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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An unsung hero of India and disgust with India media

I just received an email forward about a Major Manish Pitambare who was killed fighting terrorists in south Kashmir's Bejibehara town on Nov 28th, 2006. The young officer showed courage and bravery beyond the call of duty and killed Ashraf Shah, alias Suhail Faisal, a top militant of Hizbul Mujahideen.

While it is grossly unfortunate that this brave army officer died, what is even more unfortunate and disgusting is that the mass media in India did not pick up and publicize this news. I do not remember reading about it in the newspaper or hearing about in on TV. Read the email on B Shantanu's posting, Of Stars and Martyrs, Munnabhai vs Manish Pitambare.

Could the email be a hoax? A search on the Internet turned up a bunch of blogs talking about it. After a bit of a search, I managed to get some actual news clips about the event. One is Army major, Hizb terrorist killed in Kashmir encounter on Rediff, another Intrepid Major kills top militant on The Tribune and another Braveheart major dies fighting terror on NDTV. So, the news is very much true.

An old friend of the Major has written a touching obituary for him on An obituary for Major Manish Pitambare.

Not to be callous, but lets go beyond this particular death. Major Manish is not the first and sadly, neither will he be the last in a long series of deaths of Indian army officers KIA in J&K. Just a few weeks after his death, on 23rd Dec, 2006, a Lt. Col. G. S. Sarna was killed in a similar counter insurgency operation. Again a search on the Internet turned up some news items about his death. But similarly, this news was not picked up by the mass media.

A bit of reading (Soldiers' lives are precious) threw up another fact: Since 1990, 117 officers have been fatal - and 282 non-fatal - casualties in similar skirmishes with terrorists in J&K. These figures do not include jawans and JCOs on the Kargil martyrs' list. The Indian Army has lost more lives in J&K than all the wars and counterinsurgency operations elsewhere in the country.

Has the media gotten used to these deaths that they don't get covered anymore? Are the deaths of such brave soldiers who are fighting for the security of the country just statistics? Are we to be fed for ever on a ghastly mixture of news about ridiculous bollywood actors and even more ridiculous politicians? Silly nonsense about Abhishek-Aiswarya temple visits, KBC and Shilpa Shetty "doing India proud" by winning Big Brother, some pimply asshole from some god forsaken village from the back of beyond making it to the latest Indian Idol or whatever, who slept with whom and who crawled into whose ass. Most Indian newspapers are no better than tabloids, and the lesser said about the trite and crass Indian news channels, the better. If this is really what India wants, then stop the bus. I think I want to get off here.


Bourbonbites said...

Well said Hawk-eye on our pathetic bollywood-centric media. And yes I really appreciate your fight for right. Sadly we are still not a free country, free from all such trouble to women. hmmm!

Anonymous said...

The original posting includes the author's email (Rajeev Issar) well as several links from other news sources..