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2:52pm, 8th October, 2016

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First of all, let’s appreciate the efforts of our army in successfully striking terror surgically across the borders. Thanks to both mainline and social media, their brave deeds have got the coverage they deserve. Or have they? I mean do they deserve this much coverage? Should media, and people, be discussing such an incident at all?

According to NCRB reports, over two lakh people have been arrested in India for theft in 2015. That is two lakh times the police have been successful in doing their job. But we didn’t see media or people celebrating these brave acts. Why? Because the Police were only doing their job. And we cannot possibly afford to popularise such incidents.
Every time a police person arrests someone, or a public servant helps someone, or a sweeper sweeps the road as he is supposed to do, it’s not news. News is when something new happens, or when it is affecting the society at a large. Now tell me, when we are being proud of surgical strikes, and media is celebrating it, does that mean army wasn’t doing their duty all this time? Are you telling me that our army was incompetent? Do you not doubt the sincerity of army by doing this?

A bit ‘off’ the nationalism

The case I am trying to bring up might seem a bit away from the nationalistic perspective prevalent now. However, I am no less patriotic than the army person at the border. Both of us have our roles to fulfil, and only when both of us contribute to our duties, shall we progress. In this quest, each one is equal in that respect and no one should be given extra salience in media for fulfilling their duties.

Indian army soldiers stand guard on a street on the outskirts of Srinagar, India, September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Ismail
Image source : indianexpress.com

The army failed at Uri, that was news, I agree because that is one rare incident that thankfully doesn’t happen every now and then. But the way the ‘surgical attack’ is being covered as an act of avenging and a great sign of patriotism is unnecessary. For days it has been the most dominant story in the media. Sure, it should find a mention in the news but to what extent it should be discussed in the public forum is a question I would like to raise.

Is army a contradiction?

India is a democracy (Well, who am I kidding?). And within a democratically principled state, the army is a contradiction. Their rules, their hierarchy and the morale of being better than the rest, are core to army but contradictory to the essential beliefs of a democracy. Of course, we need an army. The world is not a Utopia yet. I have always considered Indian Army as a protector of democracy but from the outside. The protectors of democracy inside are our freedom of speech and the judiciary that guarantees it. We know very well, from Pakistan, how letting army inside the democracy works out.

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Image source : livemint.com

The Uri attack and the avenging special operation, have brought too much of army into the mainstream public forum. So much to the extent that ‘real’ Indians are the army personnel who laid down their lives. This is not at all helping either. When you bring army into the discussion, we are also discussing the prospects of war and threats to the nation. This creates a hysteria that might fire up unnecessary anti-societal elements in the society, activation of sleeper cells being the prime concern.

The Blindness

Further the fact that army is not morally bound to give information about its activities, for obvious reasons, is creating confusions and tensions in the society. If you read up random social media posts on the subject, you’d realise there is already a trend of labelling the ‘non-believers’ as anti-nationals. What no one understands is that except for the army, no one knows anything and no one is supposed to know anything. We are discussing, debating, arguing and fighting in absolute blindness.

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Image source : bbc.co.uk

And this has been done by the media. The undue salience it has given to the issue is creating this havoc. Every news channel is screaming about the possibility of a war. No one wants to think about peace. The question is not about truth, it’s about national pride. And in this blind rat chase, what all are we compromising, what all are we overlooking, no one really knows.

Too much to ask?

I know, I am asking for too much when I say media’s perception setting should be more responsible. Issues of army should remain to army. They have no place in the public forum, except for information. However, things like AFSPA are being downplayed, when in fact, that should be brought to the limelight with the salience it deserves. Army’s attack at a terrorist Launchpad is a normal thing that they are supposed to do, however, certain things done under the name of AFSPA in Kashmir and North East are not things they are supposed to do. These things must be discussed and actions must be taken, because it’s affecting people directly.

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Image source : indianexpress.com

I know, I will come under the barrage for being anti-national, but hey, chill out a bit, think a lot and then give me a befitting reply in the comments.

Feature image source : youthkiawaaz.com/thehindu.com

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