Excerpt from the international bestseller book, Hero by Rhonda Byrne. “Life is not about negative circumstances that happen to you, it's about what you do with the golden opportunities hidden within!”
“There is both joy and suffering on planet Earth because this beautiful world is a world of duality - a world of opposites."
A youth of Kashmir jwalked on these lines! Let's find out how; this story by a serving soldier in Kashmir who spells the heroic transcend.
Disclaimer: A soldier who the nation sees as Hero, finds his own hero in a Kashmiri boy.
As I went for my routine patrol in my area I met Ishfaq, a known stone pelter with around 20 FIRs on his name in local police station. He was elated on seeing us and greeted us heartily, even offering us some sweets. “Le lo sahab, aaj mai bahut khush hoon mera bhai fauj me bharti ho gya” he said when we politely declined the sweets. This statement of his though, piqued my interest, I was surprised that why someone who was famous as being against the security forces and was involved in many stone pelting incidents in the past was happy to have his brother joining the same security force.
"Mithai to nhi par haan ek cup chai jarur peeyenge is khushi me” I told him, for which he happily made me sit in his shop and started preparing the tea. As we sat for the tea, I asked about his brother Shakib and what motivated him to join the army and was surprised once again surprised to find that it was Ishafaq who had motivated his younger brother to join the army.
Sensing my apprehension though, he chuckled and stated that due to my FIRs everyone thinks that I’m still a rogue which I was in my teens and early twenties, but I have changed now Sahib, after my father’s death I became the sole bread earner of my family and became responsible for taking care of my five sisters and one brother as well as of my ailing mother. I was still a young man, practically a boy with the responsibilities of my whole family on my shoulders at the tender age of 22. I was terrified thinking about how would I take care of them now that ‘abba’ was gone. He was in PHE department but when I went to some of his old buddies to help me get placed there, no one could help me despite me having the requisite qualifications due to the FIRs against my name. I went to my friends and maulvis, sure that they would help me since it was them who had motivated me for these stone peltings. But I was aghast to hear their reply “It’s your problem we can’t help you”. I was in a state of shock for almost two months, trying to deny the reality that stood in my face, even the savings made by my father were dwindling rapidly since I had no source of income. As I was sitting in my home one day, I started crying thinking about how my so called ‘friends’ have backstabbed me and how because of them I can’t get a job to support my family despite being a meritorious student.
My Sarpanch who himself is an ex-serviceman came to my aide and helped me in opening this shop by providing a loan, he also helped my family with the rations in the initial stages when I was struggling to make ends meet. When I saved enough money I went to my Sarpanch to return the money loaned by him. He made me sit and told me the truth that the people whom I used to call the infidel were the same who provided me monthly ration when I was in need of it. He stated many examples of how these infidels were the first one to respond in any hour of need of the society “When we had to carry a pregnant lady of our village to the hospital amidst heavy snowfall, these infidels were the one who carried her for five kilometres on their shoulders, when any vehicle meets with an accident these infidels are there to rescue the vehicle and persons, whenever one of our children falls sick in the middle of the night, these infidels are the ones to treat them and give medicines”. I was silent as the things he had told might be bitter for me to hear, but they were true. I had gone to his house to clear my debt but when I came back I felt more indebted then ever and this was a debt that I could never repay.
That was the the time when I decided to motivate my brother to join the forces and repay a small amount by helping others who are in need. This was about a year back and today I’m proud that he has realised my dream.