'Yeh Dil Maange More': Remembering Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra on his death anniversary
New Delhi, July 07: India-Pakistan war of 1999 - known as the Kargil War could not have been written without the sacrifice of Captain Vikram Batra who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions on the inhospitable battlefield. He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare in Indian history.
Batra was often referred to as ''Sher Shah'' ("Lion King") in the intercepted messages of the Pakistan Army.
From being an ordinary boy hailing from a small village in the Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh, to becoming one of India's most celebrated war heroes in a life that spanned merely twenty five years, ain't a mean feat.
Born on 9 September 1974 in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, Batra was the third child of Girdhari Lal Batra, a government school principal, and Kamal Kanta Batra, a school teacher.
He was the third born child and the elder one of the twin sons, born fourteen minutes before his brother, Vishal. Her mother, Kamal Kanta, a staunch devotee of Lord Ram nicknamed the twin brothers 'Luv' (Vikram) & 'Kush' (Vishal). He had two sisters, namely Seema and Nutan. Vikram Batra's maternal grandfather was also a soldier in the Indian Army.
Vikram acquired primary education from his mother, who was a teacher, while his father was principal at a govt school in Palampur. Thereafter, he attended D.A.V. Public School in Palampur, where he studied till mid-standard. He attained senior secondary education at Central School, Palampur.
Later, he attended DAV College, Chandigarh in B.Sc Medical Sciences. During the first year of his college days, he joined the Air Wing of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and was conferred with the best NCC Air Wing cadet of Punjab Directorate in North Zone.
Later on, he was selected for a 40-day Para trooping training with the NCC Air Wing unit at Pinjore Airfield and Flying Club, about 35 kilometers away from Chandigarh. It was in 1994 that he was selected as an NCC cadet for the Republic Day parade. It was on that day that he announced his wish to join the Army.
In 1995, while he was still in college, he was selected for the merchant navy at a shipping company headquartered in Hong Kong. However, he chose the service of his nation above worldly comforts and said- "Money is not everything in life; I have to do something bigger in life, something great, something extraordinary, which may bring fame to my country."
In 1996, he cleared the CDS exam & the SSB interview as the first milestone towards realizing his purpose in life that was to render a service that was extraordinarily high & supreme.
In the words of his father, Vikram had found his purpose in life. He had found the way to a righteous path that would lead him to his goal - to a service that was extraordinarily high and supreme.
An ephemeral, yet legendary military career: (1996-1999)
Capt. Vikram Batra joined the Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion and was commissioned into the 13 JAK Rifles, well known for its undaunted soldiers & countless battle exploits.
In his first assignment, he was posted to Sopore in the Baramulla district of J&K after being commissioned to the Indian army. By April 1999, Lieutenant
Vikram Batra's unit had completed its field tenure and was preparing to move to its peace location.
However, as if fate had it otherwise, large scale intrusions by the Pakistani forces were detected in the Kargil sector by early May 1999.
When Captain Vikram Batra paid his last visit to his home
His last visit to his home in Palampur before going to the war was in March 1999 during Holi celebrations. This was also the last time he met his family members and fiancee Dimple Cheema who later told the media what the Captain had told him when she asked him to be safe at the war.
Vikram's unit received orders to move to Kargil and he reported for duty on June 1, 1999. Eighteen days later, on June 19, 1999, he was ordered to recapture Point 5140 in his first major battle in the war.
His unit was ordered to recapture Point 5140 in his first major battle in the war. Even though the enemy had the higher ground, he led his men to a brilliant tactical assault on the enemy.
The 13 J&K Rifles won a decisive victory which strengthened India's hold on the territory and he was immortalised when he reportedly told his commander: 'Yeh dil maange more.' His next operation was to capture the 17000-feet high Point 4875, a tough challenge made harder by the steep slopes and chilly temperature.
On a fateful night, after shocking the enemy to retreat, he went to rescue a junior officer who had injured his legs in an explosion. Even though he took out five enemies with a grenade a bullet hit him on the chest.
Vikram Batra is also well known in India for using the slogan, Yeh Dil Maange More! as his signal to communicate mission success.
He is also known for an interview in which he stated that Pakistani soldiers were aware of him.
Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honour on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India's independence. His father G.L. Batra received the honour for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K. R. Narayanan.