Meet a soldier who took four bullets in his arm in a battle with insurgents and saved the life of two critically injured children in Manipur. Eighteen years since the incident, Colonel DPK Pillay still shares a close bond with the people of the Manipuri village.
Colonel Pillay recalls that fateful day in Longdaipabram village, which is 22 kms from the district Headquarters Tamelong in Manipur.
“The militants were inside the room and rather than allow them to pick and choose and fire us at will I had to intervene. I had to enter the room. I broke the door open and I got a burst of AK-47. The first burst hit my shoulder. I got three burst there and that guy corrected himself and I got shot on my chest. One of them hurled a grenade, I don’t know how I saw the grenade in the darkness but I tried to kick the grenade away, but it blew up on my leg, taking a portion of my leg away,” he says.
This could have been every soldier’s tale. But what he did next is what has brought him here today. Although wounded mortally in the gun fight, Colonel Pillay decided to evacuate and save the two children hit in the crossfire instead of his own.
“The nearest hospital was about 6 hours. There’s no way the children would have survived. I think I knew that in me that I had 5 minutes of life left in me and said I can hang on that extra bit. So I told the pilot not to worry about me," he says.
When asked why he chose his course of action over his own evacuation as he himself was dying, he says— "The first thing that came to my mind as a trained soldier was the safety of the children and all others. I was trained to sacrifice my own life and comfort for my people and my country who always come first. I always knew I was not amongst enemies but my own brothers and sisters”.
The village has not forgotten his act of kindness. The entire village has gathered to show their gratitude to Colonel Pillay for saving the lives of Masebiliu and Dingamang. He has also been inducted as an important member of the local community.
DPK Pillay has returned several times to the village and has organised several activities for development of the region— earning him the sobriquet of "Hero of Manipur" and "Savior of Longdi pabram”.
The good soldier is strengthening this bond by overseeing and contributing to the village livelihood programme. He has also been instrumental in bring a motor-able road to the village.
At a time when the country is concerned about a sense of alienation among the people from the northeast, the bond between the people of Longdaipabram and Colonel Pillay is an example of how an individual’s act of courage and sacrifice can bridge differences.
Dal Makhani, Chole and Paratha in the Punjabi Thali in Amritsar at Keasr da Dhaba
(For the non-Indians, that is: Buttered lentil curry, Bengal gram pulses cooked in a spicy curry and layered Indian bread)
Kesar da Dhaba, over a hundred year old establishment in the maze-like markets of old Amritsar is famous for cooking all their food in "desi ghee" (Indian equivalent of butter). Like all things Indian (food), it is rich, tasty and devoid of preservatives.
This single "thali" (meal plate) was more than enough for the two of us. All one should ideally do after eating this is find a beautiful tree, lie down in its shade and dream of the culinary extravaganza you have just experienced.
By Sandeepa Chetan (www.sandeepachetan.com).
Mampi - Why
Peter Miles & Demarco - Blessings
I think you will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines, in front of the public and cameras.
Is it them who you want to supply with weapons?