Friday, May 31, 2013

Point to Ponder: Forgotten Heroes on Wheel Chairs

Every other day we hear of bomb blasts and news of soldiers and personnel of LEA getting wounded or even succumbing to these acts of terrorism, extremism and religious intolerance - and the war on terror.  Those who lay down their lives leave a life long lamenting for their near and dear ones. But what about those unheard and uncounted injured who fade away in the four walls of their homes for the rest of their lives carrying the scars of these deadly acts - perhaps we have never pondered over it seriously ever.

Today, I went to the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM) in Rawalpindi today and offered a unique Friday prayer of my life.

The mosque inside the AFIRM was spacious and air conditioned and when I entered the mosque, a notice caught my attention






And I could see patients being wheeled into the specific ablution  area - in quite a number. These were some of those lucky ones who though escaped death, but became slave to the wheel chairs for the rest of their lives.

By the time the prayers started, three complete rows of patients on wheel chairs had lined up at the end of those sitting on prayer mats to offer their prayers - and perhaps thank the Almighty for giving them their lives - though at the cost of their limbs.

I glanced at some of these and found many who lost two more more of their limbs. After the prayers, they were wheeled out by their attendants and I just stood there watch each one - one of them was being wheeled out by a small boy, perhaps the son of the patient who had both his right hand and leg missing. Both the father and son were laughing on something - but I could see the sadness that filled the face of the patient - a soldier whose comrades may have martyred in the incident that rendered him crippled for life. I stepped forward and saluted the soldier with tears in my eyes and shook hand with him - though his left as he did not have his right hand from shoulder below. I could not say anything - but I know he knew what I wanted to say to him silently.

Everyday, soldiers and officers, mostly in their young age, get added up unknown to us whose life becomes a bane for as long as they live. While those who get injured in the bomb blasts have this misfortune descended upon them unannounced,  but for these brave soldiers who walk into the death traps knowing fully well the consequences is real heroism.

No one seem to care - except of course the Army by providing them the state of the art rehabilitation facilities. I see politicians fighting for their seats and ministries but not ever uttering a word about these crippled soldiers - I do not find them visiting these soldiers whether in their homes or in hospitals to comfort them. Those who do, go their with media to have them photographed to show 'solidarity' with these soldiers - but never alone to shake hand and salute them for their sacrifices for a country where they fight over each other for their political gains and securing ministries.

I salute all such unsung heroes and hope my readers too will remember these brave sons of soil now restricted to wheel chairs for life for sacrificing their limbs so that we could live in peace.

via Jaho Jalal
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