Ladies and gentlemen, will you all shut up

Even as the thunderous roar of guns and the boom of artillery shells in distant Kargil reverberate across the nation, bringing into sharp focus the reality of the peril that the nation always faced, another sort of war is raging in right earnest among the politicians of the land.

And true to their character, they have all displayed absolute obliviousness to their own role in the border fiasco that happened partly because all of them were so busy pursuing their private agendas and cutting deals that the country itself was rendered wide open for invasion by an eager enemy.

Having exhausted every forum in airing their views and even all their letterheads in despatching paper missiles to the media on the hows and whys of the war, they now want an exclusive session of the Rajya Sabha to debate the situation. We the prajas are now terrified, not as much of the Pak snipers on the LoC as of our mean-mouthed, noisy politicians and with having to put up with their privileged rabble inside the cool interiors of the House, far from the madding battle front.

The CPI claims that even the President agreed with them, though one cannot be as sure and can instead expect a rebuttal from the R. Bhavan, as has been the trend nowadays. Not to be left out of the action, every politician worth his or her name, be they from national parties or one man outfits, not only wants a national debate on the original ‘great intelligence goof up’ but also demand to be included in the decision making process.

Apart from satisfying their own urges dictated by delusions of self-importance, their statements serve no good purpose and are instead quite revealing of their empty headedness. Though this ‘me too’ psychology of the politicians is quite understandable, given their penchant for limelight, be it fun or funeral, the current race among them to emerge as shadow heroes of Kargil and custodians of national interests, is to say the least, sickening.

And it must be added that the rulers are only compounding the pain by talking in different voices, too often, not to speak of their shoddy internal handling of the entire episode.

It beats me how a Parliament session could be deemed to be of such paramount importance, when all atention and resources need to be directed at a war forced on the nation and which it is already winning, not only on the battle front but also on the diplomatic front.

Can there be a more disturbing and discouraging spectacle, not only to the people but also to the Army, than listening to and watching our parliamentarians engrossed in endless debates and mutual mud-slinging even as our jawans are battling it out with the enemy in the bleak heights against heavy odds? This is not to belittle the importance of democratic debate on an issue of such magnitude, but is there not a proper time and occasion for such things?

Heavens may not fall if the debate is put off for more peaceful times, but all hell is bound to break loose if Parliament convenes, given the boisterous tendencies of the hungering members. From PM to DM down to senior army personnel, everyone would be busy answering the queries of the inquisitive MPs when really they should all be in their control rooms.

Would we be advancing our security interests by indulging in threadbare discussions, which are inevitable, on our military strategies and intelligence mechanisms just to satisfy the ‘democratic’ itch of a few leaders? And in any case, are we already not having a bit too much of democracy-read anarchy- that we have begun to resemble a veritable mad house? What do the eminent members hope to achieve through such a debate?

Provide new strategic insights, logistical masterplans and military tips that the army does not already know? Teach the soldiers how to press the trigger or how to load a shell? Or train them to climb icy ridges on empty stomachs or scale suicidal peaks on wintry nights? Have all our politicians become so presumptuous, in an euphoric fear of being left out, as to believe that their ‘valuable’ counsel from the relatively safer confines of their homes and Parliament, could really win the war?

The jawans at the warfront entertain no such illusions, at least. They know that they have to get at the enemy before he gets them. They are aware that real missiles are more potent than paper ones, and guns speak a vastly different dialect than the booming rhetoric of our politicos.

That it is not power and pelf, but death and destruction that stalk their path as they lurk in the dark, waiting for the unseen enemy perched high above to attack. That what may seem good politics may really be wrong war tactics-something like Lahore and Kargil.

And that the only way to end the war and with that, the debate too, is not to rest till the last intruder is booted out of our soil. The army knows the enemy well and their own job even better, which is best left to them.
All they wish for is to be left alone in peace to fight the battle, which is wholly theirs.The politicians can save their suggestions for their devotees and grand children.

The need of the hour is to rally behind the brave jawans silently and in spirit and not through misplaced utterings which run the risk of causing immense damage to their morale and undermining their credibility. The political loose cannons have to be silenced at any cost and the nation and its army has to be insulated from the din of political bluster, both inside and outside Parliament, that is capable of drowning the boom of the best of Bofors guns.

A Parliament session is certain to divert national attention from the real concerns, which is avoidable. Whatever the merits of the rulers, now is not the time to fire pot-shots at them even if they deserved it, for they can serve the nation better by concentrating on the war than defending themselves against the opposition onslaught in the House.

The country is already paying the price in the form of a wholly unwarranted political instability and a costly, unwanted election purely owing to the whims of a few paranoid politicians. Another such digression at this juncture would be inviting hell, which is now residing in neighbouring Pakistan, to call on us too.

And it is just to prevent this catastrophe that we should issue a clarion call to all politicians to simply shut up, at least for now! They can always join the valedictory, get their due photo-ops and even get back at their foes once the faceless jawans are through with their mission.

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Jawahar T R