Remembering The Bravehearts Of The Kargil War
“Shaheedon ki mazaro par lagenge har baras mele, watan par mitney walon ka yahi baki nisha hoga.” There couldn't have been better words to pay tribute to the bravehearts of the Kargil War, who happily laid down their lives for the nation, for us.
When a few heavily armed Pakistani soldiers – disguised as Kashmiri militants – infiltrated into the Indian side of the LOC with covert motives, the war became inevitable. After all, how could we and why should have we parted with even an inch of what was rightfully and lawfully ours? The enemy was very conveniently seated on a height which gave them an advantage of the view, attack, and placement. They didn’t have to put up a fight, all they had to do was sit like cowards in their hideouts, make use of their advantageous position, and just keep pushing the Indian forces back. This was really challenging for our fighters. But there was no stopping them. The love for their motherland made them discover new possibilities and strengths every day – within themselves and amongst their troops. What the hostile party failed to gauge was the rock-hard fortitude and fearlessness of our men at arms.
The infiltrators had ingressed an area of approximately 130 - 200 km. This was alarming. Over 200,000 troops were mobilised to the conflict area over a period of just a few days. And the rest is history.
The fight to safeguard our country from Pakistani invasion went on for 60 long days, in adverse weather and circumstances. In these days of incessant fighting, 527 brave Indian soldiers sacrificed their invaluable lives for the country. These extraordinary individuals are immortal and will stay in our hearts forever.
The recapturing of Indian posts, from Tiger Hill, Tololing, Batalick, to Turtok happened one after the other. Our fearless soldiers proudly hoisted the Tricolour atop Tololing – the high outpost that the Pakistani intruders had captured. The war finally came to an end on 26th July 1999, with India as the clear winner. Pakistan was made to taste defeat, yet again like the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971! And since then, this day has been celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas annually. The Prime Minister of India pays homage to the Kargil martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, New Delhi on Vijay Diwas every year. It holds a special significance for the Indian Army.
India’s victory in this high-altitude war between two nuclear states in a very challenging mountainous terrain is a classic example of the adage, by the noted French Statesman and military leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” Indeed!
The war was fought in one of the most treacherous terrains, climate, and situation in the world. With the enemy perched at a very convenient position atop a hill – having a bird’s eye advantage – it was indeed a victory won against all odds. These heroes in uniform – who fought with all their grit and determination to make the unthinkable happen for their motherland – were surely made of something different, something more than all of us.
Pakistan, in the end, had to seek help from America. However, their plea for de-escalating the conflict fell on deaf ears. As the then US President, Bill Clinton refused to interfere until all Pakistani forces were withdrawn from the Indian side of the Line of Control.
“In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons,” said the noted King of Lydia, Croesus, who reigned from 560 BC till 546 BC. Our bravehearts spoke different languages, belonged to different cultures, regions, castes, and backgrounds, but that didn't matter in the face of the adversity that befell on their motherland. All they had in common was complete resoluteness, absolute commitment, utter clarity, astonishing courage, and tremendous strength. The operation was referred to as Operation Vijay and that is why Kargil Vijay Diwas is also known as Vijay Diwas.
We can’t even begin to fathom the amount of courage and valour shown by our soldiers to fight for something that was rightfully ours but taken deceitfully from us. The heroic Indian fighters have surely set new standards of patriotism for generations to come.
On this 19th Kargil Vijay Diwas to be celebrated this year, we miss all the martyrs who fought selflessly and didn’t even think twice before facing the fatal bullet with their head held high. Let's salute all the audacious men who fought relentlessly till the end.
While our heart goes out to each valiant soldier, there are a few who deserve a special mention. Without recalling their sayings, it would be incomplete to talk about the victory of Kargil.
“Ye dil mange more.” A very famous phrase by Lt Capt Vikram Batra, PVC (posthumous).The daring soldier belonged to Himachal and played a crucial role in capturing the crucial peak point 5140 during Kargil war. He was the captain of his Delta Company and bombarded many enemy posts. However, he succumbed to his injuries later. There’s another quote from him that makes us fathom what an indomitable personality and courage he was blessed with. “Either I will come back after hoisting the Tricolour, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure.” Such thoughts make us shiver.
“If death strikes before I prove my blood, I swear I will kill death,” said Lt Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (posthumous). If such were the men standing like a wall against the deadly enemies, the victory had to be ours without a doubt.
Doesn’t it make you wonder how such men of metal exist? Well, they come from equally stoic parents. Here’s what the parents of some of the Kargil martyrs had to say:
“May every home produce a son like you so that the enemy dare not touch the territorial sanctity of our country,” said the mother of LT. Saurabh Kalia, killed in Kargil. Such a tale sends chills down the spine and is heart-wrenching, to say the least.
“I feel privileged as the country is proud of my son who has become a martyr and is immortal,” said the father of Lt Flt Engr Raj Kishore Sahu, killed in Kargil.
“Why should I cry? Everyone dying on the front is my son and I pray that next time I get 10 sons, all for the country,” said the mother of Major Adhikari, killed in Kargil.
These real-life-heroes fought for the pride of our nation till their last breath.
They will live in our hearts forever. We assure you, should the nation find itself in such danger again, we will march ahead with you as our role models – with a promise to not let you down, ever.
“Do not lament the death of a warrior killed in the battlefield. As those who sacrifice their lives in the war are honoured in heaven.” Let’s light a candle or say a silent prayer for all those who gave their today for our tomorrow. Let's get together this Kargil Vijay Diwas to thank them wherever they are. And why just on one day, keep them in our thoughts now and forever. Lest we forget!
India has a long list of gutsy soldiers who take even the slightest threat to their nation very seriously. You’d love to know some of the fine men in uniform in our post dedicated to Indian bravehearts. Do give it a read. Also, if you want to know more about such heroic acts by our Indian army, read the five most important events related to Indian defence. Not only have these heroes come to the rescue of the nation whenever required, but are also readily available for their people. Here is how Indian military selflessly helped us in times of major disasters.
In memory of those to whom we owe our freedom. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
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