It has been twenty-three years since the Kargil war, fought in 1999 against the Pakistani infiltrators, which is a day for the Indians to hold their heads high.
This day is observed as the Kargil Vijay Diwas to commemorate the soilders who fought outstandingly in the prodigious hardships and hysterical climatic conditions in the terrain of Ladakh’s Kargil region.
According to the official figures, as many as 527 soldiers of the Indian army lost their lives and another 1363 were said to be wounded after the war, which lasted for over 60 days.
The Indian heroes lived by the adage, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”
Here are a few of the heroes who made “operation Vijay” successful.
- Lieutenant Balwaan Singh
Lieutenant Balwan Singh, also referred to as “the Tiger of Tiger Hill,” was in charge of retaking Tiger Hill. At age 25, he led the Ghatak platoon’s soldiers up the hill in a 12-hour trek via a dangerous, steep path. The attack caught the adversary off guard because India was not expected to pursue such a challenging approach. He raised the Indian flag on Tiger Hill, and for his valour he was later given the Mahavir Chakra.
- Captain Vikram Batra
Honoured as the “Tiger of the Drass,” Captain Vikram Batra died fighting the Pakistani troops at the age of 24. He received the highest wartime gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. The entire country showered him with love, titling him “Lion of the Kargil,” “The Kargil hero” and so on.
- Naik Digendra Kumar
K. Digendra, General VP , was taken aback by Digendra Kumar’s strategy when he held a Sainik Darbar in Drass on June 2, 1990, following three unsuccessful attempts to recapture Tololing. The elevation of Tololing is 15,000 feet.
- Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav
The youngest Param Vir Chakra laureate, Yogendra Singh Yadav, is the nation’s pride. Nayab Subedar Yogendra Singh along with his battalion captured Tololing Top on July 12, 1999, leaving behind 2 officers, 2 junior commissioned officers and 21 soldiers, martyred.
- Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey
Manoj Pandey was a soldier with the 1/11 Gorkha Rifles. His father claims that when he enlisted in the Indian Army, his only motivation was to get the highest gallantry honour, the Param Vir Chakra, which he eventually did. The late Gopichand Pandey, the late Captain Manoj Pandey’s father, remarked that the Kargil War was one of the toughest conflicts in history because it involved an adversary who had an edge due to elevation, but the Indian Army put up a valiant fight and recaptured our peaks. He declared, “I’m glad that my kid sacrificed his life for his nation and inspired many.”
- Rifleman Sanjay Kumar
Sanjay Kumar served in a column during the Kargil conflict that was tasked with capturing the Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley. When the column was slowed down by automatic fire from one of the enemy bunkers, Kumar charged directly at them.
- Lieutenant keishing Clifford Nongrum
With automatic fire, the enemy held Lt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum’s column at bay for approximately two hours. Despite this, he continued to fire grenades into it, killing six enemy soldiers without considering his own safety. Then, firing from the second location, he attempted to steal the enemy’s universal machine gun.
- Major Vivek Gupta
When the 2 Rajputana Rifles launched a battalion attack on Tololing Top in the Drass Sector on June 13, 1999, Vivek Gupta was in charge of the leading Charlie Company at the time. He was able to close in on the enemy thanks to Major Vivek Gupta’s inspirational leadership, despite the enemy firing heavy artillery and automatic weapons.
- Captain N kemguruse
N Kenguruse led the Ghatak Platoon during Operation Vijay’s strike on Area Black Rock in the Drass Sector on the evening of June 28, 1999. He assumed responsibility for the risky commando mission that involved attacking a strategically placed enemy machine gun post on a cliff face that was severely impeding all routes to the Battalion’s primary goal.
- Major Saurabh Kalia
Saurabh Kalia and five other soldiers were captured alive while on a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector of the untamed, treeless mountains. They were surrounded by a platoon of Pakistani rangers. The patrol had left no traces behind. They were all subjected to 24 days of torture by Pakistani Army troops, after which the army turned over their mangled bodies.
Every Indian holds their head high in pride as they commemorate the incredible triumph and express their sorrow for the lives lost today on the anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.