29 April 2018
Bhubaneswar: A soldier, above all, prays for peace. For it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him but because he loves what is behind him. Being a soldier is more than courage. It is sacrificing yourself for something greater than yourself.
Needless to mention, our brave soldiers not only bear bullets from the enemies but also the harsh climatic and topographic conditions. They face multi-farious hardships but the love for motherland keeps them going.
The Siachen glacier is one such difficult terrain. Loctaed in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas at a height of 20,000 feet, the area is notorious for frosty winds, massive snowfields and thin oxygen levels. Soldiers in this area face extreme hardships (owing to the climate) while defending the frontiers from intruders.
Emphatising with our brave soldiers, Sumeedha and Yogesh Chithade from Pune did something exemplary. They sold off their entire gold jewellery and collected Rs. 1.25 lakh to establish oxygen plants at the Siachen glacier. Although the estimated cost of the plant is around 1.10 crore, the couple feels they have done a noble act by contributing their part towards this initiative to help the soldiers breathe easily in the Siachen.
Sumeedha had been working for Army Welfare since the year 1999. She has first-hand experience of the difficulties faced by soldiers at Siachen, where Summer temperature is as low as -35 degrees, which further drops to -55 degrees during winters. Due to extreme cold, soldiers develop snow blindness and frost bites. They also lead lonely lives without family or friends.
Sumeedha is currently working as a school teacher and her husband Yogesh is a retired Indian Air Force officer. They have a son who also serves in the Indian Army. The couple remarks that they still have some gold left and if the collected amount is not sufficient, they would sell them off as well.
Sumeedha hopes that when the oxygen plant comes up at Siachen, the transportation cost and time spent in bringing oxygen cylinders from Chandigarh to Siachen would be drastically reduced. To accomplish their dream, the couple have founded a charitable trust registered under the office of the Charity Commissioner at Pune. There are five other trustees who are working for the same cause.
Sumeedha and Yogesh further urge every Indian citizen to contribute in smaller amounts. Even Re. 1 from each person would make a huge difference. They want all the countrymen to come together in making this dream a reality.
The story of this couple reflects selflessness, sacrifice and compassion. It shows that selfless giving unto others, represents one’s true wealth.