RASHMI OBEROI | 29 JANUARY, 2015
Could You Please Stand Up
Please stand up
I am compelled to write this piece after a lot of discussions and deliberations which took place yesterday post the functions associated with the 66th Republic Day Parade... What happened yesterday upset many and naturally there has been an uproar after that.
First and foremost, I really think any government in power, and all politicians and bureaucrats in general need to focus on social etiquette and good manners. If they need to attend ‘classes’ and undergo training in this department, so be it.
Of prime importance and first on the long list of learnings is on how to handle the ‘war widows’ and the dependents of martyrs with a little more humane approach and tact, especially while handing out bravery medals and citations at the Republic Day parade. The bereaved family is already under tremendous mental trauma, extremely disturbed and emotionally drained. So then, what is the need to bring the family member on the podium and have him/her facing the President while the whole story of their outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice is read out?
It makes better sense to narrate the entire episode while they are walking up to the dais and then handing over the citation with minimum delay so that they can make their way back to their place of seating. Under such trying circumstances it is rather challenging to maintain your composure as it is but natural for the person to re-live the tragedy once again.
It is also rather dismal and upsetting to see only the President and the three Service Chiefs stand up in respect during the solemn award ceremony while the other dignitaries watch the whole show, sitting comfortably in their seats. Decency demands that everyone stands up respectfully when the martyred soldier’s family member comes up to receive the award. This is nothing more than basic courtesy and good manners and well all-round graciousness being shown at such a grave occasion.
Please respect your martyred soldiers and the sacrifices they have made not only for their country but for you as well. Give them the respect and dignity that they deserve. Protocol be damned! It was such a ridiculous sight to see the various dignitaries and VVIP’s with their lackeys holding umbrellas over their heads and keeping them well protected from the drizzle and rain while the ‘war widows’ stood tall and dignified while they got drenched. How much lower can the politicians and bureaucrats stoop than this insult?
If anyone demands more respect than others are those who show the highest degree of valour and selfless sacrifice in defending their country against external and internal threats. For there is nothing greater than this, believe you me. It is only the soldier who displays exemplary courage while facing the toughest of situations and fighting for their country.
If Prime Minister Modi can break protocol and go and receive President Obama at the gate of his aircraft and if President Obama can break his security protocol and remain in the open for over two hours, why couldn’t the dignitaries wave protocol and stand and honour the martyred soldier...