Saturday, January 04, 2014

An Ordinary Indian Heroine

    My best friend in our department was Captain Sidda Raju Nayak, son of a Police constable  of Mysore state and I think he had nearly 9 siblings.Being the first Gazetted officer from his family with lot of responsibilities, Captain Raju was a man of Smile , courage and generosity.As he was senior to me he joined duty earlier but I became his room mate as he was a forced bachelor , his wife  expecting their second baby.. Then I got married and stayed in his house when I joined  back and Raju's  two kids were always curious about my wife and not me!!.Mrs Yashodha Raju from Chithradurga was a great host and my wife became her friend while for first time I was tasting "Pollies" and Mysore paks prepared by her. Soon I was transferred to Assam and was flying there. Raju shifted to Helicopters and was flying MI4 the work horse at that time..Soon it was 1971 and we were flying day in day out without any rest. Captain Raju was seeing action in then East Pakistan and was awarded Indian Police Medal for Gallantry and his Captain Wing commander Parvez Jamasji was awarded the Veer chakra. He used to bring Jute carpets and Chinese Melamine,bone china sets for his friends as the MI4 used to do detachment in Dacca for flood evacuation and other needs of the new Government. The life was going on routinely though rumblings of discontent was brewing in Bangladesh amongst the younger lot of officers who used to have lot of privileges as Paksitani army officers while the new Democratic Government of Mujib could not provide all those perks.As usual the corruption by the new hangars on got exaggerated and Mujib did not take much notice.
      Then in 1975, we came to know that Mujib was killed by Saudi/ISI  backed Army officers led by one Politician  Khondakar Mushtaq ahmed.But what was a mystery was our MI4 crew  also died on the same bloody night. As per the new rulers; they died due to bad weather accident while many suspected it to be otherwise. The dead bodies were delivered to us and cremation carried out in India. For Mrs Raju, her small world came crashing down with two small children under her care.The department was willing to accommodate her in a job but she was not even 10th pass. But the plucky lady did her 10th Certificate soon and was given a Lower Division Clerk job. though she was entitled to a compensation of Rupees One lakh, the department provided her only rupees 42,000/- as it was the compensation every Airforce officer gets and Raju's collegue who got killed was Flt.Lt Bose, an Airforce officer.I was advised not to rake up the matter as she was getting a job which was more important.
      Soon she shifted from 4 R quarters which she was occupying to 3R quarters as demanded by some. After some months some more representations came about her staying there also and she shifted to her entitled 2R quarters.Meanwhile she was working and also supporting Raju's siblings in various ways.
      The two boys who were seeing all these got motivated and started studying and working hard. In fact I used to feel that the hard work their mother was putting up motivated them.As usual there was the calumny a widow faces in a closed set up.What used to surprise me is the complete lack of understanding by some of our own colleagues who should have known better.and trusted her.She braved all these and only worked harder. Time passed by and Soon the elder boy Vasu cleared the NDA, a great achievement. The younger Prashant did not lag behind and cleared NDA himself. The elder one became a  Helicopter pilot in Airforce  and was also an ace sky diver who loves the adventure sports promoted by Airforce. He is happily married to another Airforce Helicopter pilot and blessed with two lovely childrren. The younger Prashant is a fixed wing pilot and also happily married with two children.I am sure there are many more of these ordinary Heroines in India in villages, towns etc and due to which our country is moving  and prospering but I am honoured to know this lady and her family.