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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Rairangpur: On this Makar Sankranti, baby Sonali kept asking her mother, Laxmi, why did Papa not come home? Laxmi was helpless as the little girl would be devastated to know he was no more.

Sonali, who will step into her primary school this year, is the youngest among the three daughters of Indian Army Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren who made the supreme sacrifice for the country and attended martyrdom while fighting a marauding platoon of Chinese soldiers at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June last year.

After six months, the Soren family from Bada Champauda village in Mayurbhanj district is trying to gradually settle down though the loss of the family head still haunts every member in the household. Little Sonali still wonders why her father failed to keep his promise of returning home during Makar Sankranti, like he did every year. Elder siblings, Ganeshwari and Mansi, are still to accept the fact that their father is no more. While for Laxmi, her battle has just begun.

Nuduram had joined the Indian army in 1997 and was posted as a Naib Subedar in the 16 Bihar regiment. As many as twenty Indian Army personnel, including Naduram, were martyred in the clash with Chinese troops along the LAC in Galwan valley in June last year, the biggest military confrontation between the two Asian giants in over five decades.

Naduram he is survived by his wife and three daughters- Ganeswari, Manasi and Sonali. While Ganeswari and Manasi are in Class IX and VI respectively, Sonali will start her schooling soon.

“Every year he comes home during Makara Sankranti and we celebrate together. The vacuum created by his death will always be there in my life and that of my children. I will never be able to forget him, though I have to take care of my three daughters in his absence,” said Laxmi in choked voice.

“Life is so difficult without him. It will never be the same,” she added.

Similarly, Naduram’s two grown up daughters are still trying to gather themselves.

“It has been nearly a long time of pain, unending grief and tears for us. Nothing could make up for our father’s loss. I want to study well and be an engineer. I think that will be the best tribute to my father’s sacrifice,” said Ganeswari.

According to reports, the Odisha Government and State Bank of India have extended monetary assistance of Rs 25 lakh and Rs 30 lakh respectively to the martyr’s family. The Bihar regiment has also announced monetary compensation for the family.

In a mark of respect to the martyr’s family, the Indian Army will honour them in a special function on February 10.

It is also worth mentioning that paying due respect to the fallen hero of Odisha, the Royal family of Mayurbhanj on December 19 had released a documentary film ‘Nuduram Ka Safarnama’ on the life of the Indian Army soldier.


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