Last year, this day, India lost 40 CRPF jawans to a ghastly attack in Pulwama. While the nation remembers the bravehearts lost to the attack, there's a man who spent the entire year travelling across the country, collecting soil from the homes of slain jawans in a single earthen pot.
40-year-old Bengaluru-based singer, Umesh Gopinath Jadhav was returning home after attending a music concert in Ajmer, when he saw the news of the attack on the CRPF convoy at the Jaipur airport on 14th February 2019.
In that moment, he decided to do something for the martyrs and their families and set out on a journey to meet the families of all the jawans.
The motive of his trip was to collect soil from the homes of the 40 soldiers we lost. The 61,000 km journey, which he also calls 'pilgrimage', just ended last week.
Talking to TOI, Jadhav explained what the trip meant to him. He said:
I spent 2019 collecting soil from outside the homes of each jawan who lost his life. It's all here... in this urn.
From locating the bereaving families in the interior locations to struggling to fund his trip, Jadhav faced a lot of challenges. But he kept going because he wanted to keep the memories of the jawans alive.
Jadhav has been invited as the only special guest at a commemoration ceremony hosted for the martyred jawans in Srinagar.
He also hopes that his children derive inspiration from this act of his and join the defence forces in future.