Duh Roy

And duh Dilip?

Arundhati Roy asks rhetorically (via Dilip D’Souza who asks inquiringly):

Roy: I think speaking out against the occupation is the bravest thing that a soldier can do. I have always admired the U.S. soldiers who spoke out against the Vietnam War. In fact, in places like India, when people get randomly racist and anti-American, I always ask them: When do you last remember Indian soldiers speaking out against a war, any war, in India? [War Times]

Imagine you were an Indian soldier. Would you speak out against war when Pakistan attacks India at Kargil, Pakistan-sponsored terrorists attacks the Indian parliament, when terrorists habitually kill your fellow citizens and conduct ethnic cleansing in your own country? Or when terrorists kill your own family members? Would you speak out against war when a murderous Pakistani military dictatorship is conducting genocide in Bangladesh driving 10 million refugees into India? Or when the Sri Lankan government is brutally repressing the Tamil minority, again driving refugees into India?

If you were an Indian soldier, you would be very unlikely to speak out against a war that is imposed on you.

And let’s not forget that the Indian armed forces do not engage in public debate over policy, but professionally execute the political decision to use military force. And that’s generally a very good thing.

28 thoughts on “Duh Roy”

  1. It is really amusing that print/ electronic media treats celebrities from particular field as experts in all fields. Soon we will have Amitabh Bachaan giving his take on ‘DPP 2008.’

  2. And letโ€™s not forget that the Indian armed forces do not engage in public debate over policy, but professionally execute the political decision to use military force. And thatโ€™s generally a very good thing.

    Well said!!, that is a Good Thing(TM) ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I don’t understand what’s the point that Arundhati Roy and Dilip D’Souza are driving at? If it is that Indian soldiers are not “liberal” enough, or “dissenters” enough, question is, why is challenging India’s wars a litmus test for their ‘liberalism’ or ability to dissent? Maybe Indian soldiers don’t question because they’re perfectly in agreement with the government about them? So when was the last time D’Souza dissented with or questioned A Roy?

  4. India has not had Vietnams; most of the wars she has had, had to do with unlawful occupation of her territory, so why should her soldiers oppose it?

  5. “In fact, in places like India, when people get randomly racist and anti-American”

    Isn’t that interesting? Hedging before she’s accused!

    How does she and Dilip know soldiers don’t dissent? Because they don’t write books or sue in courts to run from battle field. May be their honour code is lot more mature then other armies.

    Also does dissenting that politicians are not acting aggressive enough – to keep the likes of Dilip and Roy happy – count? We get this kind of dissent from duty-bound and honourable soldiers all the time…

  6. Yeah, but I would “speak out” if China were to come to “liberate” us. They did a favor to Tibetans, why not us?!

  7. Thankfully India has not gotten involved in any needless wars, unless I’ve been indoctrinated too ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I’ve no idea what Roy is talking about there.

    Individual soldiers speaking out against the war, esp. ill conceived ones like the current Iraq war, is different from the “armed forces engaging in debate over public policy”. A soldier is human too. Questions are bound to arise at some stage. The Vietnam War had a draft. The government forfeits all moral authority over its soldiers during such times.

  8. Are Arundhati’s views still credible? After her ‘stories’ in Gujarat, her speeches in America, her interviews on programs like ‘Devil’s Advocate’ etc. There are quite a few occasions on which she makes little sense. Her views that make little sense should be given the silent treatment. Others can be debated.

  9. why are you guys piling upon him, is one unpatriotic just by the act of openminded criticism? I mean, cannot one ponder, without being called treasonous and slimy and conceited windbaggy piece of s**t, why one’s armed forces did not dissent when we were attacked by a neighboring country, or when the country bombs our places of government and foments terrorism? Open your minds a little.

  10. Can Indian soldiers not be fully in agreement with their government’s policies without either being abused as illiberal pieces of s**t or as mindless morons who don’t think for themselves? We wouldn’t be having this discussion if somebody didn’t impute in the affirmative.

    If I were an Indian soldier, I’d say that I don’t have to answer to a benchmark set up by a hyper-leftwing twerp who’s on record stating she’s in favor of ‘armed struggle’. We know what armed struggle is, don’t we. The kind where revolutionaries brutally murder such class enemies as teachers and farm laborers.

    Not only mind, eyes also need to be opened.

  11. I think 7*6 was being sarcastic.

    Dont know much abt Ms.Roy, but my read was that Dilip was waiting for the “brotherhood-of-the-platoon” answer which he ultimately had to provide himself. It kind of tracks Pragmatic’s “soldiers fight for the izzat of the regiment, fellow soldiers, and commanding officer” (approx quote from memory).

    regards,
    Jai

  12. Jai,

    The rhetorical & inquiring question was why soldier’s “don’t speak out against war, any war?”. It was not “what motivates them to fight?”

    To ask why they don’t publicly dissent and to answer that it’s because of the izzat of the paltan is logically absurd.

  13. Right. The comment thread drifted to “why do they fight” somewhere along these lines:

    – he met soldiers who were opposed to the war.
    – somebody asked him why do they fight then.
    – this went to izzat of the paltan.

    The larger question seems to be lost sight of on thread, though plenty of ppl, me included, pointed out the defensive wars on our territory aspects.

    BTW that talk with Ms.Roy is *very* dated, I did a double take when I read about our communal fascist govt! I dont have an opinion on Ms.Roy. I think I share *some* ground and concerns but she manages to sound extremely extreme ๐Ÿ™‚ thus very handily reducing the effectiveness and seriousness with which one may take her views.

    rgds,
    Jai

  14. I am surprised at the fact that any of you, including Nitin, have taken this flamebait seriously. Where the F*** is the moral equivalence between between _defending_ your home country and _attacking_ another country just because it’s turning communist???????

    Arundhati Roy wants the army to speak out against defending its own country?

    Waste of bandwidth. This post should be erased – Neither D’Souza, nor Roy deserve these 0.001 nanoseconds of publicity.

  15. Jai, if all Dilip wanted to do was provide “paltan-theory” as the definition of patriotism, he probably should have only used 2 lines as they do in a dictionary and definitely not bring in Arundhati Roy for contexts.

    Also,
    – he met soldiers who were opposed to the war.
    – somebody asked him why do they fight then.
    – this went to izzat of the paltan.

    Err.. I am the person who asked him this. But for the sake of clarity, lemme rephrase the above chronology:
    – I replied to his initial post that if there was a reason for them to revolt, they would. And people must stop making issues of non-issues.
    – He replied if I thought that of the 60million soldiers, everyone approved of the war
    – I replied back saying if they did not approve, why havent we heard their voices. At this point I was beginning to wonder if we are still talking about soldiers being not impressed by the State’s decision of going into the war and not the “humaneness” of war itself.
    – And then he started this whole thing on band-of-brothers and why that is patriotism and the like.

    At that point I knew we had long drifted off the point in focus and he had successfully avoided giving a straight answer- apparently because he had none. So now, here I am, frustrated because I got no answer, have been bluntly criticized out of context because some people just dont get sarcasm and finally explaining to people on this forum why I think I wasnt responsible for the digression. What a life I have!

  16. What about the IPKF escapade to Sri Lanka by Indian soldiers? I personally know 3 soldiers (one of them was a Major in the infantry) who were violently opposed to Indian soldiers being there. Granted they were opposed because the politicians and bureaucrats were antsy about making real decisions on the “peace keeping effort”, they were still opposed to the whole operation.

    I disagree with Roy/D’Souza and the author of this post. Soldiers (Indian or otherwise) dissent all the time especially when they are fully aware of the fallacy of the operation/war.

  17. Sigh…..yes Sriram…..a lot of sikh soldiers deserted the army after operation bluestar. This was, afterall, an assault on the holiest shrine.

    link 1 2 3

  18. Op Bluestar was a mistake. But although a few Sikh soldiers mutinied after the operation, it was not an extraordinary number, and entirely understandable, because of the fake news that was telecast on some foreign networks. The operation itself was staffed by some exceptionally courageous men, one of whom (a Sikh) refused to be evacuated after having his leg blown off, losing it altogether, trying to save his men. For the Indian fauj, every place of worship, be it a masjid, gurudwara, vihar, girja, or mandir, is sacred, in a way that is beyond description. Officers adopt the customs of their unit, paltan, and regiment entirely. So you have a Gen JJ Singh who calls himself a Ganpat, and a Col.Krishnan who wears a pagdi like the men of his Sikh LI, and a Gen.Sundarji who shouted Jai Bhim with his fellow Mahars. For the officer his regiment is his first home. Ours is not a revolutionary force it is a professional one. We do not believe that the events of history must be wrought by force. We believe that soldiering is a noble profession, not a creed, with limited aims and must be principled at all times.

  19. I am not trying to discuss the merits of Operation Blue Star. I was trying to point out that Indian Soldiers too express their disapproval as in this case. Them not expressing disapproval in other instances means they think that the wars they are asked to fight are just.

  20. In our post-1947 history, the Indian armed forces have always, every time, without exception, waged war to defend the nation and the principles it is founded upon. An operation may have been poorly planned, there may be dishonest people, we are human after all, but the forces themselves and what they are founded are are unshakeable. Never, ever, have they acted in dishonour. To serve with the Indian armed forces is to serve with honour, never having to betray your deeply held principles.

    There are no conscientious objectors in the Indian armed forces, because its people are never required to betray their conscience.

    I am willing to respond to each and every challenge to my assertion. Any takers?

  21. I think the fact that many of the instances of dissent Roy and Dilip speak about were long (like WW2) and pointless (like Vietnam and WW1) wars fought by largely conscript armies makes quite a bit of difference. India hasn’t really fought that kind of war, has it? I mean, its a little like observing how many British veterans spoke and wrote against the First World War versus how few did the same about the Falklands. These are not exactly an apples-to-apples comparisons.

  22. Well, as a first step to having troops speak their mind, I guess, we should have the troops unionize……

    /Sarc off

  23. I guess some people (like Roy in this case) just love how their words sound that they don’t even realize they’re spouting crap.

  24. I saw this post just today. My 2 cents on it.

    “Roy: I think speaking out against the occupation is the bravest thing that a soldier can do. I have always admired the U.S. soldiers who spoke out against the Vietnam War. In fact, in places like India, when people get randomly racist and anti-American, I always ask them: When do you last remember Indian soldiers speaking out against a war, any war, in India?”

    Was she considering all operations of Indian Army as “War”? Anti-Insurgency, Combat against North-Eastern Guerillas, ……

    I just get a feeling that Ms. Roy had that Photo in Mind, where 4 ladies protested against Army with a Banner “Indian Army, …. Us”.

    Isn’t it true that few “Men with Guns” (Police/Army) are known in indulge in such incidents? True, such incidents could be one or two, but we rarely insist of follow-up on them.

    Some months ago, I saw a news item in CNN IBN, where father of an Accountant was crying and accusing that his son was accused and killed in a Punjab Airforce Station. No updates on that later…..

    …..Does Army ever have a PR Person either approving/dis-approving or atleast commenting on such incidents.

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