Author: Nishkarsh Gautam
“What would you choose, a pen or a sword?” These words by the great poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar were on everyone’s tongue. A child was asked the same question by his teacher. The child firmly replied,“I would take both.” Unsuccessful attempts were made by the teacher to convince him that it was not possible and that he had to choose one, but the child remained adamant and said, “I will make it possible.”
He later joined the Border Security Force and earned his sword. He served on the frontiers of the nation; his dream of bearing a sword fulfilled. But the profession he had chosen had very little scope for the pen. He was performing well with the gun, but his wish to bear the pen unlocked new chapters in his life. During his posting at the Attari-Wagah border, the principal of a nearby DAV school had expressed his concerns about being the last school in India. “If you see from the perspective of the world, you are the first school in India”, these words of the officer had a profound impact on the principal. He requested the officer to visit the school. Upon the principal’s request, he went to the school and interacted with the students with a chalk in his hand and pistol on the waist. This was his first engagement with the pen. He educated them about the broader perspective through different activities. The students were curious and asked many questions, and he loved answering their queries. After that, it became his routine. Whenever he would get free time, he would visit different schools.
During his leaves, people would often asked him to motivate their children with the magical formula to be successful in five minutes. Certainly, no one could do that. He interacted with thousands of students, which enriched him with lots of new ideas and solutions. He wrote down his valuable experiences from various walks of life and published a book under the title “Shortcut to Success”. Now, if someone requests him to inspire their children in five minutes, he gives them the book.
He got posted at Air Base Ranchi, where helicopters were positioned for Anti-Naxal operations. It was the city he had graduated from. There he met the Vice-Chancellor of his university. The vice chancellor was happy to see his student at that position; he was pretty impressed by the officer’s thoughts in the book and promoted it in the university. The officer used to guide the students about tricks for competitive examinations and interview techniques in schools and colleges around the state. He visited the government schools in the interior villages of Jharkhand, which were Maoist infested, and taught the students about the nation and the outside world. These interactions helped the children to explore various career opportunities, armed forces being one of them.
His book became quite popular and received the media’s attention. Several newspapers published book reviews, and news channels covered the story about a soldier writing a book. Consequently, The National Book Trust invited him to deliver a lecture for a book publishing course under the Skill India program. Five editions of the book were published, and over 27,000 copies were sold. The University Grants Commission (UGC) invited him as a Resource Person in the “Summer School” and the “Winter School”, which are mandatory promotional training programs for professors from pan India. A soldier was performing the tasks of the professors.
Today, he continues his mission to inspire students to serve the nation in different dimensions and shaping their future. He is none other than my father, Deputy Commandant Sanjay Kumar.
I’m proud of you, Papa.
Please follow this link to read A Different Mission (Part 1):