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  • Samarth Varma

The Hero of the Kargil War

The Kargil War was a stressful time in Indian history that affected many families and touched the hearts of many more Indians. It was a period of distress that provoked the deaths of many soldiers in both India and Pakistan. The conflict was stimulated by the infiltration of Pakistani troops disguised as Kashmiri militants into strategic positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control. Initially, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but further investigation showed the involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Armed Forces, later supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of these positions and withdrew the Pakistani combatants away from the Indian territories. This pivotal operation was executed by the brave warriors of the army, who came from various regiments. Of these valiant fighters was Vikram Batra- Captain in the 13th Battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles regiment.


Born in a small town in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, Vikram was the eldest of twin sons. He was brilliant, diligent, and active from the beginning of his student life. He was equally good in sports as in other co-curricular activities. Besides being a green belt holder in karate, he also participated in national-level table tennis.


He joined the Indian Military Army as a Commissioned Officer in June 1996 at Dehradun and passed out in December 1997. He then joined the army as a Lieutenant of the 13 JAK Rifles at Sopore, Jammu & Kashmir. On the 1st of June 1999, there was an outbreak of a war-like situation in Kargil, where Vikram and his unit were deployed with the task to recapture Point 5140, which had been seized by Pakistani troops. On the 19th of June, they reached Point 5140, killed eight enemy soldiers, and captured a heavy anti-aircraft machine gun, neutralising the advantageous peak. The recapture of this peak played a catalyst in the return of other Points and cleared the Srinagar-Leh highway.


After a few days' break, he proceeded and captured Point 4750. Captain Batra was elated by his victories and sought more honour and glory. He then volunteered to partake in the capture of Point 4875, which was at an altitude of 17000 feet and had a rough terrain and gradient of 80 degrees. For over 36 hours, Lieutenant Naveen Nagappa and his soldiers had engaged in a fierce gun battle with the militants. A grenade thrown by the enemy soldiers left Lieutenant Naveen injured.


At such a volatile time, Captain Vikram and his troops took immediate action and evacuated Lieutenant Naveen. He then made a frontal attack and single-handedly killed five infiltrators but sustained grave injuries in the act. Unmindful of these injuries, he continued to charge until an artillery splinter pierced his waist and caused him to collapse. He sacrificed his life and gave the Indian soldiers a princely opportunity to win the battle and regain Point 4875.


He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honour, on 15th August 1999. To honour his gallantry, two Bollywood movies titled LOC Kargil and Shershaah have been created, showing the valour he had displayed in the war. India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas every 26th of July to commemorate the victory of India in the Kargil War and the courage, bravery, and heroism of all soldiers who contributed to the war. The lionhearted soldiers like Vikram Batra will forever be revered as legends in the history of India for their selfless actions in the line of duty.



Bibliography:

  1. Batra , GirdhariLal . “Captain Vikram Batra, PVC” Bharat Rakshak. n.d. Web. 29 Aug, 2022 <http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ARMY/Galleries/Courage/Batra/>

  2. n.a. "1999 Kargil Conflict" GlobalSecurity.org. n.d. Web. 22 Aug, 2022. <https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/kargil-99.htm>

  3. IndiaDefence. “Captain Vikram Batra” Youtube.com. 18 Mar, 2011. Video. 22 Aug, 2022. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zImHyTyYhM8>

  4. n.a. “Kargil War” Wikipedia. N.d. Web. 29 Aug, 2022. <https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/k/Kargil_War.htm#:~:text=The%20cause%20of%20the%20war,border%20between%20the%20two%20nations>

  5. 5. Kumar, Jyotsna. “Cap. Vikram Batra, the icon of youth” The Statesman. 7 Jul, 2022. Web. 29 Aug, 2022. <https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cap-vikram-batra-the-icon-of-youth-1503087897.html>


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