A son has set foot in his motherland once again.
A soldier is on his way to reclaim his pride that lies in donning the uniform, a father is all set to hold the apple of his eye once again. A husband is bringing back the biggest joy known to his wife. A son is giving his mother a piece of her heart back, and shall have his father beat his chest filled with inexplicable pride and joy, as he welcomes Abhinandan back home.
Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by the Pakistani army on 27th February, after his MiG-21 Bison crash landed on the other side of the LoC, is finally back home after spending 58 hours in the Pakistani Army's captivity.March 1, 2019
What makes this moment all the more special is that it is no longer a private matter for Abhinandan's family or his fellow teammates in the Indian Air Force, but rather, it has transformed into a moment of collective celebration that every Indian is rejoicing in. The kind of solidarity Abhinandan's homecoming evoked in the entire nation could be felt in waves over the last 48 hours.
The intensity of pride, hope and gratitude that exuded from the hundreds of people gathered at the Wagah-Attari border earlier today, waiting there for hours on end with bated breath to welcome their hero back, was palpable even through the recordings. While many danced to the beats of dhol and shouted cries of welcome, all of India's hearts beat as one until their own was safely back on Indian soil.March 1, 2019
Even as scores of people came together to cheer for Abhinandan today, the subtext of political gains and acquisitions kept running strong in the backdrop, never too lazy to ease out of public glare.
A known politico from down south made claims about the ruling government's chances of winning by a majority in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections following the airstrike on 26th February, while Pakistan's leaders claim to be handing over Abhinandan as a 'gesture of peace' to prevent further escalation of the ongoing tensions between the two countries.
As if all that wasn't enough, amidst this turmoil, there's a certain segment of people rooting for a war to break out between India and Pakistan.March 1, 2019
Honestly, it's difficult to understand such motivations given that such a situation has never benefitted nations. History stands witness to the fact that war has robbed countries of not just manpower, but it immediately disrupts economies, renders the environment inept but the loss of human life and property is enough to set a country back by a couple of years, besides a host of other things which involve draining monetary as well as human resources of a country.
But I am not here to elucidate on the havoc wars can wreck on society, but I am merely trying to point out that politicizing a tragedy (that this could have turned out to be) is the last thing we need right now. This moment purely belongs to Abhinandan for what he endured for our nation and its safety, what he stood for in the moments of his captivity and how he came through it all by the end of it. So, let this be his moment, one he will not forget till his last breath. Let's not steal his thunder today.March 1, 2019
Meanwhile, a family is whole once again, a squad got their mate back, and the country welcomed a great soldier back in its forces. As for the rest of us in the country, following the news updates on TV and social media, writing and commenting on Abhinandan's homecoming, we have found a hero in the IAF pilot.
Abhinandan has turned into an inspiration for us, not only for his display of selflessness, valour and principles, under given circumstances, but he has allowed us to peek into the life of a dedicated protector of the nation, who deserves nothing less than our absolute respect, gratitude and appreciation.
Welcome back, Wing Commander Varthaman!