The Telegraph
Saturday , July 27 , 2013
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Siblings bring Kargil spirit for youngsters to imbibe

- Smruti & Soumya hold signature campaign to mark Vijay Divas and tell youths about real-life heroes
Girls take part in signature campaign in Bhubaneswar to commemorate Kargil Vijay Divas. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, July 26: So inspired are they by the lives that soldiers lead about 10,000 feet above sea level in Kargil, that brothers Smrutiranjan and Soumya Ranjan Biswal have started a campaign to create awareness about our real-life heroes.

Smruti and Soumya were lucky enough to be part of a team of youngsters, who were taken on a three-day trip to the Kargil base camp in Ladakh of Jammu and Kashmir.

Today, on Kargil Vijay Divas, Soumya and Smruti led yet another team of youngsters from the city to organise a daylong signature campaign at a shopping mall at Saheed Nagar to honour the Kargil war heroes.

Soumya, 27, a freelance photographer and Smruti, 22, an MTech student, were part of a team of youths from across the country that went to Kargil to spend three days with the Indian soldiers in mid-June. The youngsters in the team were chosen by two NGOs, which organised their trip to the Kargil camp. Soumya and Smruti were the only ones to be selected from Odisha.

On the first day, the team toured army hospitals, nearby community centres and schools set up by the army. On day two, they met officers of different ranks, and on the last day, they were taken to the India-Pakistan border. In these three days, the two brothers had ample opportunity to understand the disciplined lives the army men lead and how they cope with spending so much time away from home.

The team of youngsters had also arranged for a special song-and-dance session for the soldiers in Kargil.

Soumya and Smruti

“A jawan posted at Kargil stays at a place that is thousands of feet above sea level, where one has to melt ice to drink water. Their disciplined lives are an inspiration. Unfortunately, while we adulate our ‘reel-life’ heroes, we hardly ever think of these real-life heroes,” said Smruti.

He rattled off names such as Captain Saurabh Kalia, Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, Captain Padmapani Acharya and Captain Vijyant Thapar, who had fought valiantly in the war, but lamented that these names would not strike a chord with most youngsters.

The signature campaign here today saw the participation of more than a hundred youngsters. Retired Colonel Sarat Kumar Mohapatra, who was in the regiment of artillery in the Kargil War, was also present. “It is a nice initiative by these kids. Their gesture of remembering our contribution is touching,” said Mohapatra.

The siblings and their friends are planning yet another programme — Know Your Soldiers. The youngsters plan to hold seminars for school and Plus Two-level students to tell them heroic tales from the Kargil War.