“I’ll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it, but I will come for sure.” – Captain Vikram Batra
Are some people born to be heroes? Are there men, who are destined for greatness? Men who in spite of having all the qualities that would ensure them success in the world, sacrifice it all for others? Every once in while, there have been such men and women in this country’s history, men and women who were born to do something extraordinary. Capt. Vikram Batra was clearly one such man – one in a billion!
While the other young men enjoy lives and join the race of minting money when they are in their 20s, Captain Batra aged 24, established an example for the whole of young India by fighting courageously, displaying leadership of the supreme order and sacrificing himself for the nation during the Kargil War of 1999.
The Birth And Formative Years Of The Hero
Captain Batra was born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. It was on the 9th September, 1974 that a baby was born to G.L Batra and Jai Kamal Batra who later sent their young son to serve the nation. Receiving his primary education at home by his mother, Captain Batra completed his schooling from D.A.V Public School, Palampur and Central School, Palampur.
As a school kid, when a young girl had fallen from his school bus, he had jumped off from the moving bus without any hesitation. Hurt, he had then taken the injured girl to a nearby hospital. “He was daring, helpful, he would go out at midnight if anyone asked for his help,” says his father G.L. Batra.
Capt. Vikram was a brilliant student, always scoring very high grades in school and college. He happened to be an exceptional sportsman, excelling in most sports, with table tennis and skating being one of his favourites. He even played nationals in Table Tennis during his school days.
It was in his college days at D.A.V College Chandigarh that Captain Batra’s life took a definitive turn towards defence forces. He became a recipient of best N.C.C Cadet (Air Wing) in two zones during the course of his B.Sc degree. In 1996 Captain Batra took the decision of joining the Indian Military Academy over the high paying Merchant navy. His first commissioning was as a Lieutenant of the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles at Sopore in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Hero In Action: Kargil 1999
During the Kargil invasion of 1999 by Pakistan, (at the time) Lt. Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company were ordered to recapture peak 5140 on June 19, five weeks after the war began. Nicknamed Sher Sha of Kargil, Lt. Batra showed exceptional courage and intellect to capture the peak. He single-handedly killed three enemy fighters in dangerous close-range combat. Regardless of his injuries, Captain Batra regrouped his men to pave the way for Indian soldiers to advance further in the Kargil war.
‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ is our company’s success signal, he said to the camera with a smile. It was the confident smiling visage of this hero that calmed the nation, which made its one billion people believe that everything will be okay.
The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes for the Indian army. A few days later Lt. Batra was assigned to an urgent mission to recapture peak 4875. With an 80-degree slope to the peak where the Pakistani army sat with a clear view of the climb, this was nothing less than a death trap. In the early morning hours of 7 July 1999, he commanded a mission to rescue an injured officer. During the rescue attempt, he pushed aside his Subedar, saying “Tu baal-bacchedar hai, hat ja peeche.”(You have children, step aside) and was killed in action while clearing enemy positions. His last words were, “Jai Mata Di.”
Along with the posthumous honour of Param Vir Chakra, Captain Batra’s name is used by the Indian Army for various significant buildings and cantonments in his remembrance. In a tribute paid by director J.P Dutta to the deceased soldiers through a cinematic representation of the Kargil war “LOC Kargil” in the year 2003, Abhishek Bachchan played Captain Batra’s role and moved the hearts of audience.
The Family With A Golden Heart
Captain Batra is survived by his parents, two elder sisters and a twin brother. The family feels proud of Captain Batra who now is a role model for thousands of Indians who care about their nation before they care about themselves.