Skip to main content

Significance of June 6

Tomorrow is June 6th. The world may be well on its way to forget the importance of the day. But I, far away from the historic places, value it. Yes, I mean the battlefield of Normandy or Normandie. On June, 6th , 1944, the Allied forces began their Operation Overlord. English, American and Canadian forces assaulted the German forces of Festung Europa, perched on the imposing but ineffective Atlantik Wall.

This is not going to be a war account. I have no veteran stories or other war manuals or diaries to share either. I just write this in memory of the countless number of Allied soldiers killed my MG42s while they were coming ashore, the disfigured bodies of many Allied men (nay boys) who faced hell from the German artillery batteries and static naval guns. I write about the hundreds of paratroopers who went behind the lines to harass German forces in their rear, the pilots who broke the back of the German transport and logistics network, about the valiant few members of the French resistance and brave men who braved all odds and secured a foothold to liberate Europe. I also write about the hopelessly outnumbered German soldiers who fought to death, yielding almost no ground. I write about the depressed and hard-pressed young boys of the Hitlerjugend who died in their thousands to save their Fatherland, soldiers who killed thinking about the continuous terror bombing of German cities, invalids who laid down their lives so that rest of the German divisions can hold. I write also about the thousands of Germans who were hacked to pieces by the French Resistance, massacred by the Americans upon capture, and the few who defected and posed as villagers. I remember the sacrifices of such few much tremendously motivated German and Russian soldiers who fought and mostly died on the beaches of Normandy. I remember them all.

It is easy to judge who was right and who was wrong. It is easy to blame and be free from conscience. But the reality cannot be painted in black and white. There are more like shades of gray. The entire battle was a massacre. The cold calculations of Eisenhower, the tactics of Kluge and manipulations of Spiedel - the soldiers were just pawns for them. But it was a necessary evil. Considering the alternative - a Nazi dominated Europe or worse, a Soviet one, what happened was good.

The times have changed. The Germans, French, Americans and the English have buried their differences. The War has been left to be only of academic interest. But those men - all of them were necessary, so that this day might come. Without them (both the Axis and the Allies) we would not be here the way we are. Never again.

Popular posts from this blog

Burhan Wani – The man and his mission

Burhan Wani – The man and his mission The death of a young ‘hero’? On the 8th of July, Burhan Muzaffar Wani died in the Valley of Kashmir. Thousands poured out on the streets to commemorate his services to the movement that he had come to symbolize of late. The relative calm of the region was shattered with curfews, killings and allegations of human rights abuses. His father was proud for the services his son had offered in the name of their faith, convinced that he would go to Heaven. Amidst all this, the romantic ideals of a young boy, just off his teens began to shake up the youth of the entire country, both in and beyond India. There is a lot of unrest in the Kashmir Valley recently, especially in the aftermath of the death, nay execution of Burhan. All of this is not unexpected in any way. In fact, this was foreseen. Even his glorification, his elevation to the status of a martyr in the service of Islam does not come as a surprise to me.
There is a section of the media and a sig…

Indian Partition - The Forgotten Question

The Partition of India was a terrible catastrophe. There is no doubt about that. Millions were killed, displaced, thousands were raped, orphaned etc. All this was done in a space of a few months. Mobs frantically killed each other for life, religion, property, identity, revenge and any other reason they could then think of. Even since the call for Direct Action, there was no doubt about a serious religious conflict. What followed was an eventual ethnic cleansing of parts of India of non Muslims and Muslims. How it happened, what happened, how trains full of dead bodies piled up on each side of new borders is well known. Hundreds of books have been written, research over decades have been published. We know all that.

The basic idea of it all was simple - Jinnah believed Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and the latter should have a distinct political entity for themselves, based on Islam, their faith. To identify this they had to prove one thing. That the All India Muslim Le…

The postman, Megha and I

This is a story that goes way back to 2001 or 2002. I was in the sixth standard. Yes, I do remember it quite vividly. It was funny, painful and a bit out of the ordinary – basically it had all the ingredients that allows a memory to stick a great while longer than others. In the process of my recollection, I may miss out a few pieces here and there, but it will be pretty accurate. Of course, the intention of this exercise is in no way to humiliate anyone else or point out the flaws about others’ actions. I now find it hilarious and I think so would you.
I studied in the Vivekananda Mission School, a private English medium school in Joka, on the outskirts of Kolkata. If you know the location of the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, you know the location of my school. I studied there till the twelfth standard. We had many students in our class (sixth). We were divided into several sections, ranging from A to F (not sure if it was F or G). But anyway, I was in section B, the sect…