“When the families of martyrs of the 1971 war are yet to get jobs on compassionate grounds, how can we assure you of a job? You will have to wait.”
M.R. Divya (32), wife of late Lance Naik M.Y. Ram Chander, who died during the Kargil war on July 7, 1999, is sick of listening to this reply from the authorities for the past 14 years.
After waiting in vain for so many years for her rightful due, Divya is now a cynic, full of bitterness and has little faith in the system.
“I am tired of running around offices now. When my husband died in the Kargil war, everybody promised of jobs, petrol bunks and gas agencies. After 14 years, none of it has materialised. For a while, initially, I tried to fight the system and visited all offices [for a job], petrol bunks and gas agencies. After a while, I understood that such things are not meant for everybody,” she intones with a tinge of desperation.
These days, Divya works at a courier office at 76 Infantry Brigade, Bolarum.
“There are several families like mine that are yet to get their due. I meet them often at get-togethers, interact with them and share our experiences. This has given me a lot of strength and solace,” she says.
Divya’s marriage was consanguineous, and memories of her husband are so powerful that she could not re-marry.
“From childhood, we both knew each other and grew up in the same Bolarum area. We were pretty close, and marriage was a natural thing. We got married on May 2, 1999, and within two months, on July 7, 1999, the terrible news of his death came. We have no children, and I have only his memories,” she says.
Divya stays with her parents and brothers at Bolarum and has managed to complete her B.Com degree course.
“I was just 17 when he died. It took me more than a year to come out of the shock following his death. We were madly in love with each other, and I still have all his letters. In those days, making a phone call was tough,” she recalls.
Ironically, Ram Chander’s last letter from his border posting and the news of his death in the Kargil confrontation reached around the same time.
“I received his letter just a day before his death. In the letter, he said that that there was no problem on the border, and he would return. He asked us not to worry unnecessarily. The next day morning, I got the news that he was dead.”