KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS- 26 JULY EVERY YEAR The Kargil War commenced from early may 1999 & ended with the last of Pakistani Intruders pushed back on 26 July 1999. It caught the imagination of the people because it was the first Televised War in our sub continent. Names of places like Kargil, Kaksar, Batalik & Drass became familiar. So were the heights like Tololing, Tiger Hill, Point 4875 & point 5203. For a change, the heroes of this war also became house hold names, like Captains Manoj Kumar Pandey, Vikram Batra, Sepoys Yogendra Singh Yadav, Sanjay Kumar & many more. To be exact, 524 brave sons of our country laid down their lives with another 1,363 suffering injuries fighting the enemy. Unfortunately, the impact of this heroic struggle & sacrifice in the minds of our people did not last even a couple of years.
Our endeavor today is to ensure that the memory of the brave men must not be forgotten. The tales of their valour must be told & retold. The younger generation must be inspired to follow their foot steps, when it comes to the question of our National Security. Above all, to give a pride of place in the society to such immortal souls. This Day is not only to remember our Martyrs, but also to honour those who took part in the War.
When the Indian Army established the firm base in Siachen, Pakistan, in 1984, tried to evict it through a massive operation, spear headed by its Special Operations Groups. But, our Army could not be evicted. So, the Pakistan Army tried a similar stunt in summer 1999, by occupying the heights vacated by the Indian Army, during the previous winter. It is a common tactical knowledge to appreciate the difficulty in recapturing such heights from the enemy, that also in high altitude, snow bound areas with freezing temperatures. But, Pakistan soon realized that the Officers & Jawans of the Indian Army are made of sterner stuff. To them the Honour & Safety of their Country came first, always & every time.
Just see the last letter of Lt Manoj Pandey, written to his parents, from the war zone. “I do not know what will happen at the next moment. But, I can assure you & all country men that certainly we will push back the intruders at what ever may be the cost.” Mind you that brave man was just 22 years old.
Or, consider this from another youngster, who was in his early twenties, Capt Vikram Batra. He was code named ‘Sher Sha’ after a series of exploits in those icy heights. His slogan was ‘dil mange more’. His regret was, he could not capture more before he himself was gunned down.
Or, consider Grenadier Yoginder Singh, who was instrumental in the capture of Tiger Hill after a seven hour long battle & receiving 5 bullet wounds in the process. He was one of the lucky ones to live & tell the story.
The Kargil war was fought by the youth of our country, with pure determination, grit, guts & izzat. The pride & prestige of the Regiments they belonged to & that of our country came first & foremost. They sacrificed their today, for our tomorrow.
In the video show, you will be seeing all these & more. The action by our Air Force, our Navy dominating the Arabian Sea, our Artillery pounding the enemy positions & so on. The Gunners fired more than 2,50,000 shells, mainly from Bofors & 130 mm Medium Guns. You will also be amazed to watch our Army handing over the bodies of the slain Pakistani Soldiers with full military honours.
The missing patrol party of Lt S Kalia & the search & rescue operation launched by Air Force to retrieve one of their pilots & mobilization of one of the Battalions, (Gurkhas, in this instance) are shown, which may appear to have been filmed by some external Agency. I can assure that the real incidents were picturised later, for the sake of clarity & war history.
Do they not deserve to be honoured & remembered!! I quote Gen JFR Jacob’s tribute to the Kargil’ Martyrs:- “ The thundering line of battle standsAnd in the air death moans and singsBut day shall clasp him in strong handsAnd night shall fold him in soft wings” Julian Grenfel
“Night, eternal night, has folded our martyrs in its soft wings - ”
The end of the show will give details of our Martyrs to the back ground music of Lata Mangeshkar’s immortal patriotic song. Immediately followed by our National Anthem. Therefore, kindly wait till the end to pay homage to our Martyrs & our Nation.
Col (Retd) TN Raman
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