Who do you want to spend your Diwali with?
Invariably, the answers to such a question lie in the word ‘the family’. Your memorable experiences of Diwali must be with your family. Family is the space most people want to celebrate their Diwali within. Again, for people stuck in work or study and other reasons and are away from home, it is their family that they miss most on occasions like Diwali.
When India celebrates Deepavali or Diwali in such an emotional context, there are our soldiers who are guarding our borders. They can’t always take leave. Because when they need to literally carry ‘fireworks’, they must do without fail and you really can’t predict when that moment comes.
Here is a person who is heading the nation for more than five years. Post-2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated each Diwali with the soldiers in the border.
In fact, one among many famous quotations attributed to the army says, “only the best of friends and the worst of enemies visit us”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that best of friends of the Indian army who made it a tradition to visit them on every Diwali.
The gesture may seem so simple yet it is so profound.
Let’s have a throwback of the Prime Minister’s Diwali moments with the army since 2014.
In 2014, PM Modi paid a surprise visit to Siachen to celebrate Diwali with soldiers posted at the world’s highest battlefield Siachen glacier and hailed the role of the armed forces in securing the country. The words he said on that day, “my coming to this place will not fill the void of your family members, but as a representative of 125 crore people… after being with you I feel proud and satisfied.”
In 2015, he visited the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa in Amritsar to have Diwali moments with the soldiers. He said, “It is because of your valour, dedication, and dreams that the whole world looks at India with respect. It is not only because of the uniform but character of the armed forces.”
In 2016, PM Modi celebrated Diwali with soldiers in a remote border area of Himachal Pradesh, adjoining the Chinese border. This was said to be the first visit of any Prime Minister to that area. He interacted with soldiers from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Dogra Scouts and the army at Sumdoh and also had some moments with the villagers.
The Prime Minister’s 2017 Diwali was spent with the soldiers in Gurez sector near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2018, PM visited ITBP personnel in the Harshil cantonment area near China border, he said: “The way a diya burns itself to light up the world you lead a hard life to spread the light of fearlessness all around.”
History will remember that a new tradition of sorts was added to India’s Diwali traditions with Narendra Modi’s ascent to the position of Prime Minister.