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LOK ISSUES

I'm a proud man, says BSF martyr's father

The volatile India-Pakistan border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir continue to devour our uniformed young men at a steady rate. Krisna Kumar Pandey lost his son Vijay, a 26-year-old BSF constable who made the supreme sacrifice on June 3, 2018 on the Indo-Pakistan border. Speaking to LokMarg at his village Sathgaon in Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh, Pandey broke down several times while talking of Vijay, preparations for whose wedding were on when the news of his death came in.

 
Vijay’s wedding invitation cards had been distributed. There were about two weeks left for the big day and there was a mix of anxiety and happiness in the family. Vijay himself would be coming home in two days. The young members were insisting that a DJ music night be organized before the wedding. The family was discussing how much space the dance stage would need and how much extra cost it will incur… things like that. And then, it was like lightning struck us. God had other plans for my son, Vijay who was posted at the International Border with Pakistan in the Akhnoor sector. High ranking officials who came along with the body bag, told me Vijay was martyred on the night of June 3 when the enemy resorted to unprovoked firing at his post. What can one do? If God wrote untimely death in his destiny, we cannot replace it with marriage. His sisters had bought a sherwani and pagri for his wedding. But God wanted him to don the tricolor. I must tell you about my son’s childhood and how he was inspired to serve the country in uniform. From a young age, Vijay was mighty impressed with Lakkhi Chacha (Lakshman Pandey) who was a Subedar in the Indian Army. Every time, Lakkhi came home on holidays carrying an iron trunk and a blanket, Vijay would spend hours with him. He would listen Lakkhi’s stories about the life inside an Army camp, their routine, their drills, duties. He always wanted to be a soldier. That was his calling from the beginning. Once I took him to the local Dusshera mela, he chose a plastic gun and a tank for his toys. When he was in Class 8, he asked Lakkhi Chacha for his used Olive Green uniform and got it altered by the village tailor for his own use. The village elders were happy to see this passion in him. When he joined the BSF, the entire village celebrated. Today, the whole village is in mourning. That is the strength of a soldier’s uniform. Dead at 26, Vijay is a hero of our village. The officers who accompanied his body were surrounded by all the youth of the village. Nitesh, Virender, Gokul… they all wanted the officers to tell them about the recruitment process of armed forces. There is also a bit of anger in our village against the government decision to announce a ceasefire. You have tied the hands of our jawans while the enemy continues to violate his promises. There is grief in the family but not without a sense of pride. The sweets that were prepared for Vijay’s wedding were distributed amongst the people who gathered here to honour his mortal remains. We are also planning to build a memorial at the same ground where his tilak ceremony was to take place. The father of the girl who was to get married to Vijay came here and said he wants his granddaughter married to Vijay’s elder brother’s son to keep the two families united with a wedding bond. Even in his death, even in this moment of grief, Vijay makes me feel proud. This is a mixed bag of feelings which few will ever understand.
 

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—With editorial assistance from Lokmarg

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