Shakti roopena sangasthita – My Hero, My Neeta : LT. NEETA DESWAL

Yes, the beginning was very very filmy. As you have seen in the movie Main Hu Na. The train enters and… Actually the entire story is very very filmy . But mind it, its as real as it can be – with a real hero.

I still remember our first meet. Her train was scheduled to reach Bangalore at 4am. She was coming alone with a broken hand. So Vikas and myself decided to receive her. Vikas had to jump over the gates as it was closed at that early morning. While waiting for the train we discussed the uncertainties of life.

And the train came. We had seen her in photos only with long hair. And then she embarked from the train. .. short hair, broken hand. As I shook her hand, it was rough, hard. I still remember her saying the first thing to me “Di, bring a kajal for me. They don’t allow it in academy. I look like a boy. Your hands are so soft and see mine”. I wish I could tell her that till today I die for that boyish look and rough hands. I so wish…

Before we realised, we were bonded for ever… in a relationship that is much stronger, deeper and closer to many blood relations. I found a sweet little sister in Neeta and enjoyed being her didi. She had broken her hand in a judo match in the academy and I was lucky that she came to the command hospital, Bangalore for the treatment. Guess what? All the brave ladies from armed forces reached her hospital cabin to cheer her you with flowers and cake. That included family of Colonel Jojan Thomas, Major Shafeeq Ghori, Major Akshay Girish and Captain Naveen Nagappa Sir himself with his family. Her induction to the DESH FAMILY was instant!

I used to cook fish for her and this crazy girl had requested me to bring wish from Bangalore to chennai during her POP! I couldn’t as I was staying with Varadarajan uncle’s who are shuddh shakahari. One afternoon my daughter Aparajita accompanied me to meet her. And it was love at first sight. Aparajita says Neeta aunty is her hero, her favourite. I never had any problem in convincing her for a short hair cut as Neeta aunty’s hair was short. Neeta loves her Appu as much as she loves her Arjun. They walked together, swing together, played together and chatted over phone. I am lucky as Aparajita found her role model whom she looks up to in the tender age of 5 years.

Despite severe pains and sessions of physiotherapy my tigress always told me “Didi, mujhe jaldi thik hona hai. I don’t want to loose any more terms “. The path she chose was not smooth. But she is a fighter, as brave as her husband Shaheed Major Amit Deswal, 21 Para. Few of her relatives created problems and threats and troubled her as much as possible. But she stood strong braving all those storms. She had to stay away from her loving son of 5 years for an year. She did that too. Here I must tell that their son Arjun is also a fighter, as brave as his parents. Its not easy to loose father at the tender age of 3 and stay away from his mother at the age of 4 years. But he did it. Being the source of strength for his mother. As the saying goes “behind army there is an army”. Not only she braved emotional obstacles, but she won the physical one too. Can you imagine my hero ran 30km at night, played judo.

Yes she is my hero, my champ. Aparajita’s “favourite soldier “. I had to witness her Passing out Parade and see my dear sister Neeta of become Lt. Neeta Deswal. Those stars shining on her shoulders are her wings and no one can stop her from flying high, high and high. Love you Neeta, Lt. Neeta Deswal, also wife of Major Amit Deswal.

 

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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

THE LAST JOURNEY OF CAPTAIN AMIT BHARADWAJ

I don’t know how to start. As I got these pictures of Captain Amit Bharadwaj’s journey towards immortality, I just became blank. I felt 17 is just a number. 17 X 365 X 24 is also just a number. There can never be a number too big. It will always remain so fresh – the loss, the pain, the wait.

17 years ago, this day he came home wrapped in the tri-colour. He came home after 56 days of attaining martyrdom for his dear motherland. He was 27 years old then – not too old but very brave. In that age, we spend our days in luxury and comfort. We hardly dare to come out of our safe zone. And he at that age risked his life, didn’t think of his family, his own comfort but thought only about his nation and us – his countrymen. I can’t even think where from all these courage and determination comes. He didn’t think of what will happen after his martyrdom. He knew his country needed him at that time. India has always been a land of true warriors or kshatriyas and he was a perfect warrior son of his motherland.

Today, whether you cry for a terrorist or pelt stones to his fellow brother soldiers just don’t matter to him. He did his duty and he knows his brother soldiers will also do the same and even give their life without a second thought for the nation – however ungrateful it may be. As they believe –

“I will always do my duty, no matter what the price.
I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice.
Oh, and I don’t want to die for you,
But if dying is asked of me,
I’ll bear that cross with honor,
‘Cause freedom don’t come free.

Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand,
When liberty’s in jeopardy I will always do what’s right,
I’m out here on the front lines. Sleep in peace tonight.”

But we, by not thinking about the family he left behind¬ instead thinking of the father or son of a terrorist, we are showing how misfit we are for such great sacrifices of greater men in uniform.

Dear Captain Amit Bharadwaj, our beloved Amit bhaiya, bless us that one day, some day we may become more deserving of your sacrifice.

Desh bows down her head before your bravery and selfless sacrifice. We are ever grateful to you. Thank you for protecting us and ensuring our safety by risking your own.

I guess Heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up
For what you believe
And follow it through
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is Heaven was needing a hero like you

Picture Courtsey – Sunita Dhonkaria (elder sister of Captain Amit Bharadwaj)

CAPTAIN R SUBRAMANIAN, KIRTI CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUSLY)

Last evening, there was a story telling session….. I came to know about some of our warriors over phone from Vikas…….I thought to share those stories of supreme braveries with you all. While searching for details about one of them I found a community in Orkut and achieved little in the mission to get some details about him – Capt R Subramanian, 1PARA, SF. 
Capt Subbu was born on 12th Aug 1976 to Mr. and Mrs. S. Ramachandran – a family from Kerala, settled in Mumbai. The young boy scored 94% and 96% in the Xth and XIIth standard examination and got selected in the National Defense Academy (NDA), Pune for the 90th course at NDA (July 1993). He passed out from NDA in 1996 and completed the training at IMA, Dehra Dun in 1997. The daring young man was then attached with the 1 Para, SF since 1997.

During the Kargil war, the young Lt was busy at Drass Sector, Mushkoh valley till end of August 1999 and led several tough operations there. He was promoted as Captain in March 2000.

When he went back to his troop after a leave in June 2000, he found his men preparing for an assault against the militants in the Haphruda forest of Kupwara. Capt Subbu volunteered the operation. During the operation they managed to kill 5 militants among the eight and took a break at the night.

In the next morning they went to the site of operation and while removing the bodies of the militants, suddenly one the them fired from the closest range on Capt Subbu. Instantaneously, he also fired on the militant and both of them killed each other. The point blank range firing made impossible to identify the face of the brave heart and Indian Army covered the face with a thick layer of sandalwood before the hero reached his home wrapped in tricolor.

On 19th of June, 2000 the nation lost one of her most talented, efficient and intelligent officers in the forest of Kupwara and he was awarded with Kirti Chakra on the republic day of 2001. The warrior could probably be descried the best in his own words,

“You have never lived until You have almost died, And for those who choose to fight, Life has a special flavor, The protected will never know!!!”
Jai Hind……

5 COMPANIONS OF CAPTAIN SAURABH KALIA

They never die for fame or name; neither do they die for money, awards or pension. They give their life and their family for the sake of our safety comfort and happiness. But it’s our responsibility to know about our fallen heroes as we owe our life and happiness to them. Today’s post is about such 5 unsung war heroes who along with Captain Saurabh Kalia of the Indian Army laid down his life during the Kargil War while being held as a prisoner of war by the Pakistani security forces.

On May 15, 1999 Saurabh Kalia along with five soldiers – Sepoys Arjun Ram, Banwari Lal Bagaria, Bhikha Ram Moondh, Moola Ram Bidiyasar and Naresh Singh Sinsinwar of the 4 Jat Regiment had gone for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector in the rugged, treeless Ladakh mountains. After a continuous cross fire with Pakistan armed forces from across the LoC, he and his troops ran out of ammunition. They were finally encircled by a platoon of Pakistan rangers and captured alive before any Indian reinforcement could reach for their help. No trace of this entire patrol was left meanwhile Radio Skardu of Pakistan announced that Captain Saurabh Kalia had been captured by the Pakistani troops. It was after this that India discovered hundreds of guerrillas had established fortified positions on the peaks of the hills deep inside the Indian side of the Line of control, with sophisticated equipment and supply lines back to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir

Captain Kalia and his men were in captivity for over twenty-two (May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999) days and subjected to torture as evident from their bodies handed over by Pakistan Army on June 9, 1999. The postmortem revealed that the Pakistan army had tortured their prisoners by burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of the teeth and bones, fractures of the skull, cutting the lips, chipping of nose, chopping off limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting all sorts of physical and mental tortures and finally shooting them dead, as evidenced by the bullet wound to the temple. The postmortem report also confirmed that injuries were inflicted ante-mortem (before death)

** Sepoy Moola Ram Bidiyasar belonged to village Kathoti in Jayal tehsil of Nagaur district in Rajasthan. He was in Unit-04 Jat Regiment of Indian Army. His father’s name is Raghunat Ram and mother’s name is Rameshwari. His mother inspired him to join Indian Army. His entire village is very proud of his sacrifice.

** Sepoy Arjun Ram Baswana of 4 Jat Regiment was born on 5th October 1976 in the village Budhi in Nagaur tehsil of Nagaur district in Rajasthan. His father’s name is Chaudhari Chokha Ram Baswana and his mother’s name is Bhanwari Devi. He was very good in sports like Kabaddi and hockey. He has even played in state level and got many awards. Because of his well built body, he had taken part in wrestling also.

** Sepoy Banwari Lal Bagaria belonged to village Sigdola Chhota in Laxmangarh tehsil of Sikar district in Rajasthan. He was survived by his wife Smt. Santosh Devi.

** Sepoy Bhikha Ram Moondh was born in 16th January 1977 in the village Patasar in Pachpadra tehsil of Barmer district in Rajasthan. His father’s name is Chenaram Choudhry and mother’s name is Raai Devi. He joined the Jat Regiment of Indian Army in 26th April 1995. He got married to Bhanwri Devi in the year 1994.

**Sepoy Naresh Singh Sinsinwar belonged to village Chhoti Ballabh in Iglas tehsil of Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh. He was survived by his wife Smt. Kalpana Devi.

15th Msy

CAPTAIN P V VIKRAM

Kargil hero Captain PV VIKRAM was born to Lt Col PKPV Panicker and Kalyani Panicker at MANARI HOUSE, PANNIYANKARA, Kallai P.O.KOZHIKODE on 24th OCT 1973. He joined 1st Std in KV No.1, Kozhikode in 1979.He was shifted to KV Talbahat in UP due to his father’s transfer to that station from field area. He continued his studies in KV No.1 Sri Nagar[J&K] in 7th&8th and 9 &10 in KV Aurangabad Maharastra. He again joined KV No.1 Kozhikode in the 11th Std. He was shifted to KV Faridkot Punjab from where completed 12th Std. He joined NSS College, Ottapalam, Kerala and graduated in B Sc Computer Science in the year 1994.He was an active member of NCC and passed `C’ Certificate of NCC. He appeared for CDSE and qualified to Join in Indian Military Academy, DEHRADUN .

He passed out as a Commissioned Officer on 8th Jun 1996, in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Regiment of ARTILLERY in 141 Field Regiment. He served in Seachian Glacier and then in KARGIL[J&K].He took part in the Indo Pak Military operations in OP-VIJAY in KARGIL.He rendered supreme sacrifice on 2nd Jun 1999 in KARGIL while he was leading in an assault operation with Infantry against Pakistani piquet.

Captain PV Vikram
CAPTAIN P V VIKRAM

“Mission Accomplished” before he stopped – Anasuya Mitra

This brave son of India was from Pathankot, Punjab. He was born on February1,1978 at Namkum, in the house Capt. Janmej Singh(Rtd.) & Mrs.Pushplata. Triveni was trained in martial arts. He cleared his examination for IMA, Dehradun and he was commissioned in the army on December 3, 2001. After commissioning he joined the 5 JAKLI reputaded for its bravary & decoration in the Indian Army. Within his short work-life he lead more than six successful operation as an young officer.

On the evening of January 02, 2004 Lt. Triveni Singh found out about the fidayeen. Lt. Triveni Singh rushed to the Jammu railway station with five commandos. In a swift action he killed the first militant and followed the other who was firing from the overhead rail bridge. Lt.Triveni Singh knew that the hidden militant was equipped with lethal weapons and could kill over 300 passengers who were in the parcel room. To save the innocent people, he grabbed the miilitant and injured him self fatally. His body was found 6 inches away from the last terrorist that he killed.

Captain Singh(Father of Lt Triveni SIngh) was surfing channels on television when reports of a terrorist attack on the Jammu railway station were aired. The station was filled with hundreds of people and security personnel. Janmej Singh continued to watch television channel Aaj Tak’s report on the operation undertaken first by the police and then by the paramilitary forces to take out the two, heavily-armed Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists.

“After a while, I noticed a headline scrolling at the bottom of the screen,” he recalls. It said an army officer had been killed in the operation. “Then they put out a flash naming the officer; it was my son, Lieutenant Triveni Singh.”

Captain Singh immediately called his son’s unit, the 5 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry. “The officer at the other end said Triveni was all right. But I insisted on speaking to his superior. The media does not lie, I said,” he recalls. When he was told the unit’s superior officers were at the railway station, Captain Singh immediately decided to leave for Jammu. As January 3 quietly slipped in, the family reached Jammu, their minds filled with uncertainty. When they met Triveni Singh’s unit, they were told of how their son’s heroism had saved many lives. Then, they saw their only son’s body.

He was adjutant of his unit and was in the room adjoining the commanding officer’s office when information about the terrorist attack came in. The commanding officer asked Triveni to alert the officers and the soldiers on duty at the barracks to move to the Jammu railway station. Triveni believed this would delay the operation. He suggested, instead, that he be allowed to lead the Quick Reaction Team to tackle the terrorists.

As the team neared the railway station, Triveni was told the terrorists were firing indiscriminately. Seven lives — including that a policeman, two BSF jawans, one railway policeman and two civilians — had already been lost. Several others were injured.

In order to save time, he asked his driver to race the jeep across the railway tracks towards the captive station. Triveni, who was leading his men from the front, succeeding in eliminating the first terrorist. He targeted the second one, who lobbed a grenade at him. According to army records, Triveni shot dead the second terrorist despite sustaining serious injuries in the grenade attack. The young officer then reported to the general officer commanding his division. “Mission accomplished,” he said, before collapsing.

“Let every mother give birth to children like Triveni who refuse to abandon their guns and run away from the battlefield even if their decision costs them their life,” says his proud mother, even as the tears well in her eyes.
The nation expressed her gratitude to her brave heart by awarding him with the Asoke Chakra, the highest gallantry award. Captain Janmej Singh received the award on behalf of his son.Lt. Triveni Singh