Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Soldiers are also Humans

I'm moved to read in The Indian Express  that the pilot of a Pakistani fighter jet, which shot down a civilian aircraft during 1965 war with the then CM of Gujrat, Balwantrai Mehta, apologised to the daughter of IAF pilot Jahangir Engineer. Soldiers are also human beings with same emotions and sensibilities. ' They too feel and even cry after killing their 'enemies' , wrote British military historian Jeremy Black. And here in this case, the slain ones weren't even 'enemies'. They were civilians, caught in the vortex of war to die. In Robert Browning's famous poem 'News from Ghent to Aix', Napoleon Bonaparte cried on the battlefield when the young messenger broke the news and died. I remember reading an article in Pakistan's English daily 'The Nation'.



 A retired Pakistani Air Commodore Shaadaab Mansoor, brother of slain Sq. Leader Imroz Mansoor, who shot down the aircraft of the very brave Nirmaljit Singh Sekho in 1971 war, wrote that, " the three fighter pilots of PAF must have doffed their hats to the intrepid Sekho before joining him to their final journey together, where there's no enmity for anyone, not even for those who killed you."

 It's been written very extensively that the Enola Gay, B-52 aircraft pilot who bombarded Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 respectively, died unrepentent. This is not true. He became demented and admitted to having committed a blunder by eliminating so many innocent lives. Nightmares of those heart-wrenching images plagued him till he died. We're all humans and despite our projected ruthlessness and insensitivity, we get perturbed by death and loss of human lives.


When Babar, who called himself a ' lifelong warrior forever on horseback' in his autobiography Tuzuk-e-Babri, almost fainted when Ibrahim Lodhi's decapitated head was brought before him in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. " I still can't forget that blood-oozing dismembered head of Lodhi. I ask myself, is an empire greater than a person's life? "  I'm happy that Qais Hussain, the PAF fighter pilot, wrote to the daughter of Engineer after close to a half century. And I'm sure, the lady has forgiven the man who'd orders from higher officials of PAF to shoot the plane down.

A very senior Pakistani Army officer of Lt. General rank, wrote in The Muslim  after the death of PVC Arun Khetarpal, who died in 1971 War soon after getting commission, ' Why young men are thrown into the furnace of war to be roasted alive? Sad, very sad..." Humanity's still alive because man has not yet become so insensate even if he happens to be a hardcore soldier, trained to kill his enemies at the drop of a hat and the slightest  provocation. To quote Ahmad Faraz, " Fauji ke seene mein bhi hota hai dil/ Nam hoti hain ankhein jab ujadti hai mahfil " (Even a slodier has a heart/ He does feel when destruction takes place).     
                                                                                                                                           ------I'm moved to read in The Indian Express  that the pilot of a Pakistani fighter jet, which shot down a civilian aircraft during 1965 war with the then CM of Gujrat, Balwantrai Mehta, apologised to the daughter of IAF pilot Jahangir Engineer. Soldiers are also human beings with same emotions and sensibilities. ' They too feel and even cry after killing their 'enemies' , wrote British military historian Jeremy Black. And here in this case, the slain ones weren't even 'enemies'. They were civilians, caught in the vortex of war to die. In Robert Browning's famous poem 'News from Ghent to Aix', Napoleon Bonaparte cried on the battlefield when the young messenger broke the news and died. I remember reading an article in Pakistan's English daily 'The Nation'.

 A retired Pakistani Air Commodore Shaadaab Mansoor, brother of slain Sq. Leader Imroz Mansoor, who shot down the aircraft of the very brave Nirmaljit Singh Sekho in 1971 war, wrote that, " the three fighter pilots of PAF must have doffed their hats to the intrepid Sekho before joining him to their final journey together, where there's no enmity for anyone, not even for those who killed you."


 It's been written very extensively that the Enola Gay, B-52 aircraft pilot who bombarded Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 respectively, died unrepentent. This is not true. He became demented and admitted to having committed a blunder by eliminating so many innocent lives. Nightmares of those heart-wrenching images plagued him till he died. We're all humans and despite our projected ruthlessness and insensitivity, we get perturbed by death and loss of human lives.

When Babar, who called himself a ' lifelong warrior forever on horseback' in his autobiography Tuzuk-e-Babri, almost fainted when Ibrahim Lodhi's decapitated head was brought before him in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. " I still can't forget that blood-oozing dismembered head of Lodhi. I ask myself, is an empire greater than a person's life? "  I'm happy that Qais Hussain, the PAF fighter pilot, wrote to the daughter of Engineer after close to a half century. And I'm sure, the lady has forgiven the man who'd orders from higher officials of PAF to shoot the plane down.

A very senior Pakistani Army officer of Lt. General rank, wrote in The Muslim  after the death of PVC Arun Khetarpal, who died in 1971 War soon after getting commission, ' Why young men are thrown into the furnace of war to be roasted alive? Sad, very sad..." Humanity's still alive because man has not yet become so insensate even if he happens to be a hardcore soldier, trained to kill his enemies at the drop of a hat and the slightest  provocation. To quote Ahmad Faraz, " Fauji ke seene mein bhi hota hai dil/ Nam hoti hain ankhein jab ujadti hai mahfil " (Even a slodier has a heart/ He does feel when destruction takes place).     
                                                                                                                     ----Sumit Paul

  
                                     

                                                                                                           



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