CHENNAI: It was on May 2, 2015 that the life of Neeru Sambyal, a lecturer in R K Degree College in Vijaipur Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, changed. Her husband rifleman Pavinder Singh of 2 Jack Rifles was killed during counter insurgency operations.
Dressed in olive green, Neeru, who graduated as an officer after undergoing strenuous training at the Officers Training Academy here, on Saturday, recalls how uncertain life became after her husband had died less than three years after their marriage. “I had a two-year-old daughter and I had to bring her up as he desired,” said Neeru. It was in 2017 that Neeru, also a National Cadet Corp ‘C’ certificate-holder, joined the academy. “The initial one-month training was difficult,” she said.
“I had to realise the dream of my husband who wanted my daughter to come up in life and this kept me going,” she said, smiling as her daughter tried to catch her attention.
Head of the OTA academic department, Col Alaguraj said Neeru was prepared mentally for the gruelling one-year course and proved herself beyond her capability. Interestingly, Neeru is not the lone war widow, termed Veer Nari at OTA, who has been nurtured as an officer at the OTA, Chennai. Last year Swati Mahadik, wife of Colonel Santosh Mahadik who died fighting terrorists in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir in November 2015, graduated as officer.
Twenty Kashmiri youngsters from Government Degree College, Kishtwar, witnessed the passing-out parade at the OTA, accompanied by their professors as part of an Indian Army-sponsored educational tour. The youngsters want to douse the flames of hatred. Aamir Rasool, for instance, aspires to be a professor so he can spread a message of peace.
Imran Khan may have won the hearts of youth of Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir in cricket, but when it comes to his new avatar as Pakistan Prime Minister, the youngsters dub him as an enemy.
Twenty Kashmiri youth from Government Degree College, Kishtwar, who have come all the way to Chennai to witness the passing-out parade in the Officers Training Academy, accompanied by their professors Jeevan Dhar and Surinder Sen, feel that Imran’s election as PM would not bring peace to the valley.
“We like him as a cricketer, but when it comes to country, we prefer our country,” said 17-year-old Akhil Jaffer, who is undergoing his first-year graduation and aims to join the Indian Army.
“Our district shares the border with trouble-torn district of Anantnag but it is peaceful. There is no strife out there. The trouble is only in a few pockets of Kashmir,” says Jaffer.
Interestingly, most of the youngsters want to douse the flames of hatred. Aamir Rasool of Marwah Tehsil in Kishtwar district says that he aspires to be a professor so that he could spread the message of peace. A son of government servant working in Civil Supplies department in trouble-torn Kashmir, he says he wants to be an agent of change and wants to teach and spread the message of peace in the trouble-torn area.
To a query whether there is a fear over the recent killings of those who backed the Indian government, Jaffar says, “We are not afraid of anything.”
Prof Dhar says the 20 students are in Chennai due to the Indian Army-sponsored educational tour. “We will be leaving tomorrow,” he says. The students met the Chief of Army Staff in New Delhi and now witnessed the passing-out parade, he said.
Interestingly, the students were all ears to LT General Abhay Krishna who exhorted them to join the Army or civil services through the Union Public Service Commission. The tour is being conducted for students from militancy-affected areas so that they gain the true perspective of nation.
The Sword Of Honour
Lt General Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command, reviewed the parade which was commanded by AUO Utkarsh Singh. The most coveted “Sword of Honour” was presented to Battalion under officer Siddharth Singh and the “Gold Medal” was presented to Battalion under officer Raveena Punia