A Nigerian citizen’s eye witness account!

Over at Law and Other Things, V Venkatesan posts an eye witness account:

Finally, I watched with a mix of sadness and admiration, the last few minutes in the life of Hemant Karkare, head of the Anti-terror squad. A tall distinguished-looking officer, he arrived at the besieged Taj, stepped smartly out of the car and got a quick briefing. He calmly collected and put on a flak jacket and helmet, then proceeded to walk towards the main building. He was not to come out alive. Of all the events of the day, that brought tears to my eyes. That singular event seemed to capture everything we so sorely lack in Nigeria: exemplary leadership, practiced from the front-lines without pomposity or bombastic pronouncement, just a deep sense of responsibility and ultimately the willingness to make the supreme sacrifice.

What more can one say?

Take a look!



4 Responses to “A Nigerian citizen’s eye witness account!”

  1. raj Says:

    venkatesan’s eulogy is based on cliched ideas on bravery. That the man led from the front, and sacrificd his life, etc. While I am equally saddened by the death of Karkare, I would still say that it was caused by a misguided sense of bravado on his part. He should have taken stock of the situation instead of foolishly plunging ahead. By this unprofessional act, he rendered the ATS rudderless and floundering for a good 7-8 hours. Such behaviour is completely against the tenets of modern warfare with its sneak tactics and where, quite often, leadership has to be provided from behind the lines.

  2. Guru Says:

    Dear Raj,

    While I agree with you on the cliched ideas of bravery as well as the need to rethink our strategies when it comes to tackling terrorists, I still am not sure about misguided sense of bravery, as you call it. May be Karkare did not fully understand the gravity of the situation; may be he got reports which did not give him the full picture. If that is so, then, even if it looks cliched on paper, we still have to applaud him for his bravery; and, in many a situation, that a leader is willing and is capable of pulling such a feat might itself be such a morale boost for his regiment that he/she heads.


  3. raj Says:

    Guru, what you say was true for Kurukshetra, Napoleonic wars and even the World Wars. Not appropriate always for the terrorist or guerilla wars where the enemy’s methods are different. Leaders have to provide direction, and offer ‘air cover’. They don’t have to rush in with guns blazing, just to boost the morale of the troops. I would even argue that such recklessness on the part of leaders causes significant harm, as they can render the entire operation rudderless through their absence. A greater sense of responsibility is called for, checking the impulse to demonstrate one’s ‘leading-from-the-front’ character.

  4. Guru Says:

    Dear Raj,

    I agree with you that this is not traditional war; however, I still do not see why your subordinates will sacrifice their lives if they think that you are not willing to do the same if there is a need. Of course, we do not want the commander to be reckless; but, all the same we also do not want him to be completely off the field.


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