On July 31, 2007. Colonel Vasanth led the 9th Maratha Infantry against militants in the Uri sector of Kashmir.
After a bitter battle, he was martyred. He was just 40 years old then.
He was survived by his wife Subhashini and two daughters.
He was awarded Ashok Chakra (Posthumous) for his gallant act and supreme sacrifice and was the first person from the state of Karnataka to receive this honor.
Subhashini Vasanth is a Bharatanatyam dancer who holds a graduate degree in Psychology, Literature and Journalism.
A few months after Vasanth's martyrdom, Subhashini started the Vasantharatna Foundation for Arts to realize the dream both of them had discussed many times when he was alive.
Dance had always been Subashini’s 'partner' from the age of five and, at that time of grief, it became her 'anchor'. She chose to overcome her grief by trying to help women like her and continuing with her passion.
She says that youngsters should have a hobby which they do just for the passion and not to earn money or fame. It can give peace of mind that is more important than earning money.
Subhashini's aim was to use the foundation to help the widows of the jawans in all possible ways. When she was with Vasanth, the army officers' wives used to meet every month; they also met the jawan's families. She noticed that she never had an opportunity to meet the wives of the martyrs; they were not part of the regular system.
She found that the army reached out to the martyr's families only on certain occasions when they were called and honored for their husband's services. Though it is not a deliberate attempt, the wives and families are forgotten soon after the person's martyrdom
Subhashini used to have long chats with her husband on the kind of life the wives had to live once their husbands died in battle. When he was the commanding officer, they had an opportunity to meet a jawan's widow in Belgaum, Karnataka.
"It really moved me to see how the young woman, who had two small children, was trying to cope with life. Being a widow in rural India is not easy; it is tough to overcome the stigma. She may come to terms with the tragedy but the society does not allow her to be her real self."
This bothered Subhashini so much that she told Vasanth of her desire to handhold them and change the social perception about widows. The couple decided to start an organization to help these women and their families. But, before they could, tragedy struck Subhashini.
Once the Vasantharatna Foundation got some funds, the first initiative Subhashini took was to provide education scholarships to children whose fathers were martyred. They chose 20 children from the age group of 5-15.
When Subhashini found out that the government also provides this kind of support, the Foundation decided to help the families do the paper work to get government fund. The Foundation, meanwhile, continues to help 50 children pursue higher education.
The foundation has now started a programme called 'Gift a Birthday' where they send gifts of a gram of gold and flowers to the mothers, and chocolates and a pen and pencil set to the children on their birthdays. The families were touched by this gesture; most of the widows confided to Subhashini that, after the death of their husbands, nobody had bothered to even remember their birthdays.
As she helped these widows shed the shackles imposed by society and discover themselves, she realized that it helped her too. It helped her voice her opinion loudly which otherwise was difficult for her.
For the last four years, through the cultural programme 'Salute to Heroes', she tried to raise funds for the foundation from the public and raise awareness about what the army men are doing.
Now that the foundation is spreading its wings to Tamil Nadu, it is Subhashini's dream to arrange camps all over the country and take the 'Gift a Birthday' initiative across India as this one gesture touched the mundane lives of the widows and their children the most.
Today, she teaches dance, performs, takes care of her old mother-in-law and parents, guides her two teenage daughters and takes care of the Foundation.
Chillzee salutes her noble heart and good ambitions!
When we get a chance let us let us lend our hands and help / support widows of army / navy / Air force men... They have sacrificed their lives for our well-being and it is our duty to support their families!
*Content created with reference from various online resources.