Here's how the Nation behaved, when Sam Bahadur, the celebrated General, the brain behind India's only decisive millitary victory, and the only Indian Army Officer to be appointed Field Marshal while still in active service - truly one of the World's greatest millitary heros, passed away in June last year.
If you want to get a taste of how India's civil society can display its incivility, check out who all were present to pay their last repects to the departed soldier, when the guns were fired in salute during the funeral ceremony on June 27, 2008:
Pratibha Patil, President of India and Commander in Chief of the armed forces - absent.
Hamid Ansari - Vice President of India - absent.
Dr. Manohan Singh - Prime Minister of India - absent.
Sonia Gandhi - daughter in law of Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister with whom Sam closely interacted during the 1971 crisis - absent.
LK Advani - Leader of the Opposition and an aspirant to the Prime Minister's position - absent
M/ Karunanidhi and Surjit Singh Barnala - Cheif Minister and Governor of the State of Tamil Nadu - the State which Sam made his home for 35 years - absent.
Let the Netas be. They are incorrigible - we all know that. But what about the armed forces?
AK Anthony - Defence Minister - absent, represented by his Deputy Pallam Raju
Chief of the Naval Staff - absent represented by a two star admiral.
Chief of Air Staff - absent - represented by a two star Air Vice Marshal
In contrast consdier this:
When Amitabh Bacchan was ill after getting ijured during the shooting of 'Coolie' Indira Gandhi flew to Mumbai to show her concern.
When Dhirubhai Ambani died, LK Advani cut short his Gujarat tour to pay his respects to what he called "an embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination'
When Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother - the Vice President of India - Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had the time to attend his funeral.
It’s still unbelievable that a government formed by Indians would be so rude and indifferent to the greatest military leader India has produced post-independence, to use the words of former army chief General V.P. Malik. Rare are the heroes of a nation admired by commoners as their idol, inspiration and icon. Manekshaw was one such hero India always looked up to with pride and excitement.
A government that decided to lower the national flag for three days as a mark of mourning when the Pope died didn't send its defence minister to attend the funeral of Field Marshall Manekshaw; nor did it allow the other two service chiefs to attend. A government, that orders the lowering of the National flag for a third grade politican, but the Nation's bravest man was denied the honor.
As someone said - "A nation that cannot honor its heros, cannot produce them either'
Our politicians failed miserably here. Thank God - that Indians didn't - and rose to say....
"Sam Bahadur - Zindabad !!"