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After the infamous Uri attack by Pakistani soldiers and the response by India through surgical strikes, there has been a lot of debate among people belonging to different industry of thought. The Pakistani artistes (actors, singers, musicians) are being attacked by right-wing activists while many are backing them up by saying that excluding them will not stop any such attack or terrorist activity.
While the above is a good topic to talk/discuss/debate about, I would like to focus on a more important, a more personal professional aspect here.
Are we prepared to make our children soldiers? Have we ever thought for them to be serving in the Indian Army?
We teach our children to remain safe every day. We always try to protect them from strangers and teach them not to fight ever even if the one in front of them may be making fun of him or insulting him. We tell them not to react. Why do we do this? Because we do not want the child to get hurt even though, that may affect his self-esteem in the long-run.
With the reforms in our thinking, today’s parents are open enough to say that whatever the child wants to do professionally, they are fine with it. But, are they really fine? As one watches the ghastly scenes from the borders, one shudders to think about the children, women and men who live there, whose life is at stake. Never does a thought cross one’s mind about the soldiers. And to add it all, the common thought process is that they are there to do their “duty”. So, are we as parents ready to send our children on such “duty”?
Even though we may never want to pressure our children to adopt profession of our choices and want them to choose for themselves, we still limit them to mainstream and safest professions. Those professions that are economically better (teacher, MBA, engineering, doctor), are higher in the social strata (artists, sportsmen) and that ensure our child’s safety.
A soldier is never in the back of our mind. It becomes difficult to perceive a soldier’s life. The common perception is the “no guarantee” tag that the profession comes up with. Recently, Actor Om Puri received a lot of backlash for saying that why did a soldier become a soldier in the first place?
I was disturbed, angry and a bit uncomfortable to answer this to him. His question meant a question to my and many parents’ parenting skills. When and how do we teach our children to fight (I mean, physical fight to defend themselves) in situations when they are being bullied/tortured/humiliated? We teach them to sing patriotic songs, filled with the spirit of respect for the nation. Only some parents encourage them to learn Karate to protect themselves ONLY IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.
But, what about the nation?
Are they ready to fight for the nation when they grow up? Are we ready to encourage them? How do you build a spirit in them that they are fighting for “good of the nation” while, actually they are only killing soldiers like them on the other side? How do you make them differentiate between the soldiers and artistes of the other country?
Personally, I still do not have the complete answers to all such questions but I am sure to teach my child that being a soldier requires more than just adopting and doing well in a “profession”. It is about the inner strengths that are tested in times of need. The courage, bravery, sharp mind, perseverance and thinking about the nation first before family and friends are the real acts of “bravery” that a soldier does and we must surely respect them for it.