In my youth, all of us had to respect the army. They had weapons, and we were unarmed. There was also a lot of pressure from schoolteachers and uncles. Not to mention the victory in 1971.

In the early 1970s, Gavaskar and the army were pretty much the only things we could be proud of. Today the situation is very different. Thanks to the Internet, opinions have diversified. The monopoly of schoolteachers and uncles has been broken. This makes things confusing.

We are told not to complain, because of jawans at the border. Meanwhile jawans at the border are complaining about food. Retired senior naval officers turn out to be senior arms dealers. Former Air Force chiefs keep popping in and out of jail. It’s as if all our role models are now behind bars.

And what about the relatives of military people? What is the patriotic position toward them? Do we distinguish between blood relatives and in-laws? How young is too young? What if they’re Muslim? Confusion is widespread. It’s hard for true patriots to know what to do.

Due to my expertise, a lot of people have been asking me questions on this subject. I have been trying to guide them. I thought I would collect their questions and my replies all together in one place, for added convenience and value for money.

Can I make fun of jawans on the border?
Only if you join them.

What about the jawans at the border who complained about food? Aren’t they anti national? Or should we support them, because they’re at the border?
Don’t worry. They will not complain again. Steps have been taken.

Two former army chiefs and one former navy chief owned flats in Adarsh Housing Society, which was meant for war heroes and war widows who lost their spouses during the 1999 Kargil War. How should I view this?
Firstly, owning flats in Adarsh is not a crime, unless the courts say so. They haven’t said so. Besides, the chiefs have returned the flats, so there’s no reason to complain.

Secondly, you misunderstand the original purpose of Adarsh. When they said it was meant for war widows, they were referring mainly to their morale. Their seniors work very hard for them, and the whole defence community. Knowing that these seniors are living in nice sea facing apartments in a prime location of Mumbai lifts their spirits.

Plus the Adarsh complex was not just for war widows, it was for the benefit of defence personnel. The chiefs are defence personnel. Obviously they’re starting at the top and working their way down. Eventually, everyone will get one.

Is it OK to mock a martyr?
Pakistan International Airlines is now allowing standing passengers. Book now, while prices are still low. You should consider Karachi. It’s breezy.

How about relatives of martyrs?
Your response here has to be more nuanced. If it’s a girl, she’s probably being uppity. If it’s a boy, you should treat it on a case-to-case basis. See what Subramanian Swamy is doing.

These handy guidelines should help you tackle any situation that may arise. If things are looking tricky, start singing the national anthem.

In case of any further doubt, please contact your nearest Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad representative. He’s usually near the leftist women.

In Shovon Chowdhury’s most recent novel, Murder With Bengali Characteristics, all military personnel have been treated with the utmost respect.