Heroes are with us for the time immemorial.
In a loop of altercation, breaking of the ceasefire by the neighboring country and the ongoing struggle with the terrorism, it is palpable to lose some lives. And so it has been taken for granted more today, than ever. We forget the ones protecting our homes, our freedom. The ones who put their lives at stake to save ours are forgotten.
JKB visited Defence Colony this morning to talk to the family of late Captain Puneet Nath Dutt. A member of 1/11 Gorkha rifles, he sacrificed his life for the nation in a cordon and search operation against militants at Srinagar in 1997, 23. He was awarded Ashoka Chakra in 1997, posthumously, for his bravery.
It’s his 20th death anniversary and to commemorate his heroic life, JKB went to his memorial. We talked to the people who were behind the making of this memorial. What were the challenges they had to face in the making of the memorial of Ashok Chakra Puneet Nath Dutt.
Born in a family with military background, his mother recalled how he wanted to serve his country since childhood. “As a little boy he used to wear his grandfathers military uniform complete with boots and Gorkha hat and pretend to be an officer,” she said.
A meritorious student since school days, he decided to pursue his childhood dream of joining the Indian Army when he was in high school. After securing an entry into NDA, he continued with his strong track record in academics as well as extra-curricular activities. Having imbibed the dream of being the part of his fathers Gorkha regiment since his earlier days his mother told Jan ki Baat of how he would display his Gorkha crest on his study table during his days at the NDA.
Today, his memorial tells the heroic story of the Ashok Chakra late Lt. Puneet. “He single handedly killed 3 militants,” reads the memorial.
His memorial was built after a struggle of 10-15 years.
Major Ranjit Singh, the one of the men at the forefront in building this memorial said, “This will not become a reference point, it already is one.” “In heavy rains, 400 vateran and residents stood here to pay tribute to him” he added.
Major told us that the jawaans of the Gorkha regiment came here and cleaned the water out of the predetermined location during heavy rainfall.
Indeed, it is not just a memorial, it is a movement. A tale that keeps on singing the beautiful song of these soldiers bravery. We salute his valour, his courage and his sacrifice.
We must remember unsung heroes and the lines the little girl recites – “Barf pade ya tapti dharti, varsha ho ya aandhi chalti; Bharat ke sainik hardum desh pe aate dekar jaan, Jai jawan-jai jawan”.
Interview by Pradip Bhandari and Akriti Bhatia.