Thursday, July 26, 2012

No War Memorial. Still. 'Ye Dil Mange More'

One more Kargil Vijay Diwas is here. Another day to briefly remember India’s forgotten soldiers and push them out of sight again. As they have been for the last 65 years. Hard to believe, but the bitter truth is that Independent India has yet not found an inch of land to honour those who have made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland, with a National War Memorial in Delhi.

What is being passed off as a memorial for them is actually a British War Memorial, now called India Gate, to honour every single Indian soldier -- regimental no. and name engraved in stone -- who died fighting for the Empire mainly during the First World War. All we have done for those who laid down their lives for us, is put a rifle upside down, helmet on top, under the arch of this massive Raj memorial, and lit a small flame there. This is humiliation.

For years the military has been trying to convince babus and netas to allot land so that our martyrs too can be honoured and remembered in a dignified manner. Files have moved up and down, but the hearts and minds of the new rulers of India remain frozen. A little over four and a half years back, I had written a post on the subject in the hope that it might stir pride, if not shame, in those who expect India’s sons to do and die, but have callously forgotten to honour their part of the sacred bond that exists between soldier and nation. Unsurprisingly, not a leaf has moved.

On this day that commemorates the valour and sacrifice of India’s young sons in Kargil, it is only befitting that I express my angst again. This time it is in verse:

'Ye dil maangey more!' he exulted,
After he had pounced upon and killed
The enemy raining shells and bullets
Down the  cliff in cold Kargil.

For Sher Shah Vikram Batra,
No opposition was tough, no gradient steep;
Soaring on wings of patriotism,
The brave young man won peak after peak.

Then, like tigers before him and after,
For the flag in which they draped his body,
He rose to a peak higher then Everest
Throating his battle-cry: “Jai Mata Di.”

Again the nation rose as one,
To salute and honour India’s sons;
For our tomorrow, they'd given their all,
No sacrifice big, their Himalayan call.

But in Delhi beneath Imperial domes,
Our leaders remain so ever unmoved,
So what, some argue, if a Vikram dies;
It is what he had willingly signed up to do.

The British had shown a big man’s heart,
For Indians who died in the first great war,
An imposing memorial, each name in stone,
They built when they did their big blue dome.

Their King got a small canopy alone
In the shadow of the martyrs’ gate of stone;
Our leaders rest in vast memorials,
No thought for their own orphaned soldiers.

Not six inches given in six decades,
For the brave who fought and perished for us;
For them there’s a tiny flame that cowers
In the bowels of ’India Gate’ that towers.

They rage unheard, they cry in vain,
Our martyrs dishonoured with plain disdain,
But nothing can shame our leaders vain;
Having never ever lost their kith or kin, they remain,
Untouched by both pride and pain.

In the dark
Of India’s ravaged Yoni,
Flickers a tiny flame.

In distant haze,
Victor's blue phallus,
Sniggers at the shame.

His ‘India Gate’
Has names engraved;
Each martyr acclaimed.

No home but,
Not even an inch,
For soldiers for us slain.

Alien beast,
He used, honoured:
No shame.

Our beasts,
They use, spit,
No shame.

India’s netas,
Glow enshrined;

India’s sons,
Rage in the dark,
No name.

India’s flag
On that phallus
Weeps for their tiny flame.