He had insurmountable sense of duty towards his country: Martyr Lt Col Sankalp Kumar’s wife

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By Gaurav Sharma

Who can deny that an army man’s life is tough? Most of us ‘struggle’ hard serving customers and bosses in our routine jobs, all the while cribbing and cringing over light drizzles of petty rebukes showered by the immediate superiors.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is a league of men, an incomparable class of individuals who do not think twice about laying their life for a higher purpose. To them, serving the country comes as naturally as worship to the devout.

The Indian army has men of extraordinary courage who deal with most unpredictable, harrowing circumstances with the utmost precision and élan, always with minimal fuss. The true worth of deep and profound words such as sacrifice, honor and prestige are known only by those who have experienced a sense of higher belonging.

Lieutenant Colonel Sankalp Kumar belonged to such a coterie of great men. At the same time he ‘transcended’ greatness through the unalloyed devotion towards his Matri-Bhumi. It would be quite apt to proclaim him as a lion among lions.

Almost ten years before he was martyred by militants during a fidayeen attack in Uri in December 2014, 35-year-old Kumar had braved a similar terror attack in Srinagar. He managed to fight out the injuries, with fragments of AK-47 bullets still lodged inside his stomach.

The horrific terror encounter did not stymie Kumar’s enthusiasm one bit. In fact, the incident served only to boost his warrior spirits. While most men would have dropped their plans of even entering Kashmir after such an incident, Kumar voluntarily asked for a field posting in Valley. Duty held paramount importance in Kumar’s life.

In an emotional interview to NewsGram, Priya Shukla, Kumar’s wife said, “He had an insurmountable sense of duty towards his country. No one could stop him from performing his duty.

There were times when he was suffering from painstaking physical ailments, but when the call to serve the country came, for Sankalp everything took a backseat.”

Apart from his overwhelming drive to protect the border, Kumar was also a family man. He is survived by two lovely, beautiful daughters, Manna and Shana.

“Whenever he would come back home, Sankalp made sure that he spent valuable time with the family. He cooked for the girls, took them out for cycling and swimming and watched cartoons with them. It was like he became a child with the girls,” Priya said.

Sankalp’s teary-eyed parents admired their son’s sense of responsibility towards everything, be it the nation, the family or a stranger on the streets.

“What Sankalp has endowed upon us in 10 years, no child can give in a lifetime,” his father S.K Shukla told NewsGram.

A few days after the terrible tragedy struck the Shukla family, Kumar’s mortal remains were consigned to flames with military honours. A 48-round gun salute with 16 military rifles was sounded at the cremation site.

Afterwards, Kumar’s home state, Jharkhand announced a meager ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the martyred soldier’s family.

Although no amount of money can ‘compensate’ for the loss that the Shukla family has suffered, the ex-gratia amount is a disgrace to the glorification of a martyr who was so passionate about protecting people from terrorists. It is in no way close, forget in line with the sacrifice and the services rendered by Kumar.

It is shameful and utterly disrespectful that an army officer should be ‘commemorated’ with such a slap on the face.

It has just widened the void for Sankalp’s wife and kids. The abundance of senseless rules in the country make life miserable not only for the civilians but also leave an indelible mark on the lives of the family of defense officers.

The ex-gratia compensation by the Central government for martyred soldiers is not too respectable either. An amount of Rs 10-15 lakh for those killed in enemy action and border skirmishes hardly does justice to the lifelong ordeal the family of the martyred officer suffers. If anything, it adds is insult to injury.

The plight of widowed wives and bereaved parents do not stop there. The wife and kids of Kumar have to leave the government housing accorded to them within a short span of 3 years.

“Earlier, there were no issues of security. The girls have been used to living within the army quarters. Now we have to quickly move into civilian housing. I am really scared for the safety of the girls,” says Priya.

Indeed, making such a rapid transformation with no support calls for an immense level of mental strength. However, the loss of a husband and a father is not something one can hope to recuperate from in a jiffy.

Priya still has not gathered the will to open Kumar’s belongings–his kindle, laptop, mobile-phone, shaving-kit, among other things, are lying locked in a box. She is unable to open Kumar’s memorabilia for some unknown fear.

Manna and Shana sleep with their heads on Kumar’s pillow, comforting themselves through the lingering scent of their father.

Each night before going to sleep, Manna prays, “God please send my father for the night. You can call him in the morning for duty.”

The deprivation of one’s father at such a young age would shatter the will of most people. But Kumar’s girls are no ordinary children. Like their father,  Manna and Shana are strong and resilient and brim with zest for life.

Both girls want to become fashion designers in the future.

Kumar’s wife is now the bulwark of the family. Still trying to come to grips with the tragedy, she constantly reminds herself of Kumar’s love, something that will put everything into place.

The world we live in does not offer us the solace of time to heal our wounds. Even as Kumar’s family tries to find their place in the outside world, memories of Kumar will have to find their appropriate place as well.

Although the vacuum can never be filled, perhaps love can be the soothing balm or the anodyne for annihilating the darkness of isolation.

This cannot be brought in better perspective than Priya’s own words: To heal means to surrender to love…I will be healed because I have been truly loved.

 

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram
  • gannamraju viswamohan

    I felt really touched..it has been happening since many brave lost lives but still the incumbent rules of old times are to be amemeded in way to sooth at least financial vacuum..god bless Shana and manna

  • aishwarya bartwal

    The short term memory of we Indians is shameful. The life which an army person lives cannot be compared with anyone else’s. It is something which a civilian can never imagine of and the supreme sacrifice. These politicians can happily accept one day salary of army people for Kashmir flood. This money goes to the Kashmiri’s who don’t even accept the work that army have been doing in the valley and who don’t even accept India as their nation, but supports terrorists. The loss which lt col sankalp’s family have faced can’t be compensated but the govt can at least cater for the financial problems which the family will face. We are ready give crores of money to the ungrateful kashmiris but nothing to the family of the heroes. I am truely aahamed at the fate of our heroes in this country.

  • Dileep

    WE RESPECT U MA’AM. BE STRONG

  • I can understand the family’s pain behind an ex army officer myself served in J&K.May God give them the courage to conquer their pain…

  • Wives are equally brave though they are not fighting on the war front…they are fighting on the home front…..anything can challenge them but nothing can defeat them for sure…everyone is there for you Priya….you are the women of substance…

  • very true. has been put across in a very subtle manner. this nation does not respect its soldiers. i recollect the shameless civil services cadre officers and the politicians and other civilians claiming that the soldiers are meant for sacrifice only so whats great in the supreme sacrifice. yet the finance ministry and also the heavy brass tacks of the army do not want to better the present conditions of the soldiers!!

  • We are with you .

    W/o Brig .Pradeep kumar.

  • Zuber Kazi

    Life can be so cruel… May God bless the lady and her 2 beautiful daughters

  • Ramesh

    Its a Shame how we treat our Soldiers. The state offered his wife two Lakh. The Maharashtra Government gave 1.25 Lakh all the people who died after drinking spurious liquor . Various state Governments give their subjects 5-10 lakh for accident related deaths. No wonder no one wants to join the India Army.

    • Anurag Telang

      I do understand the sentiment, but we don’t join Army for sympathy.

      • Amit Awasthi

        Nobody is even mentioning the word “sympathy”..
        What is required is the correct attitude of the nation towards our martyred..

        • jagdish soni

          No one join Army for sympathy,, Sad to read. they join army for saftey of Peopels Of India and Mother land..other wise they may have opted for other filed as they are very brilliant in All .. Jagdihs soni Brother of Sahid Vir Captain Nielsh Soni sacrifies his lief at Siachin in Operation Meghdoot..9924632129

      • Ranbir42

        A shameful comment from an ungrateful citizen. It is easy to surmise that this person has no family member in the armed forces. This unfortunately is also the country’s attitude towards the armed forces. They have taken their freedom for granted little realising that persons like Lt Col Sankalp have paid for it with their lives.

  • Vinod Bakshi

    No armed forces volunteer joins for sympathy. the least this ungrateful nation can do is to at least provide the wherewithal for the bereaved family to live with dignity.

  • jagdish soni

    Ya Viro KA prarivare hai…Unka Ansuo ma Kamjori mat Dakhiya..Lakin Balidan ki Kimat sochiya.. Woh log apeni Jan Dana ma Ek Pal bhi Nahi Ruketa bharat mata ka liya aur bharat ka logo ka liya

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  • gannamraju viswamohan

    I felt really touched..it has been happening since many brave lost lives but still the incumbent rules of old times are to be amemeded in way to sooth at least financial vacuum..god bless Shana and manna

  • aishwarya bartwal

    The short term memory of we Indians is shameful. The life which an army person lives cannot be compared with anyone else’s. It is something which a civilian can never imagine of and the supreme sacrifice. These politicians can happily accept one day salary of army people for Kashmir flood. This money goes to the Kashmiri’s who don’t even accept the work that army have been doing in the valley and who don’t even accept India as their nation, but supports terrorists. The loss which lt col sankalp’s family have faced can’t be compensated but the govt can at least cater for the financial problems which the family will face. We are ready give crores of money to the ungrateful kashmiris but nothing to the family of the heroes. I am truely aahamed at the fate of our heroes in this country.

  • Dileep

    WE RESPECT U MA’AM. BE STRONG

  • I can understand the family’s pain behind an ex army officer myself served in J&K.May God give them the courage to conquer their pain…

  • Wives are equally brave though they are not fighting on the war front…they are fighting on the home front…..anything can challenge them but nothing can defeat them for sure…everyone is there for you Priya….you are the women of substance…

  • very true. has been put across in a very subtle manner. this nation does not respect its soldiers. i recollect the shameless civil services cadre officers and the politicians and other civilians claiming that the soldiers are meant for sacrifice only so whats great in the supreme sacrifice. yet the finance ministry and also the heavy brass tacks of the army do not want to better the present conditions of the soldiers!!

  • We are with you .

    W/o Brig .Pradeep kumar.

  • Zuber Kazi

    Life can be so cruel… May God bless the lady and her 2 beautiful daughters

  • Ramesh

    Its a Shame how we treat our Soldiers. The state offered his wife two Lakh. The Maharashtra Government gave 1.25 Lakh all the people who died after drinking spurious liquor . Various state Governments give their subjects 5-10 lakh for accident related deaths. No wonder no one wants to join the India Army.

    • Anurag Telang

      I do understand the sentiment, but we don’t join Army for sympathy.

      • Amit Awasthi

        Nobody is even mentioning the word “sympathy”..
        What is required is the correct attitude of the nation towards our martyred..

        • jagdish soni

          No one join Army for sympathy,, Sad to read. they join army for saftey of Peopels Of India and Mother land..other wise they may have opted for other filed as they are very brilliant in All .. Jagdihs soni Brother of Sahid Vir Captain Nielsh Soni sacrifies his lief at Siachin in Operation Meghdoot..9924632129

      • Ranbir42

        A shameful comment from an ungrateful citizen. It is easy to surmise that this person has no family member in the armed forces. This unfortunately is also the country’s attitude towards the armed forces. They have taken their freedom for granted little realising that persons like Lt Col Sankalp have paid for it with their lives.

  • Vinod Bakshi

    No armed forces volunteer joins for sympathy. the least this ungrateful nation can do is to at least provide the wherewithal for the bereaved family to live with dignity.

  • jagdish soni

    Ya Viro KA prarivare hai…Unka Ansuo ma Kamjori mat Dakhiya..Lakin Balidan ki Kimat sochiya.. Woh log apeni Jan Dana ma Ek Pal bhi Nahi Ruketa bharat mata ka liya aur bharat ka logo ka liya