From Our Correspondent
?People get inspiration from different things, particularly those for whom religion is the driving force for higher acts, including supreme sacrifice for the nation. The Army headquarters? order prohibiting the display of religious symbols including use of incense sticks, mentioning it as a departure from the spirit of Army'straditions, is a denial of inspiration for acts of valour by soldiers,? said L.K. Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister.
He was releasing a book on India'swar heroes titled Param Vir Chakra, authored by Major General (retd.) Ian Cardozo and published by Prabhat Prakashan in New Delhi. The book is originally in English and what was released is the Hindi translation, done by Vinod Mishra. The book contains the stories of 21 Param Vir Chakra winners, the highest gallantry award of the Indian Army, which was received only by seven soldiers and the remaining 14 were conferred the award posthumously. The function was attended by top brass of defence forces, eminent intellectuals, thinkers, journalists and personalities from all walks of life.
Shri Advani said the common thread running through the stories of all the 21 soldiers who have been honoured with the highest gallantry honour is strength of character, and expressed the view that religion has a place in building strength of character. Making a dig at the secular politics of the ruling dispensation he expressed his helplessness in comprehending the logic behind making religion sound immoral. ?The book contains everything that makes the soldiers willingly make the supreme sacrifice of his life. It also focuses on the issue of unknown soldiers.?
Speaking on the occasion, George Fernandes, former Defence Minister regretted his inability to have built a memorial for the unknown soldiers. ?A lack of desire on the Army'spart frustrated my attempts to set up such a memorial,? he said while dismissing the conversion of India Gate into such a memorial as an excuse. He stressed on the necessity of a War Museum so that the new generation could get inspiration and also learn the intricacies of war. ?The country that hesitates to look after its ex-servicemen cannot stand strong. The condition of former soldiers is not good in our country. In fact, the day a soldier leaves his uniform, his significance reduces. Even the local administration remains ungrateful to them,? he said, expressing shock at an incident that occurred during the Kargil war when the soldiers were going to the fronts to fight for, a railway booking clerk in New Delhi demanded a bribe of Rs 100 from two soldiers for providing railway tickets. ?This book is not only worth reading, but needs to be emulated. It will change the people'sthinking towards soldiers who today find themselves in a sate of negligence,? he said.
Introducing the book, the author, Major General (retd.) Ian Cardozo said that the aim behind writing the book was to inform the citizens about the gallantry spirit of the Armed Forces as people know very little about them. ?The book has tried to bridge the gap between the soldiers and the fellow citizens.? He said the moral courage of the Armed Forces must the protected and enhanced. He stressed the need to honour the jawans whose sacrifice remains hidden by erecting a national memorial.