Make Military Service Compulsory – Why His Sons Only?

By : Wing Comdr Venki Iyer (with addition by: Shreepal Singh)

The helicopter appeared over the late morning horizon. We were to receive Mr Lachhman Singh Rathore who was visiting our Flight Unit to perform the last rites of his son, Flying Officer Vikram Singh.

Only the day before, I had sent the telegram, “Deeply regret to inform that your son Flying Officer Vikram Singh lost his life in a flying accident early this morning. Death was instantaneous.” It was the first time for me to meet and manage the bereaved next of kin, in this case the Father of the brave officer.

While most of the desolate family members insist on seeing the body, many a time there isn’t a body to show !! Flying Officer Vikram Singh’s remains were only a few kilos – scrapped from what was left in the cockpit. We had to weigh the wooden coffin with wood and earth.

The pilot brought the helicopter to a perfect touchdown. Soon Mr Lachhman Singh Rathor was helped down the ladder. A small and frail man he was, maybe of 80 years, clad in an immaculate dhoti.

As I approached him, he asked in a quiet and dignified whisper, “Are you Venki, the Flight Commander?” “Yes Sir.” “Vikram had spoken to me about you. I’d like to speak to you alone for a minute.”

We walked to the edge of the concrete apron. ‘I have lost a son, and you have lost a friend. I’m sure that you have taken great care in arranging the funeral. Please tell me when and where you want my presence and what you want me to do. I’ll be there for everything. Later, I would like to meet Vikram’s friends, see his room and, if it is permitted, visit his work place. I then would like to return home tomorrow morning.”

A commander couldn’t have given me clearer instructions.

The funeral, with full military honours, was concluded by late afternoon. After the final echoes of the ‘Last Post’ faded away, Lachhman Singh spent the evening talking to the Squadron Pilots. Vikram’s roommate took him to see Vikram’s room. Lachhman Singh desired to spend the night in his son’s room instead of the guest house we had reserved for him. Early next morning after a tour of the squadron area, my boss took him to his office.

A while later, the staff car took Lachhman Singh to the civil airfield two hours away.

As the car disappeared round the corner, I remarked to my Boss, “A brave man he is. Spoke to me like a General when he told me exactly what he expected from us during his stay here. I have never seen a more composed man on such an occasion. I admire him.”

“Yes, Mr Lachhman Singh Rathore is a warrior in his own way. He sired three sons and has laid to rest all three of them.

His first son Captain Ghanshyam Singh of the Gurkha Rifles was killed in Ladakh in 1962 War. His second son, Major Bir Singh, died along the Ichogil Canal in 1965 in an ambush. His youngest, Vikram Singh, who had the courage to join the Air Force, is also gone now.

It is more to our country’s defence than All of us combined.”

Yes, he is indeed a brave Indian; in fact he is more Indian than anyone else. His sacrifice can never ever be repaid by the country !! He is almost a martyr himself !!

But our Great Nation does not know this simple Giant — India only knows that super rich cricketers need to be conferred BHARAT RATNA while a bunch of actors and actresses need to be conferred PADMA VIBHUSHANs and PADMASHREEs !!

But what about the ‘ Losers ‘ ? Those who have SIMPLY LOST their EVERYTHING to the nation. Like this Father of Three Brave Soldiers.

Addition by: Shreepal Singh

India – that is we all together – can never repay for what Lakshman Singh Rathore, besides his three sons, has done to serve this nation. Shaming cricketers and the government that conferred Padam Bhushan and other Bhushans on them is simply not enough. The question is: Why should we be allowed to live in peace and Lakshman Singh Rathore’s sons be deployed to guarantee our peace? Why should we all be not forced to contribute our lives and our dear sons’ lives to guarantee the peace that we enjoy?

To lessen the pain of Lakshman Singh Rathore, to repay for the services of the likes of his sons and to do justice to the brave sons and daughters of Mother India, my suggestion is this:

Make the military service for every Indian for a few – 2 or 3 – years compulsory. It should be made a precondition for getting the Right to Vote and the Right to Contest Election. Our forces are not “Bhade ke Tattoo (available to give their life only for money)” but the proud sons and daughters of Mother India. One who does not dare to sacrifice his life for peace and security, does not have the right to enjoy his life in peace at the cost of somebody else life. Justice demands it.

There are many persons in this country who enjoy their life in peace and make it a mission of their life to destroy India – remember JNU slogans ‘India Tere Tukade Honge Hazar’, politicians sympathisizing with China or Pakistan, anti-national inhabitants of this country. They have no right to enjoy peace unless they pay for this peace.

The voting Right is the most valuable right of a citizen and the most valuable duty of a citizen is to guarantee the peace and security in this country – even if one has to sacrifice his or her life to secure this guarantee.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Who listens to Lachhaman Singh? | Indian People's Congress

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