Coincidentally the young lady from Times NIE called me asking for an article of 150 words on Marty's Day. As I began to write, I surprised myself that I had so many feelings and thoughts attached to this day called Martyr's day.
Selfless commitment towards the country irrespective of threat to life makes some extraordinary people attain martyrdom.
Gandhiji. Bharat Singh. Jhansi Lakshmi Bai or Lajpat Rai, all of them lost their lives while preserving the essential elements of our country like communal harmony, self respect, independence and integrity.
As an Airforce officer' s wife I have seen and met many people in various ranks of Army Airforce and Navy who have safety and independence of the country in their DNA. While defending the borders or defending self against the killer snow storms in Siachen glacier, country first and life next is their motto.
We lived for six years next to India Gate in Delhi. During my morning walks around this monument which was built as a memorial for all those 70000 Indian soldiers who were killed in World War I, I tried to imagine the faces and hearts of all those names inscribed on every brick of that majestic monument. It was neither their war nor their country’s- it was the war of Britishers they fought.
Come December, I would hear the marching of soldiers at 4AM. Rehearsals for Republic Day Parade! While the rest of Delhites including me cuddled inside quilts and kept the rooms warm with heaters, these soldiers march in the wee hours of December and January because once the day breaks, Rajpath would be filled with traffic.
For me, Republic day celebrations meant awarding the courage and bravery of people who defend the country in many ways.
My husband' s office, National Defence College was right opposite Gandhi memorial on Tees January marg. Birla house where Gandhiji was assassinated turned into a memorial and the road was named as 30 January marg. Almost everyday I drove on that road to go to my work place. Many times I stopped by to just walk through the house where Gandhiji lived the last days of his life. It feels like he left behind his legacy, peace, even though he was killed there.
I had the privilege of spending three hours with Shri Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi on this 26th January. When he talked about a memorial tree he planted at Panchgani in memory of all those people who died in anonymity in different wars and struggles like partition , it inspired me to do something similar and spend at least one day in a year, perhaps 30th jan, when we remember all those unsung heroes who lost their lives while protecting family, strangers, city or country.
Martyr's day can be that special day when we remember, recall and respect all those lives who lived for a purpose.
PS: My article ended up with 350 words. Requested the young lady to not print if it has to be pruned to 150. Thank god for this thing called desktop publishing.