Day after Their Dad Died in Uri, They Wrote Exams, Because They Didnt Want to Hurt His Memory

-Tarique Anwar

Despite losing their father – Naik Sunil Kumar Vidyarthi – in a gun battle with terrorists at Uri base in Kashmir on Sunday, Aarti, Anshu and Anshika Vidyarthi, the three daughters of the brave soldier from Bihar’s Gaya district, wrote the first-semester examination of class VIII, class VI and class II respectively on Monday.

While the entire family was in deep shock and waiting for the arrival of the coffin, the three sisters wore their uniform and headed for the DAV school where they along with their classmates appeared in the examination. The elder sisters wrote social science papers while the youngest one wrote Hindi language paper despite the great loss they endured at such a young age.

For them, the martyrdom of their father is a matter of pride. “Mere papa ne desh ke liye jaan qurbaan kar diya hai, unki sahadat pe hum teeno bahno ko garv hai (My father sacrificed his life for the nation, we are proud of him),” said 8-year-old Anshika wiping tears rolling down on her face.

Asked how they could gather the courage to appear in the examination at the moment of the gravest personal sorrow, the eldest one – Aarti – said, “Beech mein pariksha chhod dene se papa ki atma ko dukh hota (Leaving papers in the middle of the examination would have hurt my father’s soul).”

“He always used to say no compromise with exams. No matter what.”

She said their only aim is to realise the dreams of their father who is no more to guide them.

“He has made many sacrifices for our education and therefore, we have to fulfil his dreams. He wanted me to study in IIT and become an aeronautical engineer and my younger sister a doctor. We have to work hard and excel at our studies as that is what our father wanted. He could not persuade his higher studies due to poverty, but wanted us to do so,” said the brave daughter who is just 13.

Despite her grandfather’s angry words, Arati said given the chance, she would like to join the army. “I am proud of my father because he did not die… he sacrificed his life for the nation. I wanted to join IIT Delhi… now I don’t know whether it will be possible,” she said.

She said appearing in the examination in such a difficult time is the “salute to our father’s martyrdom and final adieu from us”.

Asked about their family at home, they their mother and grandparents were inconsolable. Their two-year-old brother – said Anshu – is unaware of what has happened but he is also very upset as mother keeps fainting and weeps uncontrollably.

Both Arti and Anshu – according to DAV Principal Ashok Kumar Jana – are brilliant in studies. Consoling the young children, he offered salute to their rectitude and strong willpower for taking the exam barely hours after their father’s martyrdom.

The three sisters sort of redefined bereavement in rural Bihar where loud wailing symbolises mourning the death of near and dear ones. The louder you wail, the bigger is the perceived sense of bereavement.

Hearing the news that one of their sons had been martyred in the attack, residents of Boknari – Vidyarthi’s native village – and the rest of Gaya converged at the Vidyarthi house to pay respects to the fallen hero and salute their boy.

Sunil had shifted his family from his Boknari village under the Paraiya police station area of the district to Gaya town for his children’s education. His parents and two brothers are all marginal farmers and live in the village.

Gaya : Wife of army soldier Sunil Kumar vidyarthi who was killed in Uri Army base attack, mourns her husband’s death in Gaya on Monday. PTI Photo (PTI9_19_2016_000113B)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of each of the three deceased soldiers from the state.

Naik Vidyarthi joined the army in 1998 and served in Nagaland, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi before Jammu and Kashmir. He was planning to retire next year but only after building a home in Gaya and taking care of his father’s medical bills.

Source : IndiaTimes

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