This is a story about Porter Maqbool Bhat, a simple hard working boy who by donning the olive green uniform became a role model for the youth of his area. Dedication, hard work & sincerity are the three most important building blocks on his journey from porter to a soldier.
Eldest of six siblings born to a poor family in a border village, Maqbool inherited the traits of sincerity, dedication and hard work from his father Rafiq who as a labourer had earned a good name in the village. Luck smiled on Rafiq’s family when Maqbool, an unemployed tenth pass boy going to one of the nearest army camps on recruitment rally practice, was employed as a porter by the Army. The post Cdr, had seen a spark in the boy and somehow he didn’t want that spark to die down and instead wanted to convert it into a flame. Employing him as porter ensured availability of the boy for six to eight hours in the Company Post. The boy had proved himself over 14 other boys coming for recruitment rally practice, coming first in 2.4 mile run despite wearing poorest quality of shoes, after doing 12 chin ups i.e two more than the excellent standard, hanging on the chin up bar to complete his own set standard of 15 chin ups and no set counting for sit ups were few to be mentioned. Best part was his making an effort to read from the available old magazines and newspapers in the post and seeking clarification on the weekly affairs. Unlike other parents his parents never approached any post Cdr for SHIFARISH of their son. Infact they were more than happy after having found source of employment as porter of the post.
Maqbool appeared twice in recruitment rally but somehow couldn’t make it to the list of successful candidates. He was mocked at by his friends with statements that his nearest affiliation to olive greens would be to wear discarded track suits/ uniforms given to him by the soldiers. However his close contact with the troops and determination kept the fire of donning olive green alive. Over a period of time the unit moved out of the area and new unit arrived but the story of Maqbool clearly formed part of handing/ taking over with a remark of Maqbool perhaps moving out of the border village area to Srinagar/ Jammu to earn daily wages as a labourer. However one fine day the same post Cdr, found a young tall boy with a packet of sweets from Srinagar greeting him with the smartest of salute ever witnessed by him. Maqbool was finally selected as a Sapper in one of the Indian Army Engineer Regiments.