16th December 1971 – Dawn declared India’s Victory over Pakistan; and Bangladesh got liberation from its illegal rule. Once again triumph of truth over evil was reaffirmed. Many soldiers lost their lives for our neighboring country.
16th December 2011 – A fine winter day with chilling breezes. Everyone was busy in his own life, seeking solutions to his own problems; flipping through the pages of newspaper, gossiping about the deflation in the market and biting cold adamant to break its records. But alas! One short article, present at the corner of page, was unable to catch hold of many eyes. And even if some pairs of eyes would have read that headline, they didn’t bother to read the whole of it. Not even 2 out of 10 random people had slightest of the hint about how bravely, 40 years back, our jawaans compelled Pakistan Army to surrender them and agree to make Bangladesh free of its rule. Even after mugging those numerous historical dates a number of times for G.K. and History exams, I also forgot this day and so did many.
Late at night, when history of this salient day became evident to me, I sank deep into a feeling of pride admixed with a sense of guilt. Pride over my country; pride over our most treasured possession, our soldiers, who not only guard our borders and give us a safe and peaceful life but also shed their blood fighting for the rights of a foreign country and its residents. Pangs of guilt took hold of me about how I forgot this cardinal event, not only this year but for past so many years. Lines from the famous song “Aee mere vatan k logo” kept playing in my head and I felt as if those soldiers are asking us to “zara yaad karo kurbaani”. I wondered when we can remember birthdays and anniversaries of our dear ones then why not these days which shine with the bravery and sacrifices of our soldiers.
Even if we had remembered this day or try to retain those upcoming dates, what we would have done??? Just a corner in the 16 pages of newspaper or 10 minutes story on news channels telling about the history at the back of the day. Maximum would be done our government which will put shawls around the shoulders which carried the cold and lifeless body of his young son or say two words to that wife whose eyes get wet even today on karvachauth. And we, the common masses, would just take it as one more event in the history of growing India.
Is that all we can do??? No not at all. Those martyred soldiers never had that selfish motive of being awarded with gallantry award nor did their family members demand for compensation money, certificates and medals. We need not make ‘Shahid Smarak’, big statues at circles or roads and bridges by their names. We only have to retain them inside our hearts, feel proud of their audacity and be grateful to them for leaving behind an easy, secured life to guard our nation
An appeal to all Indians – Though we are a day late but there is no date fixed for thanking someone. Let us give just 5 minutes out of 24 hours to praise those courageous soldiers and commemorate their countless sacrifices for us. That will be the best way to repay for their shed blood and their precious lives that they put at stake only to shield our lives. I hope now we will never forget these days of grandeur and the heroism of our army men that these days tell us.