One place, two people, many learning(s).
Lt Gen PJS Pannu’s speech
‘We shed our biases at the academy’
From different parts of the country with various backstories but one dream to serve the nation, many army men come to the academy. All of it is left behind when each one of them adorns the same uniform and thinks of only mission to be there for the nation no matter what.
As I noted this, I thought if our ultimate mission as humans is to live, why live with so many biases? Prejudices based on sexuality, gender, religion, caste etc taken till the graves at times. Why can’t we all adorn the uniform of love and live for mission of humanity?
‘Souls are more powerful, soul’s achievement is the ultimate. Be more soul oriented.’
After intense training, when an army man is finally at work, he doesn’t do it for appreciation or to be rewarded later. He does it solely for his nation, for the satisfaction of his soul. It sounds difficult but one can try to not do things for appreciation or rewards but for that one thing called soul and its satisfaction. I am trying my best and learning to do things for my soul.
‘When you are badly stuck in a situation, what do you do? Quickly adapt to it, accept it and think of moving ahead’
When on the battlefield, an army man has no time to react to things but dealing with them. He has to keep moving forward, do his job. This can get more difficult when he cannot react and has to keep going even when a fellow mate dies.
I have big dreams but I have cribbed about the smallest difficulty faced. From now on, I shall try to adapt to things quicker, accepting and dealing with them than reacting to it. It can be difficult but not impossible.
This is purely an interpretation and learning taken from his speech that was given to Wilson College Nature Club on 24/5/17. Also to be noted that General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Leh, Lt Gen PJS Pannu could have easily cancelled this interaction as he had an operations meet but he didn’t. He instead had the interaction an hour earlier.
At Abdul Kareem’s home, Turtuk
Turtuk is the last village before the Ind-Pak border. It is shown as ‘restricted area’ in the Ladakh maps available. I had about an hour to explore this village when I came across Abdul ji’s house.
He gave me and my friend a warm welcome into his house when we requested that we would like to have a small talk with him. He and his wife gave answers to whatever we asked with a smile. Abdul Kareem and his wife Hussaina Kareem have three children studying in Delhi, Chandigarh and Manali respectively while both have a living from their farm in Turtuk.
He showed us his house and both of them insisted that we had tea. We had to be on time for lunch so for the longest time we politely refused. Finally, before we left, I asked for water. I could see his wife’s eyes shine as she served us water in two shiny glasses. One could easily make out that these were specially kept for some guests.
When I left their home, I realized what a difficult life they were living but with so much grace. I could sense, they were missing their children especially Abdul ji. When we requested for a photo he insisted that I stand in between him and his wife.
This came from a person who belongs to land where he can never go again. A land where his brother still lives to whom he can never meet or greet on phone properly. A land he was born but can never be hopeful of being buried.
Yes, Abdul Kareem and his wife belonged to Pakistan. He and his wife came to Turtuk in 1971 after war. From then, he has made a living here and he is thankful and graceful to Allah for whatever he has today and shall try to give his children the best life.