By Meenakshi Sharma
The touching yet telling visuals on our television screens as we watched the funeral of India’s first CDS, his wife and his trusted Deputy Brig Lidder gave us a peek into the military ethos even while we watched the dignified farewell. Whether it was General Bipin Rawat and Mrs Madhulika Rawat or Brig Lidder who was bid goodbye at the Brar Square Military Crematorium, what stood out in the midst of this somber atmosphere was the undying spirit of the Armed Forces and a display of courage and stoicism by the daughters in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.
‘Grace under Pressure’ was on full display as we saw the girls upholding the highest ideals of the Armed Forces proving that they were true Army daughters who had imbibed the best from the best. Each scene evokes memories of the Military Culture and Upbringing and the way the families imbibe this ability to face life’s challenges with equanimity.
Brar Square holds very deeply personal memories for me as I recall honouring my father’s last wish to be cremated with military honours at the Brar Square Crematorium with his beloved regiment, The !7 Sikh in attendance. As Army Daughters, we have been privileged to see first hand the culture and the ethos that creates such a warm and loving community while encouraging independence and strength. This is what we witnessed today and this is what I can remember in our childhood and on the day we bid farewell to our beloved father!
The fact that my dad could view his own death coolly and advise us on how to organize his funeral makes it imperative that we follow the very same principles. I believe there is a special place in heaven for every Soldier and not just because they live and die with the same courage but because they somehow manage to impart this courage and tenacity to their families as well. And because most of them refuse to discriminate between sons and daughters giving them the confidence and courage to conduct the last rites.
Watching the girls light the funeral pyre, I could recall how my sister and I conducted the last rites for my dad secure in the knowledge that he would approve and applaud.
A soldier is trained to be brave and courageous in the face of challenges and dangers. But what they manage to do despite their packed schedules and beyond the call of duty is to raise their children with the same military ethos, courage and dignity! Rest in Peace Soldier!