8 men all disabled took on a mission to trek to a height of 15632 feet to create a world record and set an example that if you have it in you then disability should not be much of a bother!
-‘This is a story of true grit right in front of you. This is a story of the power of passion and perseverance to go on to do something which even the fittest would think twice. But these magnificent eight got into the snow rig with the necessary equipment to get on to the snowy tracks up the steep riches to reach the Indian Army’s Kumar post where sit the brave men fighting all kinds of adversaries to safeguard the frontiers of the nation. It was the great Indian Army who goaded these individuals to take on the slopes and mountain tops where only the eagles dare’!
-‘These men when preparing for this expedition must have had many thoughts moving through the obviously all had to be exciting and brimming but one that would have definitely left an impact had to be, we won’t just have a job; we will have a calling. We will challenge ourselves every day. When we get knocked down, Surely we will get the back up. We may not be the smartest persons on those treacherous mountains, but we will still strive to be the grittiest and the most determined. Surely at the end of the expedition they proved that they were the grittiest as they just did it and proved that there are no shortcuts to excellence even if you have a disability the kind could be any!’
-‘One line sums up and suffixes everything. ‘A World record was created today when 8 disabled people reached Kumar Post at 15632 feet on Siachen glacier. Indian Army special forces veterans from CLAW Global & the grit of the team made Operation Blue Freedom a grand success.’ (Northern Command, Indian Army)!
-‘ CLAW (Conquer Land Air Water) Global is one of its kind of initiatives has was officially made into a reality in early 2020 by a team of Indian Armed Forces veterans which include the special forces personnel both from the Para regiment and MARCO (Marine Commando). Though focused primarily on ‘Physiological Disabilities’, the organization has dealt with a wide range of people within the spectrum, including those who are neck down paralyzed. The message they want to convey is, ‘without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. Here is a chance to just come and prove that you can still do it!’ Almost all of the time they have done it!
-‘It was all a brain child of one determined man Major Vivek Jacob (Veteran – Indian Army, Special Forces) who founded this institution and is Director of CLAW Global and Operation Blue Freedom. CLAW envisions to facilitate the institutionalization of high-end adventure sports, survival training, and self-defense capabilities, especially for the disabled. Though conceptualized at the beginning as the Special Forces Adventures (SFA) in 2019, within a year SFA was rechristened as ‘CLAW Global’.
-‘There is an interesting story behind this. During his service days, founder Major Jacob’s parachute malfunctioned in mid-fall during a Combat Skydive. He escaped alive but suffered a spinal cord injury. During that period, his co-hospitalization with wheel-chair bound Flt. Lt. Bhaduria who was paralyzed for 4 years due to a freak accident during the services, led to Jacob’s familiarization with the lives of disabled people. This life experience led to a new consciousness and passion to improve the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs). He set out to add value to people’s lives through the application of the specialized skill-sets that Special Forces Soldiers’ possess, This resulted in Jacob forming a team of former special forces soldiers for the rightful infusion of their shared vision and specialized skills for the betterment of society at large. The combative efficiency acquired by the Special Forces soldiers is channelized creatively– CLAW Global aims to diffuse and institutionalize the ‘Special Forces Mindset’ to enable growth and Freedom for one and all. In short a great concept and superb execution!
-‘The philosophy behind the concept is even simpler. Interests are not discovered through introspection. Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world. The way Major Jacob did when he was in hospital and moving on the wheel chair. He did not want to stop but had to because life made him do so. This he took as an intermission before to set upon a journey which he knew would be difficult and he was not a man who would look behind. A bird from the sky landed on the ground but still wanted to take off with wings for the moment dysfunctional. The process ahead he knew could be messy, serendipitous, and inefficient. This was because he could not really predict with certainty what it would capture anyone’s attention or that it won’t… But he knew that without experimenting nothing could or would. He pursued his dream and today has captivated everyone’s imagination and now with this expedition becoming such a mega success more would be inclined on looking into it with deeper interest and immensely engaging thoughts’! The first would be, ‘if they can do it then why not us?’
‘The people who have joined this organization have the positivity factor overflowing in them and each one of them at the end of the day says, I have a feeling that tomorrow will be better because I will resolve to make tomorrow better. And that is the core, the idea of purpose behind this institution!’
The man was not a brilliant actor but his couple of movies proved that though not a brilliant actor he was a superb martial arts specialist, yes I’m talking of Bruce Lee, the man who once said, knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do it! We all know Siachen and probably also The Kumar Post but how many of us have been there on an adventurous trek barring aside the toughest of the toughest ‘The Indian soldiers’? Once a person gets disabled (this is not uncommon in any way because the fast pace of life suggests that) he/she feels neglected but how many of us ascertain that these guys are undefeated? These eight knew that they weren’t because they knew at the end of the climb that faith is why they were there and would have said that because of faith they made it through! That is faith in their ability that they can do the impossible! They did it!
I. What is Operation Freedom:
‘I can’t cry so I have to laugh. You can choose to disrespect me but I will not give you permission to hurt my spirit. That is because I know how to laugh!
Operation Blue Freedom is all about high-end adventure sports activities like Scuba Diving, SkyDiving, and Mountaineering to showcase and mainstream the mutually complementing ‘survive, stabilize, thrive’ mindset of the Special Forces and PWDs (People with Disabilities).
The institution is an expression of spirit and ability of the disabled, the project envisages perceptional transformation regarding the lives of PWDs and calls for their right to inspire freedom.
The project has trained more than a hundred people with disabilities in scuba diving in confined waters. Eventually, the journey kicked off when the team took a selected few among the trained, both men and women, to Lakshadweep for their first-ever dive in the open seas. C.L.A.W Global has launched the official trailer of the project titled ‘Operation Blue Freedom: Genesis’.
It chronicles the first part of the journey capturing the glimpses of Scuba diving experiences with the disabled along the coast of Lakshadweep.
The expedition, which began on Independence Day, was executed by ‘Team CLAW’, a group of armed forces veterans working towards empowering people with disabilities.
II. The Kumar Post (Please do remember Colonel Narendra Kumar)
Colonel Narendra Kumar, PVSM, KC, AVSM, FRGS (8 December 1933 – 31 December 2020) was an Indian soldier and mountaineer. He is known for his expeditions across various mountain ranges such as the Himalayas and Karakorams, and respective sub ranges such as the Pir Panjals and Saltoro Mountains. His reconnaissance efforts on the Siachen glacier were key to the Indian Army’s reclamation of the forward posts of the glacier in Operation Meghdoot in 1984. He was the deputy leader of the first successful Indian Mount Everest expedition in 1965. He was a recipient of multiple military and civilian honours including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Kirti Chakra, and the Padma Shri. Kumar’s mountaineering efforts on the Siachen Glacier began when he was approached by a German rafter, in 1977, to help him with a descent on the Nubra river. At this time Kumar was the commanding officer of the Indian Army’s High Altitude Warfare School. Kumar, spotting a cartographic error in the US demarcated map, which incorrectly showed the line marking the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan, took his findings in January 1978 to Lieutenant General M. L. Chibber, then India’s Director of Military Operations. Chiber obtained the necessary permissions for Kumar to lead a reconnaissance mission to the glacier. History was coined then but another one was re-coined and this is how it happened:
A team of eight specially-abled people created a world record on Sunday when they reached Kumar Post at 15,632 feet on the Siachen glacier.
This is the first time that such a large group of people with disabilities climbed the world’s highest battlefield.
The expedition, named “Operation Blue Freedom”, began at the Siachen base camp on Independence Day. It was executed by ‘Team CLAW’, a group of armed forces veterans working towards empowering people with disabilities.
The Indian Army recently gave Conquer Land Water Air (CLAW) the in-principle approval for a trek to the Siachen glacier.
Northern Command, Indian Army in a tweet said that Army’ special forces veterans from CLAW Global (Elite Team of Former Special Forces soldiers) and the grit of the team made Operation Blue Freedom a ‘grand success’. The exact Tweet I gave the readers in the introductory part of the story.
A group of veterans from India’s special forces in April this year launched a nationwide campaign to invite participants for selecting the largest team of people with disabilities” scaling the Siachen glacier.
The group, led by former 9 para officer Major Vivek Jacob, trained 20 people and of them, eight were selected to attempt for the ‘Land world record’ at Siachen glacier, one of the harshest terrains on Earth.
So everything can be done with spirit, grit and determination and it was done with all the flamboyance. Everything was superb, physical fitness, technique, spirit for an extreme adventure and the urge to do the impossible!
Ludwig Beethoven, well we all know about him, the greatest musician after Mozart became deaf and he could not compose any music but he had already given to the music world in plenty. I will end this story with another one in Beethoven’s own words, ‘ for two years I have avoided almost all social gatherings because it is impossible for me to say to people ‘I am deaf’, he wrote. ‘If I belonged to any other profession it would be easier, but in my profession it is a frightful state.’ And how he came about this disability is something like this: ‘once Beethoven was out for a country ramble with fellow composer Ferdinand Ries, and while walking they saw a shepherd playing a pipe. Beethoven would have seen from Ries’s face that there was beautiful music playing, but he couldn’t hear it. It’s said that Beethoven was never the same again after this incident, because he had confronted his deafness for the first time. Beethoven could apparently still hear some speech and music until 1812. But by the age of 44, he was almost totally deaf and unable to hear voices or so many of the sounds of his beloved countryside. It must have been devastating for him but he had given the best possible notes to the music world and they are still played till today’! Never give up is the ultimate message of ‘The Claw Global’. Be tough, remain tough, forget your disability and keep moving because the world today never believes in full stops! It never did!