It was an emotional day for Takhellambam Deneswar Singh and his wife. They had gathered at Fort William in Kolkata to receive their son’s Sena Medal for Gallantry from Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command.
Their son Takhellambam Gokil Singh was a rifleman with 13 Assam Rifles. Even as a young boy, Gokil harboured the dream of becoming an officer in the army. Due to the family’s financial problems, he dropped out of school before class 12 to join the paramilitary force in 2011.
However, Gokil was no ordinary youngster.
Photo source: e-pao.org
For the next three years, he saved every rupee he made to fund the education of his siblings. The family was proud of Gokil and was touched by his gesture.
However, everything changed on May 22, 2014.
“I received a call from my son’s mobile. The person on the other end of the line was extremely polite and even cracked a joke. He then asked me to proceed to where my son was posted. He said that everything was fine and I should not worry. I feared the worst and when I reached his camp my worst fears turned into reality. My son was no more,” said Deneswar to The Times of India.
Gokil, who was 21 years old at the time, died fighting militants of the Zeliangrong United Front in Manipur. Gokil was part of an Area Domination Patrol along the NH-37 near Nungba when the militants opened fire on him and others from a moving vehicle. However, Gokil, who was already hit in the abdomen, was successful in neutralising one of the militants.
“He was like a friend to me. After joining Assam Rifles, he handed over his ATM card and chequebook to me. All the cheques were signed. He wouldn’t touch his salary. On occasions, he would just ask for Rs. 300-400 from me. My daughter is now completing her graduation and younger son is in Class XI. Gokil was large-hearted. Though we were unable to do much for him, he was doing his best to dig the family out of financial trouble,” says Gokil’s father.
At the ceremony, the next of kin of Havildar Durna Kanta Doley and Naik Damodar Thapa received Sena Medals as well.
The army has promised to stand by the families of the brave soldiers.
Photo source: netlive.in
“During one visit home, he left back a large photograph of his. He said that we would garland it some day. We are receiving all benefits, but our child is no more. I won’t stop my younger son if he wants to join the security forces, but I want him to live,” says Deneswar.
We salute you, Gokil and hope that your family gets all the happiness it deserves.