Mettle Proved, Medal Gained!

The Central Government had disposed off my case for gallantry medal for RAM SHAM operation on the grounds of delayed submission.  During my stint at Dhule I had become acquainted with Mr. Kishore Patil.  My friend Sham Sunder Shinde told the whole story of my medal to Mr. Kishor Patil & Mrs. Pushpatai Patil.  Mr. Patil took me to see Mr. Shankarrao Chavan who was then the Union Minister of Home Affairs

I narrated the whole tale and showed him the bullet scars of on my chest.  I also presented him my book “Bhiwandi Riots 1984”.  One of my well wisher Mr. Govindrao Chikhalikar had also briefed the Minister.  I had also presented copies of both my books to Shri Shivajirao Patil, MP.  He had quoted my book “Bhiwandi Riots 1984” in his address on communal riots in the Rajya Sabha and was also kind enough to have a word with Mr. Shankarrao Chavan.  My medal case was revived and referred to the relevant Committee for revision and reassessment.  The Committee remarked that the case qualified for the medal honour, but the citation was delayed.  The Minister fortunately took a favourable stand and observed that the delay was owing to the reason for which the beneficiary cannot be blamed for and also the incomplete citation is not the fault of the claimant for the medal.

Thanks to the Minister, finally, after 12 years I was awarded the medal.  The delayed justice reminded me of the old Hindi cliché about God,  “Der Hai Lekin Andher Nahin” (there is a delay, not darkness).  But the amount of pain, torture and struggle I went through for what was my just due had been tremendous and for a fleeting moment I even contemplated going with the flow as a mediocre policeman’s life.  But only for a moment!  Born and brought up on a farm in drought land we had never given up against ruthless nature, and I wasn’t about to that now.

Perhaps far more painful was the fact that by then my mother was no more.  If she were, she would have simply gone crazy with joy and would have told everybody she met, “Look, however belated, finally God heard our prayers!  My Suresh has honoured the family name!