Atanu Dey On India's Development

General Patton’s Speech

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Recently I was reminded of General Patton’s speech to his troops. I have been pondering the matter of urban educated Indians and their apparent apathy towards participating in the political process that fundamentally affects the way India is and how it is going to be. India lacks effective leadership.

There are those who call themselves leaders but they are a sorry bunch. They are leaders because India does not have real leaders: men and women of vision, passion, intelligence and integrity. Just consider the man (I use that word loosely and with some hesitation) who heads the government. Hard to use words like vision, passion, intelligence, and integrity in connection with him, isn’t it?

Leaders inspire, they move the people to action, they make people get up and get the important bits done. In our case, we have ersatz leaders. They bear the same resemblance to a real leader as a cardboard cutout of the Superman bears to a man.

That brought to mind the speech that General George S Patton, Jr gave to the American soldiers of the 6th Armored Division in England on 31st May 1944.

Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans, love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers …

Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The Bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post, don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.

Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know … My God, I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against. My God, I do. We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel.

Now some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you’ll all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your best friends face, you’ll know what to do.

Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything, we’ll let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly, and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose, and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose.

Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, What did you do in the great World War Two? You won’t have to say, Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.

Alright now, you sons of bitches, you know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.

[I have added the emphasis in the quote above. You will find an MP3 audio of the speech here.]

Patton was a warrior and an American hero.

India too has warrior heroes by the truckloads — from the fabled Arjuna who fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra (with a little bit of help from his friend and mentor Sri Krishna), to Emperor Ashoka, to Shivaji Maharaj, to Jhasi ki Rani, to Subhas Chandra Bose, to the unknown soldiers that fought bravely in the many wars that India was forced into by its friendly neighbor.

I find it curious that Americans make movies about heroes like General Patton. But when it comes to India, the movies are about Gandhi and his pacifism in the face of the enemy. This needs to change.

What India needs now is the emergence of a leader who is a true warrior. We need a leader who is not afraid, and who can light a fire in the bellies of Indians.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    Just by the by, one of my favorite expressions is “shoveling shit in Louisiana”, as in “I would rather shovel shit in Louisiana than watch Blue Turban whining on TV about Pakistani terrorism.”

    That expression comes from the inimitable General of the Army George C Patton (played in the movie by George C Scott.)

  • Sundried Atheist

    Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

    How true. You can never wil by dying for your country, if you have to win you have to finish off your enemy

  • Niraj

    You brought back memory of childhood when we were attending RSS shakha near my house. Our sanchalak was huge fan of war-stories of World-war 2. We heard lot about General Patton from him.

  • raj

    Reminds me of this by Swami Vivekananda (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_7/Conversations_And_Dialogues/XXI)
    “Playing on the Khol and Kartal and dancing in the frenzy of Kirtana has degenerated the whole people. They are, in the first place, a race of dyspeptics — and if in addition to this they dance and jump in that way, how can they bear the strain? In trying to imitate the highest Sadhana, the preliminary qualification for which is absolute purity, they have been swallowed in dire Tamas. In every district and village you may visit, you will find only the sound of the Khol and Kartal! Are not drums made in the country? Are not trumpets and kettle – drums available in India? Make the boys hear the deep – toned sound of these instruments. Hearing from boyhood the sound of these effeminate forms of music and listening to the kirtana, the country is well – nigh converted into a country of women. What more degradation can you expect? Even the poet’s imagination fails to draw this picture! The Damaru[1] and horn have to be sounded, drums are to be beaten so as to raise the deep and martial notes, and with “Mahavira, Mahavira” on your lips and shouting “Hara, Hara, Vyom, Vyom”, the quarters are to be reverberated. The music which awakens only the softer feelings of man is to be stopped now for some time. Stopping the light tunes such as Kheal and Tappa for some time, the people are to be accustomed to hear the Dhrupad music. Through the thunder – roll of the dignified Vedic hymns, life is to be brought back into the country. In everything the austere spirit of heroic manhood is to be revived. In following such an ideal lies the good of the people and the country.”

  • ProudIndian

    Totally agree with this post and its right on! The recent McKinsey report (http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/freepass_pdfs/india_urbanization/MGI_india_urbanization_fullreport.pdf) basically states that the country will be unlivable in 20 years from now unless the government starts running. Currently the Govt is asleep. What are the chances it will start sprinting? None or Zilch! We are doomed guys! Sorry to be so -ve, but look at the situation around. Our cities are already crowded and they are gonna get a whole lot crowded in the next few years. Our villages and towns are in pathetic condition and very little development is happening there. So what does all this point to. More problems in the cities!

  • Omkar

    Quote:

    I find it curious that Americans make movies about heroes like General Patton. But when it comes to India, the movies are about Gandhi and his pacifism in the face of the enemy. This needs to change.

    Nothing curious about it.

    Reason:
    Leaving Arjuna (thank God, it is mythological so far), all are identified in a narrow context.

    1 – Ashoka is very much identified as North Indian (Santosh Sivan tried to make it but it was a disaster as it has too much southern influence and it will not touch all the Indians and above all he perhaps did not history at all and made the film)
    2 – Shivaji Maharaj – Marathis and especially Shiv Sena has hijacked it – anything about Shivajji means the victory of Marathis over others!
    3 – Jhansi Ki Rani – again North Indian
    4 – Subash Bose – Begalis have hijacked it and claim everything about Subash Bose as that of Bengal !!

    End result not a single one of them has national appeal and added to that divided national parties who thrive on regional pride and regional heroes (they make them as such).

    Film producers are smart when the make movie like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ga…, Hum Apke Dil me rehete hain whatever nonsense…as that crap will sell…

  • Incognito

    ‘I have been pondering the matter of urban educated Indians and their apparent apathy towards participating in the political process that fundamentally affects the way India is and how it is going to be.

    Participating may not be the appropriate word. Changing may be. What is required is changing the too centralised manner in which Indian polity is structured. The current system only provides the mirage of people’s participation while people are actually being used for self-aggrandizing purposes by crooks. Devolution of power and decision making to local levels is essential.

    When the buck stops at the village level, local administrators will be accountable, for the roads, for the water, for the electricity. Then villages will become production centres for their own requirements, rather than source of cheap labour for cities. Education, judiciary, police, each should be available at local levels, not as representative of the big brother in the city, but as self-contained solution provider. That would be the day India will attain freedom.

    As regards Patton, imagine him with Arjuna in the Kurukshetra battlefield. If this so-called speech of his was what Arjuna received, chances are, Arjuna would have smacked his bottom right there and made him write impositions in the mud, repeating a thousand times that he will never open his mouth, not even to eat.

    Similarly, if Sri Krishna’s bhagavad gita was given to american soldiers in battle field, chances are, most of them would give the thousand yard stare even before the battle began.

    American soldiers that Patton commanded were trained to lose their instincts of intellectual enquiry, trained to be automations that listen to and carry out instructions as given by superiors. From childhood they were trained by an education system and culture to think along the lines provided by their superiors- be they teachers, parents, administrators, politicians or padres. Trained to think along the suggested lines, to walk the indicated path, to take guidance from others, to shape their behaviour according to expectations. Militry training merely reinforced those furrows in their mind.

    It is therefore but natural that the pathetic garbage that Patton dished out was received as the most inspiring stuff of last century by those intellectual sheeps in soldiers’ bodies.

    bharatiya samskriti, by contrast does not shape intellectual sheep. Instead, it inspires each person to realize himself as brahma. It guides each person to understand himself as the eternal atman in temporal body. That is why Sri Krishna gave bhagavad gita to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. Nothing else would have done.

    This is the reason vedas were heard in this land, not other.
    Why women, men, animals, plants, birds alike were respected in this land.

    If today Patton’s retarded gibberish is being held up as inspiration to the people of India, it shows the serious degeneration in Indian society that centuries of western influence has wrought.

    No wonder we have the manly man at the helm that we have and the lalus who support him.

    What India needs now is not the emergence of a leader who is a true wbarrior to people’s emancipation, but the realization by each Indian, of his essential nature and his essential heritage.
    We need a leader who is not afraid people to gain courage and guidance from their own realized wisdom, and who can light a fire in the bellies of Indians feel the fire in their bellies thirsting for wisdom, to uphold dharma.

    namaste