Neha Dhupia,Shankar Ehsan Loy at Kargil Divas, 2012
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 2:45 pm
Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Akriti Kakar and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra participate in the most significant historical event with the Indian Army on ‘Kargil Divas’ in Drass
July 26…on this very day thirteen years ago; our country emerged victorious in the Kargil War. Ever since then, the day has become synonymous with the courage, pride and sacrifice of our soldiers and is observed as Kargil Divas.
Kargil Divas, 2012 which was observed in the chilly climes of Drass at 15000 ft. turned out to be a hugely sombre and moving occasion of great significance. This year’s tribute was special in more ways than one as the ace Musicians Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa along with Akriti graciously accepted the invitation of the Indian Army to be a part of the momentous occasion. Deftly setting aside their multiple commitments, in an admirable display of abject passion, patriotism and persistence; SEL chose to undertake the arduous 6 hour road journey in an Army convoy from Srinagar to Drass across some of the harshest and dangerous terrain in the country to perform for our brave men. Despite the fact that everybody was on tenterhooks throughout the trip to Drass, SEL’s energy, optimism and bravery charged the air…rubbing off on one another. This wasn’t going to be just another performance…this would be an unforgettable experience tinged with the hue of unparalleled patriotism. The event was also graced by Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
As part of the tribute in Drass this year, there were 524 lamps lit in honour of each hero claimed by the tragic war. The event witnessed attendance from over 700 defence personnel; including senior Army and Air Force Chiefs. In presence were also several war widows and family members who had come in unison in remembrance of the departed. The event featured a rare sonn et lumiere show, enacting the key moments of the Kargil War that moved everyone to tears by the end of it.
Facing the imposing Tololing Hill; with the snow white peak of Tiger Hill in the backdrop…SEL then took to the stage in the open air arena of the Army base. They sang an inspiring rendition of their track “Hindustani”; dedicated to every Indian citizen. The performance struck a chord with every person in attendance and resulted in pin drop silence by the end of it. As the lamps glowed in the frigid air; the solemn mood was almost palpable. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra then recited a poignant 3 minute long poem penned by Prasoon Joshi “Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna Hamarey dil mein hai…..” The flag swayed, the winds whispered tales of sacrifice and bravado…the touching poetry left one and all teary eyed and in complete silence.
Earlier in the afternoon, SEL performed for almost an hour for the 3000 strong contingent of Jawans who danced, sang and soaked in the moment. Singer Aakriti Kakkar; added to the cheer as she performed with SEL and also sang a few of her popular numbers.The entire performance uplifted the moods of the selfless Jawans. After electricfying the already charged atmosphere, a humbled Shankar Mahadevan expressed his honour and gratitude for being a part of such an important occasion. His heartfelt words were steeped in patriotism and pride and were met with warm applause and appreciation by all those present. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra then stated that neither did he have “tears of joy, nor tears of grief…but merely tears of “garv”.
Incidentally actor Neha Dhupia also turned out to be a surprise attendant at the event as she was in the vicinity shooting for a television serial due to be aired on Independence Day. Her presence added to the event’s lustre and the Jawans’ joy!
The occasion honoured the memory of our martyrs to whom we are forever indebted. Patriotism, fervour, humility and the promise of a brighter tomorrow burnt bright like a beacon on the day…all this while the Tiger Hill looked on in the backdrop…a permanent passive spectator…a silent witness to courage, sacrifice and triumph.