"If the cause be just and mind be strong,
No force is great, No distance long,
If selfless souls with such a strength,
Face hazards all, they win at length."
This was written in a diary by Dr RS Suri, father of Major Ashok Suri captured in the 1971 war. The Army had declared Major Suri as "Killed in action". Then on December 26, 1974, RS Suri received a hand-written note dated December 7, 1974 from his son. The letter contained a slip in which his son had written, "I am okay here."
The covering note read, "Sahib, valaikumsalam, I cannot meet you in person. Your son is alive and he is in Pakistan. I could only bring his slip, which I am sending you. Now going back to Pak." Signed by M Abdul Hamid, the note carried the postmark of New Delhi, December 31, 1974.
In August, 1975, he received another letter dated June 14/15/16, 1975, Karachi. It said, "Dear Daddy, Ashok touches thy feet to get your benediction. I am quite ok here. Please try to contact the Indian Army or Government of India about us. We are 20 officers here. Don't worry about me. Pay my regards to everybody at home, specially to mummy, grandfather – Indian government can contact Pakistan government for our freedom."
The then defence secretary had the handwriting confirmed as Maj Suri's and changed the official statement from "killed in action" to "missing in action"!