By Pratik Mantri:
The last few days have shown the fickleness of human lives. Within seconds, thousands of people washed away and many more are stuck there and suddenly there is a wave of sadness, disappointment but there is also the hope that we will help our fellow countrymen and grow over this fatal disaster. This was the result of the unstoppable rainfall and the flash floods that followed in the state of Uttarakhand which has left everyone high on emotions. Destruction remains an understatement and it has made us realize that our own misfortunes are diminutive when compared to this colossal tragedy. After such natural calamities people think about the various sequences of events that have happened. And among those events the role of Army men will hold prime position simply because despite the large scale nature of the disaster it took the swiftness of Indian Army to tone down a part of the damage. And by Indian Army I mean the Indian Air force, Defense personnel and Border Security Force in totality.
In a country like ours which is by and large peaceful, the purpose and the intention behind the constitution of army forces is a quandary to many. Whenever one hears the word ‘Army’ one starts visualizing about the sight of war about to break out and lots of fit people in green uniforms ready to fight for the country. But, very seldom do we realize the impact of armed forces in other areas besides serving the border. Many times as it has happened in the past ‘Peace Missions’ and ‘Disaster Management’ constitute an important vertical within the army. Their importance is also significant in a country where 58 percent of the area is earthquake prone, 12 percent is flood prone and 8 percent prone to cyclones. They are trained and assist in real time rescue operations which in the process saves lives of many people.
Army’s assistance has come to the fore in this situation and with the help of more than 8500 army men and 43 IAF choppers they have made the survival of many people possible. In addition to this, around 3000 troops from Border Roads Organization were deployed along with their heavy equipment including Bull dozers and cranes to clear up the roads which were partly demolished because of the massive landslides. There are myriad complexities involved in conducting such an operation like the uneven nature of the rocks, poor weather conditions but the army men have braved all these hiccups and have come out and rescued people as quickly as they could have possibly.
The construction of numerous dams around the rivers have not helped our cause and has led to environmental negligence leaving the rivers polluted. The obsession with development has left our precious and holy rivers in tatters. There was no opposition from any office of Government and thus putting the sanctity of our rivers into danger. In this perspective, the agility and the nimbleness of the Armed forces is laudable. The situation was quite challenging and it would have been difficult for the army to navigate such uneven terrains.
There might be some issues in the top level management but rest assured there is a soldier who gives everything he has regardless of the circumstances. He is also a human being, he is also exposed to the same danger of which he is protecting the civilians from. These are the people you instantly admire and remain in awe of them for a long time for the simple reason that they worked only for people and not for money or recognition. They have lots of compassion and humanity. Simply inspiring and truly admirable.
The soldiers and their whole team conducting rescue operations deserve a standing ovation, lots of love and happiness in their lives and much more for their selfless service. You all are the real heroes of this country and not those film stars who merely act.