Kargil Vijay Diwas 2023: On July 26 every year, Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed in India to honour the troops who gave their lives in the Kargil War. The war lasted from May to July 1999. The day also marks the success of ‘Operation Vijay’ which was launched in 1999 to reclaim the territories taken by Pakistani invaders in the Kargil Drass region.
We all know the Army heroes sacrifice their own lives during the Kargil War so that the entire country can sleep in peace. The stories of their bravery, courage, and passion are larger than life. Here we are providing a glimpse of 10 army heroes and their bravery stories that will not just make us proud but also their sacrifices will leave eyes a little moist. Each and everyone who fought for us in the Kargil War is heroes. Some of the stories of such legends are provided in this article.
List of 10 Kargil heroes India will always be proud of
1. Captain Vikram Batra ( Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (13 JAK Rifles)
He was born on 9 September 1974, in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh to Girdhari Lal Batra (father) and Kamal Kanta (mother). His mother was a school teacher and his father was a government school principal.
He joined IMA in the Manekshaw Battalion in June 1996. He graduated from IMA on 6 December 1997 after completing his 19-month training. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the 13th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.
After a few training and completing several courses his Battalion, 13 JAK RIF, received an order to proceed to Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. On 5 June the orders of the battalion were changed and were ordered to move to Dras, Jammu, and Kashmir.
He is known as the Hero of the Kargil War and was instrumental in recapturing Peak 5140 which overlooks the Tololing nullah. During the mission, he chose ‘Yeh Dil Mange More!’ as their success signal.
After capturing Peak 5140, he went on another mission to capture Peak 4875. No doubt it was one of the most difficult missions the Indian army attempted. In the battle, one of his fellow men had been shot. Then, to save him, he took the head and was killed while clearing enemy positions. He was awarded Param Vir Chakra, posthumously, India’s highest and most prestigious award for his martyrdom during the Kargil War in 1999 that took place between India and Pakistan.
Vikram Batra’s famous quote when he came home in the holidays said “Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolour (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure.”
2. Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav (Param Vir Chakra) (18 Grenadiers)
He was born on 10 May 1980 in Sikandrabad, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh to Karan Singh Yadav (Father), and Santara Devi (Mother). He was the youngest person to ever be awarded the Param Vir Chakra. In August 1999, Nayab Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav was awarded Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration. His battalion captured Tololing Top on 12 June 1999, and in the process, 2 officers, 2 junior commissioned officers, and 21 soldiers sacrificed their lives.
He was also the part of Ghatak Platoon and was assigned to capture three strategic bunkers situated on the top of steep around 16500 feet high cliff on Tiger Hill. He was climbing with the help of a rope when the enemy bunker started rocket fire. He was hit by several bullets but continued with the mission without taking care of the pain. He crawled to the first enemy bunker and lobbed a grenade which killed around four Pakistani soldiers and set back the enemy fire. This provided an opportunity for the rest of the Indian platoon to climb up the cliff face.
Yadav continued fighting and destroyed the second bunker also with the help of fellow soldiers and killed a few more Pakistani soldiers which provided again an opportunity for the rest of the platoon to arrive. In this way, they accomplish one of the toughest missions of the Kargil War.
In an interview with DD National, Yogendra Singh Yadav said “A soldier is like a selfless lover. With this unconditional love, comes determination. And for this love for his nation, his regiment, and his fellow soldiers, a soldier doesn’t think twice before risking his life.”
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3. Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (1/11 Gorkha Rifles)
He was born on 25 June 1975 at Rudha village, Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, India to Shri Gopi Chand Pandey (Father) and Mohini Pandey (Mother). He was a soldier of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles. According to his father, he had joined the Indian Army with the sole aim of getting a Param Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry award. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.
Another brave soldier had sacrificed his life for the country’s pride. His team was tasked to clear the enemy troops, he carried out a series of attacks to push back the intruders. Under intense enemy fire, the brave and grievously injured officer continued to assault which ultimately led to the capture of Jaubar Top and Khalubar hill in the Batalik sector.
During his Service Selection Board (SSB) interview, he was questioned why he wanted to join the Army. He answered, “I want to win the Param Vir Chakra”. And for his extreme courage and leadership, he was awarded Param Vir Chakra Posthumously.
4. Lieutenant Balwan Singh (Maha Vir Chakra) (18 Grenadiers)
He was born in October 1973 in Sasrauli, Rohtak district, Haryana, India. Lieutenant Balwan Singh on 3 July 1999 with his Ghatak Platoon was tasked to assault the Tiger Hill Top from the North-Eastern direction as part of a multi-pronged attack. The route was situated at the height of 16500 feet which was snowbound and interspersed with crevasses and sheer falls.
With the service of just three months, the officer set about his task with single-minded determination. He leads the team and moved for over 12 hours along a very difficult and precarious route and under intense artillery shelling to reach the designated spur.
His team used cliff assault mountaineering equipment to reach the top with stealth which made the enemy shocked. On seeing the Ghataks, the enemy panicked and in a desperate firefight attempted to repulse the Ghataks. In the firefight, Lt. Balwan Singh was seriously injured but he resolved to finish the enemy unshaken. With the injury, he refused to evacuate and continue the fight, encircle the enemy, and killed four enemy soldiers. The inspirational leadership of the officer, his courage, and his bravery were instrumental in the capture of Tiger Hill. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for his courage and bravery.
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5. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari (Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (18 Grenadiers)
He was born in December 1970 in Nainital, Uttar Pradesh (now Uttarakhand), India to KS Adhikari (Father), and Malti Adhikari (Mother). To capture the Tololong feature on 30 May 1999, as part of the Battalion was tasked to secure the initial foothold by capturing its forward spur where the enemy held a strong position. At a height of about 15,000 feet, the position of the enemy was located in a treacherous mountainous terrain that was covered with snow.
He was leading his company to fulfil his objective. With Universal Machine Guns, he was fired from two mutually supporting enemy positions. He immediately directed the Rocket Launcher detachment to engage the enemy position and without waiting, rushed into the position and killed two enemy personnel in close-quarter combat.
The officer with his presence of mind ordered his Medium Machine Gun detachment to take the position behind the rocky feature and engage the enemy. During the fight, the officer was injured by the bullets but he continued to direct the Subunit. He refused to be evacuated and charged the second enemy position and killed one more occupant. The second position at Tololing was captured which later captured Point 4590. He, later, however, succumbed to his injuries. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra posthumously, the second-highest Indian military honour for bravery on the battlefield.
6. Rifleman Sanjay Kumar (Param Vir Chakra) (13 JAK Rif)
He was born in March 1976 at Kalol Bakain, Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh, India to Durga Ram (Father), and Bhag Devi (Mother).
On 4 July 1999, he volunteered to be the leading scout of the attacking column tasked to capture area Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley. When the attack progressed, the enemy started automatic firing from one of the Sangars posed stiff opposition, and stalled the column.
The officer realised the gravity of the situation and showing unadulterated courage he charged the enemy Sangar with utter disregard for personal safety. In ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he killed three of the intruders and was also seriously injured. After injury also instead of being evacuated, he charged onto the second Sangar. The enemy was surprised and they were left behind by one universal machine gun and started running.
He picked up the left-behind weapon by the enemy and killed the fleeing enemy. He was profusely bleeding from the wounds but refused to be evacuated. He motivated his comrades and charged on to the area Flat Top from the hands of the enemy. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration.
7. Major Vivek Gupta (Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (2 Rajputana Rifles)
He was from Dehradun. On 13 June 1999, he was in command of the leading Charlie Company, when 2 Rajputana Rifles launched a Battalion attack on Tololing Top in the Drass Sector.
Under the inspiring leadership of Major Vivek Gupta, in spite of heavy artillery and automatic fire, he was able to close in with the enemy. As soon as the company openly emerged and came under multi-directional intense fire. Three personnel of the leading section of the company were hit and the attack was temporarily stalled. After knowing, that if it will continue like this in the open then there would be more loss so, he reacted immediately and fired a Rocket Launcher at the enemy position. Before the shocked enemy could recover, he charged onto the enemy position. And therefore at that time, he was hit with two bullets, despite it, he kept moving towards the position. After reaching the position, he kept engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat and managed to kill three enemy soldiers despite his own injuries.
Taking inspiration from the officer, the rest of the company charged to the enemy position and captured it. During the battle, he was hit directly by the enemy bullets and finally succumbed to his injuries. His inspiring leadership and bravery ultimately led to the capture of Tololing Top. He was posthumously awarded Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second-highest military decoration.
8. Captain N Kenguruse (Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (ASC, 2 RAJ RIF)
He was born in July 1974 in Kohima District, Nagaland, India to Neiselie Kenguruse (Father) and Dinuo Kenguruse (Mother).
On the night of 28 June 1999 during Operation Vijay, he was the Ghatak Platoon Commander during the attack on Area Black Rock in the Drass Sector.
He took the responsibility of the daring commando mission of attacking a well-sited enemy machine gun position, on a cliff face, which was heavily interfering with all the approaches to the main objective of the Battalion. As the team of commando scaled the cliff face, intense mortar and automatic fire started that caused heavy casualties.
The officer got a splinter injury in his abdomen. It was bleeding profusely but he urged his man to carry in with the assault. On reaching the final cliff the team of the commando was halted by a sheer rock wall that separated them from the enemy gun post. The officer scaled the rock wall with courage while carrying a rocket launcher with him and fired at the enemy position. He took charge of the enemy position and killed two men personally with his rifle and another two with his commando knife in hand-to-hand combat before succumbing to his injury. Due to his bravery, he single-handedly neutralised the position of the enemy which gave Batallion progress. He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second-highest military decoration.
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9. Lt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum (Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous) (12 JAK LI)
He was born in March 1975 at Shillong, Meghalaya, India to Keishingh Peter (Father) and Saily Nongrum (Mother).
In the operation to capture Point 4812 in the Batalik Sector, he was tasked to assault the feature of the South-Eastern direction. Do you know he led his column over the near-impossible vertical cliff feature? The enemy was entrenched with their positions and remained immune to even artillery fire.
The enemy pinned down the column of Lt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum with automatic fire for about two hours. In spite of all this, without seeing his personal safety, he threw grenades into it and killed six enemy soldiers. He then tried to snatch the universal machine gun from the enemy from the second position and received bullets.
By seeing the action of the Lieutenant the enemy was stunned. Without seeing his injuries, he fought valiantly until he succumbed to his injuries. And due to this, the ultimate capture of Point 4812 was possible. He was posthumously awarded Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second-highest military decoration.
10. Naik Digendra Kumar (Maha Vir Chakra) (2 RAJ RIF)
He was born in July 1969 and belongs to Sikars, State Rajasthan to Shri Sivedan Singh (Father), and Smt Raj Gore (Mother). He was the commander of the Light Machine Gun Group during his company’s assault on the Tololing feature in Drass Sector. The main aim was to capture a well-fortified enemy position.
When the Assault Group was nearing its objective on 13 June 1999, it came under effective fire with the universal machine gun, heavy gun, and other small arms leading to heavy casualties in the Assault Group. He was hit by a bullet in his left arm. After his injury, he continued firing with one hand and brought down effective and accurate Light Machine Gunfire on the enemy. Due to this, the enemy head down and his own man advanced towards the objective. After the effective covering fire, his own troops physically assaulted the enemy position and cleared it after a fierce hand-to-hand fight. After being seriously injured, it was his bravery and courage that the Assault Group was able to capture the objective. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second-highest military decoration in 1999 (Independence Day).
These are the stories of some of the Kargil heroes who fought the battle with bravery and courage and made India proud. Their sacrifice will never be forgettable and therefore, Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed on 26 July to commemorate the sacrifices made by the soldiers in the Kargil War.