“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

In this fast-changing world, people hardly take out time to read a book. Those who do are usually limiting themselves to popular fiction, particularly the romance genre. My love affair with books started with Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy and ‘Me, Mia, Multiple’ by Debashish Irengbam. Although these books ignited the spark in me, a hectic lifestyle took its toll on my reading habit. Even though I purchased ‘Kargil War’ in 2019, I could only complete it in September 2020. The harsh realities of the war and bloodshed were heartbreaking, as was reading about people who lost their lives for us. I continued to read military books and got hold of ‘India’s Most Fearless’ by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh. This truly inspiring book made me realize the hidden emotions of military and army officers who fought the battles and sacrificed their lives. Eventually, my sadness was replaced with pride and respect for the soldiers.

With the same inspiration in mind, I dedicate my first writing for the website to the real heroes and all the wars that have been forgotten with time. It is rightly said, “Forces can give you a direction”. This is a journey of a reader who has started unfurling her wings with the knowledge gained by reading.

Anyways, “India’s Most Fearless” made me realize the ignorance in the common man for the sacrifices made by our sentinels and their families in our defense. This book isn’t solely based on the Uri surgical strike but yes, there are lots of heroes who are walking down that lane. They never demand anything but surely deserve our respect. Another book with a similar insight talks of the Balakot Strike. Most of the characters in this book are no more, but they teach us the meaning of life. For me at least, they have ignited the spirit to read and gain knowledge and, most importantly, to respect and appreciate those who have dedicated their lives to serving us. It made me realize the brevity of short, and that there are people who know how to make decisions that no one can think of. It was an overwhelming feeling for me to get to know them. It infused me with a keen sense of responsibility as well.

“Watershed 1967, India’s Forgotten Victory Over China” by Probal Das Gupta offers an insight into the manner in which India had actually defeated China. Today, whenever we talk about the Indo-Sino War, we remember the 1962 defeat. Nobody talks about 1967 where we actually won. It all began around 1964 when Pakistan and China decided to attack India from the west and the east. Where China started increasing its forces near Nathu La and Cho La. Pakistan, becoming impatient on seeing India increase its defense, decided to attack India in 1965 when Pakistan faced a crushing defeat and we lost our jewel, l then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri. In 1967, Due to constant violation from China’s side then Major General Sagat Singh decided to construct a fence between the two nations. This led to an attack from China. Although the Indian forces were prepared and the Chinese faced defeat, the war took its toll n our men too. Gallantry awards were given to the heroes.

I am well able to understand China’s monopoly now. If internal conflicts arise in China, they start creating disruptions for the neighboring countries.  If people had read this gem of a book and learned from the debacle, we wouldn’t have been delusional like we are now. The past is truly our teacher, but only if we wish to learn from it. It is rightly said, “If you want people to believe you are weak, stop them from knowing what actually they can do. Also, let them not to read and know as well”.

It is time to move from fiction to actual stories and from reel heroes to real flesh and blood heroes. Military fiction taught me to focus on and remember things that actually matter. It made me realize that defense personnel must always be respected and this feeling itself made me proud of my country. The books in my reading list beautifully take the reader through the important incidents and decisions taken in history while offering the necessary motivation to join the Indian forces. Fictions increase one’s imagination and creativity but nonfiction volumes of reads give glimpses of the real world along with its harsh realities. They give you a direction.

After reading these books, I gathered the courage to get two of my stories and a poem published. This is a small step that I took in the lockdown of 2020. But doesn’t every journey begin with a small step?

  • -by Ila Tanwar

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