When soldiers become martyrs, their physical bodies might become one with the five elements but their sacrifice and courage will live on in the hearts of their countrymen. The nation honours them through a state funeral and sometimes even a memorial, to demonstrate that their sacrifice will not go without recognition.
However, in this village in Haryana, instead of relying on the government, the local community has come together to build an ‘akhara’ for the kin of soldiers killed at the hands of Maoists.
Among the 26 people killed in the Sukma attack earlier this year was 37-year-old CRPF jawan Ram Mehar. Hailing from the village of Kheri Man Singh in the Karnal district, Ram Mehar’s family are fond of wrestling and ended up allotting a little over 8,000 square feet of land to build a memorial.
Soon, the donations started pouring in — bricks, cement bags and money that would cover a day’s wage, thanks to Sanjeev Rana, a Chandigarh resident.
Rana launched ‘Ek eent shahid ke naam’ (One brick in the memory of a martyr) to honour the martyrs who gave their life away for the nation, reports PTI. He believes that the community should not wait for the government to build memorials but should pitch in since the martyrs belong to the community first.
Ram Mehar was fourth among six brothers and after meeting his brothers, Rana learned that Mehar had liked wrestling. The family already had a makeshift wrestling ring, where around 50 youth would practice, few of whom eventually joined the army.
“After my brother’s cremation, no one from the government helped us. We are happy that people are helping in our endeavour to fulfill the memory of my brother,” said Ramesh Kumar, Maher’s brother, to The New Indian Express.
About 5,000 villagers and 2,000 residents of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali have donated to the cause, according to the The New Indian Express.