Don’t know how to start! I am carrying so much of excitement within me and I am lacking words and order to put it down in pen and paper. But I have to share it with all of you. Otherwise I will spend some more sleepless night like yesterday.
As usual, “in the year 1999” I was in class 11 and the Kargil War was fought. The war that changed my life, the war that opened my eyes, my mind and my heart. The war that let me know what I love, what is my passion and what I wanted to be. Throughout those 2 months I followed the news channels and newspapers thoroughly and read about all the soldiers and martyrs, their braveries, their contributions, their families, everything. They became a prominent part of my life and they continue to be so. Through their stories, I fall in love with my country, my men in uniform and the concept of serving nation afresh. From then, they have always been my heroes.
And yesterday, I saw, I met, I spoke to such a real hero of my life who not only fought in Kargil War but led a team of 120 brave men who gave us a historical victory! Yesterday I met Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal at his house in Bangalore. Before I narrate my experience in those two precious hours, let me formally introduce him to all of you. Then only you can understand my degree of excitement.
Hardly 6 Months would have passed after his commissioning in 13th Jammu & Kashmir Riffles(Jak Rif) of Indian Army – the brave Unit which consisted of brave heroes like Late Capt Vikram batra͵ Riffleman Sanjay Kumar & many more. He was trying his best to understand the new environment & giving his best in his new work. But in the meanwhile the 1999 Kargil war took place.
During the war Lt Naveen was given a task to Capture the Indian bunkers on Mushkow valley side. He was leading a team of 120 men. He recalls that before taking these men for the battle operation he said four things to his men to convince them.
*‘I WILL NOT LET ANY ONE OF YOU HAPPEN ANYTHING & WILL BE READY TO EVEN SACRIFICE MY LIFE TO SAVE U“
*I WILL NOT BE THE MAN WHO WILL RUN AWAY.EVEN IF I DIE IN THE WAR I WILL HAVE BULLETS ON MY CHEST BUT NOT MY BACK
*I MAY HAVE THE DEARTH OF EXPERIENCE͵BUT NOT THE DEARTH OF SPIRIT.
*The last thing which he told was inspirational and was ‘APNA TIRANGA LE JAYENGE͵FEHRAKAR AAYENGE CHAHE KUCH BHI HO JAYE.
He managed to get one bunker & the other bunker was leading to the stealth of “point 4875“where Capt Batra lost his life. In the meanwhile enemy hurled a grenade on LT Naveen‘s side & in order to save his Jawans he took the grenade immediately & hurled it towards enemy. But unfortunately it burst nearby his position. Due to this grenade blast Lt Naveen‘s leg was injured severely. Then Shaheed Capt Vikram Batra͵ evacuated Lt Naveen & took the charge where Lt Naveen left. Then Capt Vikram Batra fought with extreme courage & valour to get that bunker which lead to point 4875. In this action Capt Vikram Batra sacrificed his life for the nation‘s glory.
Lt. Naveen was later promoted to Captain and for his extreme courage͵ spirit & valour he was awarded with Sena Medal by President of India. Due to his injury he was commissioned out of Army.
So, I met a man of such bravery, calibre and historical importance, ofcourse! He is such a down to earth person, very approachable and friendly! You can call him any number of times and ask him any number of questions!
I heard from him what happened to him in the war! On 7th July 1999 early morning, when the enemy hurled a grenade on him and he immediately threw it back, somehow it bounced back and burst near him only. It was sheer luck that he was alive but his legs were injured very badly. Immediately he lied down to save his upper half, took a sedative to manage the pain and tied bandage on his leg which was dangling at the bottom. Then he crawled back few meters because no one can carry him back as that area was completely exposed to enemy firing. Then his fellow men carried him down on back amidst heavy firing. In between they halted behind big stones to protect themselves from the firing. Some rocks were loose and many a times he was dropped. Once he reached the field hospital after 24 hours of his injury, he was given basic medication and then he was shifted to Srinagar by Army Ambulance from there he was airlifted to Delhi. The road to Srinagar was very rough and the ambulance never stopped on the way. If it stopped, the enemy would have located the coordinates and shot the ambulance. Captain Naveen had to bear sever pain throughout the journey because of the rough road. In Delhi, he was under treatment for 1 and a half years and underwent 8 major surgeries. After Delhi he spend few months in Pune ALC (Artificial Limb Centre). Doctors told him he will never be able to walk again in his life but today I saw him walking down the gate to greet us. It was all possible because of his strong will and sheer courage!
I consider myself and my family to be lucky enough to meet someone as brave as Captain Naveen Nagappa in our lifetime! It’s a rare opportunity that almighty showered on us! Thank you Sir for protecting us and giving us a safe and comfortable life. Jai Hind!