Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Source : Published in Kashmir Glory Newspaper on July 10,2020
A valley between the Great Himalayan range and the Pir Panjal mountain range, Kashmir is blessed with pristine natural beauty and with a unique culture that keeps you spellbound. The terrain ranges from lakes to snow-capped mountains, coniferous hills to glacial rivers. On one hand, Kashmir is covered with a wild untouched terrain and on the other; there are fields of saffron and orchards of apples awaiting their bloom. An opportunity for us soldiers to serve in the valley is also considered to be a challenging and exhilarating experience. Serving the country in a place like this offers a new and different perspective. Despite security concerns the ‘Jawan and the Awam’ blend well, assist each other and bond in a unique way.
I was accompanying our Commanding Officer on 18 May 20 with the aim of familiarising with the area of responsibility when we came across a situation in which the troops found themselves answering to the call of duty and we as soldiers could help out the local population. While moving back to the headquarters, the team came across a civilian Tata Sumo vehicle stuck in the middle of the road due to a breakdown and also stuck in the mud and slush. It was raining and the downpour was also getting stronger and the road slushier. The passengers included elderly women, men, ladies & children; they were trying their best to get the vehicle out of the mud.
On arrival of the army personnel there was a huge sigh of relief for them. After carrying out their assessment & enquiring about the situation, the Quick Reaction Team dismounted and helped the passengers in getting the stuck vehicle back on wheels. They also provided some fuel as they had run out of diesel and within a few minutes resolved a problem which would have made the passengers including children get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Seeing the engines running and vehicle ready to move brought cheer all around. The passengers were delighted and expressed their gratitude to the soldiers for helping them out. It was heartening to see the smiles on the faces of the elderly & the children waving their hands at us.
The people are always the ‘Centre of Gravity’ in such long drawn ‘Low Intensity Conflicts’ and they are the ones that suffer the most. It is these random acts of kindness, polite & courteous behaviour which bring the population closer to the Army and help us in conducting our operations better. Such small acts collectively help us in winning the hearts and minds of the population.
“Jawan Aur Awam Aman hai Mukam”