Please note: The article at the bottom of this post was not written originally by my Dad. It was edited by him and modified to fit the context of the Indian soldiers. This is already mentioned at the bottom of this post. And he’s even linked to the original on his blog. Most people who commented here understood that. Strangely enough, there are other people who cannot scroll to the bottom and read, and instead leave rude comments at other blogs.

If Obelix was here, you know what he’d have done, right? Tapped his head (toc toc toc), and said – “These trolls are crazy!”

Long, long time since I wrote. And the number of unpublished posts I have is unbelievable. I’ve tried to start writing and then lost the inclination, or had my mind blanking out, or just not had the time to finish.

The Mumbai Attacks, meanwhile, have left me feeling …or actually, have left me wondering what to feel. Angry? Confused? Outraged? All of the above?

I watched the news for four days straight, with only breaks for sleeping at night – horrified at what was happening, and the implications of all of it. Feeling guilty to even be sleeping. No reason for the guilt, I know. But staying awake and watching the news, and feeling the pain, was the only way to take part in what was happening in a city over 1400 Kms away. Over the next few days, I’ve even found myself putting on radio in the car, on the way back from work, and feeling instantly guilty to be listening to music.

Yes, I realise that this makes very little sense.

I have only been speaking about this with my parents, brother and husband – because I just don’t have it in me to engage in a conversation about this with anyone else who doesn’t feel the outrage that we all have been feeling. It is difficult to put this feeling in words, spoken or written. All of us have sat and watched TV with tears flowing down our faces. My brother’s had a fight with a friend, and my husband’s had an argument with a colleague.

Saahil’s friend is doing Hotel Management (so is Saahil), and all he had to say was that he was glad he hadn’t started training in either of these hotels. My brother was incapable of explaining to this boy that it was so not about your own self here. There was so much more.

G’s colleague said that he wished “all these Muslims” would just be sent back to Pakistan.

I’ve felt physical rage at just hearing these two stories from S and G, and do not wish to enter into any conversations myself with people.

I’ve been reading a few blogs off and on. There were people who just reported what had happened, but mostly they were outraged too. Some wondered why the Officers who died had to head these operations themselves, and couldn’t just strategise from the background since they were heads of various teams. Well, maybe because they were “Officers”, and one of the vows they take is to protect their country, their men, and then if they have any life left, themselves – in that order.

I’ve read in many blogs now that it’s sad how the young don’t care. And while I agree that it’s extremely sad that a lot of them don’t, I disagree, mainly because of my 21 year old brother, who does.

I heard people wondering what the big deal was with the Kerala CM not going to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s home. And, while I agree that it isn’t wrong for the Kerala CM to choose to fly to Karnataka a little late, it is still inexcusable what he said.

But, anyway, while on the topic – this is something that might answer some questions that a lot of people have about why the media is suddenly so full of how important our Army, Navy and Air Force are. Yes, people have been wondering why this incident has led to so much being written about them all over the place, even though these same people do the same job every day in J&K. Why is so much being made of it this time around? No, it isn’t because the “elite” got attacked, and the “aam aadmi” didn’t.

We’re talking about them because this incident was not the same thing as what happens every day in J&K. If there is firing at our borders, it is between the Armies of two countries. It isn’t an illogical, all-out attack on civilians of a country by terrorists.

My family has had many people who’ve served in one of the three Armed Forces. Mom’s father (my Nana) was in the Army, both of my Naani’s brothers were in the Navy, and my Dad’s an ex-fighter pilot from the IAF. This is an artcle that Papa wrote while we were all in the midst of watching the news. Do read.

Half Man  Half Boy

The average age of the army man is 23 years. 

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer in the capital of his country, but old enough to die for his country.

He’s a recent school or college graduate; he was probably an average student from one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a rickety bicycle, and had a girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip -hop or bhangra or gazals and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 5 or 7 kilos lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting the insurgents or standing guard on the icy Himalayas from before dawn to well after dusk or he is at Mumbai engaging the terrorists. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. 

He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. 

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. His pride and self-respect, he does not lack.

He is self-sufficient. 

He has two sets of combat dress: he washes one and wears the other. 

He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry. 

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own wounds. 

If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. 

He can save your life – or take it, because he’s been trained for both.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. 

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. 

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed to do so.

He feels every note of the Jana Gana Mana vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ‘square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hands from their pockets, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy. 

He is your nation’s Fighting Man that has kept this country free and defended your right to Freedom. He has experienced deprivation and adversity, and has seen his buddies falling to bullets and maimed and blown.

And he smiles at the irony of the IAS babu and politician reducing his status year after year and the unkindest cut of all, even reducing his salary and asking why he should get 24 eggs a week free! And when he silently whispers in protest, the same politician and babu aghast, suggest he’s mutinying!

Wake up citizens of India! Let’s begin discriminating between the saviours of India and the traitors!

– Flt. Lt. Rajiv Tyagi


Edited to add: This article isn’t written entirely by my Dad. It’s just been modified to fit the Indian context. He actually wrote another piece for a newspaper, which I shall post when he sends it to me. (Hurry up, Papa!)



Filed under family, social issues, thinks

74 responses to “outrage

  1. Anamika

    First time commenting here. The article by your father gave me goosebumps. I do respect our soldiers but I will admit that more often than not, they do not feature in my everyday thoughts. I am ashamed of that and will definitely try and change that because they deserve far far more. Our leaders, soldiers and teachers shape the country. Leaders have failed us time and again. Lets not lose the other two groups.
    Please convey my highest regard to your dad.

    me: Thanks for commenting, Anamika.

  2. Yes, it’s been impossible to come to terms with the tragedy.
    Some reactions to it have also been impossible to comprehend.
    Your father has written so eloquently- his piece needs to be circulated widely.

    me: I know what you mean about reactions from some people. That is why I’ve not really felt like talking to anyone else about this.
    And, this is something that my Dad edited to fit the Indian context, it wasn’t written by him completely. But yeah – it does need to be circulated – that’s true.

  3. Brilliant piece of writing.

    I’d really like to meet your dad.

    me: 🙂 Dinner at our place, the next time he’s in town. And, I’ve been telling The Boy about Papa’s Mountain Hut anyway – the place where he takes off for his treks to.

  4. This gave me goosebumps…

    me: Me too. Thanks for linking to it. 🙂

  5. I salute ur father. That i believe expresses more than any other words i can say…

    me: 🙂

  6. Pingback: What is a soldier « The Brat, the Bean and Bedlam

  7. Came here through MM. Great, great piece.

    me: Thanks. 🙂

  8. superb write up by your dad. we are eagerly awaiting the other piece.

    me: Me too. I wish he’d send it sooner.

  9. sscribbles

    Tears flowed down my eyes as I read this. I take pride in men who join the forces and salute them for their selflessness.

  10. please thank your father for being so generous about his (and his) colleagues’ lives.

    me: 🙂

  11. Brilliant and heart-felt, that. And it is to my eternal shame I didn’t realize sacrifices people in the armed forces make until just a few months ago.

    me: What happened a few months ago, if you don’t mind sharing?

  12. Pingback: …::::The Vada Pav Chronicle::::::…… :: The army man :: December :: 2008

  13. arundati

    the article written by your Dad, is brilliant. it also tells the truth. it is also the truth, that many young officers, are leaving the forces voluntarily because they are so underpaid….getting into ordinary jobs, they will make 4 times as much money and not have to pay with their lives, for an ungrateful nation….suddenly, we hail them as saviors…and know that for all the rubbish that was said about the money being spent on the forces, on arms and everything else, we just clung to them for salvation and deliverance when the terrorists scared the crap out of us….

  14. though i knew this, reading about it still was an eyeopener…i think this needs to be read by many…would you mind if i mail this (the article)to peopel i know…?

    me: Wouldn’t mind at all, Suma.

  15. can’t quite describe what i felt while reading your dad’s words. beautiful. waiting to read his other article.

  16. Brilliant piece written by your father.

    I salute him!

  17. Wonderful article. Truly. Well written by your Dad.

  18. Pingback: Half Man Half Boy at Blogbharti

  19. Aneeth

    Would have missed this if not for MM… The article is magnificent to say the least.. As tough as things can be the fact that they still find their balance and composure when in the midst of life and death situations is far beyond normal appreciation. The traitors surely will burn in hell..

  20. I am overwhelmed. It makes me weep. I have lived in the north east of India, in Shillong, Kohima, Imphal …. I have seen these boys train day in and day out. Oh my God, time to talk is over. Its time for action.

    me Absolutely. And I hope that the politicians finally GET what the citizens are trying to tell them this time. Right now, I see them not even being able to comprehend the might of the people who bring them to power. Which is why some of them are going on saying the most idiotic things ever!

  21. That was brilliant.

    While we know all about it but it still doesn’t register what it takes to stand on the line and defend people and then stand the chance of losing one’s life to save another. Its incidents & articles like these that remind us to be thankful.

  22. Very stirring….I am the cynic here though. May be the only one.

    Not every Indian Soldier feels like that. Wish things were different.

    me: Not cynical. True. And, why not maybe? Just like any other profession. No?

  23. this sent shivers down my spine

  24. G

    “…while tempering the burning desire to ’square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, …
    he defends their right to be disrespectful…”

    I have witnessed this scenario so many times in movie theaters these days. If my blood boils, I can imagine what the soldier must go through!

    Waiting to read your Dad’s next article.

    me: I used to get this feeling in school – every single day, during the morning assembly. Till the day when my parents explained to me how it was alright to even burn the symbol of your freedom, your flag – because you are part of a democracy. Yeah, that still is a criminal offence in India. And I still haven’t been able to make up my mind about this. I’ve called actually called up the cops a couple of times when I saw the flag not having been taken down on some buildings, since you’re supposed to take it down at sun-down. Of course, the cops had better things to do with their time, and I didn’t get much of a response.

  25. Came here through MM. Gave me goosebumps.Salute to your dad.
    Men in uniform have always been up on that pedestral for me. They always will be, the saviours of this country.

    Would you mind if i send this piece out to a lot of friends, this needs to be read by all.

  26. I have had deep respect for the Armed Forces, but hearing what your father has to say, just made me realize that every one of these men, are young lads and they have something very strong in themselves to be able to selflessly serve a nation.

    After all that is being said, none of these boys have been deterred either. Very commendable.

    A wonderfully written piece too.

    Do post the article too when it is done.

  27. I am typing and deleting words here for the last several minutes because I cannot put in words what this means to me. Thank you for sharing it.

    me: I know what you mean. It took me 5 days to write that post.

  28. Uma

    What you had posted is harsh reality. I, like many others hope that someone with a little brains would come to govern all of this…

  29. It should be read by all. Linking it.

    me: 🙂

  30. thanks to your father for giving me a far better perspective. thanks for sharing this.

  31. artilce by your father was great. i have been thinking a lot about them after we called NSG and lost lives.

    I have also been researching to write a piece about defence pay scales, meagre pensions and lack of motivation to join. Thanks for reminding me of my resolve to write about it. Irony is most of friends refused to believe that army pemsions are meagre for soldiers. 😦

  32. aarabik

    my first time here – i loved the bit written by your dad. one of my best friends is in the air force and i often hear from him – though i’m half a world away.
    I’m simply blown away by the strength of will and selflessness of the army man.
    Inspiring insights – i’ll be back for more here.
    Oh and one more thing, i actually find it rather odd to hear so many of you girls saying that today’s generation seems unmoved. What age group are you talking about?
    I’m 21, i study in holland and all of us indians here are terribly outraged about the mumbai incident. my friends in the us and other parts of europe too are absolutely livid about how inert we’ve allowed ourselves to become. we’re trying to brainstorm ideas to put forth to the defense ministry. lol, we’re geeks so many of our ideas are technical in nature.

    great post! keep writing!

  33. This is one of the most inspiring pieces I have read in a long time. God bless you father. You must be very proud of him.

    WOuld you mind if i linked upto this on my blog? I really feel this deserves to be read by as many as possible.

    me: Wouldn’t mind at all, MGM. 🙂

  34. ok! i hope you know its embarassing to cry like a baby at work place!

    i have always been in awe of people who join defence forces. and they deserve every bit of respect from every citizen and LOTS of money from the government.

    and how hateful it is to see people not even giving respect to national anthem. i still get goose bumps and get taery eyed everytime i hear it.

    heres another salute for people defending us!


  35. M

    Came here from MM…lovely article, had me in tears.

    One of the sad realities of a volunteer army, in any country, is this sad disconnect between those who serve and the general public. I live in the US, and see similar statements made, similar rebuttals, and the rebuttals are so sad each time.

    Time we sacked *all* politicians, maybe?


  36. Came here from MM’s blog dear Aanchal, and I am glad I did. This was a spellbinding tribute, and it gave me so much more depth into the soldier’s life, his training and his ordeals. I am all the more humbled and very very grateful. God bless this spirit of sacrifice and service.

  37. feeling overwhelmed…
    shall just say Thank you…

  38. Going by your responses to a couple of comments, I guess I can share this post with people I know?

  39. Deepa Z

    Came here from MM blog….Thanks for sharing..what a lovely piece by your father. Everyone must read.

  40. very very beautiful1! Can’t wait to read the article he sent to the newspaper.

  41. Nish

    I live in US and it breaks my heart every time when I think about the victims and soldiers who died in Mumbai attacks. The piece your Dad wrote brought tears to my eyes. Even though we don’t think about our soldiers on a day to day basis, this brought some insight into what goes through their minds everyday. Beautifully written!

  42. Anita

    Thanks for this. Came here thru MM.
    I have six classmates from school (yeah, KV) who are in the armed forces. I am proud of them. ANd these are points often talked about.
    Your father has written it very eloquently.

  43. Got here from Mad Momma’s blog…
    Beautifully written… hats off to ur dad and to the short haired, tight muscled kids in the border…

  44. peccavi


    that was the hard-hitting truth. Have a brother in the navy and ever so many friends in the armed forces – colleagues of my brother as well as school/college mates of mine. I’d love to send everyone a link to this piece of great writing by your dad. I assume that’s OK.


  45. I love reading your blog.

    me: Thanks, MD! 🙂

  46. Anjali

    Hi, got this link on MM’s post. So I am a first timer here.

    Your father has described a soldier to the hilt. Has this come in a newspaper? Would be good if others get to read it.

    Best wishes,

    me: No, Anjali. This one didn’t get published in a newspaper. Since this isn’t something that he’s written in its entirety. He’s modified a very famous article about soldiers to fit the context of Indian soldiers. But yeah – I agree this is one of those things that people should read.

  47. i’m Pakistani, and it especially saddens me to hear the “send all the muslims BACK to Pakistan” part.
    how can the muslims be sent ‘BACK’, when they were never from here. The Muslims there are Indian and Its the country they originate from and belong to.

    how does one even come up with something like this?

    a friend of mine wrote a post, and i’ve been trying to get it across to as many people as possible. i’ll leave the link here for you too. gave it to MM too. and for others to read.


    me: I know – that’s the saddest part. A 61-year old Partition hangover, I think.

  48. Anuj

    “The moon gives you light, And the bugles and the drums give you music, And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans, My heart gives you love.”

    -Walt Whitman

  49. The letter is just amazing. Sometimes you feel helpless when you read the truth and this is one such case.

  50. WOW! I dont know how to describe what I’m right now feeling reading this piece from your father !! Its simply brilliant.

    Passing this link to my parents and friends, hope its ok 🙂

    Now cant wait to read your dad’s blog 🙂 Thanks a lot, uncle 🙂 And salutes to you 🙂

  51. Shilpa G.


    Do we even ever pause and think about the thousands of young jawans that protect us/our territories.

    And, why are they more patriotic than we are? Is it the training? I think then all of us also need some serious patriotism training…

  52. Came here through MM’s link and am so glad I did. Your father write-up gave me goosebumps. It is so easy to daily forget those who defend us every day while we go about our chores.
    About the national anthem and people’s disrespect, I wish they would stop playing our anthem in movie theaters, most the people are least bothered to even stop eating!! Of course, there are some who sing along or make sure others stand up as well, but the majority can’t even be bothered to stop talking on their cell phones!!

  53. This made me cry. Anything more I say will dilute what I feel. Thank you.

    me: Me too.

  54. how can we help and make a difference to them for once? how can we improve their lives and see to it that they receive higher salaries and better perks? can we do something please? suggestions? lets revolt and give the army men what they deserve, felt so bad about the eggs part and want to eradicate the politicians for treating our soldiers like this

  55. SMM

    Hey came over from MM’s blog. My dad was a submariner in the navy and my father-in-law was with the Coast Guard. My grandfather was also in the Navy. I know exactly what you mean. I have so many friends in the armed forces. This is beautiful. Which NDA cadre is your dad from? Both the fathers in my case are form the 71st cadre

  56. Very inspiring!! This is the first time i realised he is not any special than I am! Any more blessed, with just same two hands and two legs to defend him… only difference is he does it for the country, the people !! It took me a while to get out of the picture i was running in my mind as I read thru the lines!

    As a aam admi, who is watching news and reading about the brave hearts in papers.. a peep into their real existance is simply a “Goose bump” experience!!

    Rest In Peace!!

  57. After reading your papa’s letter, I’m really speechless. I really am!
    Especially this line, He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.
    From this day onwards, Indian army will be in my prayers – every morning when I wake up and every night before I sleep.

    me: Amen. 🙂

  58. WoW!
    I wonder why I didn’t read this sooner!

    That was some amazing stuff.

    As for the entire event …
    .. I think I’m hoarse.

    Words have failed me. Thoughts overwhelmed. Ideas evaporated. Wonderment exploded.

    I cannot fathom the hate.

    me: Same here. And, I think it’s the same for most people, across the world. The not-being-able-to-fathom-the-hate bit.

  59. First time commenter. Loved the piece written by your dad. But the soldiers who are ready to die for us, what do they get inturn? Are they provided with enough weapons to protect themselves? Whatever happened in Mumbai tells a different story altogether. Officers shot down even before they started fight.

    me: Lively, I don’t think most soldiers really want anything in return. All they want to do is to be a professional, and do their job well. But yes, the things that they need in order to do their job well… it’s undeniably imperative that they be made available to them. What happened in Mumbai though, when Karkare and others were shot was maybe that they didn’t expect the terrorists to have such sophisticated weapons as they did.

  60. I have had friends in the navy and know what it is… but still my hands went numb for a few second when I read this and it took me a while before I could comment.
    A very touching and inspiring post. Your Dad has written it very well.

  61. I remember how helpless I felt while the very same brave men were out there fighting against all odds….and when the crowd saluted them…for the first time I felt proud, that for ocne our countrymen did the right thing.

    That was the MOST beautiful lines one could write about the men in uniform. It brings a lump and also makes you proud.
    please do post the one your dad sends too….i’d love to read them.

    me: Will do that, Prats. 🙂 Only, he’s being lazy now, so we’ll all see the new post only after a few days.

  62. JLT

    gave me goosebumps to read this article…
    I had been sent a forward of photos stating similar things about a soldier’s life, and that had pictures of American soldiers, I think, but the way your father wrote or ‘modified it to suit the Indian context’ it still sent goosebumps thru me.
    It requires a rare courage and selflessness to be able to send one’s loved ones in service of the nation. I salute the brave men and even braver (in a way) families.
    I hope I get to read the article your father’s sending you 🙂 and my salutations to him too.

  63. Pingback: Apology for the last piece « The Brat, the Bean and Bedlam

  64. Such a moving piece. Salutations to your dad and every one of them who sacrifice in battle to keep us all safe.

  65. Anupa

    Lovely article there… My dad’s a fighter pilot in the IAF too. And I know the kind of emotions and inspirations that children of people in the Armed Forces are brought up with.

    And I feel so miserable at the way soldiers are treated in our country. Especially by the politicians.

    Why is it so hard to get that we owe our lives.. our existences to these soldiers??

    And while we’re at that, why is it so hard to respect the Flag and the Anthem??

    Aaah…I have just so much rage in me when it comes to these topics!

  66. Thank you so much for your father’s write up.
    We all Indians need to be away of what is becoming of us as indivuduals and as a country.
    I hope your father publishes his articles in as many publications as can be because we need to make people aware and make them feel.

  67. Michelle

    Hey!! lovely post..had tears in my eyes… my dad served the army and my bro is an officer in the Air Force stationed in Delhi… and yes we are KV-ites (your father’s words so suit my brother and the vocation he has chosen!!)

  68. ashish



    on second reading i find that it is perhaps all about “he”, no mention of women in defense. time to include and salute lady officers too.


  69. found you thru a random click on what was at the top of CSB’s blogroll…my father served the IAF, so I knew these but still am touched wth the eloquence and passion.
    Liked your blog. Wd be back sometime.In the meanwhile, take care

  70. Dr. Dinesh G. Jain

    I am immensely touched with the piece by your dad Flight Lt. Rajiv Tyagi. After reading your own write-up, I have a feeling that your mom (Seema Dev) was my senior at the B.J. Medical College, Pune. My dear friend Dr. Sukhbir who was also my room-mate in the B.J. Hostel was your mom’s classfellow. I take this opportunity to congratulate you for your brilliant writing. Keep it up! Please convey my warm regards to your parents. – Dinesh.

  71. Swaraj

    I salute the man for his inspiring article. India is on the world map only because our armed forces are guarding us from Pakistan and China. I believe The government of India should provide all necessary help to make the Armed forces the most powerful. I have been in RSS and I know how discipline is inculcated among the cadre. I just get no words to express my feelings towards the writer of this article. Uncle u are a true patriot and India requires people like u at the most in these times! Salute U . Jai Hind. Vande mataram

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