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Martyrdom (मृत्यु शैय्या)

Today is 26th July…

19 years ago, when Pakistan invaded the Kargil area of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian army under the able guidance of its Generals liberated it from the clutches of the enemies. It was a tough and a daunting task. The enemy was on top of the mountain and our army was below them, in their direct line of fire. Losses were imminent but our soldiers fought the battle very courageously and triumphed.

Let’s go back a little into history a few months back, precisely February 1999. The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had travelled to Lahore by a bus via Wagah Border to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharief. The atmosphere was of friendship and brotherhood. The Lahore declaration was signed. Peace was in the air. But, little did we know that we were being stabbed in the back.

During the winter of 1998 -1999, elements of the Pakistani Armed Forces were covertly and sheepishly training and sending Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces, some in the guise of mujahideen, into territory on the Indian side of the line of control (LOC). The infiltration was given the name “Operation Badr.” Their aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiating table and get a permanent settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also was of the belief that any such tension in Kashmir would internationalize it, helping to secure a speedy and permanent resolution. At the same time their other goal was to boost the morale of the decade-long rebellion in Jammu and Kashmir by playing a pro-active role.

Initially, with little knowledge of the nature or extent of the infiltration, the Indian troops in the area assumed that the infiltrators were jihadis and claimed that they would evict them within a few days. Subsequent discovery of infiltration elsewhere along the LOC and the difference in tactics employed by the infiltrators, caused the Indian army to realize that the plan of attack was on a much bigger scale. The total area seized by the ingress was expected to be between 130 km² – 200 km². Now this called for a full scale war. Every inch of our motherland is divine and pious and this was not in inches but in km. We had to get it back.

By Grace of God, the political class as a whole and bureaucracy this time were of the people filled with patriotism and they all shared the same feeling, to fight for our motherland and to show the enemy it’s rightful place. About 200000 (2 lac) troops were mobilised. We gave our best fight and lost many of our brave and courageous Jawans. But we got every inch of our motherland back. We did not let the enemy succeed to break Her into pieces. We liberated the last piece on this day of 26th July and so we celebrate it as Kargil Vijay Diwas.

Many of my young readers must not even be born on this day, but i still remember how we were glued to the television sets for each and every news, however small it may be. For my generation born after 1971 war, this was the first all out war that we were witnessing. The air in the schools and colleges was filled with the chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jay” and “Vande Mataram”. Tension was in the air but so was hope and confidence in our Army.

For my young readers sake, am writing the story of Captain Vikram Batra who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour and bravery, posthumously for his actions during the Kargil war in 1999. He had participated in the Republic Day parade on the Rajpath in 1994. He had joined Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun in 1996 and passed out from there in December 1997. He was Commissioned (asked to join) into the 13th battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. He loved to be on the frontline always and as a Captain lead his men from the front

July 7, 1999…

He was assigned the task of taking point 5140. (My readers also need to know that not all mountains are named like the Everest or Kailash or Kanchenjunga, but rather they are given numbers related to coordinates of their position). It was a hill top. The enemy was on the top and it was one of the important hills which needed to be taken for our successful defence and driving the enemy out. The warfare was going to be tough but Captain Vikram, decided to go ahead. Captain Vikram started moving through the rough terrain slowly but steadily and within hours the point 5140 was ours. ‘Yeh Dil maange more’ the code word was transmitted. His commanders were happy about his success when they received the radio message.

Mission accomplished. Vikram and his troops now had to return. But the son of the soil decided to move ahead and take point 4875. There had been casualties in his troop but the spirits were high. So on they went, with the permission from their superiors. Maybe Netaji’s words to his INA “Ab Delhi mein milenge” must be ringing in his ears by now. The task was impossible according to his seniors. But he and his troops tread on.

The enemy was anticipating the attack and was fully prepared. The attack was mounted but the Indian side suffered heavy casualties. One of the soldier was grievously injured and was in the path of the enemy bullets. The soldier was lying near the enemy lines. Captain Batra without even thinking for a moment lept out out from his position and ran towards to soldier. He was fired upon and he took five bullets in his chest and head. The enemy soldiers pounced upon him and in this combat he killed five enemy soldiers. But this assault was lethal. Captain Vikram Batra attained Martyrdom.

Captain Vikram Batra, who led the toughest mountain warfare, was often referred as Sher Shah in the messages intercepted by the Pakistani Army.

He could have had a good and peaceful life in the Merchant Navy, which he had initially joined. But being in the front, to fight for Bharat was his dream, which he fulfilled.

Bharat and Bharatiya’s indeed should be grateful to such soldiers who give up their lives for our peace. People will commemorate this day by wishing each other and changing their DP’s and updating their status, (which I am not against as I myself will also put up one once am done writing this blog) but hope they remember people like Captain Vikram Batra and the other 566 soldiers who attained martyrdom to liberate our Motherland from the enemy.

Lastly let’s end with two lines from the famous song sung by the soldiers of INA

“Kadam kadam badhaye jaa, khushike geet gaayeja,

Yeh zindagi hai kaum ki, tu kaum pe lutaaye jaa”…

Jai Hind

Author:

Am a teacher by profession. A student of History and international politics. Believe that Bhakti (Devotion) and Humanism can only save Humanity. Revere all creation. My thoughts are influenced by His Holiness Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale

17 thoughts on “Martyrdom (मृत्यु शैय्या)

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