It's high time we stopped over glorifying the military in India. Yes, they risk their lives while doing their job. But so do others in thousands of equally important professions. Not everyone joins the armed forces out of patriotism either. Moreover, a soldier is trained to follow orders. They have little choice over whether or not they think their actions have any meaning.

It's high time we stopped over glorifying the military in India. Yes, they risk their lives while doing their job. But so do others in thousands of equally important professions. Not everyone joins the armed forces out of patriotism either. Moreover, a soldier is trained to follow orders. They have little choice over whether or not they think their actions have any meaning.

Can We Please Stop Over Glorifying “Our Soldiers”?

I’m getting sick of the glorification of the Indian army on social media and in the newspapers. Every time there’s even the slightest deviation from the nationalistic narration, “soldier’s lives” are brought into the discussion. Comments like:

“Soldiers are dying! And you’re sitting in an armchair making comments”.

“Soldiers are dying. And you care about Pakistani actors!”

So let me say this. Yes, soldiers are dying. So? Let’s run through a few things here shall we?

My Contribution – How about Taxes?

I’m often asked “What are you doing for your country?” Well, I pay my fucking taxes for a start. You think soldiers fight for free? And if you think paying taxes is no big deal, consider this:

Only 1% – ONE percent – of India actually pays taxes. Last week, I got a “Bronze” certificate from the Government, thanking me for contributing to the nation. Bronze in this case means taxes between 1 lakh to 10 lakh.

Certificate of Appreciation for paying taxes

Out of that 1% of taxpayers, only five percent will get a certificate. So that means I pay more taxes than 99.95% of the country.

This easily makes me more valuable than almost anyone else in the nation. I am literally paying for your security. Because the soldiers are being paid with my money.

Pure statistics dictate that most likely, those who are shouting “Soldiers are dying!” pay 0 income taxes. Fine, soldiers are dying. So what the fuck are you doing about it? You think soldiers give a damn about your nationalistic chest beating? My taxes buy them weapons to fight with. My taxes buy them food. My taxes buy them shelter and equipment.

What do you do, oh Internet warrior who (probably) doesn’t pay taxes?

Soldiers Don’t Fight for our Freedom

A soldier is a machine. Trained to follow orders. If tomorrow a soldier receives instructions to slaughter civilians, then he/she will carry them out. The world is full of nations that have a strong military, and are not free. A soldier does not bring us freedom. Remember that.

We get freedom from a number of links in a chain. The judges, the politicians (yes, the politicians!), civil society who fights human rights abuses and most of all, the Constitution. A soldier is just ONE link in a chain that allows us to have freedom. In a dangerous environment, the army defends us from hostile forces.

That by itself does not bring us freedom. Freedom requires a huge number of variables. To say that soldiers alone guarantee our freedoms is an outright lie.

Most Soldiers don’t Join the Army for Patriotic Reasons

Sorry to break this to you, but most people don’t join the military out of patriotism. But I make no judgments. It’s perfectly fine to choose the armed forces for the quality of life they provide. Not just the salary, but the overall package. The cleanliness. The discipline. The subsidized housing and food. And many other perks. My wife is the daughter of army officer, and she often talks about how nice the environment was compared to the disordered neighborhoods most of us have to live in.

Does it help to be patriotic? I’m sure it does. Does it mean you have to be a soldier to prove your patriotic credentials? No.

Other Professions have a High Risk of Dying as Well

Let’s spare a thought for the people who clean our drains, and who die in alarming numbers every day throughout the country. If you think “soldiers are dying” to keep us safe, I have never ever heard of sanitation workers who die to keep us clean.

This means we’re not actually concerned about the loss of life. Not in the least. When it comes to high risks of dying, soldiers have plenty of company including farmers, construction workers, search and rescue operators, and police officers. If only we took farmer’s deaths as seriously as we took the deaths of soldiers. Yet, we only pay lip service to farmers. I have never heard of anyone saying “Farmers are dying. And you’re wasting time with this trivial issue!”.

The fact of the matter is that there are lots of risky professions. Most of them don’t have the same perks of the armed forces. And we Indians have a pretty cavalier attitude towards death in any case. We can’t suddenly start harping about the value of life, just to make a point.

It’s time we stopped over-glorifying the armed forces. They are trained to follow orders and do their job. It’s an important job, yes. It’s a risky job, yes. Yes, we need to thank them. Just like we need to thank farmers and sewage cleaners. Saying “Soldiers are dying” is just a lazy attempt to shut down logical reasoning with an emotion based appeal.

Sorry, but that won’t work on me.

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Comments

  1. I am reading this article in 2020
    Its absolutely insane times we are living in. Over glorification of soldiers are a byproduct off hyper nationalistic views. We the citizens build the society collectively, the nation is built with everyone’s contribution. There are selfless people, farmers, doctors, engineers,lawyers and sanitary workers who are forced to do their works because of their caste /background who contribute to the nation. More farmers die every year than soldiers but they are not glorified because people take them granted. People doesn’t want to know where their food came from or how the services and comfort of their life is provided. Over glorification of military is a dangerous thing. The crimes against humanity committed by the military is not recognised by the public,instead the keyboard warriors support the military in all these despicable acts. This happened and is happening in all parts of the world. Government uses military as a tool to push their nationalistic propaganda. The best solution is to learn history and think humanely.

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  2. Idiot.. Army soldiers and officers pay the highest amount if income tax, we are not like you idiots who cheat and pay minimum tax. An officer getting a pay of 80000₹ pays a tax 25000₹ and takes home 55000₹. Please build your knowledge before commenting.

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  3. Mr Bhagwad, please do your research on payment of tax before demeaning anyone, you will be surprised to know that not even a single defence personnel is exempted from paying tax, it is each and every tax payer who is getting this nation built, for your information everyone in the services has a bronze certificate, so you can roll yours and put up in your a**. One more thing not a single soldier has asked for the “glorification” as mentioned by you. Soldiers do respect work done by everyone. Why are you so jealous? If your work does not glorify you or your organisation, is it someone’s fault?,”Kaam aisa karo ki izzat Apne aap mile”. Respect is commanded and not demanded in our line of work. Better get your act together, the kind of things you written shows a weak and a desperate human being. Such beings are neither deemed to be fit to live in this society nor this country. I hope you are mentally stable at least, because for you, you have to only look after your wife and children and for us we have millions!!!

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  4. Gaurav Kumar Deb says

    I wish to see you in you in person so as to see what an self-centered ungrateful pretentious citizen like you looks like.

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  5. Poojan pandey says

    Mr. Bhagwat, let’s assume today you are given the job to be a part of a contingent of 200 men /or as their commander, and guard a border post, knowing there are cross border infiltrations and the terrorist wouldn’t think twice before killing you. You stay away from your family, not because you hot a high paying job and not because slogging this one time just before the financial year ends, might get you that promotion you have been eyeing for. Just because you got a posting letter, asking you to reach a place on the said date.
    So, you are away from your family and the weather isn’t quite comfortable. Either it’s hot desert, or snow covered valleys. You may/may not have mobile network connectivity. You have unearthly working hours, midnight to 4 am being critical because of the past history of infiltrations.
    You also have the responsibility to be dependent on your commander
    Or
    The responsibility to take decisions when people expect you to make the right choice for their lives.
    You have a family back home. Kids who you would want to go to a decent school and your wife/parents.
    At times you would feel it is unnecessary to work that day, since everything is fine, but you will have to. Because you have orders.
    Well, you need to strengthen the posts on Diwali, holi, eid, new year, any festival, political rallies, elections, national holidays, etc etc.
    You also lost few good friends who trained with you back in training days. They died(martyred) on a similar post weeks back and you can’t stop thinking about his wife and kids, who joined you on a family trip last year.

    With all this (hyped) thoughts.

    Tell me, what should be your salary?

    How much do you deserve to be paid for this? I will complete my comment once I get a number from you :)

    Reply

  6. D Ravindra Rao says

    Just because you’re not being glorified as a “freelance businessman” doesn’t mean that no one should be glorified. I would say, it takes real balls to face bullets and go out there every time knowing this could be your last. Over and above, they won’t stop even after losing someone close to them. I’ve felt that. It’s like hell. And trust me no soldier gives a damn about being glorified or not. Trust me, they don’t care. Doesn’t work for anyone. For an instance I agree with your point. But the things you’ve written to support your point are not right, they’re atrocious. Believe me, if you’re stuck somewhere tomorrow, a soldier will come and save you even if he is aware that you called him a machine and you think that you are paying for it. Oh by the way, you paying your tax maybe an option for you, but you not paying your tax will make you a fraud. Anyway, I like the way you think, and reminds me of the well versed quote “No one values a soldier till the time enemy is at the gates”.

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  7. You are a disgrace to this country and I think that you should rot in jail for writing all this nonsense BS. Tere jaise log khula aake esi BC kr skte h kyuki our soldiers are standing at the borders day and night.

    Otherwise you would have been shot and killed or maybe beheaded by those jihadis you fucking bastard….. Kya bakwass kr rha h BC…

    Tax bohot log dete h lekin jaan kuch hi log dete h saale… Upar se in times of need our defence forces donate their 1 day’s salary without question ….. tune tax deke koi bada kaam nahi kiya h….

    Saale apne ghr/office m arram se tu ye sab bakwass kr rha h… agar dum h to ek din k liye kr k dikha kisi defence personnel ki duty…. teri ma behen ek ho jani h saale…..

    Beta galti se bahar aake ye sab bol diyo tu…. tuje pata chalega kya hoga tera…..

    Kutte ki paidaish saale…. ungrateful bastard you are…..

    Reply

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