Let’s talk about Indian Soldier, greatest superheroes among us. Comic Books were an integral part of lives of the people who were growing up in the 90s. Life was pretty much simple back then. As school kids, we used to look forward to the summer vacations with great anticipation. Summer used to be a time to kick back, relax, laze around in front of the desert-cooler, play cricket or any field games and join the local library for your daily dose of comic books. At Rs 1 a day, the rent for the comic books was a win-win situation – both for the reader and the person who rented out the book.
Reading Comic books was an immersive experience. Here, the reader could escape the monotony of small town India and dream about sparring with villains with deadly super powers. Sure, we did not have Face book nor did we have Pokémon, but life was good – ask any-one in their thirties or late twenties, they will admit that they still nurture a wish to turn back time and relive those moments again.
There was a definite pecking order in the comic book world, too. Chacha Chaudhary was meant for boys and girls in the 7-10 age groups. The elder ones generally read more mature (supposedly) comic books like Super Commando Dhruva, Nagraj etc. The story lines were completely outlandish and over the top, yet, they had an elitist aura about them. Every one worth their salt, wanted to emulate his or her super hero. Those were the golden days of the Indian Comic Book Industry.
Then something really bad happened. There came a tipping point which exposed us to the realities of the Modern day war. You got that right- due to recent attacks of Uri, I remember Kargil war.
The defiance with which our neighbour occupied our territory and its treachery enraged us all. For the first time in Modern times, the coverage of war was relayed to us through cable television – yes cable television ruled the roost in those days. Images of Barkha Dutt with tears in her kohl lined eyes and her comforting our soldiers dominated all news channels and newspapers. Everyone of us felt the pain and agony of our Indian Soldiers.
That was the time, when as the Hindi Proverb goes “ Aankhen khul gayi”. I was jolted from fantasy land and realized that super heroes were not to be found in comic books, but they were here, right amongst us, living, breathing and walking.
Yes I am referring to the greatest Uncomic Super Hero – The Indian Soldier. There was There were the Soldiers of the 2nd Regiment of the Rajputana Rifles who captured the strategic peak of Tololing, there was Captain Saurabh Kalia, who was captured and tortured in an extreme act of cowardice. I am sure there are many instances of heroics under adverse situations by our soldiers – which finally led to India winning the war and its pride. Captain Vikram Batra, true Indian Solider, who single handedly killed many enemies before making the supreme sacrifice.
The Kargil war was an eye-opener event, in the sense that it was able to galvanize an entire nation into a feeling of Unity – part credit to the media as well for their unending and tireless coverage.
The 2000s was also a decade in which India had to deal with the multi headed monster of terrorism. The 2001 Parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attacks (I was in Mumbai and I myself had visited the site of the attacks), the countless bombings, the train attacks – we saw it all. In each of these tragedies, we have seen the Indian Soldier, who rose to the occasion and delivered when it mattered the most. The Indian Soldier was a super hero in times of natural calamities as well. Remember the floods in Kashmir last year? Was it not our soldier who helped rescue civilians and save hundreds of lives?
I am deeply saddened by the attitude of people from a certain section of our society who choose to criticize the soldier anything – My advice to them is to stop cribbing and see what our Indian soldier goes through. We have all chosen to lead civilian lives and what we face in our day to day lives is probably miniscule compared to what our soldier faces.
It is the Indian Soldier who ensures that we sleep soundly and continue with our criticism of them, unhindered. Ironic, is it not? We enjoy our lives due to the Indian Soldier present at Siachen and guarding us – ready to face any challenges, which might come his way.
Is it not true then, when I say that he is the greatest Uncomic Super Hero? If we can’t accept them, let us not at-least criticize them, they too are humans, doing a super-human job.
Maybe, I will not be able to contribute to their welfare, but this is my small way of paying a tribute to them – Long Live our Soldier! Jai hind!