As mortal remains of Naib Subedar Satnam Singh (41) reached Gurdaspur’s Bhojraj village, it was his 65-year-old mother and 19-year-old daughter who stepped forward to carry the tricolour-wrapped coffin on their shoulders in the soldier’s final journey.
The act in defiance of societal norms was the way Kashmir Kaur (65) and Sandeep Kaur (19) wanted to give the family braveheart a befitting send-off for making supreme sacrifice for the nation.
The scenes were reminiscent of another martyr’s funeral in Gurdaspur’s Pabbarali Kalan village last year, where his mother too led the funeral procession, drowning her grief in slogans hailing her slain son.
On Thursday, the mother of Satnam Singh did the same to pay tribute to her son who died fighting the Chinese in the Galwan Valley clash.
“My son has sacrificed his life for the country. This is the least I could do for him. Guru Gobind Singh ji’s Chaar Sahibzade (four sons) were martyred, I have given one for the country,” said the grieving mother, amid an emotionally-charged crowd that had turned out to pay its respects to the fallen soldier.
As the slain soldier’s mother stepped forward, tears-stained faces in the crowd rattled out slogans praising her and piercing the pall of gloom that had descended on the village.
“Shaheed di bahadur mata zindabad, Shaheed di bahadur mata zindabad. (Salute to martyr’s brave mother).”
When mothers have to carry the heaviest load: their sons’ coffins wrapped in tricolor🇮🇳. This is Palwinder Kaur from Punjab who carried her son Lance Naik Rajinder Singh’s coffin on her shoulders last year. The video went viral. Here’s her story: https://t.co/MOuKybssoq pic.twitter.com/5OFmyvXeEO
— Divya Goyal (@divya5521) June 20, 2020
The mother, stoic in the face of unspeakable grief, carried her son’s coffin all the way till the cremation site for his final rites on Thursday.
Talking to The Indian Express, Kashmir Kaur, who never went to school, said: “Ohda shouk si desh de layi kuch karke marna. Ohda vi ehne log marde ne par oh desh layi kuch karke mareya hai.. Sadda naa uccha karke gaya hai.. (He always wanted to die after doing something for the country. So many people die every day, but he has died for the country. He has gone after making us proud).”
Her other son, Sukhchain Singh who also serves in the Army, said that it was her mother’s act that gave the family strength to come to terms with the tragedy.
He said: “She is an Amritdhari (baptised Sikh). She is the strength of our family. She follows Sri Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings and that is why she did not think twice before giving shoulder to my brother’s coffin. She also helps my father in the fields. She is an iron lady whose strength has kept our family together in this tough time. We are so proud of her…Such big heart that she hid her tears and displayed this courage. No one can understand her pain of losing a son she raised but she is proud.. Our father is also proud of her.”
Also part of Satnam’s final journey was Ravinder Singh Vicky, general secretary, Shaheed Sainik Parivaar Suraksha Parishad. Vicky recalled watching similar scenes last year when another grieving mother gave a similar send-off to her Armyman son killed fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Machhil sector on July 27 last year.
Palwinder Kaur, the mother of Lance Naik Rajinder Singh (26) from village Pabbarali Kalan of Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, had led her son’s last journey from the front, giving shoulder to his coffin and raising slogans as loudly as she could: “Shaheed Rajinder Singh amar rahe…” The videos of the funeral procession were later widely shared on social media.
Dalwinder Singh, brother of Rajinder Singh, said, “My mother gave shoulder to my brother’s coffin because she wanted to give message to all mothers that they should not stop sending their sons to the Army. She is a very strong woman and felt peace in her heart after giving a farewell to him the way she wanted.”
About Satnam’s funeral procession, Vicky recalled: “I was standing at the front and when we were ready to take Satnam for last rites, and his mother came from behind and said to me that I also want to give shoulder to my son. I immediately told her to come ahead and do it. She and Satnam’s daughter were at the front. Last year, Rajinder’s mother did the same. She was so brave that she did not stop raising slogans for her son for a minute. I still wonder from where God gives so much strength to these mothers. It is not easy to take on your shoulders coffins of children whom you gave birth to. How often do we meet such mothers, who keep country above their personal loss and say final goodbyes with such poise.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines