And they met after 17 long years. Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav and Captain Naveen Nagappa were last together in Delhi hospital post Kargil war for treatment and recovery. Naturally the reunion was a very emotional one. That tight hug says everything and reflects the true spirit of and the bonding shared by the compatriots in Indian Army.

They were remembering their painful phase of recovering. Both agreed that after bearing tremendous pain, when the pain was unbearable, the situation was depressive, a thought came to the mind of both the heroes. … ” isse achchha to mar jana tha.

It is very easy for us who live a secured, peaceful and comfortable to talk about war and provoke the nation to go for a war. We will not go to the border and fight. Neither we will send our relatives to go and fight a war. But we will shout to our nation saying why we are still tolerating the nuisance of Pakistan amend instead not starting a war against them. Our brave heroes who took 16 bullets on him and 16 months to recover from the injury or our hero whose legs got shattered by a grenade and took 2 years to recover and walk again or the families whose doors opened to receive the coffins of their son , father or brother, knows what it takes to start a war. What cost one has to pay as a result of a war.

The nation is lucky to still have with us the brave hearts like Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav and Captain Naveen Nagappa. We know the story of their ultimate bravery. But we hardly look at them deep to see the pain in their eyes for loosing their own compatriots. When Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav says that he can clearly see where his friends got shot and where is friends breathed last, whenever he visits Kargil . Captain Naveen Nagappa Sir has not yet been able to gather courage to visit Kargil in last 17 years. According to him, he will not be able to see and face the names of the martyrs of 13 Jak Rif in the war memorial as once they had hold hands of each other and proceeded to achieve their mission.

Both the heroes believe that God has chosen them to live for a purpose. They have a mission to fulfill. They survived, lived to tell the veer gatha, the brave stories of their bravest of the brave compatriots who attained supreme sacrifice in the line of their duty.



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


Captain Manoj Pandey with his Siblings
Captain Manoj Pandey in his childhood
Paramvir Chakra citation for Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey in UP Sainik School, Lucknow
photo 10
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey in his youth
photo 8
Ammaji – Mother of Shaheed Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey
photo 7
Father of Shaheed Captain Manoj Pandey receiving Paramvir Chakra
Paramvir Chakra
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey in uniform
Captain Manoj Pandey – Gem of his School
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey in UP Sainik School, Lucknow
Letter of Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey to his best friend Pawan Mishra
Ever smiling Captain Manoj Pandey
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (Posth)
Home of Captain Manoj Pandey
Home of Captain Manoj Pandey
Home of Captain Manoj Pandey
Home of Captain Manoj Pandey
Token of love from Gorkha
Found in the pocket of Captain Manoj Pandey during his last time
Statue of Capt. Manoj Pandey
Father of Capt Manoj Pandey and his CO Col Lalit Rai
Parents of Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey
Pocket diary of Captain Manoj Pandey
Last balance of Captain Manoj Pandey
Diary and flute of Captain Manoj Pandey
Watch of Captain Manoj Pandey
Paramvir chakra citation for Captain Manoj Pandey
Hero’s last home return wrapped in the tri-colour
Hero’s last home coming wrapped in tri-colour
Nothing can be heavier than this
His last passport size photo

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