A year ago, India was shocked by the incident in Pulwama, a small town in Jammu and Kashmir, where a bus carrying 40 CRPF soldiers was blown up.The attack, the worst one to hit the Valley in decades, was the brainchild of Jaish-e-Mohammed.While most of us expressed anguish, anger, and demanded revenge, one musician from Bengaluru set out on a journey of a lifetime to “unite” the martyrs.
His name was Umesh Gopinath Jadhav. He was returning to the city of Bengaluru from Ajmer on February 14, 2019.As he waited for his flight, Jadhav saw news of the dastardly attack. “I couldn’t sleep for three nights straight. I wondered how relatives of the martyrs felt at that point,” he told The Hindu last August.When this incident occurred many people were shocked and started posting on social media. However Jadhav wanted to do something beyond social media. This is why he came up with an unique idea. He said “I didn’t want to say rest in peace to martyrs on social media.He then collected money from people who decided to meet the family of each and every martyred jawaan. He began his journey on April 9 from Bengaluru. He hoped to raise Rs. 50,000 for each family.
Jadhav in his modified Hyundai car, he traveled across 16 states and covered 61,000 km. He would visit the families and collect the soil from villages of the martyrs and another where they were cremated.However locating the families wasn’t easy either. Some of them lived in remote places.Remembering his journey, he said, “Me and the families would eat together and cry together. I even celebrated my birthday on December 21 with the family of a soldier from Punjab’s Ropar.”Jadhav said his wife and two kids are proud of him; he wishes that someday his children join the defense forces.
“I am proud that I met all the families of Pulwama martyrs and sought their blessings. Parents lost their son, wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, friends lost their friends. I collected soil from their houses and their cremation grounds, so that all the soldiers can be together. The urn in which he collected the soil was placed at a memorial at CRPF’s Lethpora camp. Jadhav was the special guest for the ceremony.
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