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.