All our dreams come true if we dare to make them a reality. Meet Riyaz, a porter employed with the Indian Army has become an inspiration for others, despite all the hardships. Proper education and social privilege is a fortune only a few of us have. Riyaz, aged twenty-three years old, resident of Silikot Village, was born in a poor family close to the Line of Control (LoC), ahead of the fence. His father Mr. Mohd Farid, was a poor daily wager who barely managed to earn a living for the family due to poor health. Riyaz used to help his father in the small field beside their ramshackle house, which often bore the brunt of enemy shelling. As a young boy, Riyaz had a strong desire to grow up like kids in the cities with better education and join the Army as an officer and serve his country. However, his dream was short-lived because he had to drop out of school to help his father, owing to financial hardships.
Unemployment is the root of evil and forces the weak person to commit crimes. The high
unemployment rate in the valley, coupled with the brainwashing of innocents, has forced
numerous youths of his age group and locality to either move across into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and join various tanzeems/ terrorist organisations or even join the narcotics menace.
Riyaz's humble upbringing always motivated and thoroughly convinced him to stay away from this pitfall. Instead, he always wanted to be a noble citizen of the country and be an asset to society. However, he, despite all attempts, was not getting any employment that could sustain his family and help him take care of his elderly parents. One day, he was informed of a recruitment rally near his village, he gave his best shot and was enrolled as a porter. Initially, he was reluctant to tell his family of being employed as a porter. He thought, "I had dreamt of being an officer, command men, but now I am carrying a load and working as a porter. What will my family say? However, as they say, no work is big or small, it is the intention that matters. Riyaz also learned it sooner than later. His line of work actually gave life to his father.
One morning, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation, his village was targeted by the Pakistani Army. Riyaz's father Mohd Farid got a splinter injury, and their house was partially destroyed. Due to his closeness to Indian Army owing to his work, he contacted the nearest company commander, who provided him instant medical help by evacuating his father and thereby saving his life. He realized how his job saved his father and expressed his gratitude to the organization.
Over time, due to his excellent work and reliability, he became further close to Indian Army and inculcated traits like bonhomie, brotherhood and Junoon to serve the country. He realised that life is a living symbol of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, and his feelings in the cooperation. Riyaz always believed that his hard work would pay off as he continues to work day in and day out to earn his bread and support his family. Being raised in the area, porters, like Riyaz, have been through heavy enemy firing while carrying out their tasks. I have witnessed many incidents involving firing from Pakistan side,especially in our village. We have to vacate our homes to safe every time. Our homes get destroyed during enemy firing. Had it not been for the Indian Army we would have been helpless with no place to go. Today I tell everyone to stay away from people who try to belittle your ambitions and use you as a shield for their vested interest. On the other hand, I motivate the youth to be with the Indian Army as they try to bring the best out of you and make your life happy and prosperous.
Despite the harsh environment, Riyaz, with his sustainable income though meagre, can feed his family with his earning and some savings. Today, he is a happily married man and takes good care of his family, including his elderly parents, who are proud of him and call him their hero. He has constructed a house through his hard work. Now, his son wants to join the Army when he grows up. Riyaz ensures that he gets the requisite education and is being adequately guided and helped by the Army for the same. "You will live my dream, and join the Indian Army." he often says to him who is all set to appear for Sainik School exam soon. The textbooks and other assistance have also been provided by the Army to him. Riyaz has even motivated other youths from his village to join the mainstream by taking up jobs and making a mark. Today, many people in his town are serving or are retired from the police and various paramilitary forces. These villagers have incidents to narrate as to how they were helped and provided assistance through the initiatives by the Indian Army.
The Army has always stood by the locals in whatever way possible. He says, "Army has given me the opportunity to work, medical and financial assistance for my family. It has helped me, my family, and friends from my village during every crisis. Even during crises like coronavirus, when there was no help from anywhere, the Indian Army helped us with food, emergency supplies, including sanitation and masks." Notably, the Army took the initiative in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic by spreading awareness and also in reaching out to the poor and those who required medical assistance and evacuation. Riyaz's story is the perfect example of the fact that there is no chance, no destiny, or fate that can hinder or control a determined soul's firm resolve.
This is just one of the stories of the many others who have benefitted from the Indian Army, which gives you an opportunity and has always followed the motto of AWAAM AUR JAWAN AMAN HAI MUKAAM.