RANI PADMINI OF CHITTORGARH
I had the good fortune to serve in the Indian Army and had the opportunity to take part in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. During my school years, I was a student of Indian History and always performed exceedingly well in that subject. In 1962, when China launched a massive attack across our Himalayan frontier, I was a young college student and took part in a protest march to express my resentment. I participated in the National Cadet Corps training but I never had the physical strength and profile to qualify myself to join Army and fight a battle on behalf of my country. I went to Medical School and in the pre-final year, I was selected in an interview and was granted the rank of Second Lieutenant and joined the Army Medical Corps. I could join the battle in support of those brave and strong men who confront the enemy. Army Service gave me the opportunity to know people of this Land and their great traditions. I take pride in the fighting spirit of each one of them, to name a few, the Jat, the Rajput, the Sikh, the Dogra, the Garhwal, the Kumaon, the Gorkha, the Maratha, the Mahar and the Madras.
I contemplate on ideas of dignity, pride, honour and courage. I knew my men well. I know their strength as well as their fears. I understood that the word courage does not mean being fearless. I see courage as the ability to meet your challenge and perform your duty in spite of fear. The ability to conquer fear is courage and it is not the absence of fear.
If I have to choose one reason to claim that I am proud to be an Indian, I would give that credit to Rani Padmini. India has produced several great sons and daughters who are well-known for their accomplishments. I am proud because of Padmini’s faith in her own personal dignity and her decision to uphold her honour and integrity when she faced the challenge of fear induced by an impending outcome that she was unwilling to accept. Her monumental courage gives me the reason to claim that I am proud to be an Indian.
What you are is your essence and what you do is your existence. Man is a physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual being. Man’s essence is defined by the contents of his character and conduct. Rani Padmini had set values and had defined her existence in terms of those values that she had cherished. She had responded with a great sense of courage and had dissolved her physical existence to defend her essence; the sense of dignity and the sense of honor was her true nature, and her physical being merely existed to project her essence. She had declared her Victory over Death and her spirit, her essence, her true nature still lives in the hearts of Indians making her an immortal being.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.