Wednesday January 17, 2018
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The need of men like Col Santosh Mahadik

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Col Santosh Mahadik
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The Indian Army, today, is honouring Colonel Santosh Mahadik who succumbed to bullet wounds received during a fierce gunbattle with terrorists in the forests of Kupwara in north Kashmir.

Academic and humanitarian discourse aside, we need Col Santosh Mahadik and all our people who serve the ‘nation’. The nation is us. The nation is made of you, me and hundreds of the order of Col Santosh Mahadik.

The debate of need of armed forces on our borders is merely academic as, in the times when rogue states like Pakistan are amassing nuclear warheads and threaten to use them every day, we can’t afford to ‘debate’ and experiment.

Because, seriously, Siachin and Kashmir are not central universities holding seminars. Nor do the infiltrators and terrorists come there to present papers.

Col Santosh MahadikI have always maintained that each one of us is contributing towards nation building. Be it my farmer father working with a spade in his fields, a teacher educating kids, a banker calculating the interest rate in his office or a person with an Insas in Siachin, we are all stakeholders in nation’s progress.

The Orwellian quote goes, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” On a positive interpretation, I have always maintained that even when these men in uniform chose to take arms as a career, they are “more equal than others” who are farming, teaching or working as a journalist.

Simple thing is, an unedited headline would not tear flesh off your shoulders or as you sleep, you won’t be watched by two snow leopards on your door.

If you don’t like your job you leave it, but here are these men in uniform who choose to join duty as soon as they are out of the bed after being hit by bullets and shrapnel.

Debate as much as you can but Col Santosh Mahadik died for us. They always die for us. They don’t die for recognition. In a practical world which isn’t a seminar on the need of borders, armed forces are a necessity. Debate is also necessary to elevate the human thought process as a whole, but this is not the time.

The least we can have for them is respect. You or I can’t understand the pain these families go through. A father may be proud of his son’s death, a wife can hold her tears while speaking about the martyred valiant man she always found by her side, but the pain always stays.

Pride doesn’t wipe pain.

Taking pride in our men is our gratitude but at the same time we must try to understand the pain and share it. Pain needs to be shared. Pain needs to be conveyed. Pain needs to be understood.

Col Santosh Mahadik lives as do hundreds of our men in uniform who left defending the boundaries. They always live with our present and guard our future. 

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  • DeeKay Don

    I share, what SSP KUPWARA, J & K had to say abt him…

    I know colonel Santosh
    As a person grounded to reality Hv
    He was passionate about social and political developments and like an intellect had deep insight
    He would believe in the role of his institution in changing the outlook of society
    He wanted to do something for changing the mindset of public towards the army and would indulge in certain activities strange to his institution
    He organised trekking tours with youth and would often talk of integrating the army occupied scenic spots with those areas quite known on tourism map
    He would see a great potential in tourism and believed army could lead in promoting tourism in border areas particularly those on LC
    He had made a beautiful documentary on the scenic spots of Lolab valley
    He had not only an eye for beauty but he had also a heart of a gentleman
    He wanted to change the outlook of his forces and make them morale and humane
    He would organise brainstorming sessions with troops and would invite general public to deliberate on the ills of society
    A morally upright person he would bring people of expertise for interaction with troops and public
    Sessions on attitudenal transformation would be organised and the result was a cordial relationship with the other agencies and public at large

    He would believe in the process of change he felt was emerging in the society
    He would offer a helping hand to the needy
    A great Samaritan people would expect help from him and he would always acquiesce
    As a soldier he would lead from front
    He had great stamina and would walk uphill like on Plains
    He had a carved out physique of Bruce lee yet he was soft in demeanour
    He possessed a smiling countenance and mesmerising personality and
    He would never look fatigued and give thums up to whatever assignment
    A brave soldier and a great buddy he would always invite to his camp for meals and sight seeing
    In the operation which consumed his life he never looked back
    He pursued and pushed the militants
    He wished to bring laurels to army and brought it with supreme sacrifice
    I salute his personality
    And wish him paradise.. I have lost a brother
    RIP Santosh, many more are der to carry on d flag. Jai Hind.

  • DeeKay Don

    I share, what SSP KUPWARA, J & K had to say abt him…

    I know colonel Santosh
    As a person grounded to reality Hv
    He was passionate about social and political developments and like an intellect had deep insight
    He would believe in the role of his institution in changing the outlook of society
    He wanted to do something for changing the mindset of public towards the army and would indulge in certain activities strange to his institution
    He organised trekking tours with youth and would often talk of integrating the army occupied scenic spots with those areas quite known on tourism map
    He would see a great potential in tourism and believed army could lead in promoting tourism in border areas particularly those on LC
    He had made a beautiful documentary on the scenic spots of Lolab valley
    He had not only an eye for beauty but he had also a heart of a gentleman
    He wanted to change the outlook of his forces and make them morale and humane
    He would organise brainstorming sessions with troops and would invite general public to deliberate on the ills of society
    A morally upright person he would bring people of expertise for interaction with troops and public
    Sessions on attitudenal transformation would be organised and the result was a cordial relationship with the other agencies and public at large

    He would believe in the process of change he felt was emerging in the society
    He would offer a helping hand to the needy
    A great Samaritan people would expect help from him and he would always acquiesce
    As a soldier he would lead from front
    He had great stamina and would walk uphill like on Plains
    He had a carved out physique of Bruce lee yet he was soft in demeanour
    He possessed a smiling countenance and mesmerising personality and
    He would never look fatigued and give thums up to whatever assignment
    A brave soldier and a great buddy he would always invite to his camp for meals and sight seeing
    In the operation which consumed his life he never looked back
    He pursued and pushed the militants
    He wished to bring laurels to army and brought it with supreme sacrifice
    I salute his personality
    And wish him paradise.. I have lost a brother
    RIP Santosh, many more are der to carry on d flag. Jai Hind.

Next Story

Operation Meghdoot: Role of Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force backed the Indian Army during Operation Meghdoot by supplying troops and stores

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Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
  • Operation Meghdoot’s objective was to capture the Siachen Glacier.
  • Indian Army expeditions were going on in the high-altitude region.
  • IAF was tasked with supporting the troops with backup and supplies.

Operation Meghdoot was launched in 1984, it aimed to capture the Siachen Glacier. It was quite a unique operation because of Siachen’s dreaded terrain and unforgiving climate. The mission was a successful one, India gained control over the Siachen Glacier.

India now controls the 70 kilometres long glacier and the three major passes west of it (Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La. Whereas Pakistan controls the area west of Saltoro Ridge. The TIME magazine states, India has control over 1,000 square miles of territory because of its exceptional military operation.

You may also like: 20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy

Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia commons
Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia Commons

IAF had played a major role in this operation. It used Il-76, An-12, and An-32 to transport troops and drop supplies to these extremely high altitude battlefields. Following which, Mi-17, Mi-8 and HAL Chetak would carry the same to the east.

IAF’s performance was incredible, taking into account how extreme the temperature and altitude are at Siachen. The operation is a saga which showcased such skill that can never be forgotten.

IAF's uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia commons
IAF’s uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia Commons

Role of Indian Air Force

When the first IAF sortie was launched to Siachen on 20th September 1978, Chetak helicopters used to supply stores to the on-ground Indian Army. That’s when a thought occurred to one of the IAF officers “Why not pick their emails for their loved ones back home?” They used to drop a string with a note saying “We are coming back in 10 minutes. Please write your letters and put them in a bag.”

This kind gesture of the Indian Air Force symbolized the brotherhood of ‘men in arms’. It also boosted the morale of Indian Army troops who were leading expeditions on the ‘third pole of the world’.

Also read: All you want to know about the ranks of Indian army

IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia commons
IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia Commons

IAF helicopters used to fly at the height of 16,000 feet, many times, the officers had to take oxygen directly from the pipe. They also had the job of taking injured troops back to base camp. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Finding the expedition parties in the never-ending desert of ice, then landing the helicopter on the lumps of snow were tasks that required unmistakable skill.

IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia commons
IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia Commons

How IAF operates in Siachen now

Indian Air Force has a far different set of procedures than that of the time of Operation Meghdoot. The operations are scientifically planned and executed meticulously.

  • IL-76s and An-32s supply stores to the men in Leh and Thoise from Chandigarh.
  • Thereafter, Mi-17 helicopters airdrop supplies to the lower level helipads at 17,500 feets.
  • Cheetahs then take over and ferry the supplies to helipads situated at 20,000 feet.