Wednesday December 12, 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.

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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.

Next Story

Return to Jammu- A Novel About a Journey

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother's struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

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JAmmu and Kashmir
Sanasar, Jammu and Kasmir- wikimedia commons

This is the engrossing tale of Balan, a kid from South India who grows up in the towns of Punjab, Jammu and Haryana. It captures the eventful journey of Balan’s childhood, his schooling, and the friends he makes and loses due to transfers of his father, serving in the Indian Army.

“Return to Jammu” is a first-person narration and with the timelines, places and real-life personalities and events, the reader gets a feeling that it is an autobiographical novel. The author clarifies that all characters and the story per se are fictional but confesses to borrowing liberally from many episodes of his childhood in telling the story.

“If you happen to be acquainted with me enough to perceive a passing resemblance of me in Balan, you would be right; and yet if you find the resemblance rather tenuous and liberally adulterated, you will be equally right too,” says the author in a preliminary note.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college.
V. Raghunathan-Author of the book Return to Jammu, wikimedia commons

Balan, son of a junior commissioned officer hailing from Kerala and having Tamilian roots, is born in the Ambala cantonment in 1954. He narrates his story even before his birth, relying on family tellings.

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother’s struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father’s transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college. Because of his diminutive size, he is saddled with sobriquets like pocket edition, Lilliputian and Madrasi, and sees his self-esteem falling dangerously.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father's transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.
Jammu and Kashmir Map, wikimedia commons

It’s at Satwari near Jammu that he develops childhood friendship with many, most importantly with Jeevan Asha or Jeesha, who was two years older and also taller than him. Soon, however, Balan’s father is again transferred to Ambala and he is separated from his friends, especially Jeesha. He writes letters to his friends and receives responses from all, except Jeesha.

Overcoming all odds and with hard work, Balan completes his studies and joins the State Bank of India. Now a confident young man, he works hard and finally makes it to the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. (It was at IIM, Ahmedabad, that the author taught finance.)

Also Read: 70 years after Independence power reaches Elephanta Isle near Mumbai 

There he comes across a girl called Jasmine Pundith. He believes she is his good old buddy Jeesha. Bu she shows no sign of recognition and when he tries to remind her about their childhood friendship, Jasmine tells him that she is a citizen of the US and has no link with Jammu.

Convinced that she is none other than Jeesha, Balan travels to Delhi to find out more about her family. He even returns to Jammu, where he meets her brother Niranjan. What Balan comes to know from him forms the climax of the story.

The book is worth a read also for the author’s eye for detail, whether it is canal system of Jammu, the picturesque Kashmir valley, especially Uri, the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, or a visit by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (IANS)