Saturday, June 28, 2008

Misguided nation?

Krishna Prasad outdoes himself again with a brilliant article talking about the lack of VIP-representation at Field Marshal Manekshaw's funeral yesterday. The fact that the man was celebrated (in life, and in death) by the men who served with/under him, and by the common man, speaks volumes about his greatness. We don't need really need the cliched statements of politicians which have the usual sprinkling of words - 'great soldier', 'service to the nation', 'soul rest in peace'.
I have said this before and I say this again: we are a nation with a majorly short short-term memory, although Mr. B. Raman contends that we are a nation with NO MEMORY! The press is probably also at fault - especially when they prefer to cover the arrival of a person of (possibly) questionable integrity and honor, instead of paying tribute to some of the bravest men who have lost their lives protecting the nation.
The fact that the politicians/VIPs could not spare time to pay tribute (in person) to the Field Marshal does not take away anything from the greatness of the man, but speaks more about the politicians/VIPs. Much as I was disappointed by this (lack of VIPs, not the article!), I am sure the immediate family preferred it that way. He was a gentleman who valued his privacy, I'm sure, which probably explains why he settled in Wellington, as far away from Delhi as he could possibly get! The Field Marshal was a man of integrity I'm sure , and he must be smiling that sly smile of his sitting up there, as if to say "I'm glad you never came to see me at the end!".
In the much-used words of Kipling, he was a man who walked with kings and yet didn't lose his common touch!

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