Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Amar rahe !
The brave soldier who held on to dear life under 25 ft of snow, finally let go today. The nation pays tribute….
I want to know where those students of JNU are today who wanted India destroyed and take one of them to replace Lance Naik Hanumanthappa at Siachen. I apologise for using the word “replace” – there can be no real replacement for Hanumanthappa because he is an Indian soldier, a man who never let India or his unit down. I want to send one of those JNU students who wanted freedom of speech to denigrate India to stand at the same place where Hanumanthappa stood for months guarding our border …. just for three days. I am hoping his seditious thoughts would freeze forever and his tongue will fall off for having spit on the plate that fed him :(.
The Indian army’s soldiers live and die for Naam, Namak, Nishan – Naam (Name or reputation, literal translation), to uphold India’s and his regiment’s reputation, Namak (Salt, literal translation), to repay the debt of having eaten the salt of this piece of Earth, Nishaan (symbol, literal translation), honour our Tricolour, and his regiment’s flag/emblem. Lance Naik Hanumanthappa did all the three – he upheld Naam, Namak, Nishaan and left an indelible imprint in our hearts. In staying alive under 25 ft of snow for 6 days, he showed us the stuff that an Indian soldier is made of, the grit and courage, and in finding him, the armed forces proved why they are the best people to work with.
Now what will the credo be of the JNU students who wanted India destroyed ? I am thinking it should be Besharam, Gaddar, Badnaam. They too lived upto it by calling a terrorist a martyr and shouting slogans wishing the country of their birth is destroyed. Did they for a minute think about Hanumanthappa ? Its disconcerting to see two student incidents where terrorists are being feted. Rohit Vemula who committed suicide felt Yakub Memon was wrongly hanged and that many more of them will be created – really ? What was Memon’s claim to eternal life – he helped kill 300+ innocent people in Mumbai and even his mother has no sympathy for him but Rohith and some other friends of his have. And we have politicians who try and get some mileage by offering sympathy to such students – Besharam, Gaddar, Badnaam.
Our colleges seem to be becoming dens of the enemy within – these forces have to be weeded out. This is no freedom of speech – this is pure sedition. It has to be nipped in the bud otherwise we will lose the one safe tolerant spot on Earth – India. Hope sanity prevails.
While all eyes of the country are today on Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, as indeed they should be, spare a thought for the valiant men of the Indian Army who threw themselves into the search and rescue mission in that god forsaken land.
Lets first place this effort in perspective. Sonam post, where the avalanche took place, is at an altitude of approx. 20,500 feet. We are talking an altitude equivalent to Camp 2 to Mount Everest.The average temperatures here are about -25 deg C by day & -45 deg C by night. It is here, that more than 200 soldiers, carrying loads of over 40 kgs per person including rock drills, electrical saws, specialised equipment, survival rations and personal gear started to dig. (Remember, unlike expeditions to Everest, there are no sherpas that carry your load here – your burden is yours alone)
The ice debris from the avalanche covered an area of 800 mtrs by 1000 mtrs with a depth of 25 to 30 feet. Massive ice boulders, some the size of a small room, had covered the post. Most of this was blue ice, almost as hard as concrete
Through snow blizzards, spine chilling cold and great personal risk of being buried under an avalanche tthemselves, they cut, drilled, sawed and dug through tons of ice and snow. Through night and day, 6 days in a row, they kept at it, throwing everything they had into it. Chances of finding a survivor in an avalanche, they say goes down to approx 20 % within 3 hours. In 6 hrs, that goes down further to 1%. But that didn’t daunt or shake the resolve of these 200 odd men. For them, percentages and probabilities did not matter. What mattered was that ten of their own were trapped under those sheets of ice, and they had to be pulled out. Period.
It’s interesting also to understand the operational logistic back up chain that came up to support these 200 men digging away frantically. At these heights, a Chetak helicopter, can carry just one to two jerrycans of fuel or kerosene at a time. The fuel and kerosene required to light up the area, fuel the specialised equipment like radars and power communication equipment etc would require hundreds of flying hours. The logistics chain shall require pushing in of fuel, equipment, rations, standby troops, medical support, weather warning radars. Even by the most modest estimate, that shall translate to tens of thousands of manhours over a six day period. All this to rescue ten men, who by every acknowledged line of reasoning, rational or otherwise stood no chance in hell of having survived.
But they did. And pulled Hanumanthappa out.
This of course stands out in stark contrast to the much publicised spectacle, where the Paki Army during the Kargil war refused to even come back to recover the bodies of their soldiers who died in Kargil, until we recovered their bodies and handed them over, with due military respect.
This is the reason that officers and men of the Indian Army throw themselves willingly into harms way, when the occasion demands it. Because they know that no matter what, their mates shall come after them if they were to fall.
This is the reason my chest swells with pride today, 4 years after having hung up my fabulous Olive Greens, and makes me write.
This is why “Naam, Namak, Nishaan” are virtues worthy enough to live and die for.
– Col Subin Balakrishnan, 10 Feb 16