Pulwama is no exception. Each time there is a terror attack on Indian soil, we react in the same, predictable, unimaginative way. By ‘we’, I encompass every section of society that wishes to add its two-bit wisdom to a problem that has defied acceptance leave alone a solution. Sombre-looking political leaders affirming that sacrifices will not go waste, walrus-moustached ex-generals supporting the ‘military option’, all-knowing defence journalists writing columns about the range of options that could be exercised, visual media capitalising on heart-wrenching interactions with wailing wives, children and mothers of those killed, ‘Uri’-watching social media activists who want a repeat commando action at the press of a button and several others who can do nothing else but burn incense or organise candle-light vigils. Cut to the next terror attack where this cycle repeats itself with uncanny similarity.
Our jawans will continue to die. Nothing will change. A solution will mean altering the status quo, it will mean hard decisions, it will mean softening of hardened stances, it will mean tackling Pakistan with much greater resolve and with actions that hurt, it will mean dialogue and consensus, it will mean a give and take, it will mean stopping of easy money going into the troubled state, it will mean reining in people who enjoy political patronage and yet work to subvert national interests, it will mean reconsideration of Art 370, it could mean media curbs, it could mean allowing a free hand to the Army, it could also mean a division of the state, it could mean quietly and ruthlessly eliminating known anti-national outfits and several other measures that are political hot potatoes in our unique version of Democracy. It is much easier to let jawans die. Much easier to add a few hundred more tablets each year to the War Memorial and lay wreaths there occasionally.
If our approach to the Kashmir problem does not radically change, the terrorist will win every time. And we will help them win.
RIP Bravehearts – yours is to Do and Die.