Friday, 16 December 2016

15th December – An Anamnesis

The speciality of this day is that it was on this day in 2003 the jungles in the southern belt of the country roared with haunting sound of guns and mortars. The sound and the turmoil, fortunately, was not protracted much as feared, due to the immaculate planning, exemplary leadership and impeccable execution by our own Field Marshal – the Fourth King of Bhutan.

With heavy heart, worries of uncertainty and fear we proceeded for the strike. But then we were filled with steadfastness to solve the problems of using our soil for the purpose of terrorism, which threatened the sovereignty of the nation. 'We did not fail, because of the simple reason that, we could not afford to fail'. Had we failed that day, the consequences would have been so severe. Our nation would have got entangled in the international and diplomatic mess and the problems might have persisted still now. That was known by the King that time but we come to understand only now.

Field Marshal's meticulous plans and the mental turmoil that he had undergone, can be comprehended after a decade or so only. Such were the visions of the Fourth King. When he said do this, it was always better to be performed, as the relevance of the action and the thoughts can be discerned only after a decade or more. There are numerous anecdotes regarding his clairvoyant visions. The democratisation of the system of the government being the best example. The democracy did not come suddenly in 2008. The people were made aware and given practice on franchise when the local government leaders were elected a very long time back. The ill affects of TV and internet connections were known by him before it threatened to enter Bhutan. Thus, the entry was delayed. It was, however, made available with a cautionary warnings about its impacts. Now we can see how? And what are the impacts? (And it was not, what the telecom company perceived, and tried to block it by showing - 'violation' message). It was not carnal stuff. It was something intangible and abstract, that it would take a time travel machine to travel 10 years, to compare to see and feel it.

We in military owe our life to him and the civilians – their livelihood. We can proudly proclaim to our grand children and great grand children that, 'We were there in the times of HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck and HM Jigme Kheser Namgyel Wangchuck.'. The King who led the army in combat. 'Army of sheep led by a tiger is more fearsome than the army of tigers led by a sheep'. And what a tiger he was! He had an option of ordering from Thimphu itself, let alone coming to the combat zone. But leading from the front, on the ground, surpassed all the expectations out of the King. It was due to his leadership, that I am alive to tell a tale and most of my comrades.

As in all combats, lives were lost. The tricky part of this combat was that we were fighting the enemy of our friend. Violent, we were not. For all those who sacrificed their life for the greater good of the country and for whatever cause our misled opponent had, this day is the grim reminder of the ghastly haunting sounds, which echoes even now, in the ears of the veterans who have been through the bedlam.

My daughter was just 13 days old, born in my absence, whose birth was relayed through military net just saying, 'Everything went fine. Female'. With much skepticism, I forced myself to believe that it must be the safe delivery of the child. The luxury of cell phone and land lines were not there. It was a boon for the operation; as the good security of information and secrecy could be maintained. On second thought, it must have been deliberately kept that way realising the consequences, well in advance.

On 15 Dec 2016, (today) she is 13 years and 13 days old. As we mark the day I look at her with teary eyes, thinking how I could have easily lost the luxury of seeing her grow. And my heart goes out for those who lost that luxury. The remembrance and praying for their soul would continue with a mask dance (Dochula), butter lamps and most importantly by silent thoughts and reflections.