4th June, 2020
There is a popular hindi song- “Aye mère watan ke logo”, sung by our beloved Lata Mangeshkar which is so full of patriotic feel and emotions that it never fails to bring tears to the eyes of every Indian who listens to it.
It’s sung in the honour of our brave soldiers, their sacrifice, the respectable & prestigious “Defence Services“, pride of every nation, the ones who selflessly stand brave and strong to keep a nation safe. The crisp ironed and attractive uniform, the courteous, chivalrous and honourable character, the undefeatable and unconditional dedication to their Motherland, all of this and much more makes up the “Defence Personnel”.
In the month of May this year, in a terrorist encounter at Handwara a team consisting of four of our brave soldiers and one police officer were martyred combating terrorism. One of them was Col. Ashutosh Sharma, the Commanding Officer of the 21 Rashtriya Rifles.
I saw the news like any other civilian would have on the television. Now every time we see a news like this one at home, there is always a discussion for few hours on the never ending controversial topic of “India-Pakistan”, we feel angry for sometime, feel sorry for the loss to their family and our nation, get furious on the existence of terrorism in the world, utter a few words in disgust and then, poof.!! done with our part of analysis and complaining we settle down in our routine. Now that is what happens usually, but for me, it did not happen this time, not with the sad news of untimely martyrdom of Col. Ashutosh Sharma.
The reason his sacrifice stirred such strong and ardent patriotic emotions in my heart is because of the interview of his wife Ms. Pallavi Sharma that i saw on the very next day of his passing away. What an honourable lady she is, she handled her husband’s sacrifice for the Nation with immense strength of character. There she was facing the reporters in a calm, composed manner with her 11 year old daughter by her side, giving an interview within not even 24 hours of going through such a big personal loss in her life. She mentioned the reason for her composure to be the belief that her husband, Col Ashutosh Sharma had in her as a life partner.
She proudly shared that her husband was a man of words, honour and bravery, that he looked out for his unit like his family and that’s what he precisely did when the call of the hour demanded, he put himself selflessly before the others, leading by example, knowing very well that there was no turning back from that point. Many of us wouldn’t have known before this incident that such was the dedication of Col. Ashutosh Sharma to serve his beloved Motherland that he persistently tried for six and a half years to get into defence services and got through in his thirteen attempt. His elder brother Piush Sharma, recalled the fond memories of his brother and shared with the media about his perseverance and relentless pursuit of joining the Army.
Yes, Col. Ashutosh Sharma was brave indeed but equally brave, strong and sacrificing is his wife and family. Her interview made me realise that serving in the Defence Services are not only the brave men who don the uniform and go to the border, it is also their families who are fighting and facing each war with them standing morally and emotionally by their sides as their strength with equal dedication to the Nation.
This particular incident was an eye opener for me but this in reality is not the first nor shall be the last of such sacrifices that the people serving in the Defence voluntarily stand up for with might and valour.
A big salute to the families of all the Defence Personnels, the entire nation is indeed indebted to your large heartedness and sacrifices.
Maybe that is why Lata Tai also concludes the song of “Aye mere watan ke logon” with the apt words of “Jai Hind, Jai Hind Ki Sena”..! With the Nation’s name your name shall always proudly remain..!