It is important to know what happened and why, and how we got to where we are today before we have a good shot at understanding where we should be going and how we could get there. If we are lost in any sense today, it could be because we are ignorant of our past and cannot quite figure out where we ought to be heading, leave alone knowing how to get there. We don’t know our history. Chalk that one up as yet another failing of our dismal educational system.
Reading someone who has lived through events that define our past is a learning experience. Lieutenant General M L Thapan, Param Veer Seva Medal, has just added an important bit to my very limited understanding of India’s recent history. He’s seen most of the last hundred years, being 89 years old. Long before most of us were born, he was fighting wars. Ramanand Sengupta spoke with him, Rediff.com reports:
He fought in two major campaigns in World War II.
After Independence, his division was ‘two-and-a-half km from Sialkot when the ceasefire whistle blew in (the second India-Pakistan war) 1965.’ And in 1971, he faced enemy fire again when he was asked to clear one of the three sectors into which East Pakistan had been marked out by India’s Eastern Command.