RCB’s Tribute to the Martyrs at Pulwama
The mood at RCB was sombre. The silence during the evening was reflective of the sadness in every RCBian's heart. The Pulwama tragedy that caused the death of forty brave hearts of our country brought out a sense of deep gratitude among members for the supreme sacrifice of our CRPF soldiers in the service of the nation. The evening was dedicated rightly to the memory of the fallen soldiers in their line of duty.The photographs of the slain sons of the Nation on the screen kept the gaze of every Rotarian fixed as if reading a message from each one of them for us and the Nation.
Following the playing of the National Song of India, the Vande Mataram, reflections on the tragedy in a quivering voice by the President Rtn. Vivek Prabhu made the silence in the hall and the hurt in the hearts of all present so palpable. Solemn tributes to the martyrs were paid by PP Rtn. Purnimaa Ranganath and PP Rtn. Ram Kumar Seshu. While PP Rtn. Purnimaa’s tribute was a call to boldly rise up and unite to be responsible to safeguard the interests of our nation and not remain silent, PP Rtn. Ram Seshu recited lines from poetic tributes and sentiments of the life of soldiers and made an appeal for us to stand with the families of the martyrs.
When the phenomenal song 'Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon' composed by C. Ramachandra originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar on a cold wintery evening in 1963 as part of the Republic day celebrations was resung today by Rtn. Anuradha Varma, it saw many a Rotarian humming the tune and nodding in sadness.
The President had to compose himself to address the Rotarians - the Pulwama tragedy had awakened the painful memories of the loss of his cousin brother who died in the line of duty. He stressed the need for us to support the retired Defence personnel and soldiers by gainfully employing them in suitable positions so they can continue to support themselves and their families to live in dignity. Rtn. Gowri Oza shared to the audience that her family members were also serving in the Indian Army.
The call of the President for the Rotarians to contribute generously in support of the families of the martyrs saw a generous outpour of donations. As a mark of respect to the martyrs, the RCBians, led by Sergeant at Arms Omana Mathews rose up and lit a Tea light each and placed it on the stage. The evening concluded with the National anthem sung by the Rotarians.The Rotarians were all seen discussing earnestly on supporting a continuous fund designated for the welfare of the families of soldiers from RCB.
As is with every tragedy, when time moves on - and the incident fades from memories, let us not forget that a mother still wails for her lost son, a child still longs for his father, a wife still pines for her partner, a sister awaits the return of her brother, and the father's shoulder weighed down in pain still bears the burden of the sacrifice of his only son. Let us pledge to stand by their families in adversity, offer our shoulders to the valiant parents, and never shirk from the responsibilities of being true patriots of our glorious Nation- India.
Rtn. Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh