Indian Schools should be taught about Our FAUJI Heroes
Wednesday,23 June 2021 09:44 AM IST
Most Indians would have heard the name of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who led India to victory in 1971, defeating Pakistan and making 90,000 Pakistan soldiers’ prisoners of war. This victory paved the formation of Bangladesh. It is very essential to remember and celebrate our war heroes as it fosters nationalism and a sense of pride amongst our growing minds to derive inspiration for our Motherland. The supreme sacrifice our soldiers make in keeping peace and maintaining our sovereignty has to be appreciated by all Indians.
In the five wars that India had fought with its neighbours in 1947 Pakistan, 1962 China, 1965 Pakistan, 1971 Pakistan, and Kargil 1999, we have always defeated Pakistan, our lamented cousin. China was the only exception in 1962, because of political mistakes. But behind such war victories is the bravery and gallantry of many officers and soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces consisting of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It takes the blood and sweat of our soldiers to keep the flag of the Republic of India fluttering at all times in peace and war. Many get killed in action and many others are wounded and disabled.
Some of our war heroes are Major Som Nath Sharma, PVC (Army 1947); Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa, PVC (Army 1962); Havildar (CQMH) Abdul Hamid, PVC (Army 1965); Squadron Leader Denzil Keelor (Airforce 1965); Capt. MN Mulla, MVC (Navy 1971); Flying officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC (Airforce 1971); Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, MVC (Army 1971); Lance Naik Albert Ekka, PVC (Army 1971); Capt. Vikram Batra, PVC (Army 1999); Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, PVC (Army 1999); Major General Ian Cardozo (1971 Army), the first disabled officer and won Ati Vishista Seva Medal; Brigadier Muhammad Usman, MVC (1948 Army); Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat MVC (Army 1961), who singlehandedly fought the Chinese and killed himself to prevent being caught by the Chinese; Second Lieutenant Arun Kshetrapal, PVC (Army 1971); Naik Jadunath Singh, PVC (Army 1948); Subedar Karan Singh, PVC (Army 1948); Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran, PVC (Army 1987 Sri Lanka operations). Wonder, only a handful of students would have heard of them.
Let me narrate an initiative that I have started as a co-curricular activity in my school at Powai English High School to educate my students about our Fauji Heroes. Just before the pandemic lockdown, I launched ‘Shirley’s Tryst with Faujis’ – Kahani Mere Veer Jawano Ki Mastano Ki. In this event, we bring a celebrated FAUJI guest online and speak to him of his heroics who has seen action. We give a small presentation in the beginning and then teachers and students ask questions to him. It is mostly of an hour’s duration and some 300 students come online.
PIC: Major DP Singh in uniform and later as amputee soldier with blade (artificial leg) running the marathon
Though it may not pertain to the syllabus as such, let me assure you our students are charged up after the motivation talk. Recently, we got Major DP Singh a 1999 Kargil war disabled soldier. His one leg had to be amputated as it developed gangrene after a mortar attack on him. He was almost declared dead. But luck favoured him and he was saved. Today, he is India’s first Blade runner. His heroics are acknowledged internationally for running Marathons and para-jumping on one leg. He is a much sought-after motivational speaker too.
Such military legends living amidst us are a true inspiration for our Indian youth, whose daunting spirit to face the odds and brave challenges will surely motivate a whole new generation. It is for these reasons; our school children need to learn about them to build an inspired generation. They will surely become better human beings and be part of an awakened India which is advancing as a Super Power. Indeed, a small step for them, but a giant step in India’s civilization.
(The author is the Headmistress of Powai English High School. Recently, she campaigned to garner funds from corporate CSR, NGOs, and individuals and raised Rs 40 Lakhs for fee-sponsorship of pandemic-affected students).