Captain Vikram Batra : The Supreme Sacrifice of a Kargil Hero
The Indians of today’s generation can be described as hot-blooded patriotic youth who can defend the honour of this country in every debates and discussions but take a step back when it comes to show true bravery and sacrifice their lives in the den of enemies. However there are exceptional daredevils ready to plunge into any dangerous situation for the sake of their motherland. One such man was Captain Vikram Batra of the 13th Jammu & Kashmir Rifles.
In 1999 the Kargil war took the entire nation by surprise. It in fact rejuvenated nationalism, gave the soldiers zeal to fight and instilled confidence among the people in the 20-something jawans. In one of the many missions carried out, 24-year old Captain Vikram Batra was entrusted to lead a group of five men to recapture peak 4875 from the Pakistani force. Earlier Vikram Batra had successfully led his men and recaptured peak 5140 (at a height of 17,000 feet, the highest point in the Tololing Ridge). He was promoted to the rank of Captain from Lieutenant on the battlefield after that. Just after the capture he told in an interview, “My guys’ success signal was Yeh Dil Mange More. The guys were so charged up that they wanted more bunkers to be there so that they could have got more chaps.”
Peak 4875 was a very crucial point as the Pakistani army could dominate the highway to Leh from there and also control access to the Mushkoh valley. From the peak they had a clear view of all the movements of the Indian army. Initially Lieutenant Naveen and his men were engaged in a fierce gun battle with the enemy soldiers for continuous 36 hours. He suffered grave injuries when a grenade exploded near his leg. Captain Batra was given the order to evacuate Lt. Naveen and continue from where he has left. While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied “Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche,” (“You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!”).
The slope to the peak was very steep and bullets were raining from the enemy bunker which was situated on a ledge. The enemy men were having the advantage of the steep gradient and the only way to reach the peak was to clear the ledge which for any soldier would have been suicidal. The Pakistani soldiers began to taunt him by saying that they will leave Kashmir if the Indians give them Madhuri Dixit. They further continued saying “Shershah (Vikram Batra’s nickname)… You won’t go back alive from here.” Captain Batra kept calm and decided to do the impossible. He alone charged from the front single-handedly killing five enemy soldiers and advancing towards the bunker. While advancing he suffered injuries but did not let that stop him. Shooting down the taunter he said, “From Madhuri, with love.”
Sadly a grenade exploded near him that proved to be fatal and he succumbed to his injuries. That moment India lost one of her bravest men. The ledge was cleared and the men went on to capture peak 4875 but Captain Batra was not present to celebrate the victory.
On 26th January, 2000, Captain Batra was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest gallantry award for unmatched bravery and valour.