Updated: Apr 24, 2021
The author brings a fresh story from valley, this time not about bravery or patriotism. This small write up is a celebration of the "Unity in Diversity" in India and over the top credentials of secular Indian Army that sings faith that binds all, not draw differences.
The secular credentials of the Indian Army is one of the strengths of the organisation and the country. The officers may belong to any religion but they follow and adopt the religion followed by majority of troops of their unit.
There are numerous instances in Indian Army of Christian officers doing Aarti, Hindu officers offering Namaz, Muslim officers chanting the Gurbani with his Sikh troops and so on so forth. This is a manifestation of the strong bond between people who bear arms for the nation and are bound by a sacred oath to defend the country.
Faith and belief in a higher power that guides and protects soldiers along their duty is one of sources form where a soldiers draws his strength.A ‘Sarv Dharam Sthal’ is a place where people of all religions and faiths come together to offer their prayers. It is a place where photographs and idols of Almighty of all religions are placed and given the same regard.
The soldiers of the Indian Army have displayed this strength whenever they have operated overseas as part of United Nation Peace Keeping Missions, training teams or even during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions. They have also helped in the reconstruction of religious places during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions to aid the ravaged population and help in drawing strength and belief that Indian Army will overcome these difficulties.
After the winters had passed and the snow was melting, various posts which were
vacated during the winters are reconstructed and occupied. In one such area, which does not have any resident civilian population as it is very close to the Line of Control and often targeted by Cease Fire Violation by our adversary, there exists a Pir Baba. This Pir Baba is atop - one of the highest peaks in the area and is difficult to reach. After a long climb in the high altitude area with rarefied air can one reach this Pir Baba. "After the snow had cleared we saw the damage that had been done and ascertained the resources and efforts required to restore the Pir Baba to its former state" as told by Lieutenant Rohit Sethi.
Lietenant Rohit further adds the details. The stores and resources required were procured and the troops worked hard over the next few days. The harsh weather, the tough terrain and the fatigue of the difficult routine in defense didn’t seem to dampen their spirits at all. They were on a spiritual Mission to restore Pir Baba and didn’t pause till it was done. The toil, labour and untiring efforts paid off. The satisfaction and happiness reflected on the faces of the soldiers. The Sarpanch and a few villagers of a village far away got to know about our endeavour and came all the way to meet us, convey their gratitude to us and offer their prayers at the Pir Baba. They thanked us profusely and the Sarpanch spoke on behalf of all.
" ... in the border areas, fighting, violence and destruction are the norms. He cited examples of how across the border in Pakistan, the minorities to include Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists are targeted and their religious places desecrated. Every single year, the Indian Army reconstructs the Pir Baba in their area and this is one of the many actions which further reinforces the faith and belief of the people that they made the right choice by choosing India over Pakistan during Independence."
He said that the people stand strong with the Army and are always ready to help and support the Army. He closed his eyes and the glow on his wrinkled face was a reflection of his prayer. He opened his eyes and professed. “Pir Baba watches over us all. Your efforts, dedication and respect will not be in vain. Pir Baba will protect you all and no harm will befall this unit. You all will fight valiantly and always emerge victorious.” His words and the tone of his declaration were such that we were all silent and listening in rapt attention. In our thoughts we all truly believed that these are the blessings of PIR BABA.