Monday, April 6, 2020
Home Opinions In defense of the Military Tank display at JNU

In defense of the Military Tank display at JNU

Also Read

JNU is back in the news again, this time for a positive reason though. The JNU VC M. Jagadesh Kumar has made a request to the Centre for a static display of a military tank in the campus, which he believes “will remind thousands of students about the great sacrifices and valour of our Indian Army”.

Of course, there has been cheers, with many pointing out various static display of aircraft and tanks dotting the country, be it at universities such the Jamia Millia or even schools such as the Lawrence School, Lovedale.

But as expected, there has been opposition from some quarters, with one article making a comparison of this proposed display to the usage of tanks in China’s Tianamen Square. Some have expressed a fear that the static display may lead to jingoism, and such a display also symbolically tramples free speech and dissent.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

Is the exhibition of a tank or any military equipment the harbinger of a military, jingoistic state? Is it a weapon of intimidation of young minds? The following arguments debunk that military symbols and civil society values are incompatible, especially in India.

Our Defense Services, be it the Army, the Air Force or the Navy are volunteer based, unlike at China, where military service is compulsory by law, or at North Korea where there is no escape from conscription. Our Services have a perennial shortage of officers and personnel in the other ranks. The latest figures show a shortage of 9000 officers and 45,000 personnel in other ranks. The national security scenario is not exactly rosy, and the nature of warfare is changing. The Services need the best talent to secure our borders and national interest. An exhibition of a tank, a submarine or an aircraft in a university will drive that zeal to volunteer.

Military has historically driven innovation, research and development. While it can be argued that the offshoot has been weapons for destruction, the other side of the coin is collateral benefits of such research. The German V2 rockets which rained over London during the WW2 also laid the foundations of future space programs. The ARPANET, which was a US Department of Defense project flowered into the Internet. Military armament and equipment therefore are a product of the best technologies at the time of their design. Exhibiting such equipment gives a glimpse of the technology of the present or past, and inspires young minds to drive it further. Even an exhibition of the 1960s vintage HF-24 Marut, India’s first indigenously developed fighter aircraft will inspire young students to build something better.

Training in the services is tough, and pushes young men and women to their physical and emotional limits. Successfully completing this training, arms a young person with remarkable confidence, which will stand with him or her, in peace and in war. Piloting an aircraft, navigating a submarine, or handling a tank require skill, courage, equanimity and above all discipline. The armament displays symbolize these finest qualities of a soldier, and are apt displays to enthuse young minds to take up the challenge to inculcate those qualities.

If the premise is that anything related to the military is bad, and if there is a contemptuous allusion to bullying free speech and civil society, then the argument holds no weight. For long, from 1948, we have the National Cadet Corps (NCC), again a purely voluntary corps, at schools and colleges. Generations of cadets of have been trained in small firearms, drill, gliding, basic seamanship etc. More importantly, they have been imbibed with leadership skills, and the spirit of national integration. There is absolutely no evidence of any detrimental effect on free speech, dissent and all the nice sounding things being fought for by the left at institutions such as the JNU, due to the NCC. Clearly the NCC has contributed to creating a set of disciplined and adventurous youth with the spirit of patriotism, rather than creating a set of society misfits masquerading as radical student leaders.

Display of military armament reminds us of all those who to use the cliché “who gave their today, for our today”. Woe betide a nation that does not remember its heroes and their sacrifice. As much as we remember our freedom fighters, we ought to remember the sentinels of our borders and their deeds. It is not statistics, it is not dry news reports which convey the message, it is their stories retold a countless time and their symbols which will remain etched in the collective national memory. That is the least we can do. And having these symbols at institutions of learning is the apt thing we can do, to teach our next generation.

- Support OpIndia -
Support OpIndia by making a monetary contribution

Latest News

India’s left liberals, the perennial Muslim-appeasers, are once again up in arms against Arnab Goswami

His tough stand regarding the Tablighi Jamaat meet at Nizamuddin Markaz has therefore faced the ire of left-liberals and Islamists masqueraded as journalists alike.

Let us invoke the Dunkirk spirit and the god principle

Modi depresses liberals yet another time for 5th April event. And people with slap them with its grand success!

Do not support ‘corona terrorism’ in the name of opposing Modi, we need Uniform Civil Code

Only by enacting Uniform Civil Code, we can save India from misuse of multi-privilege in the name of secularism.

The COVID-19 cases in India are about to surge and here’s what you need to know

Despite multiple efforts carried out by the Indian govet along with medicos and police, to contain the disease in the country; they are slightly on the losing side after the immature actions by certain parts of the society.

Why Tablighi Jamaat should be under scanner

it took the stature of National Security Advisor to plead before the Maulana Saad to vacate the premises. No one ever of this stature has negotiated directly even with terrorist or in hostile conditions.

Leadership in the time of crisis

A nation needs to repose belief in its leader during the times of crisis.

Recently Popular

An irresponsible state under the responsible state

Country's minority group must understand that majority group can not be only responsible for maintaining the communal harmony in a society.

कोरोना की भयावहता और भारतीय कानून

भारत सरकार की जैविक प्रबंधन आपदा के 2008 रिपोर्ट में कहा गया की 1897 की महामारी कानून सक्षम नहीं है एवं इसे बदलने की जरुरत है. यह कानून केंद्र को जैविक आपातकाल के दौरान ज्यादा शक्ति प्रदान नही करता.

Islamic fanaticism – Beyond the ignorance of COVID 19 & a desperate need for rejecting the ideology by Muslims

Islamic fanatics often through the theological and social control of the community are trying to hard oppose the social distancing & medical help being provided to them.

How Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of The Wire, defended heinous killers and slandered victims of the Godhra carnage

Siddharth Varadarajan implied in August 2004 that the post-Godhra riots would have happened even without Godhra!

Kabul terror attack:Last nail in the coffin of anti-CAA protests?

The barbaric attack comes barely two and a half months after the vandalisation of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, by a violent mob in Pakistan.