GALEY LAGO YAAR BY CAPTAIN NAVEEN NAGAPPA

Have you ever thought how it would be to meet a friend, philosopher, guide, brother, colleague whom you had lost more than 17 years back.

13 Bn the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles was tasked to capture point 4875 during Kargil war. It was decided that the attack would be launched on 04 July 1999. Before launching the attack Capt Vikram Batra during the customary hug had said to me “galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi” (give a tight hug, you never know which will be the last hug).
Little did I realize the consequence of those words then, as I was entering the danger zone, while Capt Vikram Batra was being given the well deserved break after his successful attack on point 5140.

On 04 July 1999, we launched the attack on point 4875 and I was leading the attack. There have been numerous occasions when I cheated death while the enemy bullets very narrowly missed hitting me. Till the mid-day of 06 July 1999, my company had gained considerable ground by eliminating many enemies. That is when Capt Vikram Batra joined me on point 4875.

By midnight of 06 July 1999, we had captured all the bunkers occupied by the enemy less the last one for which the only way to capture was frontal attack. On 07 July 1999, early in the morning enemy lobbed a grenade into my bunker, which badly damaged both my leg. The enemy was trying to launch counter attack.

That is the time Capt Vikram Batra came rushing to the bunker in which I was injured. He asked me to go down and get my legs treated. Since I had promised my company that I will hoist the tricolor on point 4875, I was reluctant to come down. But seeing the state of my leg and too much of blood loss with my life being in danger, Capt Vikram Batra ordered me to go down. I being his junior had to obey his order.

I was crawling down, unable to walk, both legs being severely injured. Capt Vikram Batra punched his fist to mine and took over the charge of attack on point 4875. Knowing the brave nature of Capt Vikram Batra and the only possible attack to capture point 4875 was frontal and suicidal, it was as if written all over the skies that something historical is about to happen.

On being told Capt Vikram Batra won point 4875 for his team, his paltan the defense forces and for the entire nation by making the supreme sacrifice, I always wished that I could stop the time when our fists met each others, till eternity so that he would be amongst us today and forever.

Friends, bidding adieu to a brother officer who is embarking on an attack, return from where is next to none, is the most difficult circumstances in which an officer would like to be in. I have been in that position, wished to hold the time back or at least give the last hug as he had said “galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi”

This mental block prevented me from going back to the unit, going back to the battalion, visiting Kargil war memorial, meeting the people with whom I had the privilege of fighting the enemy on point 4875 and most importantly I never mustered the courage to meet the parents and twin brother of Capt Vikram Batra for the past 17 years.

As fate would have it, we all gathered at one place for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The first time I came across Vishal Batra, twin brother of Capt Vikram Batra, in a flash I was reminded of my last meeting with Capt Vikram Batra when I crawled down point 4875 and he went ahead for the attack. Vishal not only is a look alike of Capt Vikram, but also has the same smile, same charm, same josh and same charisma. Rather I would say two physical entities but same soul.

For me it was nothing short of meeting Capt Vikram Batra again after 17 years. It seems that the thing I always wanted to do with Capt Vikram, the tight hug, the firm handshake, the meeting of fists and some emotional talk and to convey my gratitude was fulfilled.
But for you Vikram I wouldn’t have been here, I wouldn’t have meet my wife, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of holding my dear daughter Savera in my arms, wouldn’t have lived on the earth for the past 17 years.

Thank you Vikram sir, just to let you know you are being missed and remembered.
“galle lagho yaar, na jaane koinse mulaakat akhare hogi”

Captain Vikram Batra.jpg

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A FEW BRAVE MEN BY CAPTAIN NAVEEN NAGAPPA, 13 JAK RIF, SENA MEDAL

 

On this day 17 years back, as the entire nation slept, barring a few brave men enduring the extreme cold in the icy peaks of Kargil at point 4875, their lives changed forever. Some made the supreme sacrifice, some sacrificed part of their body and some would carry the memories of life and death. Anyways life changed forever for these few brave men.

The attack on point 4875 was commenced after last light on 04 July 1999 and for the next 60 hours the men fought one of the most intense battles during the Kargil war. The very fact that during the entire Kargil war four Param Vir Chakras were awarded out of which two Param Vir Chakras were awarded for the bravery shown by the men of 13 Battalion Jammu & Kashmir Rifles on point 4875 proves the intensity of the battle.

The men fought well entrenched enemy for more than 48 hours in the extreme weather conditions without food and water risking their lives, shedding their blood and even sacrificing their lives all but refusing to be evacuated as they had sworn to hoist the tricolor on point 4875. Indeed the tricolor was hoisted on point 4875 by a few brave men on 07 July 1999.

Never say, he lost his life, never say he lost his limb; for freedom was the gift they unselfishly gave, pain and death was the ultimate price they paid.

With a hand upon my heart, I feel the pain, I feel the pride, I feel the respect: my reverence is revealed.

In honor of all the soldiers who played their part for the success of point 4875 earning the unit the award of BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE.

PROUD THAT I WAS PART OF YOU ALL COMRADES

Capt (Retd) Naveen AN, SM

CAPTAIN NAVEEN NAGAPPA, SENA MEDAL

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!

IMG_3827
My daughter with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and his daughter Savera
Myself with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and daughter Savera
Myself with Captain Naveen Nagappa, Sena Medal, his wife Sowmya and daughter Savera
During Kargil War