“I thank Almighty for giving me an opportunity to live the life of a Soldier and contribute towards the greater mission of Nation building”.
Abdul Gani Sood was born in March 1973, at Paiwar village of Baramulla district Gujjar to Abdul Ajij Sood and Afsil Jan. Though spent in poverty, by virtue of a loving and close-knit family his childhood was full of bliss. After undergoing prelim education at the local Madrassa and the village secondary school, like most Gujjar families he started assisting his family in sheep breeding and cattle rearing. Alas! his happiness came to an end, when, on one dreadful night of January 1993, Abdul was forcefully abducted at gun point by a group of masked men from his home and later taken to an undisclosed location in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir along with ten other boys from his locality. By the time he realised as to what has struck him, he found himself in the training camp of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Abdul felt helpless and trapped, but, feared for his life and waited patiently to get back to his village.
On the first available opportunity, taking advantage of a venture by the Indian Army to bring back surrendered militants to the mainstream, Abdul surrendered himself at Aloosa, Bandipora. Motivated by the righteous behaviour and good conduct of the Indian Army, he underwent pre-recruitment training and successfully got enrolled as a Sepoy with 174 Territorial Army (Engineers) Battalion. His hard work and sincerity in profession yielded results and ahead of all his peers he was promoted to a rank of Havildar and today as a soldier he states that “Those who are being radicalised, need to be convinced that it will not benefit them. Neither the individual nor Almighty himself can bring solace to the former’s heart once he decides to walk on the path of violence”.
Abdul recalls, that, this life changing event of joining Army has brought him both honour and happiness. As a son he has been able to improve the lives of his ageing parents and his siblings and as a husband and father he has been able to provide his family with the wherewithal to realise their dreams. While at home on leave, Abdul actively devotes his time in charity and contribution to the society by educating children of his village.He often narrates bravery saga of soldiers to his village.
Today, he is a source of inspiration for the youth and children of the society. Adbul, fondly reminisces his decision to surrender and is grateful to the almighty that he is now a part of the greater mission of nation building.
As evident from the story of Havildar Abdul, that, it takes great courage and conviction to rise above your fears and to do what is right. Only, when, without falling prey to inimical elements, every individual in the society is inspired to follow the path blazed by Abdul, then, we as a nation will be self-sufficient in building a better future for ourselves and the society at