It had been a quiet day at their home in Mumbai when Anuradha Gore had a difficult promise to make. Her son, Vinayak, a Captain in the 31st Medium Artillery Regiment, had learnt that he had been posted near the border, and that too, at the height of the insurgency in Kashmir. “Promise me you will not cry if something untoward happens,” Vinayak asked of her, “Remember you are a captain’s mother.”
It was while he was in school that Vinayak said he wanted to join the Army. His family encouraged him, and he started working towards that objective, excelling in academics and sports.
In 1992, he graduated as an officer from the IMA. He had returned to duty after a visit home when he was killed. Gore does not want to talk about it, but says, “There were different versions of the incident. I decided to just accept that my son was dead and not go into the details.”
In the 18 years since Vinayak died, the retired school principal has done her best to fulfil her oath. She has given talks to students and others on the Army, soldiers and their work. She has written columns in newspapers on the same. She has authored eight books in Marathi, most of them about soldiers, and is presently penning what could be the first book in this language on Siachen and what it takes to guard it. She has inspired a large number of young men and women in Maharashtra to join the Army.
Her first book, Waras hovu Abhimanyuche, published in 2009 and translated later into English, was on soldiers from Mumbai who had made the supreme sacrifice; its first chapter was on Vinayak. After that, came a book on stories from wars after 1947, and then another on individual heroism, followed by one specifically on the 1971 Indo-Pak war and yet another on stories of bravery.
Gore is stoic in her maternal sacrifice for the nation. “What happened was destiny,” she says, “There are very few women in India who can say they had a son like Vinayak who sacrificed himself for the country. But I don’t regret that Vinayak joined the Army.”