YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
SEVENTEENTH NATIONAL DEFENCE ACADEMY COURSE
(Fifty five Years after Passing Out)
Our yesterday began on 2nd Jan 1957. We joined the NDA, each one for his own personal purpose, but were fused together by the motto “Service before Self”. This motto is a distillation of an all time Truth that has filtered down to us from the Veda in the clear statement of the Bhagwad Gita and repeated in the world’s other spiritual traditions – “With Sacrifice as their companion are all people born”. All human action, with knowledge or in ignorance, regardless of personal motive, fulfils its purpose as a sacrifice to the Divine. Action willed as a sacrifice or service is superior to that done for the Egos’s desires. The NDA conditioned us towards this superior action by guiding our energies towards the conscious military protection of Mother India at the cost of limb or life if need be.
Our yesterday has taken us, after our training and commissioning, from the high casualty debacle against the Chinese in 1962 to the Kargil War of 1999 in which our own Khanna and Patney distinguished themselves by victoriously leading the Army and Air Force in J& K. In the intervening years there have been the counter insurgency actions in the East and West, the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, and the intermittent skirmishes during the ‘no war–no peace’ episodes. The 1971 war with the liberation of Bangla Desh has been the crowning moment of our careers; we were then at the cutting edge of the fighting in the ranks of Maj, Sqn Ldr and Lt Cdr.
Our today has been a vigorous taking up of civilian life with a sense of commitment to social welfare conditioned by years of military experience. We remember with gratitude our comrades who died for the Nation. Happily may we repeat, “With battles fought and won and laurels and medals a plenty, as faded veterans bald or gray, having sired daughters and sons and watching their offspring grow, we live with our spouses old, content with all we see and do”.
Our tomorrow, which some of our departed comrades have crossed, will come with its surprises, merging into the certainty of Death. Before it comes with its last call we should say: “The day shall come when we must shed these names and forms and lives of ours; mourn not our deaths oh dear one, grieve not when our bodies burn. Our Souls shall have flown beyond time and space to rest and bloom in the Ether vast and pure of Oneness and Bliss Divine”.