How mean can a person be?
Social media platforms,TV channel debate panels or even the people discussing Army in closed railway compartments, I have heard fellow countrymen discussing many a times
‘How soldiers are just doing their jobs and they do what they are being paid for!’ Paid Patriotism, you see!
No doubt there are a few who oppose this idea of ‘paid patriotism‘ and propose ‘how it is not true,it is just not a job, they are sacrificing their lives, thus serving the nation and we should respect them for that!‘ The discussions would shun their decency now and transform into heated debates soon after.
‘How can you say, it is only the soldiers serving the nation? We all are serving the nation in our own ways, an engineer,a doctor, a politician even a bank clerk is serving the nation,what is so special about the forces?’
It is true,we all are serving the nation in our own ways but no abject remark has power to degrade the golden chapters of glorious victories,supreme sacrifices and unmatched valour that the men in uniform have written over the years.
I tell you how and let me begin by sharing the real stories of real soldiers who will show you ‘what is serving the nation means to them and how your serving the nation concept is so different than their’s!’
My uncle who is a veteran now, would never stop narrating the wars he participated in,the cross border operations he had been part of. He would fondly talk about the Army Life which has given him a vision beyond extraordinary and exposure of a life time. It matters you know, people say ‘Army is just not a job but a way of life’ and it is true way and beyond. This way of life instill different values in you,makes you a different person altogether,teaches you a few things about how there are things like bravery,courage,valour,passion beyond the world of profit and loss.
These people believe that some passionate souls can win the war over armies and life is a small price to pay for the people they have left behind, the people they care for,believe in the idea of their country which is above all.
And this is exactly the reason which makes men in uniform special and above than rest when it comes to serve the nation.
My uncle shared once ” We used to stay in Misamari, a small town in Assam and a strategically important station where family quarters were surrounded by jungles. Electricity was just 5 hours a day,the howls of wild dogs used to wake us up in the night and some days even snakes would love to accompany us. the nearest market was ten kilometers away,we did not have personal vehicle then,just a Raampuri cycle and a few school buses which would also take the Army Wives to the market,so they could pile the Ration for rest of the month. The bus would take them all four times a month.
Though that was still one of the best posting for my cousins,because all three of them could at least get to stay with him when they were growing up, Mumbai to Kamptee,Bhutan to Pathakot, Kashmir and finally Bikaner, it took them around fourteen years to reunite as family. And all the while their mom ,my aunt hold the fort. She was the dad,mom,guardian to the kids and friend,relative,companion and sole support to my uncle. I still don’t know what was the source of her courage.
When he was posted in Bhutan he was leading a convoy and because of the hilly terrain , an AL stallion wheel slipped off the road but their vehicle balanced on three wheels luckily. The driver of that vehicle insisted my uncle to jump off first and then he will move and just after a few second my uncle jumped off the truck went down into the valley, the driver suffered some serious injures and later succumbed to them. He was a soldier too and saved many lives along with my uncle’s disregarding his own life. No medal was given to him but the unit tried its best to rehabilitate his widow. She did not shed a single tear when my aunt visited her to give the meager compensation money and said ‘It is okay,he said he can die any-day. It is the price of wearing the uniform.
One of the dear friend narrated recently ‘how his convoy was surrounded by crazy stone pelters. They were shouting ‘Pakisatn Zindabad’ Go back,go back’ It was a very tricky situation. Imagine you holding an AK47 with 20 years of service trained to kill only and then you come across a kid …face to face! He might be around your own kid’s age trying to harm you in every way possible, What can you do really? You feel despair,sadness and above all helplessness. There is those kids and then there are your own men at risk. You can not do anything and you might be scared too all closed inside a heated vehicle full of shattered glass and crimson blood.
In Kashmir everybody has human rights except armed forces and it don’t matter to anyone if they are killed or blinded or grievously injured by the stone pelting but the stone pelters should not be shot at. Your vehicles are ambushed,window panes are broken,your buddy might be shouting in pain,there might be another in need of immediate medical attention and your driver is struggling over his life to evade out of mass of blood thirsty people who are trying their best to kill you or fail your mission. Both would cost a lot to you. Stones are pelted as rain would refuse to rain and you can not do nothing except praying to Gods because you can not fire a single bullet for your own safety. You don’t matter there.
The ethics of a state and projection of your nation matters above your own morale. You choose,you decide within those seconds which might decide fate of your own men and there is no one to guide you there. No senior Officer to take your call and your men are looking upto you. You are also fully aware that one mistake and there would be none to hold your back,you could loose your job and even cases can be filed against you. You can not fire a single bullet in this situation,yet you manage to do your duty daily and face this maddening situation everyday.
You know what,only a soldier can serve this way. He won’t run away,he won’t risk the safety of his own men, he would never risk civilian security and never fire a bullet unless asked for even if it cost him his own life.
Why go Far away! It’s not even two days that Shimpu Devi wife of martyred Army jawan Lance Naik Ranjeet Singh delivered a baby girl hours before she attended her husband funeral. You know what she said “I want my girl to join Army’
What kind of men and women would serve nation like this? How many of passionate souls have guts to serve nation beyond the boundaries of duty? Sometimes even at the cost of being a cannon fodder too, the ever changing equation of political allies affect the armed force policies and thus mode of operandi a lot which eventually play role at the basic level of an individual’s life..the soldier. Cease fire was announced during Ramadan, to give an opportunity to the locals to celebrate their festival with full josh without realizing there are thousands there who have not visited home during many festivals leave alone celebrating, and this ceasefire may cost them their lives too. After all festivals are for all but it does not matter to anyone after all they are just bunch of people paid to serve the nation. These are the conditions our armed forces have to deal with everyday.
Broken promised,destroyed families,lives lost all in a second and oh so common here! How many doctors,politicians and engineer serve this way?
RESPECT FORCES! THEY ARE THE ONE TO SACRIFICE EVERYTHING IN THE LINE OF DUTY SO THAT YOU CAN EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT OF FREEDOM! THEY ARE SPECIAL AND FEEL PROUD TO SAY THIS.
Also if you are a defense enthusiast and want to peek more into the world of Army Officers and Army wives, into the world of bravery and courage do read Soldier’s Girl: love Story of a Para Commando available on kindle and also in paperback Soldier’s Girl in paperback on Amazon