12 April, 2021

Kashmir Diary

Former Northern army chief Lt. Gen (Retd) D. S. Hooda on what motivates soldiers to live under rigid conditions in Kashmir, what motivates them to lay down their lives...

Kashmir Diary
See You At Minus Fifty

The opening of the Zojila Pass to Ladakh heralds the arrival of summer. Attention invariably gets drawn to the Line of Control in both the Jammu and Kashmir regions where soldiers gear up to battle fresh infiltration attempts. Ladakh generally remains out of public glare but, for the army, summer is the time for furious activity in this area too. Thousands of soldiers are preparing to come down from their high-alt­itude posts along the India-Pakistan border. Most of them had moved up in the month of November and have spent five to seven months at heights averaging 15,000 feet. By early January, snowfall obliterates all tracks and most of the posts are cut off from the rest of the world. In a 50m by 50m area, facing temperatures that drop to -50 degrees Celsius and snowfall that touches 40 feet, theirs is the real story of courage and endurance of the Indian soldier. These men keep vigil in blizzard-like conditions, patrol in chest-deep...

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