Mohanlal the soldier blogs about the need for national pride
Popular Malayalam superstar Mohanlal took to his blog once again to air his views about the controversies over freedom of speech and intolerance that raging all across the country today. He has been quite vocal with his views about many an issue, and his blog is a popular platform that is followed by several people all over the world. The actor, unlike others who communicate online, posts images of his handwritten notes on his blog. Having been made an honorary Lt. Colonel of the Territorial Army of India in 2009, nationalism and patriotism certainly are issues that are very close to his heart. The post has gone viral since he published it on February 21st , and you can read read the full text of the post in Malayalam here.
The actor was invited by the Indian army to tour Siachen, but was unable to travel. He still wishes to to go and visit the outpost, to better understand the impossible conditions under which the post is manned. The recent tragedy in Siachen that took the lives of 10 army men posted there has been overshadowed by the growing protests and unrest across the country that has been gaining momentum. Mohanlal tries to look at the issues not as individual problems, but as factors that are corroding the patriot in us. What could be more insulting to the unknown soldier who lays down his life in the line of duty than to fester perverse notions of independence, freedom and nationalism under the very umbrella of security that he provides? Is this the value we place on their supreme sacrifices?
He goes on to lament how the general public continues to carry on with their daily lives, made comfortable by all modern conveniences, even as soldiers willingly languish at such outposts under inhuman conditions, constantly staying true to their duties. And it is not just him – everybody must have wondered, at least on a few occasions, what is it that makes these brave warriors stay true to their sense of purpose and duty even in the face of death? Mohanlal goes on to mention how he read about offers of help from the Pakistani forces stationed nearby, when tragedy stuck the Indian camp at Siachen in the form of an avalanche, burying 10 Indian soldiers alive under several feet of snow. Are we as a people worse than the even the enemy, who offered to help out of compassion?
He feels that the relation between citizens and their country should be like the bond between a mother and her children. Safeguarding the nation is not a task that can be assigned to a few soldiers along the borders – be it in Kashmir, Siachen or Ladak. It is, and should be, the task of every citizen of the country. The motherland cannot be just another notion that you harbor, pictured as a land mass bound by geo-political borders. It is much more – it is the land you walk on, the air you breathe, the sun and the rain you feel on your face, and the land that you will go back to, when the life force leaves your mortal body. The safety and integrity of this land cannot be enforced by weapons alone. Love, compassion, respect for each other and the willingness to die for the country if need be, are integral to protecting the independence and sovereignty of our great nation. What is the point of intellectual arguments made from the comfort of armchairs if they threaten the very fabric of this freedom we enjoy?
Why don’t we teach our sons and daughters about this land we call home – about the flourishing culture and trade that existed here years before anywhere else, about our rich traditions and heritage, and about our mountains and rivers? That awareness is what will inspire love and respect among them. Education cannot be just academic – it needs to also be culturally uplifting, so that the citizens of tomorrow learn to salute and respect with the same show of spirit that they employ to protest and revolt. Love and respect for the nation and fellow citizens cannot be relegated to an unclaimed corner of the mind. Thought, debate and questions certainly need to be encouraged – but they need to pave the path for constructive progress of the nation.
The price we have paid for our freedom today is by no means trivial. It will not be wise to engage in practices that undermine what was built over years of bloodshed and sacrifice – such activity is not just pointless, but can also be tantamount to treason.
He ends his note with a quote that seems to summarize how he feels about the whole issue that is raging across the nation today.
“How will we die while India still lives… What would be the point of staying alive if India is no more?”
A heartfelt appeal for untiy not just from the soldier in Mohanlal, but from the Indian in him.
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