Please take pride in being Indian and share the tale of a Brave Indian Martyr. Lance Naik Kesur Ramabhai Vanvi, 33 of 221 Field Artillery Regiment died Friday, August 25, 2017 while doing what he was proudest of; serving his country in the Army 221 field Regiment. In the morning of 25 August, he had a severe headache. He was also feeling dizziness, was at loss of breath and was sweating very heavily too.
He straightaway went to the Army doctor, who diagnosed him with high Blood pressure, may be a major stroke was on. The Doctor immediately called for an Air Ambulance. Lance Naik Kesur insisted he was alright and there was no need for an emergency evacuation, But the Doctor knew about the seriousness of the situation. Kesur was air lifted in an Army Aviation Helicopter but mid air Blood started oozing out from his nose and ears, his heart was pounding heavily blood pressure was enormous and suddenly he fell unconscious. The doctors at Leh Military Hospital pronounced him dead on arrival. Postmortem at the medical college revealed the cause of death as ‘stroke’.
Lance Naik Kesur Vanvi was posted at mountainous high altitude terrain of Drass since last 17 months. His unit location at Drass being a non-family station, just like most of his colleagues in the Army, Kesur was also staying without his bellowed wife at those forbidden heights. Kesur’s unit is posted at such a remote location that there aren’t any mobile towers in that area. The Jawans have to reach out to a nearby STD Booth to be able to talk to their near and dear ones.
Married since last 13 years, Kesur and his wife were deprived of the joy of being parents. Every time when Lance Naik Kesur used to come on leave, their time is spent on visiting places of worship, praying for a small gift from the almighty. Very recently, after so many years of various treatments and change of doctors, the couple received the ‘good news’ ‘she was finally pregnant with their first child.’ In his last phone call, Kesur promised her that he would be back before her delivery date to be with her and to welcome their bundle of joy.
But the almighty had another plans; He took away the only man of her life even before the joy of having the little one in their awaiting hands is shared. Lance Naik Kesur Vanvi has left behind a bereaved pregnant wife and crying old age parents. A child who has not even seen the light of day, has lost its father. Uncertainty and bleak future awaits the little one of the diseased soldier.
This is not the first such casualty of his unit a Naib Subedar saab who was posted in Rashtriya Riffles (RR) was on patrolling duty the whole night. The patrolling party came back at around 04 o’clock in the morning. They all sat together and had their last tea that morning. Naib Subedar saab went for a nap, never to wake up and to ascend into the deepest sleep forever.
In the year 1984, Pakistan invaded Siachen, in the year 1999 The back stabbing neighbours broke Simla accord, invaded and fortified Kargil, Drass and Batalik and the rest we know is history. Since then the Indian Army has been forced to keep the areas manned throughout the year. Earlier, India and Pakistan used to withdraw troops from the very high altitude areas during treacherous winter and send the troops again to occupy those posts once the snow starts melting.
The high altitude of Himalayas is one of the prime killers of our soldiers besides Kashmir insurgency being the first one. Those treacherous mountains have a unique combination of thin air and freezing temperatures that has been challenging human abilities to survive in extreme weather conditions.
The phenomenon of thin air, caused by low barometric pressure, is the only environmental condition unique to high terrestrial altitude. It imposes several physical stresses on men.
The partial pressure of oxygen falls as well, producing arid air that holds significantly less water vapor and reducing the amount of oxygen available to human tissue. Hypoxia, the reduction of oxygen supply to tissue, occurs at elevations above 5,000 feet. Hypoxia can lead to several illnesses, some of which can prove fatal, as well as less severe physiological effects.
Even the most physically fit men exhibit muscular weakness and a loss of neuromuscular control above 15000 feet. The atmosphere affects vision in several ways. Soldiers lose much of their natural night vision above 8000 feet. Retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding from blood vessels in the eyes, affects over half of all soldiers at 18,000 feet.
The drastic increase in ultraviolet light can cause snow blindness and severe sunburn. The healing time of wounds increases due to lack of oxygen, in body tissues.
Lance Naik Kesur Vanvi’s close buddy L/Nk Jitendra remembers his friend with saddened eyes, “I have never seen in my life a more obedient and disciplined soldier like Kesur.” We both joined the Army in the year 2003 and were posted in the same battery. Retired Havaldar Nakumbhai of his unit proudly states that Kesur made a lasting impression on everyone he met with his charm, which was only surpassed by the size of his heart. His energy, mischief, kindness and the zest for life are what his friends and family will remember most.
Kesur will forever be loved by those of us that he left behind. He is survived by his parents and wife all living in Umbari villege of Gir Somnath district of Gujarat. He will also be missed by the many friends he touched that we now consider family. We will all miss the joy and love that he brought into our lives, and we couldn’t be more proud of him. His last rites were carried out with National honor and Guard of Honor by the Indian Army on 28 August. People from nearby towns and villages flocked the streets of Umbri villege. The nationalistic feelings and sadness of losing a son was evident from their LOUD chants of ‘BHARAT MATA KI JAI’ and ‘KESUR BHAI AMAR RAHE’.
We consider a soldier as martyr, only when he dies receiving a bullet. But, let me elaborate this very clearly this time. “Each and every soldier who loses his life in the line of his duty is a martyr.” In forbidden heights of the Himalayas, High Altitude and oxygen less air combine to make the environment a potent adversary. The physical and psychological stresses of high altitude degrade all soldiers overtime, even those who are acclimated to it.
The biggest irony of a soldier is that when he happily sacrifices his life for the nation, those whom he has left behind are stranded to fend for themselves. The government of the day sometimes announces some financial aid, so does the Army but there is no National Policy for rehabilitation and resettlement of such families.
There are government institutions at central, state and Zilla level for taking care of the retired Jawans as well as the Veer Naries but they function like white elephants and have no accountability. The sainik boards and DGR are answerable to none!
“Hum na soche hame kya mila hain.. Ham ye soche kiya kya hai arpan…”
ॐ Shanti.. Shani…
PETTY OFFICER MANAN BHATT, VETERAN
You can appreciate the soldier at [email protected] for his writing.