THE latest ‘news updates’ being shared in the little village of Borvihir, tucked away in the shadow of a hill just off Dhule city, are no longer coming from the all-present Marathi television news channels. “I confirmed the information of the capture myself, from the Dawn news website of Pakistan,” says Sandip Patil, a 20-something youngster who’s in Borvihir from the neighbouring village of Mohadi to enquire after his friend Bhushan Chavan, brother of Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, 22, who was captured on Thursday by the Pakistani Army.
Also following the news published by Dawn, other villagers say they believe that eight other Indian soldiers are indeed dead, even if it’s being officially denied.
With one of their own youngsters caught in the crossfire, Borvihir, a village of about 7,000, is expectedly hooked on to the news. But with over 100 youngsters from the village in various units of the armed forces, the tension along the Line of Control is reflected in these households with a unique urgency. “He told me not to keep calling so frequently, but my mom called anyway a couple of days ago,” says Sachin Dhamdhere, who works in the laboratory of Borvihir’s school. He has two brothers, one in the BSF, posted in Patna and one in the Army, posted in Rajasthan.
While some families complain that they have been unable to get through to relatives, others have begun to ask about when the next leave may be sanctioned. “There’s some stress in the village since we have so many boys in the military after all,” says Kiran Thakre, sarpanch of Borvihir.
Ashok Sonawane, a junior college teacher in Borvihir who also taught Chandu, believes the surgical strikes should be continued. “Once a year maybe, so that the camps are destroyed,” he says. To a comment that the escalating tensions now appear to be inching towards further conflict, he says, “Whether it’s the US or France or Germany, all these have huge investments here. I don’t think anyone will allow a war.”
“It’s just fate, whatever has to happen will happen, why be nervous?” says Pratap Buta Mali, a daily-wage labourer whose son has been with the CRPF for the last five years.