Dear Gurmehar, I’m sure my daughter would not have shamed my memory

Dear Gurmehar,

It’s sad that you lost your dad in a war with Pakistan… Actually he died in a terrorist attack, but congratulations for realising that a war against terror is actually a war against Pakistan.

It is difficult to feel the pain you felt on losing your dad. But you are not the only daughter in the land. I have a daughter too, she is 14 yrs old. She was born in December 2002. She was a term baby, so if you calculate backwards, she was conceived in March 2002.

If you look a little more backwards, in December 2001, a few more daughters had lost their dads. It was 13 December to be precise, when terrorists had attacked our parliament, and 8 security personnel had died fighting them. They did not have to die… they could have chosen to hide somewhere, but they decided to fight and die… just like your dad.

So our armies were out on the border to avange this barbarous attack. I was one of them. My regiment was on the border and part of the strike corps. So if there were a green signal, I would have been part of the privileged few to face the enemy first.

As world diplomacy unfolded, we actually did not go to war, but entered a phase of Twilight war… Sitting on the perch, ready to strike… fighting the weather and the sand in the eyes and the separation from the families…

For 2 months, all leaves remained cancelled. Then as the situation normalised, the leaves re-opened… and we saw the possibility of seeing our family once again… even if for only once before we went to war.

In those days, there were no smart phones, no whatsapp or facebook to load our videos on. We wrote letters, that were not sealed and that were open to censorship. And so the intimacy was kept in check, as if someone was listening to you even as you wrote or read a letter.

I received a letter from my wife… asking me whether I could come if possible… telling me she loved me… and telling me she wanted to bear another child just in case I never came back again…

Well, I got some leave… at the right time it seems… because we had our daughter 9 months later. By then the clouds of war had dispersed… for the moment…

I am sure if I would not have come back from the war, my daughter would not have posted a picture like yours… she would not have shamed my memory… she would have stood proud of my death… and that is the least a soldier expects of his children…

My daughter is 14 now… she is lucky she did not lose her father… but she is luckier because she has a mother who would never have taught her what you somehow learned from some where… that War kills people, enemy does not…

Your dad died in a War… defending the motherland from the enemy… we are proud of him, even if you are not. He did his job well… probably it is your mother who failed you…

It is bad you grew up without your dad…what is worse you grew up without his values… Because when fathers defend the nation, it is the mothers who shape it.

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