying on silently and the CAA came readily to them as an alibi despite knowing that CAA had nothing got to do with any Indian citizen?
When many rioters were blaringly shouting Aazadi slogans during these “peaceful protests” , the term used by Congress , the Left , the TMC, and self styled secular political leaders and Aazadi from ………, especially in some universities, seeing the country heading towards holding to ransom by such enemies of the country, should the Army Chief be asked to keep quiet? Digvijay Singh of Congress said, “leaders are not those who allow their followers to indulge in genocide of communal violence” could not be comprehended neither in context nor in reference nor in there being the remotest link with any reality on the ground. He said this in reply to the General’s criticism in people leading protests over the new citizenship law. What wrong is there in his saying that leadership is not about guiding masses comprising university and college students to carry out arson and violence across the country. Digvijay Singh should clearly spill the beans, in case he has any, about “genocide of communal violence”, who – where and how this ‘genocide of communal violence ‘was perpetrated and if he has any knowledge about it, who contains him from going to courts and lodging FIRs against such leaders? Or else, if it is another canard worse than certifying hate monger proselytizer Zakir Nayak as being “Shanti Doot” and spreading peace all around, then it is well understood as old habits die even not hard in certain cases.
Another attack on the statement of the General coming from the old Party’s spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa is worth diving deep into, which is depicting extreme frustration as also casting aspersions on the role of the army. Says he, “If Army Chief is allowed to speak on political issues today, it also permits him to attempt an Army take over tomorrow.” CPM which is constantly losing its ground in the country has said , ” It underlines as to how the situation has degenerated under the Modi government where the highest officer in uniform can so brazenly breach the limits of his institutional role.” In other words, Congress, the Communists and their new finds among anti Modi brigade only have the licence to not only speak whatever they want but demand granting of martyrs’ status to stone pelting persons who got killed and openly supporting anti CAA violent protests.
This convention of the Army not wading into political matters should have certain limits and when the situation, as we saw during the last few days last year ending, was on the verge of threatening the national security and its communal harmony , its assets and public property vandalised, policemen chased and thrashed , this convention has got to remain not entirely inelastic . The General instead, deserves profound acclaim and accolades for advising such type of leadership to lead masses “in the correct direction” instead of the party chief of an old political party giving a clarion call to people to come out of houses on streets and offer “any sacrifice” and another leader of Bengal leading 5th public rally in a row in 11 days against the CAA despite large number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and even Myanmar having been comfortably and safely accommodated in her over populated Bengal but no room given nor any space for persecuted Bangladeshi Muslim writer , physician, thinker and intellectual Taslima Nasreen because she is a secular humanist and not an extreme fundamentalist. How much was she subjected to hate and narrow minded prejudice that even on a TV debate she was boycotted and not shared the floor as we saw three years back by one leader of Muslim Majlis -e- Amal organisation walking out of the debate saying ,” Cannot share the stage with the lady”. No one from the secular brigade raised any voice, but why ?
Again, elements inimical to divergent and factual opinion in the country have become emboldened to this extent that the constitutional Head of a state like Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan is heckled and physically stopped from speaking at a function. It is shocking that an ” Eminent historian ” known as Irfan Habib tried on the stage itself to disrupt inaugural address of Honb’le Governor at the 80th session at Kannur University in Kerala for the only fault that he quoted Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad.
Such an open demonstration of intolerance towards a healthy and constructive but informative opinion must have been treated as genuine and indicative of “Zulum” unleashed by Modi and RSS by the Secular Brigade , Award Wapsi Gang, Tukdey tukdey Gang, Pro Afzal Gang, Naxal and Maoist supporter Gang and likeminded hundreds of “intellectuals”. The country has fallen on such bad days that even a Governor of a state is not allowed to speak logic, sense, reason and facts but only what these elements want . It is wondered what type of history, how much distortions to suit a particular thought and belief in that history must have been done which is fed to our young students . Has Maulana Azad now become irrelevant or a Governor appointed at the recommendation of the Modi Government is considered not eligible to quote him ? Is it a burst of anger and hate against Mr. Khan for having resigned as cabinet Minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s government over Shah Banoo case ? Is the country being taken to 1946-47 era where moderate, tolerant and patriotic Muslim has no say ? And how can there be no reactions from those who feel being sent up the wall even after the country partitioned on religious grounds ?And who says the General should not speak or for that matter, everyone of us must not speak and speak loudly and emphatically ? What is happening in the country? What are these plans and designs and how can such a situation be allowed to go on unchecked ? Why should there not be a Citizens’ register and counting of who lives where and with which documents? When all and sundry documents are produced willingly and properly at the time of taking benefits under various government schemes, what trouble is there in presenting the same during the counting or the census process? General Rawat, therefore has not spoken anything which should be taken as an affront or treated as any interference in politics. After all, he is an Indian citizen and must be concerned about the country unlike many political leaders.