The brave soldier who battled on in bereavement


ARUN PADAKI writes from Bangalore: Rabble rousing, the rhetoric, the allegations, then the counter-allegations…. Yes, this is how elections are fought with no solutions that will change your lives, mine and the millions.

Amidst all this, very little attention was paid to our great hockey team that won the Azlan Shah trophy at Ipoh convincingly. Let me not bring the attention to cricket here.  We all know that.

Yes, yes, Team India, I mean the men with the sticks were real heroes.  But there was a courageous soldier in the team who was everyone’s inspiration.  S.V. Sunil from our very own Kodagu lost his father, S.M. Vittalacharya, during the tournament, but the India forward decided to stay back and wield the stick at a moment of great personal loss.

Sunil’s father was bed-ridden with a lung problem and passed away three days after Sunil left for Malaysia.

“It was disturbing. I was caught in two minds. I wanted to go back home and at the same time play for my country. The teammates and the coaching staff were very supportive. They told me to fly back and attend the last rites of my father. My father wanted me to play for the country and I wanted to fulfil his wish. I gathered all my courage and decided to remain with the team,” Sunil is quoted as saying.

“When I told my teammates that I wanted to play, they were first surprised, but once I made up my mind they stood by me and gave me tremendous support.”

He feels, the personal tragedy made him stronger, giving him the will to fight to achieve the goal his father had set for him. .

Little wonder captain Sandeep Singh, coach Harendra Singh and the team dedicated this win to Sunil’s father.

Let us salute Sunil, a havildar in the Indian army, who has done Kodagu, Karnataka and India proud.  Similar to what Sachin Tendulkar did for India exactly a decade ago during the cricket World Cup.

May the souls rest in peace.  Let us spare a moment.