Four months ago, Major Kamlesh Mani went on a normal patrol in Chanjmula village in Handwara area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district when he met a 16-year-old sociable teenager. Mani hands him a piece of chocolate and this is where the friendship between Mani and Gawhar is laid.
Gawhar comes from a large family of 9 people, among which 4, including himself, his sister, father and uncle, are deaf and mute.
“I met Gowhar Mir recently. He spoke to me by heart and I got his every word from his body language despite he was unable to speak like us”, expressed the officer
Kamalesh brought the boy to the army camp a few days later and gave him a pair of shoes as a gift. The Gauhur Mir brought a basket of apples and gave it to Kamalesh. Kamalesh, who met Mir’s family one day, assured him that he would pay for his education and medical expenses. The boy’s family was overjoyed at Major’s words.
However, going to that village where the threat of militants is high is extremely dangerous. One Colonel, a Major and three soldiers were killed in a heavy encounter there this year.
Mir was initially admitted to a school in Baramulla but was later admitted to another school in Handwara due to difficulties there. Mir is currently in ninth grade. Major also bought a smartphone for Mir.
Mani said, ‘After meeting his family, I decided to bear his (Mir’s) education expenses and also decided to pay medical expenses when needed. The family became very emotional, but they were very happy that someone wanted to help them. ‘
Kamalesh Mani completed his education at the Military School in Bangalore and trained at the National Defense Academy in Pune. He was awarded the Presidential Medal in 2013 at the Indian Military Academy. Kamalesh handed over the medal to the school, which he thought would belong to the school that made him.
Major revealed that even though it is the most problematic village, no threats have been received so far and all the villagers are cooperating with him. He said he had made a small effort and hoped that people’s thinking would change. Mir has a 70 per cent disability and has been assured that he will be treated even if the chances of hearing are slim. He said he would be taken to Delhi soon.
Major Mani was commissioned in December 2013 and has been posted in Chanjmula for a year along with 21 Rashtriya Rifles Regiment.
On being asked from the boy about his aim, he pointed out towards the officer and expressed “I want to become like him”