Blood, sweat & tears ........
There's still some pain,
but the injury is healing fast," wrote Major Kamlesh Pathak. He was writing
to his family in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh about the bullet wounds he sustained
earlier. Yet he insisted on rejoining his unit and fell to enemy bullets.
For countless families the country's recent victories have been at the
expense of their dear ones' lives. The saga continues.
went down fighting
Lance Naik Rajendra Yadav, 302 Grenadiers
Address: Ghugariakhedi village, Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
He would have turned 31 on June 2.
Preparations were under way back
home for a bhoj (community lunch) when news came that Lance Naik Rajendra
Yadav was no more. His bullet-riddled body lay 16,000 feet high on a hilltop.
was part of a 10-member team led by Major Rajesh Adhikari which was assigned
the task of capturing Pakistani positions 16,000 feet high in the Dras
sector. He succumbed to enemy bullets but not before killing five Pakistanis.
The body of Lance Naik Rajendra
Yadav being consigned to flames (Above left) Yadav's wife and mother (right)
As Yadav's body was brought home,
his wife Pratibha Devi wept at the sight of her unopened letter, the last
she had posted to him. Apart from her memories all she was left with was
their child in her womb.
The village panchayat has decided
to erect a memorial. And in recognition of Yadav's efforts to earn a degree,
he had just given his BA Part II exams, Indore University has decided to
honour him with one.
won't be the same again
Havildar Yashbir Singh, 39
2 Rajputana Rifles
Address: Sirsali village,
Bagpat district, Uttar Pradesh
Fierce fighting is going on and the
outcome is in God's hands." So wrote Havildar Yashbir Singh to his father,
Chaudhary Girbar Singh, in a letter that came on June 8. The next day came
the news that Yashbir was dead.
Yashbir and his mates had been fighting
for six days at 17,000 feet trying to capture an enemy post near Point
5140. The post had 60 Pakistanis.
Havildar Yashbir Singh's parents
A bullet hit Yashbir in the temple;
the second pierced his left arm and the third his chest. Five others died
with him. But by dawn the post had fallen.
For Yashbir's parents, wife Manesh
Devi and children, Uday and Pankaj, life will never be the same again.
The family is now hoping that his younger brother Harvir, also serving
in Kargil, will return home safely.
Havildar Sultan Singh Navaria, 42
2 Rajputana Rifles
Address: Pipri village, Bhind, Chambal, Madhya Pradesh
Havildar Sultan Singh Navaria came
from a village which boasts of having sent 25 men to the front. "He died
like a king," said Navaria's elder brother Sikandar Singh, a soldier disabled
during the IPKF mission in Colombo.
Sepoy Ravindra Kumar saluting
his uncle Havildar Sultan Singh Navaria's photograph
Navaria died on June 13, while fighting
alongside his mates to capture two posts at Tololing peak. Said his nephew
Sepoy Ravindra Kumar of the Rajput Regiment: "Although his leg bled from
a bullet injury and most of his colleagues lay dead, he refused to give
up. He died while chasing some Pakistanis."
Navaria is survived by his wife Shiela
Devi and their three sons.
With over 60 martyrs from the past
three wars, the village is known for its traditions of revenge. Said Navaria's
sons Devendra and Jitendra, "Hame badle ke liye jaldi bharti hona hai.
(We want to join the army quickly to avenge our father's death)."
Major Manoj Talwar, 30
Address: Defence Colony,
Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh
May 16: Meerut wore a deserted look.
Shops were closed as crowds lined the streets to pay tributes to yet another
Kargil hero, Major Manoj Talwar. Although the cremation ground was only
8 km away, the funeral procession took three hours.
"My son believed in leading from
the front," said Captain P.L. Talwar, who had served in the Corps of Engineers
in Leh. "Though his junior was to be sent, Manoj volunteered to go on this
mission." He fell while trying to cut enemy supply lines in Kargil.
Manoj Talwar's family at his house in Meerut
The army had always held a fascination
for Manoj. "He and his friends would form their own army and play with
toy guns," his mother recalled. Although he had cleared the Armed Forces
Medical College exams, he joined the fighting force. He had also taken
a commando course at the Infantry School in Mauh.
He seemed to have "a premonition
that he would die for the country", said his father. Perhaps why he never