Remembering the Kargil War Hero – Captain Vikram Batra

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PVC born in Palampur

Born on 9th of September, 1974, in Palampur, Madhya Pradesh, Captain Vikram Batra was a courageous officer of the Indian Army whose actions in the battlefield go beyond heroism. Known by several names such as Vicky, Sher Shah etc., Captain Vikram Batra has been awarded India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, including the Param Vir Chakra for his actions during the Kargil War of 1999.

Insights:-

  • Captain Vikram Batra’s Childhood: Family Background And His Upbringing In School
  • Beginning of His Career
  • The Kargil War: Capture of Point 5140, Capture of Point 4875 And The Aftermath
  • The Bottom Line

Captain Vikram Batra’s Childhood: Family Background And His Upbringing In School

He was born in 1974 on September 9 and was brought up in the beautiful mountain town of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. He was the elder of twin sons and was the third child of the family. His father, Mr. Girdhari Lal Batra was a principal of a government school and his mother Mrs. Kamal Kant was a school teacher.

As a child, he was immensely popular in his school amongst his classmates and his teachers. He was an all-rounder:- brilliant in studies, keen sportsman and an eager participant in co-curricular activities. He was a green belt holder in Karate and was a national level table-tennis player as well. He was also deemed as the best NCC Cadet of Northeast India.

Beginning of His Career and Inclination Towards The Indian Army

Vikram was deeply patriotic from quite a young age and thus was always keen to join the Army. Due to this, it did not come as a shock to his family when he decided to prepare for the Combined Defense Service (CDS) exam in 1955 after completing his graduation. Miraculously, he was also selected for a job in the Merchant Navy by a Hong-Kong based firm, but he turned down the lucrative offer by deciding to serve the nation.

In 1966, Vikram finally cleared the CDS exam with flying colours and thereafter joined the Indian Military Academy where he was commissioned as a Lieutenant. After completing his training, he was posted in Sapore town in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla District.

The Kargil War: Capture of Point 5140, Capture of Point 4875 and The Aftermath

In 1999, the Kargil War began. By this time, Vikram Batra had completed a Commando Course at Belgaum and was on a leave for celebrating Holi with his family in Palampur. Like always, he went for a cup of coffee with his friend. While sipping coffee, his friend cautioned him to stay safe as the Kargil War had begun and he might be called anytime, to which Captain Vikram Batra replied that he does not need to worry as he will either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or will come back wrapped in it, but he will come back for sure. Soon after, his unit was asked to move to Kargil and he reported for duty on June 1, 1999.

The Capture of Point 5140

  • Eighteen days later, Captain Vikram Batra received orders to recapture Point 5140 on 19th June 1999. This was his first major battle in the war. Despite having the advantage of height, the enemy troops failed to hold on to the territory. This was due to the brilliant technical assault led by Vikram and his men’s which killed their soldiers and scattered their camps.
  • In this encounter, Vikram and his troops won 13 J&K riffles which marked their decisive victory and helped them to strengthen their hold in the region. He was happy that all his men’s made it alive and conveyed the same feeling to his commander at the base camp using the famous slogan  “Dil Mange More.”
  • He also called up his father in the morning of 20th June to let him know that he was safe and had completed his task, to which the former replied that he was proud of him.

The Capture of Point 4875

  • Captain Vikram Batra’s next mission was one of the most difficult mountain warfare campaigns undertaken during Kargil – the capture of 17000 feet high, Point 4875.
  • While the Pakistani troops positioned themselves at a height of 16000 feet, it was difficult for anyone to climb up the icy slopes of the peak which were 80 degrees steep covered by occasional thick fog.
  • Vikram knew that the mission was tough, but he did not want his parents to worry and thus he called them up from the base camp and said that he is well and thus, they need not worry. This was the last time when he spoke to his family.
  • Captain Vikram Batra and his men began climbing on the night of 7th July to strengthen the Indian force which was already fighting against the invaders at 16,000 feet. Soon after, the enemy received information that formidable Captain Vikram Batra has arrived and thus intensified their attack. They began raining mortar and automatic fire from above. To this, Captain Vikram Batra counter-attacked ferociously and was also supported by his fellow officer Anuj Nayyar. Both of them engaged in hand to hand combat and cleared enemy bunkers, giving way to their troops to fire.
  • As a result, the two brave hearts forced the enemy to retreat. The mission almost came to an end, when a junior officer injured his legs in an explosion. On seeing this, Captain Vikram Batra rushed out of his bunker and hurled grenades at the enemy gun post and killed nearly five soldiers while making his way to the injured lieutenant. He reached there and just as he lunged to lift his mate, he was hit by a bullet in his chest. Severely wounded, Vikram passed away after completing the mission.
  • By morning, India recaptured peak 4875 but lost two of its bravest sons: Captain Vikram Batra and his fellow officer Anuj Nayyar.

The Aftermath

At his funeral, his grief-stricken mother explained why God gifted her with twins. She said that one is for the country and one for her. Owing to the bravery and leadership that Captain Vikram Batra constantly displayed, he was posthumously awarded India’s highest award for gallantry in battle – Param Vir Chakra.

The Bottom Line

Today, a statue of PVC born in Palampur, Captain Vikram Batra, adorns the town square of Palampur. This statue marks the bright face of Captain Vikram Batra who fought ferociously and died fearlessly and gave the nation a war cry and the young generation their motto of life.

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