Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi's take on 'Haider'. Long but worth a read till last word
From: VIJAY OBEROI
A Soldier Reviews ‘Haider’ movie
October 19, 2014 By Agniveer
I am an ex-armyman. I was stationed in Kashmir in mid-nineties. This was the same period when hordes of militants from across the border infiltrated in Kashmir to spread terror. Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and scores of other terrorist groups were having a free-for-all rampage in Kashmir. They would infiltrate from Pakistan, recruit cadre, take them to Pakistan for training, bring them back and perform heinous acts of terror.
This was the same period when half a million Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs were massacred and forced to flee the valley.
This was the same period when Kashmir burnt under fundamentalism. It was next to impossible to differentiate between a peaceful nationalist and a killing-machine.
Whenever a cricket match would happen between India and Pakistan, Pakistani flags would wave across the valley as if we were sitting in heart of Pakistan. Any minority voice who dared to wave the Indian flag would be silenced immediately by militants.
It was during such a reign of terror, that Indian Army had to douse the fire in Kashmir with their own blood.
If someone suffered most severe human-rights violation in history of mankind, it was the Indian Army in Kashmir. We left our families in different parts of India and survived under harshest of conditions. For days we would sleep over guns in harsh climate and remotest locations just to keep tab on infiltrating militants. Anyone of us could be bombed away in a sudden attack of fundamentalism. Innumerable among us lost our lives. I lost my hand like so many others who lost their limbs or eyes. To die in a bomb blast was considered lucky. Because if you chanced to be captured by the militants, you would be slowly and mercilessly tortured to death. Militants and their supporters took pride in this gruesome ‘halal’ ritual.
Remember Saurabh Kalia? He is definitely not as popular as Vishal Bharadwaj or Shahid Kapoor. Because he was not a film star who made money by exploiting national interests. He was a humble Indian soldier who gave his life for motherland. He was captured by fundamentalists along with 5 more soldiers. They were taken across Line of Control and tortured as a religious ritual.
Pakistan army tortured their prisoners by burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of the teeth and bones, fracturing the skull, cutting the lips, chipping the nose, chopping off limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting all sorts of physical and mental tortures and finally shooting them dead after twenty-two days, as evidenced by the bullet wound to the temple.
This made the killers “Ghazi” – who as per these fundamentalists gets highest number of most beautiful virgins in Heaven. All you need to do to be a Ghazi is to celebrate killing of a non-believer.
These five soldiers were after all the worst of creatures in world in eyes of jihadis. They were Indians, soldiers and idol-worshippers. What could be greater sin!
I was lucky because I could have been in Saurav’s place. Had I not lost my hand, instead of Saurav Kalia, I would have been ‘halal’ed to make someone Ghazi.
This was the same period when Indian Army made greatest sacrifice to save India and humanity from reign of death and blood.
And it is the same period around which the film “Haider” by Vishal Bharadwaj, Shahid Kapoor and anti-India jihadi writer Basharat Peer has been made and adored by “critics”.
No struggle for liberation in Kashmir
Everyone on ground knows that there is no struggle for liberation of Kashmiris in Kashmir. If that had been so, why native Kashmiri Pandits would have been massacred?
You need to spend just a few days in the valley to understand the true nature of struggle that lies hidden under this garb of Kashmiriyat.
It is simply a ploy to extend the reaches of Islamic fundamentalism. The same fundamentalism of Al-Qaeda and ISIS that is shaking the entire world.
Kashmiri militants are brainwashed to believe that they will go to Paradise only after India is conquered by an army of Jihadis. Listen to speeches of Masood Azhar, founder of Jaish-e-Muhammad. He talks of Ghazwa-e-Hind prophecy where Prophet made conquest of India a precondition for opening doors of Heaven.
In name of religion, the same poison is spread in minds of Kashmiri youth to make them militants.
Enemy within and outside
Yet Indian Army continues to face bullets from enemies and abuses from family. Today, on one side Pakistan is targeting Indian Army and minority locations in Kashmir with bullets. And around the same time, our own country-men create a film like “Haider” that paints Indian Army a villain.
On one hand, flags of ISIS are waved in Kashmir, and at same time, “critics” laud anti-nationalism of Haider as marvel of art.
Such co-incidences give ample evidence that somehow our enemies and certain elements from within our country consistently orchestrate great timing and coordination among each other that it is hard to believe that it was just a mere coincidence.
In Army, we are trained to observe such remarkable coincidences, understand what goes behind, and yet silently sacrifice ourselves for the mission of nation.
Haider shook me to core
I have myself faced irrepairable loss in saving motherland from anti-national militants. And my fellow armymen have made much larger sacrifices for the same cause. Thus the film Haider shook me to core.
It made me question for the first time – Whom are we fighting for? Whom are we defending? The same people who could make this film because of Army’s protection collude with an anti-national Jihadi writer to make a villain of Indian Army?
Is this the reward of our sacrifices that we continue to make? Are commercial gains and so-called artistic expression more important than motherland and humanity?
What if we had not fought terrorism by tooth and nail in nineties? What if we had not arrested the spread of terror to other parts of country through our own lives?
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
This is not a film-critics review. This is a review from perspective of an armyman, a lover of humanity and a son of India. A true secular who refuses to believe that God hates idol-worshippers so much that they will go to Hell. And aspires to fight against ideology that directly or indirectly nurtures such fundamentalist elements.
This is not rhetoric in jingoism
Unlike Haider, which is an experiment in fundamentalism, don’t consider the article to be a rhetoric in jingoism.
Yes, I love my country. I love my country more than I love anything else in life. I love my country not because I was born here or I am a native of this nation. It is not because I love the design of the map of India. It is because its timeless cultural and philosophical heritage that is built on core foundations of tolerance, acceptance and justice. So jingoism has no place for a nationalist and son of soil.
My nationalism does not make me aspire to conquer the whole world. It inspires me to enlighten the whole world. It inspires me to promote brotherhood across the globe and strive for “One World, One Family.” It inspires me to make India lighthouse of the world. I joined Indian Army not to conquer the world, but nurture and protect Peace that defines foundation of India.
I am not a movie-watcher. My mission never allowed me the luxury to fit movies or serials in my priority-list. But I made an exception for Haider.
Summary Review of Haider
While I will provide details later, let me state upfront – I find “Haider” to be a shameless commercialization of anti-nationalism.
No its not a rhetoric. This is the most “polite” way in which I can summarize the review of this film.
The more “practical” review summary is already being demonstrated by my Indian Army by appropriate retaliation to Pakistani misadventure of cross-border firing. Salutes to my Army for this. Am proud to lose my arm for you. And regret that I could not gift my life for you.