The Heroes of Kargil - A Tribute

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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.

He 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.
Yadav 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.

Life 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 and wife

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.

The warrior tradition
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)."

Wedded to duty
Major Manoj Talwar, 30
Mahar Regiment
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.

Major 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 married.

Courtesy: THE WEEK

Kargil War Heroes



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