A martyr’s daughter

A martyr’s daughter

January 30, 2015, 4:16 PM IST
by- in Indus Calling |  India  | TOI

Her final farewell salute to the braveheart dad dwarfed all the Padma awards put together. Her face resplendent with pride in being a daughter of a martyred soldier though she was controlling with difficulty not to burst into tears, showed her nerves of steel.

The media report described the martyrdom of Col. Rai and Constable Singh in these words -“With full state honours, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, the commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, is being cremated in New Delhi on Thursday. Commissioned into the 9 Gorkha Rifles, the 39-year-old Colonel Rai was martyred along with Jammu and Kashmir Police constable Sanjeev Singh in an encounter with Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Tral area of Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday evening. The brave soldier was honoured with a Yudh Sena Medal on Republic Day, just a day before being martyred in an encounter in which two terrorists were also killed. The Army on Wednesday paid tribute to the martyr remembering him as a courageous officer who led from the front.”

This shouldn’t have been just a news item, routinely read and casually forgotten. The blankness of suddenly losing your father is a catastrophe on the family. The entire future looks uncertain and the void, at this young age is difficult to be filled.

And if in such a circumstances a kid shows an exemplary courage, that must tell a lot about her parents too.

Salutes to the young Alka , daughter of Col MN Rai, from every patriotic Indian indeed.

That’s really is to be a daughter of Mother India. Her gesture at the last rites of her great dad has become an everlasting source of inspiration to the younger generation. And she raised the war cry of her martyred dad’s Gorkha Regiment- Jai Mahakali- Ayo Gorkhali!

That must be a warning to the enemies, cowardly and too cunning that their last days are now numbered.

The grandpa – Nagendra Prasad Singh is an ideal parent who raised all of his three sons to join the forces. From a humble background from Gajipur in UP, he got a teaching job in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and spent greater part of  his meagre salary and resources to ensure his children get best of education. When I bowed my head before him and said its very rare to find a parent who would send all his sons to the forces, his voice choked with grief and emotions and held my hand for long bringing them closer to his forehead as a mark of thanks. He could just say yes I knew when I sent them to be soldiers, a day like this may come. He gave his life for the nation. YN Rai, elder brother of the martyred Col. MN Rai, is a gallantry award winner for repulsing a fidayeen attack on the Raghunath temple in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. He told media “uniform” for his brother, him and the eldest Lieutenant Colonel DN Rai was a passion that ran in the blood.”

He gave his life for the nation. But does this nation feel gratitude for his martyrdom?

The little angel Alka, a student of the local school, was confident and firm. Don’t ever cry, I tried to console her and she looked straight into my eyes and replied- ‘no uncle, I will not cry. I am proud of my dad!” Look, how a young class six student does her father proud. “Your father must be feeling happy to see your courage from heaven”, I silently conveyed.

But I wondered if her school has shown a spirit of belongingness by offering homage to her father, who was their parent too or if ever the school corridors would show his portrait as a mark of pride and gratitude .

Such a small gesture would be natural in a foreign country, in countries like America or Britain, whom we decry as degenerated western societies. But we the great inheritors of the ancient and glorious civilisation hardly show our respect for the martyrs.  In schools, colleges and universities, we may find pictures of the local caste leaders, religious people and donors to the construction of that building, but those who defend our institutions, our people and our geographical boundaries hardly find a place of honour in the educational precincts . Have you seen any decorated soldier’s portrait  who  might have belonged to Uttarakhand, in Uttarakhand’s universities or in the halls of internationally famous public schools of Dehradun? I have not seen any of such pictures to inspire youngsters. I am sure it is the same in other states’ educational campuses too.

We paid homage to the martyrs – Col MN Rai and Constable Sanjeev Singh.  But will this moment make us take a vow to eliminate all traitors  and terrorists from our soil like Gilanis with a ruthlessness they deserve?

When do we show a resolve that enough is enough and we are prepared to take a revenge and smoke the traitors out of their holes wherever they might be hiding, here or across the border? Why is any gesture in favour of the soldier decried as war mongering?

Delhi media rightfully reported the last rites of the martyred Col MN Rai. But shouldn’t it have also given the same weightage when it reported the farewell accorded to the martyred J&K Police jawan Sanjeev Singh? Who was he? Wasn’t he too a son of an Indian mother and a father of the brave children? May be the media didn’t have the space for him or may be the editors didn’t find it useful to send their reporters to his village? Why do we treat poor soldiers, whether in olive green or in khaki, with so much of casualness?

Those petty politicians and media-sirens who go berserk on a  self-defeating Godse or a similarly foolish issues, remain silent on a Gilani’s bark and rather a section of media plays it  up. Where has the anger of the society died down? A society that loses the power to get angry at the wrongs will never be able to safeguard its smiles.

As a nation we ought to reassure our soldiers that the billion plus people we are will always support them and their families.

As a nation on the move we must not just say but also make it sure to have this shown and proved that a martyr’s sacrifice never goes unsung, unheard and un-avenged.

Stop saying we are the children of Rama and Krishna if don’t have the courage to annihilate Ravanas and Kansas. No use celebrating a meaningless Dussehra if we do not understand that Dussehra is celebrated after the elimination of the evil forces and it is the expression of victory by Durga over the savage elements.

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