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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.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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!!

  5. 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.

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

        • 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

      • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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UN General Assembly: Pakistan Representative Maleeha Lodhi goofs up, labels Gaza photo as Kashmir’s

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Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly
Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly

United Nations, Sep 24: In a failed attempt to counter India at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi tried to pass off a distorted fact. She displayed a disturbing picture of Gaza and labelled it as the “face of Indian democracy”.

Lodhi was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s description of Pakistan as a “pre-eminent export factory for terror” at UN General Assembly 2017.

The photo, Lodhi displayed at the UN General Assembly to show Indian “atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir was of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom. In reality, the picture is of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, where two Israeli airstrikes hit Rawya Abu Jom, family’s apartment in Gaza.

Exercising the Right of Reply, Maleeha Lodhi accused India of “crimes against humanity” and of carrying out a “campaign of brutality” in the Kashmir Valley. To prove her point, she held the photo of the girl whose face was riddled with wounds.

The photo has been featured in many photo galleries online, including by the New York Times and the Guardian.(IANS)

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For the first time, 874 Women will join the Military Police: Indian Army sanctions

Each year 52 new women jawans will be included in Military Police

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Indian Army sanctioned that 874 Women will join the Military Police
Indian Army sanctioned that 874 Women will join the Military Police. Wikimedia

New Delhi, India, September 9, 2017: Opening more doors of opportunity for women in the force, the Indian Army has inducted 874 women in Corps of Military Police.

It’s another cause of celebration for womenfolk as on 7th September India saw Nirmala Sitharaman become the first full-time woman Defence Minister.  This is a praise worthy move taken in the direction of promoting the entry of more women in the armed forces.

The major decision has been taken by the Indian Army to include 874 women jawans in Military Police. Not only this, each year 52 new women jawans will be included in Military Police.

Also Read: Dubai-based Indian Painter Akbar Saheb to draw a Masterpiece in Tribute to the Indian Army

As per an Army briefing on 8th September, the Adjutant General of Army Lt. General Ashwani Kumar said that a need for inclusion of women personnel was felt because of investigation of the cases dealing with gender-based allegations and crime. It felt like an important step to include women corps in the Military Police.

To join the military police, women will have to go through the training period of 62 weeks, the same duration is required for training of male soldiers. The process of including w the men in the military police will get started from 2018 as its modes are being worked out.

Additionally, Lt. Gen. Ashwani Kumar also talked about the established of 2 new state of the art centres in Guwahati and Bhopal, so that the childless couple need not have to unduly wait for their turn. These centres are established in addition to the existing ones which are in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.


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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-kashmir
Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS

‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)