25 September 2006

The Patriotism of a Soldier

A soldier risks his life for his country. Many soldiers die for their country. Some are crippled for life. Therefore a soldier's profession can be considered as one of the noblest. But when he is caught as a prisoner of war he has a hell of a time. The torture he often undergoes in the enemy camp to elicit information completely demoralizes him. To my imagination his thinking at that time goes something like this: "Why did I join army? If I didn't, I would have been happily at home like many other of my countrymen. If I died in action I would have become a martyre and my family would have got adequate compensation. But what is this? Why do I have to suffer this agony of excruciating pain? I am neither here nor there. Even my army unit doesn't know whether I am dead or alive. Nor do I know for how many years I have to languish in a prison in an alien country among alien people and in a horrible solitary confinement. Is this the reward I get for risking my life for my country?"

A POW, the soldier of an enemy country, must be treated with respect just as you do a soldier of your own country. Just as a mother is a mother whether your own or your enemy's, a soldier is a soldier. The enemy country may be in the wrong. But a soldier has nothing to do with it. He is rigorously trained to "do and die and not to question why".

Eliciting information through torture, to my reckoning, is unethical and immoral. It is like robbing at gun point. Or rather even worse. I appeal to the well-educated and the intellectuals to ponder over the issue. This needs to be taken up as 'public interest litigation' in the Supreme Courts.



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