For partners of men in uniform, every day comes with a reminder that their loved ones are performing their duty towards the nation, putting their life at risk. While martyrdom is an honour for every soldier, those who are left behind become examples of courage and resilience- and we have seen this happen time and again. But for Military wives, there is more than one way to deal with loss.
In May this year, Nitika Dhoundiyal, wife of late Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, who was martyred in the 2018 Pulwama terror attack, joined the Indian Army after passing out from the Officer’s Training Academy in Chennai. “I’ve experienced same journey he has been through. I believe he’s always going to be part of my life,” she said after her passing out parade. Nitika and Major Dhoundiyal had been married for only nine months when the Pulwama attack happened. Leaving her MNC job in wake of her husband’s death, she wrote the Short Service Examination the same year and passed it in February 2020. Dhoundiyal is one of the many wives of army men who honour the memories of their husbands by following in their footsteps.
Suggested Reading: Who Is Nitika Kaul Dhoundiyal? Pulwama Martyr’s Wife To Join Army
In November 2021, the wife of Naik Deepak Nainwal, who martyred in a 2018 operation in Jammu and Kashmir, too joined the Indian army. Nainwal had passed away while he was being treated for grievous injuries that he incurred during an operation. “During the last 40 days of his life at the hospital in Delhi, he once asked me to join the army when he is no more. I am thankful to the Indian Army for giving me the opportunity of honouring his last wish,” said Jyoti, a mother of two, revealing that her decision to don the uniform was in fact a way to honour the last wishes of her husband.
Then there are the women who stand tall by the mortal remains of their beloved while saying goodbye to them for one last time. Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder’s wife sent away her husband on his final journey with a smile on her face. Brigadier Lidder was among the 14 Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in a helicopter crash near Coonoor on December 8. India’s Chief Of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat too lost their lives in the crash. “We must give him a good farewell, a smiling send-off, I am a soldier’s wife. It’s a big loss,” Geetika Lidder said on his passing.
Suggested Reading: Wives Who Honoured Their Martyred Husbands By Joining Army
Brigadier Lidder’s daughter Aashna and daughter of General Rawat’s daughters performed the last rites of their deceased parents with their heads held high. Not just wives, children of Armed Forces officers have courage and endurance flowing in their veins.
There was another story of the courage of a loved one that made headlines this year – although it was a retelling of the martyr’s life and death on screen. The year 2021, also saw the release of Shershaah– a biopic on the life of Captain Vikram Batra, who martyred during the Kargil War. The film also shed light on his relationship with his girlfriend Dimple Cheema sparking a renewed interest in her life. What happened to Dimple Cheema after Captain Batra’s death, many wondered? Cheema refused to get married to anyone else and to date lives her life as Captain’s widow. Read more on her here.
Grief is a part of every human beings life – it is inevitable and unpredictable. But how one deals with grief is a different matter altogether. Wives and partners of martyred men in uniform have told us that life doesn’t stop at loss. One has to carry on and in their case, it is owed to those who have left us, to carry on with a smile on their faces and pride in their eyes.