A recent news article published in the Huffington Post threw light on some glaring figures. The article says India has the largest number of war widows, currently estimated at 25,000. The figure is just tentative; the actual figure could be much bigger! And the tragedy remains that we have lost our bravehearts not so much to intruders, as much as to our internal conflicts, right from insurgencies, combating militancy, controlling emergency situations and so on…
The last major war India had fought, and won too, was the Kargil War in 1999. The battle was won with the sweat and blood of our Indian soldiers who sent Pakistanis scurrying back to its land. But the war also ravaged the homes of 522 families, who had lost their sons, brothers, husbands or fathers in the conflict.
In the conflicts in which Indian jawans had participated post-Independence, many more lives were lost. A report published by the TOI in 2014 says the highest number of soldiers that India sacrificed in any conflict since 1947 was in the Bangladesh Liberation War at 3,843!
While tension between India and Pakistan has been on the rise ever since the Uri attack took place, there has been a rising tempo in the collective voice of Indians; everybody wants a good war with Pakistan. The reason is the same too: “We should teach the Pakistanis a lesson”. While Indian soldiers have been losing their lives in random attacks by Pakistan ISI-sponsored militants since the 1990s, the Uri attack seems to have awakened Indians from a slumber. An eye for an eye is what they want, and wouldn’t settle for anything less.
A war with Pakistan might be pretty near than we all expect. In India’s first, the Narendra Modi-led government reacted to the Uri attack by launching covert strikes in the LOC and destroying Pakistani terror camps. Since then, things have only downhill. This Diwali, soldiers from across the two nations didn’t exchange sweets, a gesture that was carried on as a “goodwill” by both India and Pakistan. Also, India found out there were spies in the Pakistan consulate who were eyeing Indian security. Not someone to take an insult, Islamabad too named six Indians working in Indian embassy, labeling them as spies.
But my question is, is it “us” who are going to shed our sweat and tears if we go to war with Pakistan? We don’t know a thing about combat, leave alone shedding blood. It’s those thousands of soldiers, who will have to drop whatever they were doing and rush to battlefield the moment a war is declared. And as they leave their houses or their camps, painting their faces, and readying for action, their families will be fervently praying for their well-being.
We lost 19 soldiers in Uri. A war will probably multiply the figure to at least half a thousand, leaving another hundreds of widows, left to mourn for their spouses, and left with a paltry sum of money to look after their families.