A big Salute to all the serving, their wives and to their Parents from my Husband Veteran Sqn. Ldr Parvez Jamasji, VrC, and me, His wife, Zarin Jamasji
The reason to address the wives of the uniformed, that too unsolicited, is perhaps due to the inclination of being the “Mother Hen” to many new spouses that came into various IAF stations. Yes, I too was a young Bombay girl, having no exposure to fauji lifestyle when I got married to this young pilot of the IAF in the 1960s. Straight from a Bombay flat, my home turned to a “basha”, next to a runway, in the middle of a jungle clearing, in the North East, where I was nurtured, and in time I did my share of nurturing.
My writing will seem heartless and perhaps, some may blame me for advising without being in the thick of ‘it’. Let me assure you, that we have been in the thick of ‘it’ and that’s where my resolve, today at the age of wrinkles, makes me want to, sort of, guide you.
I have seen a few posters of the young and middle aged, being showcased as families of the uniformed, saying they are “against war,” “against escalation”. The cliché is always ,”The soldier’s family saying so”. This is ammunition for those irresponsible citizens who don’t care about the uniformed nor about the ‘Ombres’ and the ‘Unni’ who specifically laid down their lives to save the placard holders. They are using you, who are and will be in the thick of war at some point, to break the nations resolve, to not stop war per se, but stop the ongoing war from touching them
Who is being made a war widow daily? Isn’t it from one of ours itself? It is, and so, why are we in denial of the ongoing war? If we from within continue to do so, the war widow who seeks our solace, will then find us to be her biggest calamity, the ones that are lucky, denying the efforts of those wives who are not so lucky due to a bullet marking her husband dead.
Whilst I do not propagate war, I also do not deny the reality of an ongoing war. It has taken a huge toll. Yes, we have every right to tell the street dancer proposing war, to go to war himself, yet the truth may also reflect on the fact that such posts by us, then in reality, endanger our serving family members even more so by distraction of a confused nation and more so, a family not strong enough. It also endangers the war widow, as she then is a widow but not a “war” widow, as the nation is not at war, though war marked her husband.
The policies of tying the hands of our fighting men, restricting them from taking appropriate action in a war zone, the lack of armament, is due to the nation’s denial of being at war; the lack of a nation’s backing is another anomaly suiting only the citizen not wanting “war at his car” and, of course, the adversary that wages the war against us.
Dear Ladies, it was in the evening of early October 1971, watching a movie at a military station that my husband left his seat, to come back in a few minutes, ask me to pack up and he left. It was only in January 1972, that I heard about him, through a newspaper that he was awarded the VrC. It was much later that I heard from him.
What if at that time, I saw a few Indians, sloganeering against the combat missions of my husband and those of My IAF? War had not even been officially declared and the resolve to help my husband achieve his goal would be dented if a neighbouring wife placarded a“NO war” board.
To satisfy those who will troll me due to this, let me state that since October that evening, my husband was with the S.F.F/Force 22 in East Pakistan. And to those who say, its different now, Let me cite a line from the his VrC citation: “This officer bought back his chopper with bullet holes EVERY TIME”.
My husband had prepared me for the worst. He too was bodily harmed by shrapnels, a bleeding flying overall told him so on landing that evening. Lack of assets, yet a nation’s backing made him fly the very next day too.
I have seen very close friends not come back, I have consoled wives and I had my share of being consoled too. What made us defeat a difficult challenge, was the “OLQ” (Officer Like Qualities) in us, but still better, what made our husbands do without fear, was their belief in the OLQ in us.
In ’72, I was handed over a small note. I asked almighty to not take away my husband who had sustained himself three months in the enemy territory. Parvez was involved in a crash at high altitude. Wreckage was being located. Bhatta (Wing Commander Bhatacharya) started his chopper, telling me not to worry. I knew it could be bad. I was told not to worry, I was thankfully NOT told by wives and kids, that the mission was useless, that my husband could be no more, for an ungrateful nation dipping and dripping from the lust of a political drain.
My husband returned, his pride intact and he had ensured that none of the troops in his chopper was hurt or left behind. I too was beaming with happiness. The “Pinjas’ cheered us that evening. Imagine a placard denting our resolve thrust in my face that evening.
Ladies, War WILL engage your husband! At that time, there is no greater power to strengthen our bones, than the backing of a nation. Booing our own, breaking their resolve, diverting the minds of our own husbands towards thoughts of a wavering mind of a wife, or a nation, is a sure shot way of weakening him, especially when he is in harm’s way.
Dear Madams, this OLQ is our strength, which will aid you, even when you arrive at my stage.
Sorry for the unsolicited advice once again. Jai Hind.
Jai Hind Ki Sena
Zarin Jamasji has worked with Tatas before her marriage and later taught in several schools at various Air Force Stations. At present, she is a Financial Advisor with Max Life Insurance.