Rakshabandhan with the Army on the high lands of Ladakh

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By Nikita Abhyankar

Every year on Rakshabandhan and Bhaidooj, I go jumping to my brother, superficially choosing these days to celebrate our relationship. Some cynics always commented, “Why do you need a day to celebrate love for your brother?”

I would have remained oblivious to the answer for my question had I not come across an article on Lakshya Foundation, and how its founder is assisting civilians to Ladakh for Rakshabandhan.

My chat with the founder President of this NGO, Anuradha Prabhudesai, was short and yet it left me lingering with thoughts of soldiers living at the border in extreme conditions so we could live a life of peace in our cozy urban houses.

(Photo: lakshyafoundation.co.in)

“We don’t know what’s going on around us. What about the unsung heroes?” says Anuradha with a sincere concern in her voice.

For Anuradha, it all started with a leisure trip to the war-ravaged town of Drass in 2004 with her husband and friends when she first spotted an army caption that read, ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lay down for the country.’

Paramveer Chakra awardee
With Paramveer Chakra awardee (Kargil War) Yogendra Singh Yadav (Photo: lakshyafoundation.co.in)

It was perhaps this hard-hitting line that made Anuradha go back to Ladakh in 2005 during Rakshabandhan when she tied rakhis to the soldiers and distributed home-made food. The heart-warming response from the army men inspired her to go back almost every year. Eventually civilians, who believed in the idea of Lakshya Foundations also joined her.

(Photo: lakshyafoundation.co.in)

This year she released the 2nd edition of the book, ‘Salute to our heroes – 10 inspiring stories of Kargil braveheart’, on Kargil Vijay Diwas (26th July).

Over the years, Anuradha’s bond with the soldiers has only become stronger with her annual visits to Kargil. She has taken over 500 civilians to Ladakh, giving them first-hand experience of an Army-life and conducting get-togethers of Army wives and war-widows.

(Photo: lakshyafoundation.co.in)

This Rakshabandhan, the least we could do is spare a thought for those living away from their loved ones for us to sleep peacefully with our families.

Watch: Are you a dangerous optimist? | Anuradha Prabhudesai

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