7th July, 1999 – Point 4875 – Near Tiger Hills – Altitude 17000 feet
Lieutenant Naveen is severely injured, finding it almost impossible to retaliate the counter attack made by the enemy troops. Indian Army has captured this point two days back but it is now that the enemies have come up with their forcefulness. Captain Vikram Batra who is also a part of the operation, goes to rescue the injured officer. While he is dragging the injured back under cover, Naveen insists on continuing with the operation.
“Tu baal bacchedaar hai. Hat ja peechhe.” Vikram tells him and he continues himself. (Translation: You have family to look after. Get back.)
Only a few moments have passed, when a bullet coming from enemy soldier, pierces his chest. Before he gets any time to react, he gets hit by an artillery splinter in the waist.
“Jai Mata Di.” He speaks as he realizes he doesn’t have much time to spare and he assails the enemy soldiers and kills five of them before succumbing to his injuries.
Point 4875 was a part of India now.
9th September, 1974 – Palampur – Himachal Pradesh
The day was special for Batra family as the family celebrated the arrival of twin sons. They were nicknamed as Luv and Kush. Luv, or as we know him Vikram Batra was a smart, intelligent boy right from his childhood. The kid scooped away most of the awards at school while he studied in DAV Public School Palampur (my school too) followed by Central School Palampur.
After completing his senior secondary education, he went on to join the college in Chandigarh. This was where he met the love of his life. Few years later they would go on to plan their marriage also, but it did not happen. After completing the education when he was all set to join Merchant Navy, he changed his mind, and decided to go for Indian Army instead. He made his entry to Indian Military Academy in 1996 and the next year, he joined Indian Army as Lieutenant of 13JAK rifles at Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir. Back in Palampur, many young kids who idolized him, were dreaming to become military officers too.
1st June, 1999 – Kargil
The war like situation had erupted in the Kargil region and Vikram’s unit moved here to take control over it. The first challenge for the 24 years old officer was to capture Point 5140 which was under enemy’s control at the moment. The peak was at an altitude of 17000 feet and was a crucial point in Drass region that could pave the way for further victories. Vikram had a conversation with the terrorist commander over radio. The enemy commander challenged him by saying, “Why have you come Sher Shah (Vikram’s nick name given by his commanding officer), you will not go back”. Captain Vikram Batra with immense confidence replied, “We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top”. Lieutenant Vikram decided to attack the enemy from the rear and they did that. In this decisive battle, their squad fought diligently and won a decisive victory.
“Daddy, I have captured.” Vikram’s father still remembers the phone call that his son made through a satellite phone.
After a small break of two days, Vikram was sent to capture the Point 4750. The war had reached its fiercest state during this time and capturing the point was going to be even tougher. Once again an enemy commander threatened him over radio and he responded bravely once again, not only through his words, but actions too. And the point was captured by Indian Army.
The next point was 4875. And the rest we all know is a part of the history that still makes us feel proud. It was won but we lost our hero.
For the act of bravery and heroism that Captain Vikram Batra had displayed in the battlefield, he was honored with Paramvir Chakra – India’s highest award for gallantry, posthumously. Today on his 39th birth anniversary, let’s take a moment to salute the brave-heart who sacrificed his life for the country.
Happy Birthday Vikram Batra. You will always live in our hearts.