28 February, 2021

Gurmehar, My Daughter

Is the idea of India a nose-ring that will fall off when a feverish girl or boy sneezes?

Gurmehar, My Daughter

The Kargil war happened about 18 years ago. When young Captain Mandeep Singh died, evicting Pakistani intruders, his daughter was just two years old, a little older than mine. Gurmehar Kaur grew up without a dad, probably grieving for him, longing for him and imagining him in various life situations. She must have come to terms with a missing father by forgiving the men who snatched his life, prematurely. That could be one reason why she doesn’t want to personify the Pakistani military establishment as an enemy or a killer.

Like the young captain, I was also there at Kargil. I was a young reporter covering the war, down below, near the Dras Brigade Headquarters. Shrapnel from a Pakistani artillery shell hit me, almost fatally. I too had a toddler at home when I was lying unconscious, not capable of thinking whether I would live or die.

Had I died of that shrapnel wound, my daughter too could have grown up to be a pacifist and I would not have turned in my grave because the near-death experience did not make me a war-monger or a Muslim-hater. After all, to be a...

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