PATRIOT 

The soldier has been mauled, humiliated, insulted, his integrity questioned and his every move analyzed threadbare. Never was there so much scrutiny of those who just wanted to do their duty and live a life of honour.

Soldiers demand nothing. They sleep in the cold. Meals are skipped because they are too busy trying to save others. The last remembered smell is of gunpowder and gun oil. They carry their family in their wallets. They kill. They die. Some say they were “martyred”. Some don’t bother; “killed” is good enough for both soldier and terrorist.

And the soldier is not allowed to speak. He, who has the most to say because of what he lives through each moment, is not allowed to tell the world what he feels. How does it feel when his skin burns at plus 50 degrees centigrade? What does he go through when his limbs catch frostbite and the only way to save him is to amputate that limb? How heavy is the dead body of his martyr brother? What are his loves, longings, victories and defeats? When his body is broken from extreme exhaustion and blood loss, where does he summon that last ounce of energy to walk up to his buddy who is in ICU?

What is the DNA of a soldier?

So we went across the country and spoke to soldiers. They opened up to me because I too, was a soldier once. The brotherhood always endures. The same questions were asked, visit after visit – which course, which regiment, which unit? We were with 17 Kumaon in Naushera (J&K) in the same Brigade in 1998…you were OC Charlie Company. Sir, you are from Jessami-13 OTA, SS 57, right? I was in Kohima, SS 74.

The same soldier talk.

I remember sitting and sharing a drink with this tough young officer from the Para Regiment, who had seen countless operations and bloodshed. He spoke to me (off camera) about firefights. He was telling me about an operation in Kashmir in which a few of his brother officers were involved. He mentioned a particularly funny incident about an officer climbing a rock-face in pitch darkness and then coming face to face with two terrorists. The operation was successful. Later, I asked him about that officer. Suddenly, for a fraction of a second, this big, tough paratrooper crumbled in front of my eyes. And then he recovered his composure as suddenly as he had lost it. “Shaheed”, he said stoically, pretending as if the loss was in the past. But I had seen the truth.

Then there was this CRPF jawan I met in Srinagar who was narrating a story about how his brothers were martyred in ant-Naxal operations in Sukma. He told me how he carried the dead body of his friend for twelve kilometers so that he could give him the final gift; a farewell worthy of a soldier. He too remembered. He remembered it clearly.

No loss is ever in the past. Soldiers have long memories. Very long memories.

“My father was in the Indian Army”, said Arnab on 15 March this year.

I nodded, understanding the emotion. Olive Green changes your DNA forever.

“We must pay homage to the Indian soldier, sailor and airman, Major. Not the equipment, not the weapons but the human being who wears that uniform. The soldier who watches over us while we sleep”, he said. “Will you do it?” Arnab asked.

“I am new to media. Speaking at a panel discussion and creating a TV series are two different things. To speak for the soldier is a sacred trust. I don’t want to fail”, I said.

“You won’t fail. Please do exactly what you do on TV debates. Speak from the heart and be blunt. Just speak soldier to soldier,” Arnab said. 

I went home and climbed down to the dingy basement looking for old records and photos from my army days. I found them. They made me smile and laugh and cry.

Over a period of a month, the idea of a TV series took shape.

We mulled over names. What would a TV series on the soldier be called? It was not a work of fiction. It was about a veteran going across India, meeting his brothers. Many names crossed our minds. In the end, we settled for a name that was blunt, to the point and from the heart. Just like my TV debates.

So, we called it PATRIOT.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

17 Kumaon Regiment

#MajorGauravArya #adgpi #Patriot #IndianArmy
Saturday 27 May, 7:30 pm @Republic TV.

Advertisements

Author: Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

Soldier. Nothing else.

13 thoughts on “PATRIOT ”

  1. Very true. The life of our armed forces soldiers is very tough. We had visited Kashmir valley in 2012. I remember, on our way to srinagar, the mountains looked rather menacing. We could see dense forests & our soldiers guarding the route. We were quite nervous & uncomfortable. Yet the sight of our soldiers was comforting. We could see the tough & lonely life they were leading. I was particularly touched when I saw a lonely jawan having his meal , sitting on a rock on the roadside with his alert eyes. It really broke my heart. They can’t even eat peacefully & some people criticise them for doing their duty

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Major Sahib

    I asked a very simple question. Would you be good enough to answer?? Moti Lal Khanna

    ________________________________

    Like

  3. Major Arya, I  saw you and Arnab a couple of days ago on th 10pm debate where you were questioning 4 pak officers. I saw you both start to laugh until tears flowed from your eyes. I saw how desperately you were trying to control your laughter. Your face had turned red. It was, by far, the most eloquent 10mins i have ever witnessed on a TV debate. Arnab and you deserve kudos for those 10 mins. The paki panelists looked absolutely and insultingly decimated. And the best part is, I know it wasn’t planned. For all you experience with paki lying, I’m sure you did not expect such a pathetic comeback. Looking forward to PATRIOT. God bless you all. Thank you for doing what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am finally feeling happy now because there was noone before you guys who actually speaks the truth, the truth about how a soldier life is and what he feels and what he goes through to do his duty. But now the soldiers will have a voice too. Proud of you Sir.

    Like

  5. My one of the close friend(Ex NCC cadets) posted in near by Punch Sector. When ever I heard about clashes between Indo-Pak board, I just scared. Halv Hangpang Dada of Assam Regiment of 35 RR Unit was uncle of my friend of Arunachal Pradesh, she expressed the grief of lost of her uncle and the depth lost of her family. She told me that Army Provides free education and ration to her aunty and two cute little child’s of Dada. Many more things which can explain by words.

    Like

  6. We have the greatest respect for the defence forces and the programme called Patriot shall always be admired by every Indian.We need such programme.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s