It has been a decade and nine days since the historic capture of the Tiger Hill at Kargil. July 8, 1999 will remain in our hearts and minds and in the pages of history... for the patriotism, bravery, valour, daring, courage, dedication and the never say die attitude of our brave soldiers. Our best, nay... our best of the best... who did their duty for their motherland, and continue to do so... come what may.
Their willingness to make the supreme sacrifice for their country, their motherland... the land of their birth, the same land where their ancestors were born, raised and went back to... are the stuff that legends are made of. These young men... rather boys, gave their today, to protect us, gave their today... to secure our tomorrow. They still inspire others to take their place and stand guard... so that we can continue to sleep in peace. Let us not forget this even for a moment and crib that we lead 'ordinary', 'mundane' lives... 'coz the life we lead... comes at a very high price, indeed. Of several lives... sacrificed at the altar of patriotism. Of several families losing a loved one... a son, a husband, a brother, a father, an uncle... over the years, so that we 'ordinary' souls can go to: school, college, picnics, theatre, classes, work, watch TV, watch a match, play games, celebrate festivals, read books, attend functions, go to the market... and so on... without fear.
These brave sons of this great country... sacrifice a 'normal' life... the 'mundane' ones that we lead... stay away from their families and loved ones, for days on end... to stand vigil at our borders and coastlines... protecting their home... and ours... this land called "Bharatvarsha". A quote by Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra, PVC... one of the martyrs of the Kargil War, come to my mind: "Our flag flies high. It does not matter if I come home wrapped in it." Profound and heroic words, indeed... from a brave and great man. But, he was still so young... only 25.
There were several of them, all young men snuffed out in the prime of their lives. Shaheed Lt. Saurabh Kalia - of the 4 JAT Regiment (Infantry), he was the first martyr in the Kargil War. In the first fortnight of May 1999, he went out for patrol duty three times in the Kaksar area of Kargil. He observed and reported large-scale intrusion of Pak Army and foreign mercenaries in the Indian side of LoC (Kargil). He assumed guard of "Bajrang Post" at the height 13,000-14,000 feet to check the infiltration along with 5 soldiers in the Kaksar area. On May 15, 1999, after a continuous cross fire with Pakistan armed forces from across the LoC, he and his troops ran out of ammunition. It is also believed that their signal instrument was out of order, or not working in those conditions. They were finally encircled by a platoon of Pakistan rangers and captured alive before any Indian reinforcement could reach for their help. They were in their captivity for over twenty-two (May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999) days and subjected to unprecedented brutal torture as evident from their bodies handed over by the Pakistan Army on June 9, 1999.
Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav - of 18 Grenadiers, in the early morning hours of 4 July 1999 was part of the Commando 'Ghatak' Platoon tasked to capture three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill. He was instrumental in capturing the strategic Tiger Hill during the Kargil War. He was only a boy, yes... a mere boy of 19. Yet, he performed a feat that millions of men-in-arms only dream of - a dream that becomes a reality for only a handful. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra - the country's highest military honour for valour. The sole survivor of an attack on Tiger Hill, he took 15 bullets in the process of clearing two bunkers. His arm broken, he rolled down the hill to warn of an impending attack.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar - of the 13 JAK Rifles, who killed five enemy personnel, lifting a machine gun while having been hit by a bullet in the thigh muscle, lobbying a grenade and clearing an important army post in "Operation Vijay"... and all this, while capturing an army post in the Mushkoh Valley. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra and is only one of a handful of personnel to be conferred this highest military award. He was once a taxi driver who was rejected thrice by the army. Ordinary men in extraordinary moments. This truly is the stuff of heroism. But heroism is more than adulation and celebration. It leaves behind a legacy that transcends the hero. Kargil has done that. The Rajputs in Sanjay's native village have a tradition of sending their men to the army since the days of the British. "Our lands may be barren but they are fertile grounds for warriors," says ex-serviceman Shadi Lal, 72. Sanjay's exploits and subsequent decoration has only increased the recruitment to the army from the area... it is a celebration of tradition.
"Ya toh Tiranga lehrake awunga, ya fir Tirange mein lipta huwa awunga, lekin awunga" (Either I will come back after hoisting the Indian flag, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure) - Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra, PVC. He fought with exceptional bravery and courage, which is rarely seen. Captain Vikram Batra, of the 13 JAK Rifles, and his 'Delta Company' were given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed 'Sher Shah' ('Lion King' in Hindi) for his unstinting courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the steep rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun. The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. He was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, "Jai Mata Di" ('Hail the Divine Mother'). Even in death, Capt. Batra has kept alive Kangra's valiant fighting tradition. For Palampur, the decoration (Batra's PVC) has come as a blow softener. The town was initially outraged when Pakistan sent back the mutilated body of its son, Lieutenant Saurabh Kalia. With Capt. Batra's heroics... it was the birth of another legend and the continuation of it's glorious martial tradition.
He has set an example before the youth of our nation, which shall inspire generations to come. In recognition of his gallant act, 'Point 4875' has now been renamed as 'Captain Vikram Batra Top'. He has received all credit for capturing this vital peak from his Commanding Officer, Colonel Y.K. Joshi, 13 JAK Rifles. For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest medal for gallantry, posthumously. Batra's Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!), erstwhile a popular slogan for a Pepsi commercial, became an iconic battle cry that swept across the country and remains popular with millions of Indians. It is invoked at patriotic public events, in memory of the war and the soldiers, and as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Indian patriotism and valour in the face of future attacks.
Shaheed Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey - of 1/11 Gurkha Rifles, he forced back the intruders from the Batalik sector on 11 June 1999. He led his men to recapture the Jubar Top, a feature of great operational importance. But his finest hour was in the capture of Khalubar in the early morning hours of 3 July 1999. On the night of 2/3 July 1999, the battalion's progress on to its final objective, was halted by a determined enemy firmly entrenched on commanding heights. Clearing it was critical as the battalion faced the prospect of being day lighted in a vulnerable area. Lieutenant Pandey stepped forward to take on the mission. Quickly sizing up the situation, the young officer led his platoon along a narrow, treacherous ridge that led to the enemy position. While still short of the objective, the enemy fired upon the Indian soldiers effectively stalling the Indian attack. Displaying great courage, he surged ahead of his troops and charged at the enemy with a full throated battle cry through a hail of bullets. His last words were, "Na Chodnu" (Don't Spare Them). He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his courage and leadership during adverse times, posthumously.
Shaheed Captain Anuj Nayyar - a junior officer of the 17 Jat Regiment, he displayed indomitable resolve, grit and determination and motivated his command by personal example, acting beyond the call of duty. He set a fine example in conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice. Anuj's 'Charlie Company' was tasked to capture an objective which was part of the Pimple Complex on the western slopes of Point 4875, at a height of 16,250 feet. At the beginning of the attack, the Company Commander got injured and the command of the company fell on Captain Anuj Nayyar. The enemy, which was well entrenched, brought heavy volume of automatic fire. Captain Nayyar, unmindful of his personal safety, motivated his men and cleared two more bunkers. While clearing the fourth bunker, an enemy RPG shell killed him on the spot. In this action, Captain Nayyar killed nine enemy soldiers and destroyed three medium machine gun bunkers of the enemy. The success of this operation, after a brief setback, was largely due to the outstanding personal bravery and exemplary combat skills of the young Captain. He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest gallantry award, for his heroics.
Naik Digendra Kumar - is a recipient of the Nation's second highest wartime gallantry award, the Mahavir Chakra - awarded to him on 15th August 1999, for his acts of bravery in the Kargil War in recapturing Tololing hill on 13 June 1999. He retired from 2 Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army on 31 July 2005. He was the Best Commando of the Indian army and had acquired the skill to hit a target on the basis of only sound. Digendra was commander of the Light Machine Gun Group during his company's assault on Tololing feature in Dras Sector. The objective was to capture a well-fortified enemy post located in a treacherous high altitude terrain at over 15000 feet. Major Vivek Gupta of 2 Rajputana Rifles, and his Company was given the task of recapturing Point 5490. On 13 June 1999, when the Assault Group was nearing its objective it came under effective enemy fire of a well-concealed universal machine gun and heavy machine gun leading to heavy casualties in the Assault Group. Naik Digendra Kumar was hit by a bullet in his left arm. Undaunted and unmindful of his own injury, Naik Digendra Kumar kept firing with one hand and brought down some effective and accurate Light Machine Gun fire on the enemy. His accurate fire kept the enemy's head down while his own men advanced towards the objective. Finally, under his effective covering fire, his troops physically assaulted the enemy position and cleared it after a hand to hand fight. Despite being seriously wounded, it was due to his courageous action that the Assault Group could finally capture the objective. Retaking Tololing was truly the turning point of the war. Finally, Digendra with great difficulty could reach the top, recapture the hill and put the Indian tri-colour on it... on 13 June 1999 at four o'clock in the morning. The Indian Army reached Tololing peak early in the morning and found heaps of dead soldiers. The Indian tri-colour flag was hoisted and on its side was Naik Digendra Kumar in an unconscious state with the cut head of Major Anwar Khan of the Pakistan Army in his hand.
Shaheed Major Vivek Gupta - of 2 Rajputana Rifles, was leading a dangerous uphill assault against entrenched intruders. He captured two bunkers before being cut down. Vivek died on June 12 after capturing two difficult posts on the wind-swept, icy slopes of the Drass sector. He perished on the battlefront when a fusillade of bullets from the Pakistanis tore open his torso, but not before he and his company men had slain seven members in the enemy camp. Death came swiftly, said a colleague, who saw Vivek mowed down by that first burst from a bunker and from the hills. Death can be very lonely in Kargil. The major lay in the snow alongside dead colleagues for two days. It was only on June 15 that a team could keep the enemy fire at bay and secure his body from the slopes. It ended, literally, exactly seven years of army life for "Vicky" who was commissioned in the 2nd Rajputana Rifles on June 13, 1992. A National Defence Academy graduate, Vivek once told his father (Lt-Colonel [retd] B.R.S. Gupta) that he wasn't just interested in "counting socks and trousers" in the army. That was in response to his father's attempts to get him a posting in one of the safer divisions like Ordnance. "I am proud of my son, in my eyes he died a hero," wept the senior Gupta. Vivek would have liked that.
Shaheed Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari - of 18 Grenadiers, fought valiantly till the end. When heavy fighting broke out in the Kargil region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir owing to planned infiltration by militants backed by the Pakistan army, the Indian Army was ordered to clear the heights of those intruders. Many tough battles took place in the region. It was in one of the most significant battles, the Battle of Tololing, where Rajesh made a valiant sacrifice. He was posthumously awarded the second highest Indian Army decoration, the Maha Vir Chakra for his bravery on the battlefield.
Shaheed Capt. Vijayanth Thapar - of 2 Rajputana Rifles. After the initial assault by Major Mohit Saxena* (2 Rajputana Rifles) was held up, on the night of 12th June '99, Capt. Vijayant Thapar (Robin) led his platoon to capture Barbad Bunker. After the successful capture of Tololing he was given the task of capturing Three Pimples, Knoll and Lone Hill area. The attack started with Vijyant's platoon leading on a full moon night along a razor sharp ridge wih no cover to offer. There was intense and accurate artillery shelling and heavy enemy fire. He lost some of his dear men and some more were injured causing the attack to be disrupted. However with his indominable spirit and tremendous urge to capture Knoll, he got the remaining men together and moved through a ravine to face the enemy. It was a full moon night. Moreover this was an impossible position to capture. The troops of 6 Northern Light Infantry had all the disadvantages. Strongly prepared positions one narrow knife edge ridge, with precipitous slopes on both side, ravines thousands of feet deep, devoid of cover and almost vertical climbs at places.
While the exchange of fire was going on, an excited Vijayant reached his company which had already secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya had been killed (the 31-year-old Major fell to enemy artillery fire while fighting to recapture Point 4700 in the Kargil sector on June 28. He killed three enemy soldiers before giving up his life). At this news Vijayant's anger was explosive. He surged ahead with his colleague Naik Tilak Singh. Both of them started engaging the enemy merely 15 mts. away. There were two enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of bullets and abuses, Vijayant decided that he had to finish the enemy. As he moved up to do so a burst of fire struck him on his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh. A brave son of India had fallen... a young man... only 22 years old. Thereafter, the men of his company charged and fully captured Knoll. The victory at Knoll on 29 June 1999, is a saga of bravery unmatched, of unbounded grit and determination. It was raw courage and the unflinching faith in the almighty God that turned a tactically impossible situation into a victory. For this act of bravery and his ultimate sacrifice, Capt. Vijayanth Thapar was awarded the Vir Chakra.
Shaheed Major Padmapani Acharya - of 2 Rajputana Rifles. A company commander, he was assigned to capture Knoll in area Black Rock, a heavily fortified enemy position with coordinated mine fields, sweeping machine guns, artillery fire and bunkers in mutual support. The success of the Brigade operations, hinged on the early capture of the Knoll. However, the company was pinned down by a heavy volume of fire of UMG from a bunker atop the Knoll which was the only approach. Realizing that the elimination of this bunker was essential for the progress of the attack... and even as his men were falling to enemy fire, Maj. Acharya continued to encourage them and charged at the enemy with the reserve platoon up the steep rock face. Unmindful of the hail of bullets from the enemy's bunker, he crawled up to the bunker and lobbed grenades. Severely injured and unable to move, he ordered his men to leave him and charge at the enemy while he continued to fire. The bunker was finally over-run and the objective was captured. Even after being grievously injured, Major Acharya engaged the Pakistan regulars in hand to hand fight and killed one of them before succumbing to his injuries. By then, the mission was accomplished. The dynamism, raw courage, personal example and supreme sacrifice of Major Acharya enthused the troops and the Knoll was quickly overrun, providing the Battalion its foot hold on 'Black Rock'.
A few days before the capture of Tololing Top, Major Acharya ('Babloo' to his family) wrote a letter to his father in which he added a quote from the "Bhagavad Gita" which stated, "Hato va prapyasi swargam, Jitva va bhokshijasey mahim, taduthisht kaunteya, yudhaya kritnishchayaha." (Die and you are assured heaven [i.e., you'll go to heaven], conquer and you will enjoy sovereignty on the Earth; therefore, stand up, O Kaunteya [Arjuna] and fight with full determination.) For conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice, Major Padmapani Acharya was honoured with the second highest Indian Army decoration, the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously. He had married Charulata in January 1996... and she was expecting their first child in September '99. Before his martyrdom, the Major had revealed... he had a bet with his wife that the baby would be a girl. A test had showed that he had lost and he owed Charulata a gold necklace...
Shaheed Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongrum - of 12 J&K Light Infantry. On the night of 30 June/01 July 1999, in the operations to capture Point 4812, Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongrum was tasked to assault the feature from South-Eastern direction. Lieutenant Nongrum led his column over the near impossible vertical feature. On reaching the top, his column encountered strong enemy opposition. The enemy was well entrenched in interconnected bunkers, carved out of boulders, and remained invulnerable to even artillery fire. The enemy pinned the column of Lieutenant Nongrum down with heavy and accurate automatic fire for about two hours. On seeing the futility of their own fire against the fortified bunkers, Lieutenant Nongrum with utter disregard to personal safety charged through the fire zone. Closing in on the first bunker he threw grenades into it and killed six enemy soldiers. He then tried to snatch the universal machine gun of the enemy from the bunker and received a volley of bullets. The audacious action of Lieutenant Nongrum stunned the enemy giving valuable reaction time to his troops to close in and finally clear the position. Though severely wounded, Lieutenant Nongrum refused to be evacuated and fought valiantly till he succumbed to his injuries. This act resulted in the ultimate capture of Point 4812. For conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice, Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongrum was honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.
Actually, on the night of July 1, after weeks of fighting, Clifford's company found itself just 50 m short of post 4812. "It was in his nature to lead. When he was younger, he formed "Maitshaphrang" (march forward), a football team, in our locality. When he went to the army, they said they'd lost their Captain," says Clifford's father Keishing Peter. Clifford's men would also lose their Captain that night, but not the battle for Point 4812. And not before he ran towards an enemy bunker, alone, under heavy fire, lobbed a grenade inside it; fought off enemy soldiers hand to hand and charged on to destroy the next bunker. As the enemy bullets hit Clifford Nongrum on the chest that night, he knew he was never going to see his family or have a chance to lead his beloved football team again. Freezing as he was in his perforated uniform, a citation from his juniors at the National Defence Academy may have come to his mind. They gave it to him after he floored a boxer much bigger than him at an academy competition. It said: "To the killers. Winners by instinct. Kill'em, Kut'em (sic) Kneel not." Nongrum fell that night. But he didn't kneel. Don't blame the grave diggers; it is difficult to lay such a man down.
Maj. Sonam Wangchuk - of Ladakh Scouts (Indus Wing). On one of the world's most brutal battlefields, his colleagues and officers say, Wangchuk has captured a vital mountain ridge in the Chorbat La sub-sector near Batalik, giving the army a foothold that it desperately needed. "Thanks to his heroic action, we are sitting bang on the LoC in Chorbat La," said a Ladakh Scouts officer. On May 26, when Wangchuk got his orders, he promised his son he would return for his birthday on June 11. Given his battle experience in the Siachen glacier, Wangchuk was the obvious choice for the assault. Two days later he was asked to capture an 18,000-ft high ridge just inside the Indian side of the LoC. Glacial and rocky, with days warming to minus 6 degrees Celsius, the mountain with its 80 degree gradient was a test even for skilled mountaineers. Information filtering in over wireless dispatches from the LoC describe how while leading a platoon (36 men) and supported by artillery fire from the rear positions, Wangchuk was negotiating an ice wall in the dead of night on May 31 when he heard sounds of picks and hammers on the other side of the ridge facing Pakistan. He quickly flashed a wireless message to the rear. Wangchuk and his men made it to the ridge top in three hours under heavy fire by Pakistani troops from the flanks. The mountains rang with the Ladakh Scouts' war cry, "Ki Ki So So Lhargyalo" (The Gods will triumph), as the superbly fit Wangchuk - he was a top athlete at Delhi's Modern School - led his men towards the brutal enemy-held cliffs. From there they spotted a group of intruders trying to scale the ridge from the Pakistan side. Wangchuk told his men to hold on till the enemy came within firing range. Four intruders were killed in the gun-battle. Wangchuk and his column had foiled a major infiltration attempt. The soldiers then retrieved the bodies of the intruders who turned out to be Pakistani Army regulars. This soft-spoken Buddhist soldier gave India one of its major footholds in the icy mountains. Maj. Sonam Wangchuk is the only living Maha Vir Chakra recipient of the regiment.
Shaheed Captain N. Kenguruse: of 2 Rajputana Rifles; he climbed a rock face, secured a foothold for his troops, before being shot. He was a "Warrier of the Mist". A man with a tongue twister of a name: Neikezhakuo Kenguruse. "Neibu" to his family and friends, "Nimbu Sahab" to the north Indian soldiers who served under him. On the night of June 28, Neibu led a commando team whose mission was to capture enemy positions perched on top of Lone Hill in the Drass sector. Neibu volunteered to take on Lone Hill ahead of his men of a commando platoon to secure a rope at the top so they could follow. The rock face hung at obtuse angles. His boots lost grip on the slippery surface. So at 16,000 ft and minus 10 degrees, he decided to become the primeval Naga warrior once again: he kicked off his shoes and made the climb. Once on top, he placed a light machine gun to hold the enemy. They replied with a volley of fire. He killed four of them before bullets blew him off the cliff. He fell 200 ft. His last words were - "Do not leave them" - as he rolled down taking two enemies. He had in fact continued to climb while he had two bullets in his leg. His troops went on to capture Lone Hill. When the job was done, they looked down at the dark depths where he lay, dead, and cried themselves hoarse: "Yeh aapki jeet hai Nimbu Sahab. Yeh aapki jeet hai (this is your victory)." He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously, for his heroics.
There are innumerable such martyrs who carried the torch and sacrificed their lives for a free, peaceful, and prosperous nation. It is impossible to record every legacy, but... here are a few links containing the names and stories of many more: http://kargil.myiris.com/Gallantry/galstory.html, http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/19990830/defence.html, http://www.teluguone.com/managurinchi/myindia/index.jsp?filename=kargil15.htm (this also contains the last letter written by Capt. Vijyant Thapar, to his parents. Moments before the final assault Capt. Vijyant Thapar [Robin] left this letter at the war front base, to be handed over to his family... among other info), http://www.captainvijyantthapar.com/pilgrimage.html (Captain Vijyant Thapar's father makes the pilgrimage to the war zone; his son had asked him to be there. "If you can, please come and see where the Indian Army fought for your tomorrow," the last letter from his son read. And that was the time that Thapar senior made up his mind. Vijyant's mother Tripta, was supportive and so was the Army), http://www.indianarmy.nic.in/ota/arotakheros.htm, http://www.angelfire.com/nc/navincharles/trifull.html, http://members.rediff.com/wolf17679/kar4.html and http://www.stormloader.com/ajawan/opt3_3.html. Please read through them. Heroism, it is said, is endurance for one moment more. Each one of them are a Warrior and a Hero... and many... even a martyr. Each of them had this as their last words for the nation... "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." We Salute these Great Soldiers of India and a grateful nation remembers all the Kargil Heroes and pay their homage to these brave men. Martyrs never die... the legacies that they have created transcend their deeds in battle.
I recall the events... of the Kargil War.... vividly, even though a decade has now passed by. It was the sheer bravery of our boys which carried the day for us. None of the martyrs took bullets on their backs... they looked at danger and death in the eye... and won, against heavy odds. They continue to do so... every single day, even though all of them are not reported in the media. Victory in Kargil was the outcome of the supreme sacrifice by the soldiers of this country, displaying valor with dignity. Kargil was not an easy win. The terrain was tough and the enemy was perched comfortably on high mountain peaks. The task was to regain the occupied peaks. The Kargil victory was a tarvel for the Indian Armed forces as they conducted the war without violating any international norms.
Let us salute our martyrs' families... the sons, daughters, spouses, mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces... who bear their loss with such fortitude, and without a complaint. Their dignity and selflessness is a lesson for all of us. Their sacrifice is too great to be even imagined.
Some time back, I was watching a programme on television... regarding the '65 war. Some of the terrains where our soldiers fought were difficult... and in those days 'ration' was a problem, in certain areas. A war veteran said... while he and his comrades were firing at the enemy from their positions, they found many local women running towards them with buckets in hand. These women took up positions next to the soldiers... and it was then that they (the soldiers) discovered that those buckets contained daal/sabzi and rotis. The soldiers told the women that they could not eat now as the enemy will take advantage of the situation, and that it was dangerous for them (the women) to be there in the battlefield... they could get hit. Their reply startled them. The women had complete faith in our soldiers' abilities, and did not care or even worry about being hit by enemy bullets or the fact that they were in the battlefiled. They calmly replied, "toh kya hua, tum firing chalu rakho, hum roti tod kar tumhare muh mein daalte rahenge." The surprised soldiers were inspired by this and fought with renewed vigour... the rest as they say is history. But... I sometimes wonder why our 'historians' and 'writers' do not document these stories...
Let us never show any disrespect towards our martyrs, our soldiers, their families and even the people who live close to the border areas and bear hardships from time to time... and even to any of our fellow countrymen and women. Let us never tolerate any disrespect of our national flag, our national anthem and our national song... our brave have fought for and laid down their lives for them... for our tri-colour. Once we do that... the rest will follow. We can and will be 'one' nation... forever. In Sanskrit, there is a saying... "Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi"... which means, the Mother and the Motherland is greater than all other things, even greater than the Heavens themselves. Let us never forget this.
The soil of this great land has been and still is... very fertile... in producing 'quislings'/'traitors'. But... this very soil has also produced innumerable 'heroes', 'heroines' and 'martyrs' and still continues to give rise to them. And will continue to do so for all times to come. As for the perpetrators of Kargil and other assorted warmongers... the less said, the better. They have been and will be consigned to the 'dustbins' of time and history. In memory of "Vijay Divas", 26th July, let us bow our heads to the great heroes of India who laid down their lives so that we are safe today. They sacrificed their today, for our better tomorrow. For their sake and ours, let us pledge to give our best for our motherland. Each time and every time. Jai Hind! Jai Bharat!
Here are some links, that contain the videos as well... which you must watch. You will have goosebumps and will get misty-eyed... at the end of it:
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pr8-Hf89oU - "Jana Gana Mana" penned by 'Kabiguru' Rabindranath Tagore.
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5OVMrad5iQ - "Where the mind is without fear" composed again by the great poet-laureate 'Kabiguru' Rabindranath Tagore. This is Kabiguru's dream of a free and glorious India. (Read by: Samuel Godfrey George)
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oaeRETlBzk - Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna sings the Robindro Shongeet: "Aguner Poroshmoni".
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8HS2qExgLQ - The Indian army in Siachen (along with our National Anthem). This is the most difficult battlefield in the world.
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6PHJg9D_Sk - "Vande Mataram" from Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's "Anand Mutt" remains the classic Indian National Song. This song was sung by the music icon Lata Mangeshkar and the Music Director was the great Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay.
6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvG6ptzc1Go&feature=related - "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon"... Indian Patriotic Song, composed by C. Ramchandra and lyrics by Pradeep. In 1962, when Lata Mangeshkar sang this song, it moved everyone to tears...
7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22ACyKyOGXQ - "Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora"... rendered by the peerless M.S. Subbulakshmi. This is a popular bengali patriotic song written by Dwijendralal Roy in the late 19th century. This song played a big part in the Indian freedom struggle and continues to be extremely popular in Bengal even today. M.S. Subbulakshmi is not just the foremost proponent of Carnatic classical music but also embodies the best in human values. She also has a great history going back to many of the great leaders of our freedom struggle. Hence it is a treat to see such a historic song sung by her.
I will end this post with The First Stanza of our National Song, "Vande Mataram" (by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay). It is a song which instilled confidence and courage into many... along with profound patriotism:
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
The English translation by Sri Aurobindo is as below:
I bow to thee, Mother,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
Her nights rejoicing
in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully
with her trees in flowering bloom,
Sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.
Note: Links courtesy: YouTube. Some info courtesy: Wikipedia.
*Major Mohit Saxena: who led his company to capture 3 Pimples or Black Rock, while narrating his moments of triumph said he had undertaken a reconnaissance of the area before the assault. "It was a full moonlight night. We were lucky to cut their communications as we cut their wires. While we were climbing, we noticed a couple of new features which we had probably missed during our recce of the feature," he recalled.
At the first feature, MMG fire came on us. Then we had a sheer vertical cliff to climb which fell on us as we climbed it. Next day, when we started the climb again, I had the misfortune of seeing Lt. Nikhzakau Kengusi ("Nimbu") rolling down the cliff after being bombarded with stones and boulders. I remember his last words - "Do not leave them" - as he rolled down taking two enemies. He had in fact continued to climb while he had two bullets in his leg. Havildar Sharwan, who was also injured and continued to climb, also fell to the fury of stones and boulders. Before dying, he, too, killed a couple of the enemy.
"I had another setback when my radio operator also rolled down snapping my communication network. Unperturbed by these reverses, we continued our fight. It was fierce. We killed two more enemies before they started fleeing. They used ropes to climb down from the cliff rock. The last platoon of my company encountered them and killed two more. It was around 4 in the morning that the operation ended in a triumph for us," recalls Major Saxena.
The Indian National Flag... our tri-colour... fluttering proudly atop one of the captured points at Kargil.