At a time, when political discourse in the Lok Sabha Elections was confined to armed forces and national security, the children of martyrs residing at the three ‘martyrs hostels’ in Jalandhar Cantonment had only one message to share that they were proud of the Army for giving them decent lives, instead of the politicians seeking votes in the name of martyrs.
While war of words kept raging, politicization of armed forces, Balakot air strike, surgical strike and using national security as poll plank not only turned out to be a major debate in the political circles but among the children of martyrs too.The young boys at the state of the art General Kalwant Singh Boys Hostel (Dogra Boys Hostel), Sikh LI (Light Infantry) Martyr Boys Hostel and Sikh Regt Martyr Children Hostel managed by 8 Sikh LI, 14 Sikh and112 Infantry Battalion (TA) Dogra Regiment in Jalandhar Cantonment said that it was the army, which stood by them in their hour of need, not the politicians, who were seeking votes in the name of armed forces.
Akashdeep Singh, a class XII student and a hosteller of Sikh LI Martyrs hostel from Dhariwal in Gurdaspur said that he lost his father Lance Naik Gurdeep Singh in a Counter Insurgency (CI) operation, “We have faced it. Perhaps, only we know, how much it hurts, when we heard about Pulwama terror attack and then a possible war like situation after Balakot air strike. I and my younger brother Yashdeep Singh, a class VIII student was also staying with me in the same hostel and my mother was leading a simple life. Today, wherever, we are, it is because of the Army, not the politicians.”
The brother duo studying in Army Public School, Jalandhar Cantt also said that back home, other boys were falling prey to bad company, drugs and going astray. “Whenever, we look at those boys in village, we thank the almighty that despite hardships, we got a secure life, all free of cost”, they said, adding that too would join the Army. Another class VII boy Jaskaran Singh, a resident of Qadian in Gurdaspur residing at Sikh Boys hostel shared that he was five years old while his sister was one and a half year old, when he lost his father.
“My entire family is separated and it hurts a lot. I am staying in the hostel. My sister was staying with my maternal aunt while my mother was working with ECHS at Qadian. And I want to become an Army Officer”, he said, adding with moist eyes that all he knew about his father was that he was a Fauji. Two class IX boys at Dogra Boys Hostel namely Himanshu Rajwar from Baliya and Sandeep Yadav from Amethi both from Uttar Pradesh said, “We watch news on TV and see how politicians were talking of votes and war. But, they would never understand the amount of suffering a soldier’s family faces, when he gets martyred.
None of the politicians ever come to inquire about the well being of a martyr’s family, rather it is the Army, which stands by them. We are proud of the Army”, they said. The boys in these hostels were getting the best of the schooling through Army Public School, mess facilities, medical aid from Military Hospitals, accommodation and a secure life, all free of cost. A JCO in the hostel said, “For these boys, life means Army. They don’t mingle up with their civilian counterparts and lead a secure life. They are our proud Army children”, he said.
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