• Don Quixote never won a war and why Kashmir needs more Major Gogois by Nidhie Sharma

    On April 9th, Major Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles strapped a kashmiri man to the bonnet of his jeep while rescuing security and election personnel being held hostage by a stone pelting mob at the budgam polling station in Kashmir. The images circulated in the media provoked extreme reactions across the board and a large cross-section of society deemed it a human rights violation.

    Don Quixote never won a war and why Kashmir needs more Major Gogois by by Nidhie Sharma

    A human shield was an unusual sight. For centuries we’ve been conditioned to celebrate our soldiers for walking into a hail of bullets, miraculously killing every last enemy-soldier before dying grand deaths. These heroic tales are as necessary as they are sometimes untrue because every war must have it’s heroes so be it. History however has proven time and again that wars are not won by Don Quixote’s but by men who display a grass-root understanding of the enemy along with an intelligent strategy that is impeccably executed.

    In a battlefield, quick decisions need to be taken and the Major took his, and as uncool as it looked, to his credit, he did save lives that day and that counts for something.

    It would be pertinent to visualize what could have happened if the controversial human shield was not used, so let’s suspend disbelief and revisit April 9th 2017. Major Gogoi and his men enter Budgam sans the human shield and make an attempt to rescue the dozen trapped inside the polling station. As their jeeps approach the area they are accosted and attacked by a stone pelting mob. To disperse the stone-pelters, Major Gogoi and his men fire in the air, a woman/child/onlooker at a nearby window gets hit. (this is not far fetched if you’ve lived in insurgency hit regions). The stone-pelters get violent and attack the army men who are then forced to open fire, killing a few in the mob. Some stone-pelters in the meanwhile enter the polling station and lynch the people stuck inside. Now! let’s count the dead.

    Coming back to how things actually panned out, Major Gogoi assessed the situation and the risks involved, used his ingenuity and came up with a full proof plan that worked. We’re all aware of the number of lives lost in that rescue operation. ZERO.

    In a battlefield, quick decisions need to be taken and the Major took his, and as uncool as it looked, to his credit, he did save lives that day and that counts for something.

    It’s very easy to sit in the comfort of one’s airconditioned homes and offices and wax eloquent about human and constitutional rights that were violated by the Major and how it’s dented the image of the army. Arm chair activists have zero understanding of conflict management in insurgency hit regions. The truth is that Kashmir at the moment is a boiling cauldron and the Indian Armed forces deployed in the valley are struggling to keep it from descending into chaos, so image be damned, someone’s got to do the job. Kashmir needs more Major Gogoi’s right now.

    Views Are The Author’s Own
    The writer is a filmmaker based in Mumbai who has also written ‘Dancing with Demons’, India’s first boxing drama novel

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