Independence Day Special: Silent Ranks


 

INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL: ‘Silent Ranks’

 

15th-august-1947-to-2014-68-years-of-independence-day

Happy Independence Day! As India gears up to celebrate its 70th Independence Day today August 15 and soaking ourselves in the emotional fervor of unity and Jnana Gana Mana extolling the virtues of the nation, our thoughts go not only to our Jawans who guard the borders in extraneous conditions but their better halves. It’s high time for us to move beyond mere tokenism which honors our army men & women only on Kargil or Independence Day but give them their earned respect in our hearts.

Today’s post, ‘The Silent Ranks’  is a tribute to our unsung heroes  and S(Heroes) who are not only the Indian army but their spouses who also sacrifice their lives so that the country can sleep peacefully at night and by honoring the spouses, we are celebrating men & women not just on I-Day but every single day.

Meet the Army wives Devangini Chauhan, Aditi Mathur Kumar, and Shuchi Singh Kalra to get a peek into their lives. The sacrifice of these ladies that echo the patriotism of our soldiers cannot be quantified in words. The nation, owe it to them.

                               Devangini Chauhan, Pune

Devangini Chauhan

Devangini Chauhan

When Devangini is not being mom to her feisty grade school going daughter, she writes. She has been in the business of creating content – Academic, articles, books, SEO and more – for the past 16 years. With an MBA degree and a Creative Writing degree, she has managed to successfully channel her skills into a freelance business. Her other passions include home decor and backpacking with her daughter. Her first book, Speed breakers has already hit the market and she writes here.

  1. As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, the men in uniform are our unsung heroes who protect our borders at the cost of their lives. Being an army wife, you have seen the sacrifice made by your husband for the country and how do you think we can move beyond mere tokenism on say I-Day or Kargil Day to honor our unsung and real life heroes?

While it would be very nice to get recognized in various ways rather than mere tokenism as you put it, I would also like to give my disclaimer because I see those sacrifices as an insider, on an everyday basis. As an army wife, and an equal part of an army family, I can tell you with great conviction that seeing my husband wearing his uniform every morning is something that fills me with gratitude every single day. We do not measure our sacrifices as something that needs to be compensated but as a blessing. It is indeed a matter of pride to be able to serve the nation and rise above asking for anything in return.

  1. Being married to an army man, a woman belongs to the silent ranks who also sacrifices her life and perhaps dreams for the nation. She has to be a professional, homemaker and manage stress, albeit keeping the family in good stead when there is tension on the border?

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that we wear ranks that cannot be seen. While the world outside may think that our life is all about getting dressed and attending parties, that is only a very minuscule part of what we sign up for. Taking care of the families of our troops and ensuring that they are empowered with far-reaching welfare efforts aimed at vocational training, soft skill training, ensuring that they are comfortable by addressing their grievances on a routine basis, instilling pride and discipline in them, rehabilitation for unfortunate cases and so much more – all this is what we really are about. We have made social service an institutionalized thing in the armed forces, and I am extremely grateful for getting this opportunity to serve. At the same time, we also look after our own family – sometimes singlehandedly – and ensure that nothing plays up on the husband’s mind at any time, because each step taken in a conflict-ridden area should be with full confidence and nothing else on their minds.

  1. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day. Many believe that the army wives lead a colorful life such as ballroom parties, which is far from the truth. The army wife has to take care of the home, reel in anxiety and is in fact, an unsung hero like the husband who is on the border. What message would you give to Indians on sacrifices made by the army jawans since you have seen it so closely?

When we wear our chiffons and pearls, we are not merely dolling up – we are making a strong statement of who we are and what we stand for. The discipline in our turn out – whether it is at a welfare meet or at a ballroom party – reflects what are from within. Poise during adversity and the capability to balance the expectations of Jawan’s wives, uphold and reflect their values and desires, and our own home – all these things get tattooed into our DNA after a point of time. Today, all I would like to say is: when you see a soldier’s wife, roughing it out – remember that she is doing it so that you can sleep well at night and function profitably by day; so that her husband does his job without any personal hindrance.

  1. Being from a civilian background, how tough was it for you adapt to an army life and what are the highs and lows? Also, there are debates on issues such as OROP and how can the Government honor the men in uniform to get back the respect they deserve?

Well, to begin with, since I am a serving officer’s wife, all I will say about the OROP issue is that people need to wake up and listen to their conscience. The rest is up to the country and its able governance. Being from a civil background, many things came as a surprise, but I have taken to them wholeheartedly because personally, I found a lot of logic in the way an army wife finally evolves. And I am proud to say that I am a thoroughbred who can dress up well for parties and use a plunger to relieve a choked sink with equal aplomb!

                Aditi Mathur Kumar, Dehra Dun

Aditi Mathur Kumar is the author of two books. Her first book Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life is a hilarious story about the grand and mysterious Indian Army Wife life. Her second book Love, Whatever That Means is about a “civilian” girl who falls in love with an Army man.
A Digital Media Strategy girl by profession, Aditi is also a Speaker, Travel Writer, Blogger, contributor to various publications and a proud Army Wife. She blogs here and also writes on Huffington Post

Aditi Mathur Kumar

Aditi Mathur Kumar

 

  1. As India celebrates its 70thIndependence Day, the men in uniform are our unsung heroes who protect our borders at the cost of their lives. Being an army wife, you have seen the sacrifice made by your husband for the country and how do you think we can move beyond mere tokenism on say, I-Day or Kargil Day to honor our unsung and real life heroes?

Absolutely! I think we need to realize that Army is not ‘just a job’, it’s a calling. It takes special brand of men and women who are brave enough to put not only their own lives but their entire families’ future at stake for the love of the country.

  1. Being married to an army man, a woman belongs to the silent ranks who also sacrifices her life and perhaps dreams for the nation. She has to be a professional, homemaker and manage stress, albeit keeping the family in good stead when there is tension on the border?

It is said that there is strong, there is army strong and then there is Army Wife strong – I believe this is true. An Army Wife is definitely a part of the silent ranks because she is the one who takes care of things when the husband is away guarding the borders. From running the household singlehandedly to managing kids, life and everything in between, an army wife keeps it all together at the home front so that the soldier can do his duty. In my book ‘Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life’, I’ve written that an Army Wife is probably the only woman on earth who readily accepts that she is the mistress to the man she loves because Army is the wife and it gets all the attention. So yeah, nothing like Army Wife strong.

  1. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day. Many believe that the army wives lead a colorful life such as ballroom parties, which is far from the truth. The army wife has to take care of the home, reel in anxiety and is in fact, an unsung hero like the husband who is on the border. What message would you give to Indians on sacrifices made by the army jawans since you have seen it so closely?

Haha, this is something I get a lot. The life full of parties and special CSD rates are arguments a lot of people give me whenever I mention the different life we Army Wives lead. It’s funny at times, being told that the cheap booze that we can get will pretty much make up for the sacrifices we have to make. We stay away from our husbands for long durations, we don’t get to live like a regular married couple, and I can’t even begin to explain the fear of What If when the husband is posted in one of the terrorism affected areas. Imagine going through life, attending PTMs and buying groceries while worrying about a phone call that hasn’t come because the husband is at a remote location where there is no mobile network. So, I will tell you that it is anything but easy. But we try, we learn. Maybe strength is something that the Army teaches you, even as Silent Ranks.

  1. Being from a civilian background, how tough was it for you adapt to an army life and what are the highs and lows? Also, there are debates on issues such as OROP and how can the Government honor the men in uniform to get back the respect they deserve?

I wrote an entire book on the experience of being an Army Wife from a Civilian background, ha ha! My second book, ‘Love, Whatever That Means’ is a love story (a super fun one, even if I say so myself) of a ‘civilian’ girl and an Army Officer. There’s just so much to tell! OROP is a very complicated issue and I fully support it, mainly because a man who gave his best years to the nation, deserves his due when he has hung the uniform. The nation can do better than to push him to the sidelines because he is now done with the job. I hope the government gives the veterans their due.

                            Shuchi Singh Kalra, Bhatinda

Shuchi Singh Kalra

Shuchi Singh Kalra

An Optometrist by profession, Shuchi Singh Kalra chucked out a well-paying job to follow her passion as a writer. Founder and writer at Pixie Dust Writing Studio, Shuchi Singh Kalra is a full-time writer, blogger and columnist who made her debut as a writer with the chick lit, ‘Done With Men‘ and released her latest, ‘I am Big So What?!‘ recently. This army wife writes here.

  1. As India celebrates its 70thIndependence Day, the men in uniform are our unsung heroes who protect our borders at the cost of their lives. Being an army wife, you have seen the sacrifice made by your husband for the country and how do you think we can move beyond mere tokenism on say I-Day or Kargil Day to honor our unsung and real life heroes?

It definitely is high time and there are so many untold stories of bravery, glory, and sacrifice. These need to be highlighted by the media and the average Indian citizen needs to be made more aware of what an army man’s life is truly about. The rampant misconceptions need to be done away with.

  1. Being married to an army man, a woman belongs to the silent ranks who also sacrifices her life and perhaps dreams for the nation. She has to be a professional, homemaker and manage stress, albeit keeping the family in good stead when there is tension on the border?

Yes, army wives do make a lot of sacrifices in terms of our careers and freedom. In addition to taking care of our own families, we are also responsible for providing support to jawans’ families.

  1. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day. Many believe that the army wives lead a colorful life such as ballroom parties, which is far from the truth. The army wife has to take care of the home, reel in anxiety and is in fact, an unsung hero like the husband who is on the border. What message would you give to Indians on sacrifices made by the army jawans since you have seen it so closely?

 I wouldn’t go so far as to say that army wives are unsung heroes because we aren’t doing anything particularly spectacular. We lead very protected and comfortable lives but the challenges and responsibilities are of a different kind. Months of separation with hardly any communication because the husband is in some godforsaken area, moving homes every couple of years, handling the administration of the family independently are just some of them.

The real heroes are the soldiers who work day in day out in extreme circumstances. They have no fixed work hours and are practically on duty 24/7. And, all this while battling the frustration of being away from their wives and children, and living without the most basic facilities that most of us take for granted. An average Indian cannot possibly comprehend the hardships our men have to deal with in field areas.

  1. Being from a civilian background, how tough was it for you adapt to an army life and what are the highs and lows? Also, there are debates on issues such as OROP and how can the Government honor the men in uniform to get back the respect they deserve?

It was quite difficult, and even after a decade of being a part of the organization, it sometimes still is.  The army culture is very different from civil life and while it has its pros, many things don’t necessarily resonate with your personal value systems. For the past several years, the armed forces have pretty much been the underdog – underrepresented and unsung. If a government truly wants to do something to boost the morale of men in uniform, offer them competitive pay packages, improve the human resource management to make lives of soldiers and their families easier, and have stronger representation for armed forces personnel in the government so that issues can be properly addressed.

Jai Hind

Long Live the Republic of India

Happy Independence Day

V

28 thoughts on “Independence Day Special: Silent Ranks

  1. Enjoyed reading this article! Love this comment: There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that we wear ranks that cannot be seen. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Happy Independence day! How true about the unsung sheroes who play a very significant role in the background. They ought to be in the limelight too just like their husbands, and this interaction that you’ve posted is greatly appreciated.

    • Happy Independence Day, Dashy. So true, this is what I believed too. They are the unsung Sheroes and who believes in matching steps of their husbands who protect the nation. More power to them. Hope you enjoyed reading.

  3. Excellent post. One of my friends (also an army wife) once told me that marrying an army man means accepting that you’d always be a second wife to him. His first wife remains his duty.
    I salute all these ‘silent rank’ holders and their grit.

    Thanks for appreciating my post. Delighted to know that you found it a powerful message 😉

  4. Vishal, how wonderful of you to bring these voice to us. No one needs mere tokenism. We need much more than that and telling stories is another way. Happy Independence day to you all.

  5. Hey that’s such refreshing some.Being myself an army brat and a naval wife, I so understand their sentiments.Kudos to you for writing about US , the problems we face, the sacrifices we made not only as there wife’s but as children too.

    • Hi Anu. thanks to have you here. It’s my way of paying a tribute to our jawans and their wives. Glad you could appreciate the small effort on Independence Day. Army and Naval wives are truly SHEROES.

  6. Wow…this is such a refreshing subject to read on, after reading a lot of tributes to army men, the efforts of the women behind these brave men’s strength never really comes into limelight. It’s indeed thoughtful of you to write on them, while also exploring their perspectives, Vishal.

    • It was after discussion with a friend, an army wife that I wanted to bring the perspective to tap The Silent Ranks. The Sheroes, the Jawans who protect our country and army wives play an important role. You’ve rightly put it, these women are behind the jawans strength. When there is tension on the border or their husbands die, they are the ones who face so much. Hence, their sacrifice. Thanks for commenting Vinodini:)

  7. Such a beautifully written, well researched post. It taught me that adversities are a part of life, but the beauty lies in rising higher each time there is a fall. Thank you so much for this inspirational piece. Keep writing and lighting up our lives…

  8. I always say that every Indian who performs his duty honestly is also a hero. You are right these army wives enjoys silent rank for their courage and determination for managing homes and their lives

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