A Soldier's Father
By Joseph Mattappally on 30-09-2014
Has India lost its mind? This is the first question that swirled through my mind as I saw video clippings pile up in my computer, all on the sad Delhi zoo tragedy in which a man in his middle age was killed by a White Tiger. The clips are widely circulated and I’m sure that it is not the world's charismatic megafauna that attracted the viewers but the pathetic end of a human being. This is not the first of its kind. Uncensored cruel scenes of human slaughters frequently appear in visual media. Without enough viewers this would not have happened. I remember the story of an Indian by name Lachhman Singh Rathore. He was going to attend the last ceremonies of his son, Flying Officer Vikram Singh, who died in a flight collapse. At the base, when the chopper with this frail man in his 80s landed, Flight Commander Venki did not know how to tell this man that the remains are not at all distinguishable. Lachhman Singh Rathore took Venki to the edge of the concrete apron and spoke in a feeble voice, “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.” I think that a sensible commander couldn’t have given him clearer instructions. Unless I tell you more about this great warrior patriot, you may not understand what I mean. 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 the 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. He had given more to our country than all of us combined.” Lachhman Singh Rathore, in fact is more Indian than anyone else – his sacrifice can never ever be repaid by the Country. But our Great Nation does not honour similar martyrs appropriately. Every time we look at the waiting list for Bharat Ratna or similar national honours, we see a long list of politicians, Olympians, cricketers and film stars. Emma Goldman, a very popular political activist and writer of the West in the early 20th cent. once said, ”We have to understand one another.” My opinion is that the present problem is not about ‘understanding others’ because we haven’t yet finished understanding ourselves. In a nation where new Age sages live deaf and blind in their quest to understand God, understanding anything is difficult.
About The Author
Sri. Joseph Mattappally, Founder and Director of Indian Thoughts, is a writer and social worker. He is also a Reiki Master (RIRC Mumbai) and licensed Amateur Radio Operator ( VU2JIM). He has authored 'Success Secrets', a book detailing basic life management principles.