Like us, Nawang Kapadia was a proud Mumbaikar. Unlike many of us, he was a courageous Mumbaikar. A product of St. Xavierâ€™s Boysâ€™ Academy and the prestigious Jai Hind College, he too had his favourite haunts â€“ eating houses of Mohammedali Road, CafÃ© Noorani at Haji Ali.
Nawang could have settled for a comfortable place in the familyâ€™s successful business. But that would have been too limiting for him. Breaking away from a warm, friendly environment, he went to the Officersâ€™ Training Academy at Chennai to become an army officer. After all, â€œNawangâ€ in Nepali means â€œleader of menâ€. He was born to leadâ€¦and lead he did, as a Lieutenant in the legendary 4/3 Gorkha Rifles Regiment.
That was hardly 2 months back. Just turned 24 years of age, Nawang, the Mumbaikar, responded to the call of duty like any patriotic Indian. And so, his first â€œactiveâ€ posting was near the LoC in Kashmir. His task was cut out â€“ to flush out the mercenaries who had infiltrated into Indian territory to indulge in yet another round of murder and mayhem.
Nawang had a strong fighting spirit. Seeing his junior wounded by gunfire, he went to his rescue. But fate determined otherwise. Nawang became a martyr from mercenary gunfire.
But Nawang is not a statistic. He is the very embodiment of the spirit that makes the Indian armed forces so fiercely protective of their motherland.
In our daily rush to earn a living, let us not forget some of our valiant Mumbaikars. Youngsters like Nawang Kapadia who have befriended Mother Courage to take on the task of protecting the motherland. Because like others in his regiment, he too firmly believed in the Gorkha motto: â€œKafar Bhanda, marnu jatiâ€ â€“ better to die in valour than to live in cowardice.
Let us light a lamp in remembrance of Nawang and countless others, because of whom we breathe in peace.