DEHRADUN: Barely touching 21, Baba Danish Langer, from Jammu’s Akhnoor, a region that remains under routine shelling from Pakistan, is now a Lieutenant.
But Langer’s fight is more than a fistful of stoicism as he has become India’s rare Army officer who suffers from Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a life-threatening paralysis in which the immune system attacks the nerves.
On Saturday, Langer became one of the 288 officers to be inducted into the Indian Army at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun
“He wanted an Indian Army uniform and aimed guns at enemies. He is inspired by revolutionary Shaheed Bhagat Singh who once said ‘Banduken bo raha hoon’ (I am sowing guns),” proud mother Anju Langer, who worked as a junior engineer in the state power department, tells The New Indian.
The New Indian correspondent was present to report on the induction ceremony at IMA.
For a man in his early 20s, Langer who could beat GBS-induced paralysis, a condition that is triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection, within six months, he keeps his emotions under check.
“I was able to realize my dreams with the blessings of God, elders, support of my friends, mentors and the Indian Army. Medical science, discipline and following the routine help me get through,” says Langer, almost giving a mock punch in the air.
GBS affects less than one lakh cases per year in India and is categorised as ‘rare’ in India by medical experts. This is why medicos are pleasantly shocked at the remarkable rise of Langer.
“GBS is a rare disease which develops due to acute bacterial or viral infection. The condition often leads to paralysis. Apart from physiotherapy and medicines, it is up to the person to fight this and get out of the condition. It’s indeed a triumph to overcome this disease and come out with flying colours at IMA,” Dr Ajay Khanna, a Dehradun-based neurologist, said.
What has also lifted the spirits of Langer’s family is her persistence to set aside seniors’ fears and inhibitions and become a hero of sorts back home where locals routinely battle shelling and face a constant struggle to search bunkers.
I am proud of my son. The way he handled personal adversity at such a young age is commendable. Many people give up and think of alternatives. But he never had a second option in his mind other than the Army,” recollects Rajesh, his father, a 55-year-old soil conservation officer in the agricultural department.
“He also cracked the entrance examination of Sainik School in Nagrota, Jammu while he was in class six. His grandmother didn’t allow him to go then. But now he has accomplished his dreams and made us all proud,” he adds.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Lt Langer looked at the elements.
“I request all aspirants to give their best and never give up. Do not let anyone or anything cut you short from achieving the goal you have set in life,” says the officer.