Coronavirus Pandemic

Fallen warrior: A final farewell

Bikram Vohra/Dubai
Filed on June 15, 2020 | Last updated on June 15, 2020 at 11.19 am
Lt Gen RM Vohra Pvsm, Mvc, ADC, Hodson's Horse, covid-19, coronavirus
Lieutenant General Raj Mohan Vohra

The Covid-19 has also wrecked the Hodson family from engaging in the pomp and ceremony of a military farewell.

Hodson's Horse is one of the oldest regiments in the Indian army. Since its inception in 1858, it has seen action on several occasions including both world wars. On June 14, it lost its most senior officer.

Lt Gen RM Vohra Pvsm, Mvc, ADC let go of the rope at the military base hospital in New Delhi after a warrior's battle.

The third of four real brothers, all of whom made the rank of General, his loss to the regiment is tangible. The Covid-19 probably got him while he was recovering from a cardiac procedure in the hospital.

The Covid-19 has also wrecked the Hodson family from engaging in the pomp and ceremony of a military farewell. That vital healing balm of hurt minds when comrades gather to salute their own. When the honour guard raises its weapons and the volley echoes against the buglers sounding the hair-raising notes of the last post the closure is marked with pride and the grief has in it a catharsis. For a brief, shining moment those bent with pain stand up straight.

But that damn Covid-19 has turned everything into a bizarre nightmare. The new rules allow for two mourners at the funeral. The waiting list at the cremation grounds is like a bus queue with a waiting time of 10 hours. The fallen warrior's children are stuck in a red zone in Mumbai and cannot reach the Indian capital. His wife is disallowed from visiting the hospital or seeing him. No one can get to her because she is in quarantine and the apartment blocked for all visitors for all reasons. She is truly, brutally alone. Family that would have flown from the various corners of Earth to bid farewell to the patriarch now weep on WhatsApp and share their agony on Zoom.

This is what we have come to, reduced by a virus to zombies and no sign of end to this rocky road.

And to the fallen soldier we will say:

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late
And how can man die better
Then facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods.

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