By some historical coincidence, my younger brother Lieutenant S. K. Nair was killed in action in the 1965 war, while Lieutenant Pervez Musharraf survived the same war just across the border from the Pakistani side. My brother, a patriotic soldier of the Indian Army, embraced heroic death, while Lt. Musharraf, by sheer dint of luck, rose to become the General of the Pakistani Army and finally the country’s President.
My brother’s MEG unit engrossed in combating the enemy’s mining operation in the sensitive Akhnoor sector in Kashmir was shattered by a lightning missile attack from a Pakistani army jet. It was indeed an irony of fate that he breathed his last exactly on Thiruvonam day, when we were in an euphoric mood of celebration in Kerala, absolutely unaware of his death. We in our family have not celebrated Onam ever since that tragedy.
With due respects to all the sympathy and compassion received from all quarters, I must admit that the void created by my beloved brother’s death could never be filled. An engineer by profession, supplemented by a military background, he pinned much hope on building an ambitious career. But the fate decided otherwise.
My desire to meet him at Bangalore on the way back from Nepal was foiled when he had to rush to Kashmir on an emergency call from the HQ. Our trains crossed each other in Madras depriving us of our last meeting.
It was blood-chilling to hear the gruesome account of his last moments from his OC. Lying in a pool of blood in the Samba Military Hospital, writhing in pain, he was struggling to reach the war-front. I salute his immense spirit and indomitable fortitude. He, like many brave jawans, symbolised his very essence of national pride which others do not deserve nor can aspire to.
Let us introspect: how many of us pay any attention to our jawans who safeguard our country against heavy odds?