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An Open Letter To The Men And Women In Uniform

Posted: January 21, 2019

After watching the movie Uri, this author reflects on how little civilians understand the life of those in uniform and their families. All we can do is admire…from a distance!

I am someone who has always been in awe of you men in uniform for reasons I could never fathom…to the extent that I even wanted to marry one. So, it is only natural that whenever there is a wartime movie it only adds to my immense awe and adulation of you.

We have always been made aware of how your fraternity serves us, protects our country and rises to the occasion every time it is needed; be it fighting off terrorists, rescuing people during natural disasters, maintaining law and order during riots or most importantly, protecting our borders. So when a movie like Uri is made, it only increases my respect for you multifold.

What we civilians generally think of you

Being civilians, especially those who are not associated with the Services in any way, our understanding of your lives is limited to how you are away from your families for months at a stretch. That be it any important occasion or festival, it’s your duty which is of prime importance, over and above anything and everything else. That those who are posted at the border posts live such risky lives faced with apprehension and in tough weather conditions. It’s a call of duty and you put up a brave front and deal with all of it. But what about the families of you brave men and women? For a split second, we all feel sympathetic towards your family members and there ends our contribution to your lives. All we can do is be in awe.

The aftermath of watching the movie, Uri – The Surgical Strike

More than once in this movie, my heart went out to those families which have suffered because a loved one chose to be a part of the Services. A child’s war cry in front of her father’s coffin, a friend’s sorrow at the loss of his best friend and companion, a wife’s agony over leaving her husband’s dirty clothes as they are without washing them since they still hold his smell; these scenes were heart wrenching. I am sure there have been many family members who have felt this way and this is just not the writer’s/ director’s sheer imagination.

The fact of the matter is while the number of stars and stripes on the uniform may look awesome, they denote a life full of uncertainty and risk, be it a mission that is being fulfilled or even when they are at their offices.

The grim reality of the country that you fight for all the time

It is a sad reality that while you and your comrades keep doing all that is required of you for our country, the families of those brave hearts who laid down their lives and to some extent even those who are still fighting for us, get a raw deal. It is an irony that a scene in the movie, where the enemies are ambushed evokes a loud applause and whistles; your community who does this in reality doesn’t get what it deserves. As a mere civilian, there is very little that I can do since it is not in our control to pass legislation favouring the custodians of our country. I can only keep being in awe and respectful of you.

What is worse is that the country, to which you keep showing your undeterred solidarity, is being weakened by unruly elements within itself. The countrymen for whom you risk your lives are fighting over trivial issues like killing of the ‘sacred’ animal and entry into religious places. I so wish that better sense prevailed among the people and they chose more important issues.

We owe a lot to you!

Take a bow, my fellow men and women in the uniform. You surely deserve better. My heart swells with pride thinking about your dedication and your patriotism despite being a mere civilian. I can only imagine how those who are a part of it all must be feeling, day in and day out. No achievement of ours can match up with what you and your families go through for our country. I so sincerely wish I could be associated with you in some way or the other, other than merely feeling reverence for you.

YOU are our superheroes without the cape, just the uniform.

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A homemaker, a freelance writer who loves to travel and has a passion for reading.

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  1. Lt Gen KJ Singh -

    Amazing, we are indeed grateful to people like you for your concern for us. Our sincere gratitude & assurance that we will endeavour to live up to your trust. Your words make our commitment & resolve stronger. Jai Hind. Lt Gen KJ Singh (Veteran)

    • Thank you Sir, this is the least that we as civilians can do; be respectful and show gratitude for the endeavors of the Armed Forces. There can never be an iota of doubt regards your commitment to the nation. Jai Hind.

  2. 🙂 nice write Jaishree, you voiced our sentiments. My daughter wants to join the defense, she in her final year Msc. with anti-terrorism as her major. I so want her achieve her dream, yet there is a large chunk of me that worries.

    • Thanks… It is wonderful to hear about your daughter. I am not the right person to comment on this in a technical way. But from one mother to another, I think you should let her pursue her dreams and as long as your blessings are with her, she will do fine and achieve the success that she dreams of. Best wishes to her.

    • Of course my husband and I supported her right from the beginning. 🙂 our fears and apprehensions are ours not hers.

  3. I am sure it means the world to her to have the support of her parents.. I guess it’s natural to be a bit worried but as I said earlier your blessings will keep her safe.

  4. As one who used to be in uniform; will compliment the author. Well written! Soldiers will always do their job as in the past; so in the future! May they rise to all and any occasion or eventualities; to safeguard the sovereignty of India! Your good wishes and appreciation will help them do what they are; better!

    • Thank you for the feedback.. Yes indeed, they do their duty and always reign supreme…But as civilians we owe them this bit of gratitude and appreciation..This is the least that we can do for them.

  5. Lt Colonel Naresh Rastogi (retired) -

    Lt Col Naresh Rastogi, the author of ‘The Bugle Calls: A Life in the Indian Army’. The personnel are trained and motivated to face the hazards of living at the borders and of the wars; the families too are assisted in many ways to bear with fortitude and courage.

  6. Wg Cdr Dennis (“Doc”) Lawrence, Veteran

    Amazing read. Nice to know that some people do care. We are but, doing our jobs. Best wishes for more similar write-ups.

  7. Brig Rakesh Chhibber -

    Dear Jaishree, Thanks for drawing my attention to this article through your Tweet. Indeed grateful for your kind words. There is very little that a Fauji asks of his/her countrymen and women. We just want you to understand that we too are human and we love our IZZAT. The insensitivity of the political and bureaucratic class while dealing with cases involving our serving and veteran community is at times frustrating. I am glad that there are still some people in this country who hold us in high esteem. God Bless you.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Sir. This is the least that we civilians can do for our men and women in uniform, acknowledge their services and be grateful to them, rather than belittling their work as just another job.

  8. Col Sudip Mukerjee -

    Thank you for writing this Jaishree… more power to you! Keep on writing.

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