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Friday, December 18, 2015

Remembering the Soldier:He Goes in Company of Immortals

Soldiers and Warriors, death , Valhalla and Immortality

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Soldiers are remembered only during a war, but we must remember that they have made the supreme sacrifice and will surely go to the abode of the gods
Throughout Indian history the refrain is that a warrior is a respectable profession and must be held in high esteem. This also echoed by western writers and poets who have eulogized the soldier.
A soldier officer is a man whose profession is to fight, yes fight, but the undercurrent is one of honor and loyalty. Underneath all this is the ethos of a gentleman. A gentleman and an officer go hand in hand.

What did the Dead Soldier Achieve, Will he know ?

A soldier is only remembered when war is there. Then he is an indispensable commodity, as he is the one who must die so others can live. The sad part is that in the ultimate analysis when death envelops a soldier on the battlefield, he perhaps will never know that the reason for his death the task at hand was achieved or not. Thus the soldiers facing the Imperial army at Kohima who died would never know that the Imperial army was pushed back and the siege broken. Even the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese army who besieged the British Indian army and died would be in the dark whether their army had reduced the surrounded garrison.

Immortality and the soldier

What did death achieve? The cynic will comment that these soldiers died because this was their fate. But that is a naive argument for in death the soldier achieves immortality and that is the essence of the Bhagwad Gita, the song divine as spelt out by Lord Krishna . This is the message of the Lord to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra

Remembering the Soldier

The soldier needs to be remembered and the kin left behind by him need to be looked after. Men of the United States army fighting in Afghanistan and dying have made the supreme sacrifice. Their sacrifice should not go in vain and their near and dear ones are the responsibility of society. This goes for all soldiers like the Indian army fighting the Pakistan sponsored Islamic Jihadists in Kashmir and the heights of Siachen. The fact is that death is the great leveler. I am reminded of a verse in the poem Lady of the lake by Sir Walter Scott.

Soldier, rest thy warfare is o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking
.

Last Word


It is my belief that soldiers who die in combat go to Valhalla the abode of the gods and there they mingle with their kin as the Gods smile on them. That is the interpretation from the Gita. The Lord enjoined Arjuna to go into battle, fearless of death as everything is ordained by HIM