The last few days have been very High on Josh, truly so! Isn’t it? And I would not agree on any less that if somebody keeps hitting you again and again – you need to stand up for your self. Because if you wont stand up for yourself, no one else would. 44 CRPF Jawans martyred just like that one fine day. And why? No reason known. For all we know is India wakes up to this news and there is hysteria around. 12 days later, we root out the devil of its home and kill them. For all we know is India celebrates and there is yet again hysteria around. The question that always remains is to what level it will escalate and what will be the end repercussions? War, No war? Ceasefire, economic blockade. Water or no water, import or no import – there are numerous possibilities and all takes shape and form in due course of time.
But what is disturbing is what has followed in the last few days. I am not sure if it is a lack of sensibility or plain ignorance – but whatsoever it is – it is quite shameless for us as a nation. Immediately after the attack on the CRFP convoy, when posts and media articles were doing rounds on the social media, I saw people reacting with laughter to these posts and commenting with jibes at India and Indian nationality. I am not sure under what mental condition do people react likewise to what is definitely a terrorist attack on Indian forces. The situation of shamelessness doesn’t stop here.
Following to this, there are reactionary steps of hitting and beating up the Kashmiri students. Firstly, if there are any incidents reporting any student (irrespective of ethnicity) showing disrespect to Jawans or mocked the incident – administration have been taking step against them. I strongly believe that there should be a strict action against such individuals and all these so-called pseudo-intellectual institutions where it seems absolutely fine and normal to disrespect a nation. Secondly, for the rest, how does hitting and beating people from Kashmir makes it any sane. Ignorance, at its best! I fail to understand that where are we failing as a society. What is that that doesn’t let us contain our emotional reactions and impulses and why are these impulses so mis-informed.
And post that I start hearing war discussions on office water cooler conversations. I switch on the media and the debate hours are discussing war. Urging experts to literally spell out the plan on the national television. While our Wing Commander remains calm and shut about the location of his residence, one of the media houses go ahead and publishes the image on the site and shows it on the television. While I understand the desire to keep the TRPs, momentum and viewership “high along with the josh” – this seems absolutely pathetic to me. I login to the social media platforms and there is this cheer for war! Everywhere, without even knowing or realising the harm that a war does to losing as well as the winning side.
Maybe, I would have enjoyed this war conversation and danced to the tunes of war hysteria too had it been my parents and family were not in Jammu. But they are. And the moment I heard about airports being shut and war like circumstances being created – I grew numb. And it acted like a reality check for me and I hope it does for many others like me sitting far from borders and discussing war and the consequences. May be it is easier said than done but War is a huge loss. Yes, I am confident that we will come out victorious with flying colours but the overall loss that is done to the economy, lives of people (civilians and armed forces included) – it takes years and years to recover from the loss of it. And when I think, I find it very difficult to stand up and Cheer for War either physically or virtually.
They attacked our CRPF jawans. We shelled them out of the rat-holes. Bravo! War-preparedness – Roger! We would not want ourselves to be caught off-guard. But Cheer to war. Absolute No. By getting fired-up and reacting sharply on our attack of JeM camps, Pakistan has already shown to the world that it does support, and promotes terrorism. And by increasing artillery shelling on the border areas and intrusion of air planes into Indian air space – may be Pakistan has attempted to showcase its own might to us and their own people – what it can’t undo is – their consistent failure to stand against terrorism the proof of which they have given to the entire world this time.
But for us, all I am asking is to put a restraint in spreading the wrong sentiment, fake news, emotionally charged messages, inciting the public. Because while you can war-off another nation’s blunders you can’t really fight off the home-ground insensibilities. That will be a tougher war to wage, That is a tougher war to wage!
The problem starts when media starts giving judgements. where media starts discussing trials and go on to discuss the strategic affairs and matters. The problem starts when media starts discussing tactical approach and next steps. The problem starts when media starts discussing war. The problem convolutes when these discussions and cheer for war is taken to streets and the omnipresent social media. The problem is these “high profile twitterati” who want to give judgement, opine on everything. Opportunist as they are – don’t let single chance of instigating masses, inciting the wrong sentiment, and mobilising people emotionally. The problem starts when you and I both think and decide for ourself that War is a solution! Unfortunately it is the beginning of another long trail of problems. It is not the war on the border that we (as public) will have to fight but the war against insensibilities is something that you and I together would need to take up!
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus and a Mentor of Change with AIM, NITI Aayog.)