In the highlands stood a child below the hoisted flag on the 75th Independence day telling everyone in his silent, sweet but emphatic voice to all, ‘this is my identity’!
-‘You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret, you return to the beauty you have always been as you stand in the highlands spreading that wonderful smile of yours, below the Indian national Flag, your identity and your pride’
-‘Even the forlorn but giant like mountains love to have children playing in their lap in both low and highlands. Pir Panjals have seen generations of children come, grow and then suddenly fade away and this legacy would continue till the time this great partnership between nature and humans survives here but one thing is very peculiar in these massive mountain ranges and that is, they are an identity by themselves for the inhabitants who live in their realms. But the bigger fact is that the Indian Tricolor fluttering on the peaks and the heights makes these great barriers even more glamorous and a bigger insignia of identity for the people living here and that is precisely what the child in the picture wants to convey as he stands underneath the flag with another one in hand on a place developed by the soldiers guarding the frontiers for putting up the flag that flutters round the clock from morning till evening’!
-‘The toddlers living in the Pir Panjals are a lovely sight as they bounce about in the undulating terrain which is simply hypnotizing because of the gorgeous locales and stunning features on the huge canvas painted by the God’s. In a way these kids are lucky because they are the representatives of India up on the barriers which are also on the frontiers of the Nation. If our kids march ahead with tricolor in hands in the comparatively safer precincts in plains these kids do the same there on the mountains in an unfriendly rugged terrain but the identity is the same, ‘the Indian Tricolor’! They may be less privileged, never mind but they will never crib and keep taking the strides only one way and that is forward, never to look back’!
-‘My flag, my flag, my country’s flag, I love to see you flutter and wave; the banner of the brave. wave on, flutter on forever, the banner of the free; Flutter on, wave on forever, the flag of freedom you are my identity as I will grow and tell the world that I’m an Indian from the Pir Panjals is what perhaps what the kid wants to say, though very small at the moment but for sure would grow up to be stronger, tomorrow because the mentors are also are the guardians of the frontiers are tough giants training goliaths in these area to become toughies and fighters of tomorrow to become the fighters from the highlands!9
I have read many stories about the children in conflict and Pir Panjals needless to mention have seen many as terror hill hopped here in abundance. Though it has been toned down, people did see it from close in fact very close quarters. The children of the nineties have grown up and now have their own. Things have changed in a big way and it has been entirely due to the presence of the Indian Army who by all means are the next to God’s for the people and their children here. Each child in the Pir Panjals has a story to tell, though the tales may not have become famous like for example of Malala Yusafzai or others yet they are equally innocent and full of some great emotional scars deep inside but with the ever smiling faces giving the extra edge by the white enamel behind the lips as they look at you!
Who is Malala? the man demanded. … My friends say he fired three shots, one after another. … By the time we got to the hospital my long hair and Moniba’s lap were full of blood. Who is Malala? I am Malala and this is my story. So concludes the prologue to I Am Malala, the memoir of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who campaigned for education in the Swat Valley and was shot by the Taliban at age 15 in October 2012. Yousafzai frames the book as a story of a specific experience of conflict and its consequences. Sudanese former child soldier Emmanuel Jal prefaces his book, War Child, by noting that this one is not meant to be a history of a country to be read by scholars. It is the story of one boy, his memories, and what he witnessed. Seventeen-year-old Syrian refugee Nujeen Mustafa says: I hate the word refugee more than any word in the English language. … The year 2015 was when I became a fact, a statistic, a number. Much as I like facts, we are not numbers, we are human beings and we all have stories. This is mine! As these kids compiled memorable memoirs the kids here in Pir Panjals can also do as the stories are in plenty and each one needs to be read because they are the nation’s identity in difficult places where only the Eagles dare!
Let us be practical The genre of children’s memoirs is growing in popularity in literary publishing worldwide. Narratives of children’s experiences of war, conflicts and deprivation such as a memoir are gaining the interest of the people because they are the future. People who have lived in the conflicts, now grown up identify themselves with them. They remember the terrible times of the past and then smile as they see the young ones moving ahead and doing things which they could not with an identity ‘Indian’!
Children get attracted by small joys but if a bigger one is given to him/her right at the beginning it leaves a deep impact on the psyche now for example the kid in the picture standing and saluting the Indian National Flag with one more fluttering in his hand. The kid may not be knowing the meaning of the identity (pehchaan) at this age but tomorrow definitely he would be and thus will arise the phoenix from the highlands to take on the world. Many have done it and he could be the next in the line. That’s a kind of feeling that the flag gives and the tricolor is very, very special to every Indian grown up or child.
Children have their own mystery world and they love living in it but when you hear stories such as that of a little 12 years old girl one does tend to get terrified. Another horror story of a child from yet another terror zone on the planet before she could get an identity. ‘They told her rudely to stop crying or they would kill her. Southern Sudan is not an easy place and escaping from armed groups isn’t the end of the ordeal for the children. Three armed men forced Mary and her sister off a narrow road in South Sudan, the terrified 12 year-old started sobbing. The men told her to stop crying – or they would kill her. She was recruited to a rebel camp, where she was forced to help out for three years before she eventually managed to escape. Ask most people what they think of when they hear about children being recruited to armed groups, and the first image that comes to mind is probably a child carrying a gun. But not all children actually take part in fighting. Mary, for example, was forced to fetch firewood and water for the rebels. And while she was also trained how to use a gun, only the older girls were given their own weapons. But after she escaped somehow she found herself in children’s primary school but the scars she got at the rebel camp still fill her with horror. The flashbacks are terrifying, the shootings and killings haunt her no end. She was beaten and bruised, made to crawl on her elbows and knees. The skin would get scraped off our elbows and the blood always finds its way out through the gashes? This was humanity at its worst. Finally the girl kid has got her identity but the past? Horrendous would be the word! By the way the Indian soldiers on United Nations peace keeping mission in Sudan are doing a fabulous job and one thing you do get from them are haunting stories of humanity especially of children and they have saved many there. This was one of its kind where innocence was saved from being shredded apart further.
Innocence is an identity by itself for a child, add to that of the hues of the National flag, it becomes a lethal addiction later as he/she grows up and that never withers even if the circumstances are steep and uphill. This is what the children in Pir Panjals are being taught and you do not have to guess as to who is doing that? Like any other child in the nation this little mascot from the mountains with the Tricolor in hand is also the future of this great nation and the world knows it as India! He definitely does deserve a salute of being the little Indian with great values! Let’s name him, ’The little Indian dynamite from the Pir Panjals’!