Speaking in what appears to be an interview, the Indian Army officer recounts how he reacted when asked about his religion during his early days in the Special Forces.
"...When I was commissioned and when I joined Special Forces, I was asked by my NCO 'what is your religion? What is your caste?' I said, 'Hindu Rajput'. He said, 'bloody chap, take a dip in that dirty water!' I went and took a dip. Then I realised (I had said) something wrong," Colonel Shekhawat says in the video of the interview shared on Twitter by Captain Raghu Raman.
The second time round, the officer had a different response - the one that is winning him praise on Twitter.
"Again he asked. Then I said, 'my religion is SF (Special Forces), my caste is SF'. He then told me that you're an officer. So your religion is the religion of your boys... As an officer, you're an everything. If you apply this kind of template in the country, most of the problems will be solved. All the religions are there, all the classes and clans are together. Still they are one unit," Colonel Shekhawat said.
Shared on Twitter Wednesday morning, the clip is in wide circulation for its message on unity.
It is not clear when the officer made these comments, but the minute-long clip gained traction on Wednesday with over 51,000 views, nearly 3,000 retweets and almost 5,000 favourites on Twitter.
If you had to listen to one man today. #OneTalkTodayWhy - In one minute he gives a lesson more powerful than all politicians put together @atahasnain53@rwac48@rajeev_mp@email@example.com/J08KCE0KGA- Raghu Raman (@captraman) February 7, 2018
Who - Col SS Shekhawat, CO 21 Special Forces, the most decorated serving officer.
Many chimed in with Colonel Shekhawat's view on Indian army's "secular and pluralistic" nature.
So true. Served in a pure Khalsa squadron for 10 years, consider myself as much a Sikh as a Hinduhttps://t.co/GLo79QDeDf- Rohit Agarwal (@ragarwal) February 7, 2018
The faith of the troops is the faith of the officer. When ever the nation has doubts about itself it should just turn to its Armed Forces because there if anything changes it only changes for the better. SSS spoke at JC Wing too and inspired many officers https://t.co/wuXsu61O5w- Syed Ata Hasnain (@atahasnain53) February 7, 2018
I can say very confidently - that is a thought process of not only the men in uniform, but of their entire families too- kayvee (@vee5712) February 7, 2018
So, finally some positive on Twitter. We really need more of these. Thanks a bunch- Kabi Ranjan (@meinhunkabi) February 7, 2018
Salute. Wish everyone could get the ethics of an army officer- nazma parveen (@nazmaaman) February 7, 2018
Saw this point covered in one of your TED talks too. Very simply put across by the Colonel.- Subhash Pais (@Subhash_ati9) February 7, 2018
Colonel Shekhawat has three gallantry awards to his name - Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and Sena Medal. He was also awarded the Vishisht Sena Medal.
A member of the 21st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), Colonel Shekhawat has vast experience in counter terrorist and counter insurgency operations in the North and North East. An avid mountaineer, he has climbed a total of 17 peaks; he has climbed the Mount Everest three times.
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