Ripe age and ailing health failed to dissuade 95-year old Satwat Kaur from attending the ex-servicemen rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Bhopal’s Lal Parade Ground on Friday.
She had a strong reason to be present at the programme. After all, her father, husband, brother and brother-in-laws all served the Indian Army.
Her husband even sacrificed his life during the Indo-Pak war in 1965.
“How could my age stop me from attending this rally organised to honour martyrs and ex-servicemen?” she said with a sense of pride.
“Since I was not feeling well, my family tried to stop me from attending the programme. But I didn’t pay any heed to them. The inauguration of this war memorial—the Shaurya Smarak— is a momentous occasion. How could I miss it,” she said.
Modi inaugurated the memorial built on an about 13 acres campus at a cost of `41 crore. Various stages of life, war, death and victory over death have been displayed at the memorial as a tribute to the martyrs.
Kaur said she was proud to be called a Veer Nari, a term by which widow of a soldier who laid down his life for the defence of the country is referred.
Rampati also lost her husband in the 1965 war
Like Kaur, Rampati Singh (66) lost her husband in the 1965 war. She was just 16 then. She still gets emotional recalling the sacrifice of her husband. She was spotted crying when patriotic songs were being played at the programme.
“When politicians raise question on activities of army or defense forces, they disrespect sacrifices of my husband and lakhs of other veer jawans,” Rampati said, adding, “I am happy that at least the MP government has made an attempt to honour the martyrs.”
Presence of a large number of veer naris at the rally was the poignant reminder to the sacrifices these women quietly made.
Monica’s husband attained martyrdom in 2010 in J&K
Another veer nari Monica Singh, 28, couldn’t stop crying throughout the programme. She said it was tears of pride.
“My husband Late Captain Upmanyu Singh attained martyrdom in 2010 in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
After his death, Monica had also joined the Army. But she left during the training as she wanted to live rest of her life with the memories of her late husband’s sacrifice. “I am always proud of him and wanted to spend my whole life as Veer Nari,” Monica said, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
‘Inauguration of this Shaurya Samarak is a very proud moment for me’
Veer Nari, Neha Tomar, 39, said, “Inauguration of this Shaurya Samarak is a very proud moment for me. Family members of the martyrs just want respect, nothing else. If they just write the name of my husband late Squadron leader DS Tomar in the Shaurya Samarak, it will be the greatest gift to me.”
“I want my son should also join the defence force,” she added.