It was dark and cold. A fire was burning near a tree. There was pin drop silence in the forest except the sound of the fire burning. It was not just a fire but it was someone’s hope. General Vijay Singh was hoping that someone will rescue him from the forest…one day he would meet his family again… and his country would win the war. It was 1962 war of India- China and Singh was a participant in this war along with thousands of other Indian soldiers. He was lying near the fire thinking about his happy days when he was selected in army, when he was married, when he was blessed with a son.
Singh was serving in Indian army for the past 20 years. He was in his late 40s and he was planning to retire from the army after this war. He wanted to join Indian army since he was 10 years old. His whole family had served in the army and his father died in the world war. His father was fighting under the British army and he was a brave man. Singh had a dream to be honoured by a medal by the President. His son was also aspiring to join the army. Love for the country was in the blood streams of Singh’s family.
Singh was trapped in the forest for almost 2 days. He was being followed by Chinese soldiers. He had a bottle filled with little bit of water and a rifle with just 4-5 bullets in it. He was shivering in cold as the temperature was around 1 degree Celsius. He was surrounded by trees, rocks and wild animals. Fire was helping him to remain warm. Singh closed his eyes in deep anguish and prayed to God for his safety.
His eyes opened. The darkness was substituted by bright daylight , silence was substituted by the chirping of the birds and coldness by the warm sun. Singh woke up and started walking towards north in alert. He was finding his way out to his base camp. He was hungry and thirsty as the water bottle was emptied. He was searching for food, when suddenly he heard a noise coming from a nearby bush. He took a step back and pulled his rifle pointing towards the bush. A bear came in front of him from the bush. Both had a eye contact for seconds and the bear jumped on him without fearing the rifle. Singh was on the ground and bear on top of him. Bear attacked through his paws on his shoulder and tore the uniform. This all happened within few seconds and Singh had no time to think. He fired and the bear fell down on the ground. Singh rose from the ground and his shoulder was bleeding. He shouted in pain but no one was there to hear him. He saw another bear behind him which was a baby bear and then he realized that he was between a mother bear and her baby. Baby bear stared at him and ran away. Singh tied a cloth from his uniform on the wound and continued to search for food. He was so hungry that he could eat anything.
He saw a cricket on a leaf and he took it in his hand. He thought for a few seconds whether to eat it or not. At last he put it in his mouth and gulped it. His face showed the filthy taste of the insect.
He continued walking and after few minutes of walking he heard a sound. It was the sound of water… sound of a river flowing. Singh became happy and ran towards the river. He saw the best view of his life which was a river flowing. We humans understand the value of something only when it is not with us. Singh sat near the river and all he got was fresh cold water from the river. The first sip of water was like elixir for him. He was enjoying his water when suddenly he heard a gunshot. He looked at the source of sound and he saw some Chinese soldiers on the opposite shore of the river. Singh started running like a bullet dodging the gun fires. Chinese soldiers started chasing him. They fired on Singh as if he was a demon. Singh was running in a zig zag manner. Singh was tired…he hid behind a tree. He was breathing very rapidly. Suddenly a bullet passed near his shoulder and he realized that he was covered by Chinese soldiers. He fired in return but it was of no use. Chinese soldiers fired almost bunch of bullets on him but Singh still survived. He started crying and blaming himself for this incident. He closed his eyes because he knew that death was near. Chinese soldiers started coming closer to him. Singh didn’t had enough bullets. He did not wanted to die in the hands of his enemies so he pointed his riffle towards his head and waited for a few seconds remembering his childhood, his family, dreams and then he pulled the trigger. Bullet hit his head and blood splattered on the bark of the tree. Chinese soldiers came near the tree and saw him dead. They smiled in peace, came near him, took his gun and started walking back. Singh was lying under a tree, cold.
The indo- china war ended in few months. Around 3000 Indian soldiers died and around 2000 soldiers were missing. The war saw China’s victory. After the end of war few Indian soldiers founded Singh’s corpse in the forest. It was semi decomposed. Singh’s family was filled with grief after they came to know about his death. Singh’s son cried a lot on his funeral. Singh was wrapped in the Indian tricolour and his last rituals were performed with a honour by the soldiers. He was later honoured with Param Vir Chakra by the President of India. Singh’s wife received the award. At last Singh’s dream was fulfilled but he was not alive to see the completion of his dream. Singh died for his country, he died for his dreams and most importantly he became an inspiration. He would have been alive, enjoying his life after retirement but still he participated in the war and became martyr. Singh’s family was happy with the medal but still there was a grief inside their heart. They also got some money from the government but it was of no use. Innocent people are killed in the war and Singh was one of them. War is not just about winning or losing but it’s about sacrifice. Thousands of soldiers sacrifice their lives for their country and some of them didn’t even get any honour and recognition. War is not fought between nations but it is fought between thousands of soldiers.