Lack of courtesy to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw
Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw was a great soldier and a patriot but I was disturbed when I received an email forward which said that there has been a
complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold-faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India’s only decisive military victory
The email forward went on to give the names of dignitaries like Pratibha Patil (the commander-in-chief of the armed forces), Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister), Sonia Gandhi (Congress President) and L K Advani (BJP Leader) who were absent at the state funeral and failed to pay their last respects to this soldier, India’s first Field Marshall.
I had earlier read about the controversy created when Defence Minister A K Antony and three services chiefs had skipped the state funeral. Athough two service chiefs were in the country (Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor was in Russia) they sent two star officers to attend the funeral. And “no wreaths were placed on Field Marshal Manekshaw’s bier, on President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s behalf” which is the customary in such cases.
And then I read another article which talked about how “when Britain’s first field marshal died, all the dignitaries attended his funeral and he was buried at Westminister Abbey.”
WelI, the email forward that is going around is informing people about the lapse by our leaders. I wanted to find out who had written the article because like all Forwards, it had come without acknowledgment of the source. A little googling and I found that it was part of the article written by Krishna Prasad, former editor of the Vijay Times, on Rediff.com. The whole article had not been forwarded. What was missed out were these facts:
• When Amitabh Bachchan was ill after being socked in the stomach during the shooting of Coolie, Indira Gandhi flew down to Bombay to show her concern.
• When Dhirubhai Ambani died, L K Advani cut short his Gujarat tour to pay his respects to an ’embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination’.
• When Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekawat had the time to attend the funeral.
Well, I am sure we can make a far longer list of politicians attending the functions (and parties) of influential people and celebrities. But when it came to Manekshaw, few cared to attend his funeral. Surprising that they didn’t bother to follow protocol.
(Photo from Rediff.com)