The video of Nitika Kaul, wife of martyr Major Dhoundiyal, bidding farewell to her late husband has moved many to tears. Kaul was a picture of bravery and grace, quietly telling her husband that she loved him before he embarked on his final journey. But sadly Kaul is not alone. This past couple of weeks, more than forty men in uniform have lost their lives in separate incidences, leaving behind their loved ones. Apart from Pulwama, an army major lost his life while trying to diffuse an IED, two IAF pilots died in a fighter jet crash, while one lost his life yesterday in a mid-air collision of two Hawk trainer jets. Also, in the aftermath of Pulwama, an army major and four soldiers got killed in an encounter operation in the very district. They were not the first and they won’t be the last.
- A video of Nitika Kaul saying a final goodbye to her martyred husband is doing the rounds on social media.
- It speaks volumes about the courage of the wives whose husbands serve the nation.
- Despite knowing that their partners are constantly in harm’s way, these women go around their day-to-day life with a brave face.
- And if you were to ask them whether they would do so again, they would say yes without any hesitation.
#WATCH Wife of Major VS Dhoundiyal (who lost his life in an encounter in Pulwama yesterday) by his mortal remains. #Dehradun #Uttarakhand pic.twitter.com/5HWD6RXwnO
— ANI (@ANI) February 19, 2019
As we pay tribute to these brave men who sacrificed their lives for the country, let us not forget those they leave behind.
But as we pay tribute to these brave men who sacrificed their lives for our country, let us not forget those they leave behind. Their parents, siblings, children and wives. The courage of wives of men in uniform is something which we need to talk more often about. While their husbands serve the nation, these women carry on as usual, caring for parents, bringing up children, all the while waiting for their husbands to come back on a leave. Only to go back on duty, with a promise of coming back soon. I know how hard it is because I grew up listening to stories about how my grandmother took care of their four children, all on her own, while my grandfather served in the army, back in the sixties.
In times when we get a panic attack if our partners don’t pick up our call by the sixth or seventh ring, these women go months without hearing from their husbands. They do this knowing that they are in harm’s way 24 by 7. Sometimes they come back wrapped in a tricolour. Sometimes they come back debilitatingly wounded or scarred for life. But these women stand by their men with their backs erect, mighty proud. It must be daunting to hear about attacks like Pulwama when your husband is on active duty. But life must go on for them. Kids need to be sent to school, grocery needs to be bought and bills need to be paid.
Even when their partner leaves them forever, they must put on a brave face. They must bid them goodbye and keep living.
Even when their partner leaves them forever, they must put on a brave face. They must bid them goodbye and keep living. The thought that you may lose your loved one in the line of duty doesn’t scare them though. Ask any woman whose husband has ever served in the uniform, if she would do it all over again despite knowing how daunting it is, or if she would send her children to serve the country, the answers would be a simple yes. My grandmother had no qualms in sending off her eldest son to serve in the army. She had nerves of steel, just like all these women. War widows and wives of serving personnel in this country deserve our deepest respect, for the sheer act of sending off a loved one on duty, not knowing when and in what condition they’ll see them next.
So let us take a minute to salute Nitika Kaul’s bravery, and that of millions of wives like her, who stand behind their men in uniform like a rock. Because it is no small feat to love someone so unconditionally and let them put their nation first.
Picture Credit: indianexpress.com
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.