Articles >> Martyrdom and Motivation

Martyrdom and Motivation

Something to Die For
by Dr. Kaushal Chhatrapati
Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Today morning, whilst going through the social networking feeds on my Blackberry, I came across the a post by my school friend Sonam Kapadia. He had mentioned the address of a website created by the Kapadia family, in the memory of Nawang Kapadia, his younger brother and a soldier for the Indian army, who had attained martyrdom shortly after joining the army.( Apart from being an extremely humbling experience, going through that website proved out to be an eye-opener, not only about the stoic bravado with which the family in question faced the loss, but also about certain basic motivators which mould the lives of ordinary citizens into something far more meaningful and extraordinary.

My memories of the Kapadia brothers is somewhat rusty. Both shifted the school when I was studying in the seventh standard, and we have not been in touch since. Sonam and I share our Birthday, so we both wish each other on Facebook every year, but that is about it. My memories of Nawang, were of a cherubic, mischievous and a playful lad, so I was not really prepared for a handsome , fit and athletic figure which I saw in the photographs on the website. Moreover, being from the timid Gujarati community, this is the only guy whom I knew personally who had joined the army, not to mention achieved martyrdom too .I understood from the website, that Nawang had shunned a life of comfort (his father had owned an upmarket cloth store-he could have lived a luxurious life had he not joined the army). But the spirit of adventure which he had inherited from his mountaineer parents did not let him remain content within the confines of “the air conditioned prison” –to paraphrase his own words. And so, he joined the army and valiantly sacrificed his life fighting terrorists.

Most of us do not understand why people lay down their lives fighting for their country. Frankly, I wouldn’t do it. So why would someone-someone who ostensibly had all the comforts of modern living-do it? What follows is my attempt to understand and explain the driving force behind most human actions-that elusive and enigmatic word: “motivation”

In today’s day and age, martyrdom almost looks like a foolish thing to do: Why would somebody give up his life for a country when the politicians don’t think twice before indulging in massive corruption and selling the very idea of a nation to the highest bidder? But yet, every single day, people are laying down their life for the country: Fighting insurgency, terrorism and even petty criminals. Why? There is no logical answer to that. But luckily, there is a breed of individuals amongst us, who do not have the “conventional” ambitions. For whom a comfortable life in an AC cabin, and a fat wad of money to take home are not powerful enough as motivators. For whom the idea of self-worth is not measured by what they make, but by what difference they make. For whom passion is a driving force and compromise is not an option. Nobody likes to die, but if one is passionate about protecting our country, death is merely a “professional hazard”. Nawang was one such individual. Hemant Karkare , Major Unnikrishnan and countless others wear the same hat.

Economists consider money as one of the most powerful motivators. I disagree. It may be the most common motivator .For the vast majority of us lesser mortals, it may be the only motivator. But the quality of its motivation is somewhat suspect. Consider this: Money may make you drag yourself up from your bed and head to work on a chilly morning, but will it push you to fight crazed terrorists with the latest weapons, without as much as a bulletproof vest? I don’t think so. You need to be hardwired with a different set of motivations to be capable to do that.

This world has metamorphosed into a scary place. People are judged by the number of zeros on their monthly paycheck. By the car that they drive. By the address they live at. Porn stars and exhibitionists are the new celebrities. Item girls are offered obscene amounts of money to shake their booty at New Year parties. It is easy to get carried away by all this glamour and glitz. But, none of these so-called celebrities , I believe has ever changed the world. Only people with extraordinary passion can do that. Passion which is deeply rooted into one’s core value set. A passion for which no price is too great. A passion which justifies the phrase “to die for…”