I am not a student of Delhi University. I am a doctor, more specifically a medical graduate who has cleared NEET PG exam, but I write this as a relative of someone who sacrificed his life for this country. And I do that, because suddenly the mainstream media has found it worthy to tell you what relatives of martyrs have to say over ABVP vs the Leftists issue at the Delhi University.
However, there is a problem. I have to say something they don’t want to hear. I am not the “right” kind of relative. But I must say it, because “free speech” exists in India. The same free speech, for which the media is supposedly fighting. The same free speech, which exists in India because the armed forces make sure that it is not overrun by Jihadists and Naxals.
My cousin Dhiraj Singh attained martyrdom in Kangan area of Jammu & Kashmir on 6th May 2006. He was slated to go on leave from 7th May onward to attend the tilak of our brother. Pinku bhaiya, as we used to call him, had selected the bhabhi. He was the youngest son of my mama and six years elder to me.
He was a Sowar (rider) in Armoured Corps/ 24 Rashtriya Rifles. On the fateful day, his seniors asked him to not join the operations as he had to leave the following day. But Pinku bhaiya said “khaali baith ke kya karunga” (what will I do sitting idle) and joined the anti-terrorist operations.
Back home we had no idea what was to hit us. All I remember was me coming to home from school at around 2 PM and finding my mother crying. Pinku bhaiya had attained martyrdom in the operations.
He killed two terrorists in combat, but was heavily injured. He killed another one, before he succumbed to his injuries. Sowar Dhiraj Singh was awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously by President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2007.
What had fallen upon us was a grave family tragedy, yet we were proud of what Pinku bhaiya could do for the nation. Coincidently, the last movie we watched together was “Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo”.
That was a strange metaphor. As if he left this nation for us to protect the way he protected. I too wanted to join the army, but I have a flat foot.
Still, I will try for Army Medical Corps later this year, even though people say that civilian candidates get second preference after those who have done MBBS from AFMC (Armed Forces Medical College). But I will try my best. I have to start from where my Pinku bhaiya left.
I am writing this all not to flaunt whose cousin I am or how patriotic and nationalistic I am. Neither do I think that being a relative of a martyr entitles me to some privileges. My brother fought and died for his motherland, and I am not attempting to take any credits for his martyrdom.
I am writing this because, as I said earlier, it is important to speak up as we still enjoy free speech in India. It is important to speak up before patriotism and nationalism are converted into some gaali by some people.
I don’t know whether my bhaiya will have supported ABVP or not, but I support them over what happened in Ramjas College, and I support their right of self-defence.
One thing I am sure is that my bhaiya would have never supported those who say “bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi”. He laid down his life fighting that very jung (war). He was killed by those who wanted “bharat tere tukde honge”.
I feel anguish and pain when the media paints those who fight against such slogans as villains. They ignore video evidences of such slogans being shouted and instead start smear campaigns against those who oppose such slogans.
I am sorry, I don’t consider such slogans as “free speech”. I am not going into any intellectual debate here, even our constitution puts restrictions on speech and doesn’t allow anyone to say things that threatens the unity and integrity of India.
“Bharat tere tukde honge” is not something that sounds like upholding the unity and integrity of India to me.
As the truth of what happened at Ramjas started to come out – proof of how the leftists assaulted students and even molested girls – suddenly the media has taken refuge behind a martyr’s daughter. She spoke against the ABVP, and the media found the perfect alibi in her. They could now happily paint ABVP as villain and make her a hero, and shield the real villains who want to fight war till India is ruined (Bharat ki barbadi tak).
I have no quarrel with that girl. She can choose to indulge in whatever activism she thinks is right. Let her be a hero, no problem. And I have absolutely nothing but just respect and gratitude for her father, who like my brother, sacrificed his own life so that we can live in a country that is safe and secure from enemies who want it ruined.
But I have a quarrel with the media, which is so selective and biased and which creates these fault lines.
When I first saw that campaign, I, as a relative of a martyr, thought maybe I should start a similar campaign in support of ABVP. But as I said, I have no quarrel with her. I did not want to make it her vs me. Furthermore, I feared that I will be branded a bhakt or a religious bigot. The media is still strong, very very strong.
But then I remembered what Pinku bhaiya did. He could have also let practical fears overpower him. He even had the option of not joining the operations. But he didn’t fear what destiny awaited him. He did what he felt was right for the country.
And I am doing the same. The least I can do is to speak up, before it’s too late.