Let’s Make Indian Soldier Our Role Model! A Tribute to the 40 Brave-Hearts Who Died For Us
Mangaluru: The heinous and cowardly attack on our CRPF jawans in Pulwama cannot be condemned enough. In what can be termed as one of the biggest terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir since 2004, at least 44 CRPF personnel laid down their lives for our nation. They are not mere ‘numbers’ but lives, lives of heroes, fathers, brothers, and our countrymen. I salute these officers and they will always be remembered with pride in the history of our nation.
As the mortal remains of CRPF jawans who were killed in the Pulwama attack reached their respective places, a pall of gloom combined with anger and patriotic fervour was witnessed across the country. Their last rites were conducted with full state honours at their hometowns. Two days after the terror attack on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the nation was wrapped in mourning over the loss of 40 lives in a suicide attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed activist at Awantipora near Srinagar and demands for “avenging” the attack cropped up strongly. Emotions have poured out on the streets during the last rites of these brave-hearts in their hometowns. Even in Mangaluru, many organizations, institutions and citizens have paid their tributes to these martyrs at the War Memorial site-Kadri, Mangaluru
Indians have vented ther anger and demanded that the government should avenge the deaths and give a befitting reply to the Pakistan-backed terrorists. Political leaders cutting across party lines and senior police officials have also paid their tributes. Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Union Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, and state Home Minister M.B. Patil laid wreaths as the body of trooper H. Guru, who is from Karnataka. Kumaraswamy assured the bereaved family of providing a government job to Guru’s widow and the state government announced Rs 25 lakh financial assistance.
Over 40 countries and at least three multi-nation organisations condemned the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, and expressed condolences over the loss of lives. The UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the European Union issued statements condemning the terror strike. Countries such as the US, France, Canada, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Australia were among the countries that expressed solidarity with India. India’s neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Afghanistan also condemned the terror strike. Such has been the respect to the Indian Soldier from the citizens of India, and leaders/people across the world.
Yes, the Indian soldier is a role model for the people of India. Scrupulously honest, positively secular, completely apolitical, with an ethos of working hard, simple needs and frugal habits, he is the epitome of courage and unflinching devotion to duty. More than any other group or community in the country, the Indian soldier embodies and represents the idea of India. In hail, sleet and snow, in icy blizzards and pouring rain, he stands sentinel over the nation’s borders in the high Himalayas. He maintains a silent and lonely vigil along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Despite the omnipresent danger, hardships and privations of life on the nation’s troubled frontiers, he stands tall and firm. Stoic and resolute, his courage never wavers, his spirit never flags.
An Indian Soldier role in nation building has been outstanding. He has participated in peace-keeping operations and earned the gratitude of beleaguered people from Korea to the Congo, from Kampuchea to Bosnia-Herzegovina. For many decades, he has fought insurgents and mercenary terrorists unleashed by the country’s enemies to de-stabilise India. He has been ambushed, fired upon with machine guns, made the target of land-mines and has been tortured and killed in cold blood by ruthless Islamist fundamentalists sent to wage a war through terror on India, but has never wilted. He has quelled communal and political riots and police revolts. In all the internal security challenges confronting India, he has never struck back in anger even in the face of the gravest provocations. In fact, while fighting with one hand tied behind his back, he has given a new meaning to the term ‘use of minimum force’.
He is called out regularly for flood relief all over the country. He has removed bodies buried under the rubble of earthquakes and saved lives during floods. He coped with determination in the aftermath of the South East Asian Tsunami in December 2004. He has risked his life in cyclonic storms in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to bring succour to his suffering countrymen. He has often provided essential services during strikes. He has taken medical aid to remote corners of the country. He has braved epidemics and plagues. He has quelled communal disturbances and riots.
Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and belonging to many other faiths, he prays, eats, lives, plays and fights for India together with his brothers in uniform. He is positively secular in that he not only tolerates other religions, but also participates in their rituals and observes their customs and gets immense joy from celebrating their festivals. In many remote corners of the country, he is the flag bearer. He represents the government of India. Whenever he goes on leave to his village and when he finally retires, he spreads the message of nationhood and a disciplined way of life in all corners of the country. He has done more to knit India together than all the pompous politicians with their pseudo national integration programmes and high-sounding slogans.
Often reviled, mostly ignored, sometimes venerated, he has taken it all in his stride. He has never complained. He has stood by the nation through thick and thin. He has held the nation together for 72 turbulent years. In the cesspool of filth, squalor and corruption in public life, he alone stands apart like is a shining lotus. His life is one of honour, glory and sacrifice – of life and limb. His blood has hallowed the nation’s battlefields. For our tomorrow, he willingly, selflessly, unpretentiously, gives his today, but asks for nothing in return. He is troubled that his brothers-in-arms who laid down their lives have remained “unwept, unhonoured and unsung”.
He gives so much, gets so little in return, and yet serves with a smile. He is the quintessential Indian who has knit India together. If there is some truth in the phrase “There is something about us that we cannot be destroyed”, it is because of his indomitable courage and his immeasurable sacrifices. But, even here he draws comfort from the famous poem ‘The Bivouac of the Dead’: “On fame’s eternal camping ground, their silent tents are spread; and, glory guards with solemn round, the bivouac of the dead.”
Long Live Our Indian Soldier! And to the 40 Brave-Hearts who lost their lives, “May Their Souls Rest In Peace”!