Profiles in Heroism: Archive

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Adi
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Adi » 09 Jan 2004 00:37

I don't want to detract from the purpose of this thread but the Milli Gazette reporters' unwarranted political rants show an utter lack of respect for the sacrifices made by Maj. Samirul Islam and Capt. Javed Ali Saifi, apart from being tasteless to the core. :mad:

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 09 Jan 2004 06:01

Capt. R Subramanian (1 Para SF) - Op Rakshak

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NAHAN, June 27 — Tributes were paid to martyr Capt R. Subramanian, who laid down his life for the nation while fighting foreign militants in Kupwara districts on June 18. Capt R. Subramanian belonged to First Para (SF) at present somewhere in Western Command.

According to information available here, on June 18 during operations in Haphruda forest of Kupwara district in Kashmir valley, Capt R. Subramanian was the Troop Commander leading one of the columns. At around 6.30 p.m. his troops came under fire from a group of 10-15 foreign militants. Quickly analysing the situation, Capt Subramanian moved his troops over adverse and tough terrain and engaged the militants in a fight. As a result of his bold action his troops managed to extricate themselves from the ambush zone and also engaged the enemy. The ensuing fight continued into the night. Capt Subramanian kept the pressure on the militants.

The next morning three militants from a commanding position brought down effective fire on his troop. Realising the tremendous danger to the life of his men, Capt Subramanian charged at the militants, firing from his weapons. The militants fired at him, injuring him in the neck and shoulders. This did not deter the valiant officer who unflinchingly continued to charge at them. He closed in on the militants and killed three of them. He received more injuries in the process in the face and head. By his singularly gallant action he killed three foreign militants and saved the lives of his men.

Capt Subramanian was evacuated from the area immediately in a helicopter but he succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The bold and daring action and the supreme sacrifice made by him was in the highest tradition of the Indian Army. His indomitable courage and steadfast valour led to the elimination of nine hardcore foreign militants.

Born on August 12, 1976, to Mr S. Ramchandran and Mrs Subha Lakshmi at Goregaon, Capt R. Subramanian was a zealous officer throughout his short service. He had performed exceedingly well in operations against militants in the North-East. He was totally selfless and always gave his best. His motto and selfless thoughts in life can be understood by the quotation he told to his friend before going for the operation: "You have never lived till you have almost died".

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Website dedicated to Capt. Subramanian by fellow NCC cadets
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 15 Jan 2004 06:39

Maj Pradeep R Tathawade (8 J&K LI) - Op Rakshak

PUNE, JUNE 19: It was on a sultry morning that the mortal remains of Major Pradeep R Tathawade was consigned to flames at a solemn ceremony held at the Vaikunth crematorium here today morning. Maj Tathawade was killed in action against militants in Shahpur village, Poonch district in Jammu last Saturday.

A veteran of many operations in the past till the last fateful encounter on Saturday, his funeral procession started from his residence and was mobbed by scores of people who flocked the place. The procession took a circuitous route and passed through Sambhaji bridge via Karve road before arriving at the crematorium. With the Army taking elaborate measures to honour a slain brother in uniform, the place had been cleaned and washed in the early hours by the men of the Pune sub-area. Maj Tathawade's elder brother, Milind, performed the last rites along with the Major's one-year-old son Sagar.

"The Major killed three militants in the operation before he succumbed to his injuries,'' says Maj Tathawade's colleague, Maj Sean O'Brien, who is from the same unit, the 8 Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) and accompanied the body to Pune.

According to Maj O'Brien, the unit received a tip off on Friday about a group of militants holed up in Shahpur village. Maj Tathawde, who was the officiating commanding officer of the unit immediately moved to the area with his men. Surrounding the hut where the militants where holed up they asked the militants to surrender. When they refused the Army opened fire to flush out the militants. ``It was then that Maj Tathawade saw two militants trying to break away,'' remembers Maj O'Brien. Maj Tathawade charged the two militants and gunned them down when suddenly another attacked from behind.

'He rolled to the ground with the militant who got up and shot Maj Tathawade at point-blank range.'' Although shot in the stomach and thigh he managed to kill the third militant. By then he was bleeding profusely but continued to direct the operation, warning his people to stay back till the militants were killed or captured. "He ensured the safety of his men even though he was injured he refused to be evacuated,'' said Maj O'Brien. Later when the remaining militants were killed they rushed the Major to a field ambulance unit but it was too late. He died due to excessive bleeding and his body was flown to Pune in the early hours of Monday.

Maj Tathawade was a veteran of several operations and had killed five militants from the Hizbul-ul-Mujahadeen in October last year. These militants were suspected to be from a group known as the HOJI. He had also done a stint on the Siachen glacier. Born in Kendur Pabal village of Shirur Taluka in Pune district, Maj Tathawade did his schooling at Satara Military school before joining the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into the 8 JAKLI on June 1984.

The funeral arrangements were made by the Pune sub area and Maj Gen B K Bopanna laid a wreath on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command, while Col G Ilangovan laid one on behalf of GOC-in--C Maharashtra and Gujarat area followed by a wreath by Brig Ashok Anand, Pune sub area commander.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 15 Jan 2004 06:47

Lt Ravinder Singh Chhikara ( 6 Grenadiers) -Op Rakshak

RAJOURI, July 30: Displaying undaunting courage and valour of the highest order, Lt Ravinder Chhikara, 24, killed three dreaded terrorists of HUJI before attaining the supreme sacrifices in an encounter with foreign mercenaries near village Naili Kadoka in Manjakote area of Rajouri district on July 19.

The sacrifice given by this young officer who kept the traditions of Indian Army alive by laying down his life for this great nation will always be remembered. Hailing from village Kheri Asra a small hamlet in Jhajjar Haryana Lt. Chhikara showed most courage,selfless devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army and with total disregard to personnel safety chased the dreaded HUJI militant group to their finish.

After receiving the information about the presence of few terrorists in village Naili a joint operation was launched by Ghatak PI under Lt Chhikara with troops of 16 Sikh on July 19.

Seeing the advancing Ghatak Party, the terrorists opened volley of fire on the Party. Lt Chhikara who was moving closely behind the scouts quickly moved the house where from the fire had come.

Without wasting any time, under the cover of LMG fire the officer displaying utmost dedication to his duty sweeped into the room with a volley of bullets from his A K 47 Rifle and shot dead one terrorist who was in the process of firing his RPG. The terrorist was taken by surprise with the clever move of the Officer.

The bold action by this young officer turned the situation in favour of security forces. Seeing their accomplice dead two more terrorists who were also inside the house returned fire and ran towards the hill under the cover of a nallah. Not ready to let this fleeing opportunity to loose, Lt Ravinder Chhikara along with his team immediately chased the fleeing terrorists.

While chasing them he realised that his BPJ was hampering his impending task hence he threw it off and ran behind the terrorists like a roaring lion who were running up hill.

With the gap closing in , the fleeing terrorists suddenly took cover of a boulder and started firing at the party headed by Lt Chhikara. Showing utmost courage, selfless devotion to duty and with total disregard to personnel safety this brave Indian Army Officer jumped behind another boulder and killed the terrorist also. However, in the process he suffered the grievous multiple bullet injuries in his chest from the third terrorist.

This courageous officer was so entangled by the love of his mother land that despite the grievous wound he had suffered he entered into a hand to hand fight with the third terrorist and fired a long burst from his AK 47 Rifle killing him also before attaining martyrdom.

During this encounter a total of six foreign mercenaries including Jammu Region Area Commander of HUJI was also killed and huge quantity of arms and ammunition received.

The raw courage and swiftness shown by this Army Officer prevented the terrorists from encircling the party from behind.

Lt Ravinder Chhikara is survived by his father Mr Rattan Singh, mother Mrs Kamli Devi and a younger brother who is doing engineering in Kurukshetra Engineering College.

This young officer while sacrificing his life for the nation took utmost care that no civilian should come in the cross firing in this deadly encounter and ensured their total safety before launching the offensive against the terrorists in the house they were hiding.

Besides being devoted to his duty this dynamic officer had developed a good rapport with the people of the area and was enjoying their good will.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 15 Jan 2004 08:17

Lt. Col. Ajit Bhandarkar (25 RR) - Op Rakshak

Obituary - It is with deep regret and a great feeling of profoundness that I record the death of a Brave great soldier at Jammu and Kashmir. Lt. Col. Ajit Bhandarkar of Rashtriya Rifles. (Madras Regiment), A GSB who hailed from Bangalore , was killed in an encounter at Surankot near Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. His Body was brought home to Bangalore on Late Sunday Night.
On receiving Clues about some militants in a forest in Surankot in the Doda sector of Jammu, Lt. Col. Bhandarkar rushed to the area with his team at around 3.30 PM(IST) on Saturday Afternoon. In the ensuing Gun Battle, Lt. Col. Bhandarkar killed five militants before falling to the enemy bullets.

Three Jawans were also killed in the encounter along with him. Thirty Nine year old Bhandarkar is survived by his Parents , Two Brothers , Wife Namrata and Two Sons, Nirbhay(7) and Akshay (5).. One of his brothers Lt. Col. Arun Bhandarkar ,is also in the Army, and is currently serving in Jhansi. His Father Mr. U.V.Bhandarkar , is a Former Div. Manager of New India Assurance.
by A.Nagesh Nayak

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Babui » 16 Jan 2004 22:43

Maj. Udai Singh (can somebody who's registered post the entire article)

http://www.forceindia.net/beret.asp

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 16 Jan 2004 23:57

Babui,
This is not from Force but this profile is about Maj. Udai Singh. Depressing story though..

Major Udai Singh ( 1 Para SF/ 4 Vikas )

This is the story of two Udai Singhs, both armymen killed in combat within two days of each other. The first one, a recent immigrant to the US from Chandigarh , died while fighting for the American Army in Iraq on December 1. The second, a major with the Indian Army's elite 1 Para (Special Forces), was killed while battling terrorists in Kashmir on November 29.

The first one's death made the front pages of Indian newspapers on Thursday. The second one's valour went unsung. ‘‘The public is largely unaware of the sacrifices being made by the Indian Army... they have shed blood since 1947... a nation lives because of these young boys,'' says Sudha Singh, mother of 29-year-old Major Udai Singh.

Adds his father, Colonel (retired) K K K Singh, ‘‘Udai lived very bravely... his name was mentioned for decorations every year and he got a Sena Medal for gallantry on August 15 this year... and died very bravely.''

Col Singh and his wife, settled in Noida, poignantly enough, had found ‘‘a match'' for Udai on the day he died while trying to save another soldier injured in the gun-battle with militants in Thanamandi sector. ‘‘My father, 86, wanted to see his grandson's wedding... But we got a call on November 30 morning and it was all over,'' says Col Singh.

Udai, if he wanted, could have led a cushy life. After graduation from Hansraj College , he was selected as a Tata graduate management trainee and worked for a while at the Taj Man Singh hotel in Delhi .

But he told his ‘‘dad'' he wanted a more adventurous life. And fulfilled his dream by joining the paracommandos in 1997. ‘‘He went a step ahead and volunteered for the special forces... he then joined 4 Vikas (a special group for counter-insurgency operations),'' says Col Singh, himself a paratrooper who commanded the 17 Para Field Regiment.

Col Singh and his wife are not bitter that their son died unnoticed, while the deeds of his namesake were splashed all over India . But they do certainly feel that Indians should also learn to honour their own soldiers. ‘‘Udai's heart and soul were in the Army... we have no regrets,'' says his mother.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 17 Jan 2004 01:08

Lance Naik Balbir Singh ( 6 Sikh LI) - Op Parakram
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Mortal remains of Lance Naik Balbir Singh, who laid down his life for the nation at Palan Wala sector of Akhnoor during cross-border shelling on Monday evening, were consigned to flames by his 10-year-old son, Devinder, at Maksudra village, near here. Constables of the Punjab Police reversed their arms in martyr’s honour. They also fired shots in his honour.

Among the slogans of ‘Balbir Singh zindabad,’ ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and ‘Pakistan murdabad,’ Mr Mukhtiar Singh, martyr’s father, narrated the story of his family which has lost two sons and one daughter. His only surviving son, Sikander Singh, is presently posted in the Dera Baba Nanak Unit of the Sikh Regiment. Mother of Balbir Singh has also expired and now Mukhtiar Singh looks after the families and widows of his two sons. Feeling proud of his son’s sacrifice, he tries his best to conceal tears rolling down his cheeks.

Unable to understand even the meaning of death, Devinder, the innocent son of the martyr, says he will finish the enemy with the toy gun that his father had bought him during his last vacation. The widow of the martyr, Gurmit, is still in shock. Mr Sikander Singh, recollects that his brother had said to him in March this year that it was a co-incident that both of them had come for vacation simultaneously and had met, otherwise, God knows if they would be able to meet again or not.”

Narrating his last meeting with Balbir, Mr Jagmeet Singh, one of his friends, says Balbir was not afraid of death and he always said that he would die only after killing a couple of enemies at the LoC.

The Deputy Director, Sainik Board, Ludhiana, Wg Cdr M.S. Randhawa, said Balbir Singh was injured by splinters of NB shells fired from Pakistan side on May 20. His family would receive Rs 7 lakhs relief, besides his widow would be given a job, he said.

Wreaths were presented on behalf of A.C. Western Command, HQ 11 Company Commander, Co 152 INF, Station Commander, Ludhiana, 103 Infantry Sikh Battalion and 45 AD Regiment. Mr Tej Partap Singh Transport Minister, was among others who attended the funeral.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 17 Jan 2004 06:26

Major Raman Dada (11 Sikh) - Op Rhino

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JALANDHAR, May 4 — Raman Dada, son of a prominent business family here, died a soldier's death on May 2, fighting insurgents of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Biswanath Chariali reserve forest area in central Assam's Sonitar district. He was cremated with full military honours.

Raman Dada (30) was educated here in Apee Jay School and did his bachelors degree in commerce from DAV College. "But business did not interest him, his passion was to become a soldier, " says a shocked father, Mr Ravi Dada, while holding his one-and-half-year old grandson, Dhruv, who is confused by a large number of people in his house. Raman Dada had spent the last one month with his family. He left for Assam on April 1, never to return alive.

Commissioned in 1991, he married Anjani, daughter of Retd Colonel H.S. Dogra. The colonel has already lost his only son Capt Rajesh Dogra, who was killed while laying ambush in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

"My son laid down his life on the border in Jammu and Kashmir and now my son-in-law has become a martyr". Finding it a little difficult to speak Col Dogra said that both the deaths in his family were due to the political turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. He said, "The Army is always called in to combat the militancy when civilian initiative fails. But I have become a victim of militancy losing my son and son-in-law in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

He looks at his young widowed daughter Anjani and says that though, she would get the declared benefits by the Army, the Assam Government should give some help as her husband died fighting the militants there. Mr Ravi Dada, too, feels that the Punjab Government and the Chief Minister should at least honour Major Dada of the 11th Sikh Regiment of the Army's 21 Mountain Division.

The funeral pyre was lit by Mr Vishnu Dada, younger brother of the deceased Lt General Kamal Davar, Core Commander, 11 Corps, Maj Gen R. Karthikeyam, Chief of Staff, 11 Corps, over 150 Army officers and nearly 400 jawans were present along with a large gathering of city residents.

Sadly, Major Raman Dada is the third Army casualty from here. Major Rohit Sharma (30), only son of a doctor couple, died on June 17, 1998 at Poonch, while 22-year-old Lt Sachin Khider of 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, was killed on October 31, 1998.

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Tribute to Major Dada by his Alma mater:
Major Ramon Dada was a student of DAV College, Jalandhar and passed his B.Sc. (Computer Science). He joined the Sikh Regiment and proved to be an officer par excellence. On the night of 1st of May '99, on receipt of specific information about the location of militants hideout in the thick jungles of the mountainous terrain, Maj. Raman Dada led a raid party. As the party approached the militants hideout, the militants opened fire but were shot dead by him. During the encounter, Raman Dada and a militant had a hand-to-hand combat. Raman Dada killed the militant but in the process, he was wounded critically. Though bleeding profusely, he refused to be evacuated and shot dead
another fleeting militant before succumbing to his injuries. Thus in this act of outstanding and exception bravery far beyond the call of duty, Major Ramon Dada led from front and made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the highest traditions of he Regiment. As a result of this gallant action all the seven dreaded militants of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were killed and a large recovery of arms, ammuniation and incriminating documents was made. His untimely demise is a great loss to his family and India. His C.O. said of him " We salute you our Hero, your supreme sacrifice will not go waste. Your name shall be written in golden letters in the history of the Sikh Regiment." Major Raman Dada was awarded Kirti Chakra posthumously.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 17 Jan 2004 06:49

Flying Officer Gunjan Saxena
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Another image
Image from BR IAF gallery

SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI, JULY 18: If you study anthropology, you usually become an anthropologist. But, then, usually, you don't fly aircraft, especially military aircraft. That too in the Kargil sector. But if you are like Flying Officer Gunjan Saxena, all of 24 years old, you might do just that. The Hansraj College student is the only, and first, woman pilot to have flown into a combat zone. She broke the barrier three weeks ago, and added a new dimension to the changing face of India's armed forces.
Amid anti-aircraft fire, threat from shoulder-fired Stinger missiles and between menacing, ragged mountain ranges, she flew at least 15 sorties in her Cheetah -- a small, but India's most faithful helicopter. In some places in Batalik and Drass sub-sectors, she dropped food and supplies to ground troops; elsewhere, from atop dangerous peaks, she picked up the dead and evacuated the wounded. Though based in Udhampur, she is currently stationed in Srinagar: the only woman among dozens of fighter and helicopterpilots.

``There is no difference between us, in fact no one treats me differently,'' she says softly. ``I wanted to do this, and I am happy I was given an opportunity.'' Now, as the curtains slowly fall on the bloodiest Indo-Pak conflict in 28 years, Gunjan finds time to say her ``little story''.

When she was 10, she first read about Icarus and started dreaming that she would fly too one day. When she was in her teens, she was determined she would. And she told her father Lt Col (retd) A.K. Saxena. ``He was not taken aback. Rather, he inspired me to ahead. My brother (who is in an officer in the Army) was equally encouraging.''

In 1991, soon after she passed her Class 12 exams, the girl from Lucknow shifted to Delhi. ``I wanted to join a flying club, and get a pilot's licence. But at same time I didn't want to fly civilian aircraft.''

So she had to wait for three years. In the meantime, she joined Hansraj College in Delhi and picked up nuances about anthropology. She learnt about the Neanderthal man, studied about the first Homo-Sapiens and went on to graduate with a BSc (honours) degree. But Icarus kept recurring in her dreams.

Why anthropology then? ``The subject is just as fascinating. And the only other career option I had, if flying didn't work out.'' But it would. One day, in 1994, she saw an advertisement in a newspaper which said the Air Force was enlisting women pilots. Gunjan applied, wrote the exam and passed with flying colours. Along with 25 others she joined the first batch of woman pilots.

During the course of the almost two-year training, she had a choice: Fly helicopters or transport aircraft. She opted for the first and landed up in Kargil in the beginning of this month. In between, she logged in over 600 hours of flying.

``Soon after the conflict started, and I came to know that Cheetahs were being widely used, I lined up for combat duty. My seniors agreed and I started flying in Kargil,'' she says easily. What she doesn't boast about is that piloting any aircraft in thisregion requires exceptional skills.

Or that there was a constant threat of being shot down. She had been ready for any eventuality, she says. And every time she went up, she carried an AK-47 rifle and a small pistol. ``I was anxious, but not scared, on the first day,'' she says. ``Then after seeing our jawans in the battle zone, I was determined to battle all odds. I couldn't let them down, I couldn't let my country down.'' She didn't.

Link

Miss Gunjan Saxena, a graduate from Hans Raj College, Delhi University, joined the Indian Air Force as a trainee Pilot. Miss Saxena is the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft in battle zone. To the troops in Kargil Sector and on other mountain heights, she has been like a Florence Nightingale, dropping much needed supplies to them and picking up the sick and the wounded in her Cheetah helicopter. She has also been ferrying the dead and wounded. To fly a helicopter in extremely inhospitable weather and in the face of enemy gunfire and missiles is an extremely daunting task. Miss Saxena was aware that her helicopter could have been shot down, so she carried a rifle and a pistol.
Miss Saxena has done more than 650 hours of flying in the Dras and Batalik Sectors proving that she has an iron will and has brought glory to herself, her family and to her alma mater.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 17 Jan 2004 06:56

Lt Sachin Kumar Khindria (12 J&K LI) - Op Meghdoot
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Lt. Sachin passed B.Sc. (Computer Science) from DAV College Jalandhar in first division. Lt. Sachin was commissioned in December '97 and was posted at the snow-clad merciless height of 20,000 feet above sea level - the Siachin Glacier, along with his regiment of the Jammu & Kashmir light Infantry.

On 31st October '98, the Pakistani army attacked the Amar Post of the Siachin Glacier. Lt. Sachin had faced and repelled many a attack before. But on this fate full day, Lt. Sachin was hit by an enemy shell and at the young age of 22 years, gave the supreme sacrifice of his life in the defense of his mother India. The only son of his parents, he joined the Indian Army and made his parents and his alma mater proud

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 17 Jan 2004 07:01

Found this old article about Capt Batra on my HD but relevant to this thread, I think...

Capt Vikram Batra (13 J&K Rifles) - A gentleman forever
When I first saw Luv in DAV college, Chandigarh, it was a little difficult to differentiate him from his twin Kush. The only difference was the mole on the left side of his nose. But what made this chap from Palampur stand out in the crowd was his warmth, a proverbial friend in need whom you could always trust. For Luv, every friend was Veeru (brother).
Joining the forces was then a craze among us. Reasons: the glamour, a sense of adventure and the chance to be a gentleman forever. For Luv, it was an obsession. ``We live by chance, love by choice and kill by profession,'' was his favourite line. A Hindi movie about a gentleman cadet's life in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, settled the issue. ``If it's going to be the army, it's going to be a permanent commission,'' he announced after watching it.

I vividly remember the day when our exasperated botany professor, objecting to his irregular work, remarked: ``Your files are incomplete. You have not been attending the lectures, and I have not seen youat the laboratory. What will you do in life?'' Luv shot back: ``I will join the army, sir.'' After we passed out from the college, many friends drifted away. But Luv stayed back in Chandigarh because he felt the town was the right place to prepare for a career in the army. We both joined MA (English) evening classes at Panjab University. Luv also took up a job. ``I can't see my dad footing my bills any more,'' he said. A strenuous morning jog, games, and keeping up to date on the events through newspapers became part of Luv's daily routine. In 1996, he got the call for a Staff Selection Board interview at Allahabad. Four days later, an excited Luv called back to give the happy news that he had fulfilled his dream.

Early this year, Luv was posted at Sopore. Just before Kargil shot into the news, I tried to contact him, but could not because of security restrictions. I wasn't sure if Luv had got to know that I had been trying to speak to him. But I got a pleasant surprise when he called on a Sundayafternoon. ``Sorry Veeru, couldn't contact you earlier. Things here are getting a little serious. But I am sure the situation will become normal soon. I have been promised a posting at a family station. I am planning to get married then. And one great news, I have presented a car to my dad,'' he said, promising to call back soon. That was the last time I heard from him.This month, I caught a glimpse of a young, bearded captain on TV, giving details of how he and his men had captured Point 5140 on June 19, paving the way for the final assault on Tiger Hill. Wasn't it Luv? Yes, it was him. Behind the beard and the name `Sher Shah' -- as his men called him -- was that familiar flamboyance. "Yeh dil maange more," was his success signal, he told the interviewer.

I savoured every moment of it. I was euphoric. Then, without warning, a grim-faced anchor came on the screen and struck a stunning blow. Captain Vikram Batra of J and K Rifles had become a martyr the previous day. I was taken aback. Reality tooktime to sink in. Luv's face kept coming back before my eyes. Flashes of the time we had spent together. Like the night when Luv went out in the pelting rain to catch frogs for the zoology practical exams the next day. The day when he salvaged an outing to Kasauli by arranging a car after some friends had backed out. The day he left for Dehradun to join IMA. As the bus started moving, Luv had turned back and shouted, ``I want you at my passing-out parade. Or you will have to face the consequences.''

Professional compulsions took me to Vadodara and I couldn't attend the passing-out parade. Nor could I meet him again, although we did remain in touch. Now that he is gone, I am facing the consequences: the pain that he has left behind, the pride of having been associated with him.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 18 Jan 2004 04:53

Captain Mandeep Singh (4 RR / 49 AD Regt) - Op Rakshak
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JALANDHAR, Aug 8 — Capt Mandeep Singh of 49 Armoured Division Regiment, who was killed in Kupwara area of Jammu and Kashmir on August 6 in counter insurgency when terrorists stormed an Army camp of 4 Rashtriya Rifles, was cremated with full military honours here today.

His father, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, lit the pyre and army bugglers sounded the last post.A contingent of Army personnel reversed the arms and then saluted the brave soldier by firing a volley of shots into the air.

A student of DAV College and Khalsa College, here 30-year-old Mandeep Singh is survived by his wife, Rajwinder Kaur, and daughters, Gulgul and Bani, besides his parents and two younger brothers, Davinderdeep Singh and Inderdeep Singh.

Leaders cutting across political lines paid tributes to the martyr.People from different walks of life lined the 2 km route from the captain's residence at Civil Lines to the Model Town cremation ground to pay their last respect to the soldier who died fighting militants. His mother, Mrs Ravinder Kaur, was seen being consoled by women who thronged the cremation ground.

Brig Surjit Singh, Sub-Area Commander, Brig P.K. Grover, Vajra Corps, laid wreaths on the body of the martyr, besides other senior army officer, JCO'S and jawans.

UNI adds: Commissioned in 49 Armoured Division in 1991, Mandeep Singh, Known as "Harry" to his friends, was presently attached with 4, Rashtriya Rifles. He was body builder who had taken part in competitions of Mr Punjab and Mr Jalandhar during his college days. Gulgul, his daughter whose birthday falls next month, was too innocent to know what had hit her, but she was sure to miss her loving father on her birthday.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 18 Jan 2004 05:09

Major Kanwal Gulzar Singh (32 RR / 5/9GR)
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The death of Major Kanwal Gulzar Singh of 32 Rasthriya Rifles in the Kupwara area of Jammu and Kashmir in an ambush by terrorists has plunged Jalandhar's Vivek Vihar colony in grief as his old parents wait in stony silence for the mortal remains of their elder son.

His father Major Kartar Singh (retired), surrounded by mourners at his residence, said he was proud that his son made the supreme sacrifice while defending the nation. Also son of a soldier, Major Kartar Singh said, ''I am proud of my upright son.''

Major Paramjit Singh, the martyr's younger brother, said Major Kanwal Gulzar Singh was on deputation with Rashtriya Rifles from his original Gorkha Battalion.

The 39-year-old martyr is survived by his wife Ajit Kaur, four-year-old daughter Dimple and 10-year-old son Akashdeep Singh.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Jagir Kaur, who is related to the family, and Punjab Health Minister Manoranjan Kalia and Deputy Commissioner Som Parkash were among the large number of mourners who had visited the family.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 18 Jan 2004 05:46

Lt Kanavdeep Singh (10 Sikh LI)
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Lt Kanavdeep Singh of 10 Sikh Light Infantry who sacrificed his life during an encounter with militants at Guraj sector in Jammu and Kashmir on September 23, was cremated with full military honour here today.

Popularly known as Lt KD Singh amongst his colleagues, this Amritsar resident was recruited to 10 Sikh Regiment in January, 2001 after completing BSc from Khalsa College here.

Jawans of 16 Sikh Regiment reversed their arms and fired in air to pay homage to the martyr at Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh cremation ground. Earlier, they brought his body with full military honour from his residence to the cremation ground. The pyre was lit by his elder brother Manavdeep Singh. Lt Kanavdeep is survived by his brother and two sisters, Sukhdeep Kaur and Amandeep Kaur, besides mother Rajbir Kaur.

Capt Mukesh Chohan, who brought the body from Jammu, said the Army troops had been fighting with militants in Guraj sector for more than two days. On September 23, Lt Kanavdeep Singh fired a rocket at militants. The militants retaliated, in which he got killed.

Among those present there were Prof Darbari Lal, Education Minister, Mr Raminder Singh Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, Col Surinder Dhankhar, Col J.S. Arora, Major Tanvir Malik, Major Punde and other military officials.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 18 Jan 2004 06:05

Major Harminder Pal Singh (18 Grenadiers)
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The village of Sudarkut Bala is located approximately 40 km north of Srinagar in Baramula district of Kashmir Valley. This village witnessed a daredevil action by soldiers of an elite Infantry Battalion on 13 April 99, in which three foreign mercenaries were eliminated.

At about 1 p.m. on 13 Apr 99, information was received by the battalion that some Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence mercenaries were hiding in the congested locality of Khan Mohalla, in Sudarkut Bala. Working swiftly on this tip off, Maj HP Singh with approximately 50 men under his command, reached the locality by 1.30 p.m. and established a cordon around it. Soon after, they commenced a search for the mercenaries.

When the search party was approximately 40 metres from the suspected houses, the mercenaries opened heavy automatic fire, and a fierce firefight ensued thereafter. In this fire, Maj HP Singh sustained bullet injuries on his left arm, while two other soldiers received splinter injuries from a rifle grenade fired by the mercenaries. The fire fight continued. The search party was now pinned down in the open, and fire intensified. Maj HP Singh and his troops held their ground. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Maj H P Singh, in spite of being injured, and with utter disregard to personal safety, boldly charged towards the side window of a room from where effective fire was being brought down on the search party, and swiftly eliminated two mercenaries at point blank range. The third mercenary however, retaliated immediately. In the process, Maj HP Singh sustained a gun shot wound on his temple. He engaged the mercenary to the last till he succumbed to his injuries.

The mercenary tried to flee, but was shot dead by the search party, and the firing died down. Maj HP Singh had fearlessly led his column from upfront, setting a personal example for his command to emulate. He made the supreme sacrifice of his life while fighting the Pak ISI sponsored proxy war and safe guarding the integrity of his motherland. Maj HP Singh is survived by his wife with a three month old son, and his old father who has retired from the Army. This brave son of the nation hailed from Mundi Kharar village in Ropar District of Punjab.

His mortal remains, draped in the tricolour, were sent to his village, on 14 Apr 99 where he was cremated with honours reserved for the bravest.

When the nation is celeberating the tercentenary of the Khalsa Panth, this brave soldier hailing from a village near Anandpur Sahib, has upheld the martial spirit of the Khalsa by his supreme sacrifice. There can be no better example of the spirit of Service before Self - the motto of the Indian Army, where Maj HP Singh, despite having suffered a grevious injuries, continued to lead his troops from the front and eliminated two mercenaries before laying down his life.
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SRINAGAR/KHARAR, April 15: Even as lakhs of Sikhs were thronging Anandpur Sahib to revel in the spirit of the Khalsa on the occasion of the tercentenary of their birth, a modern-day Sikh warrior was living up to the Sikh military traditions in the Kashmir Valley.

Major Harminder Pal Singh, the 31-year-old 6 foot 2 inch lad from Kharar, had been wounded in the left arm but had recovered to engage three militants armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades in an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter in a remote North Kashmir village on April 13.

The 18 Grenadiers Major was shot through the temple by the third militant but not before he had gunned down two of them. Harminder led the commando platoon of his battalion in what has been described as a ``dare-devil'' operation in a congested locality of Sadurkotbala village in Manasbal.

Harminder's commando platoon of 32 men surrounded 12 houses at 1 p.m. in the Khan mohalla after a tip-off about four Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants. Their presence in the cluster of houses was confirmed by the visage of the villagers. The commandoes surrounded the houses but they didn't know which house the militants were in. ``The visibility was low because of a dust-storm,'' recalls Havildar Vishnu Prasad, the Major's buddy commando.

Harminder was in the lead. Five houses were searched without encountering the militants and Harminder and his five commandoes were approaching the next few through an alley. Then suddenly, the militants opened fire with AK rifles through a ground floor window from a distance of 15 yards. The bullets struck the Major in the left arm. ``He faltered and fell but recovered just enough to take cover behind a rock,'' recalls Vishnu.

Despite his injury, he opened fire at one of the militants who was poking his head out of the second floor window of the house. The AK burst took the militant's head and he came tumbling down. Another one died when the wounded officer managed to lob a grenade through the ground-floor window with his right hand and followed it up with a burst.

The Major's bullet-proof helmet slipped off when he was crawling to cut off the third militant's escape from the main entrance. The surviving militant pierced his temple with bullets. He died at once. Says Lt Gen Krishan Pal, Commander, 15 Corps: ``He was a brave man who led from the front. It was a very difficult operation as the soldiers had to expose themselves in the built-up area to prevent collateral damage to civilian houses and life.''

Adds he: ``The Major's action is significant, particularly in light of the Khalsa tercentenary. He has upheld the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh by rising to fight the evil. Sikh troops are amongst the most gallant and have repeatedly proven themselves.''

``He was an officer who ate with his men and even played cards with them. Our morale used to shoot up because he was always in the forefront whenever there was any danger,'' says Grenadier Satpal, who was wounded in the back by a grenade blast. The Grenadiers revere the Major as a `sant-sipahi' and his loss makes even a tough Haryanvi Jat like Vishnu misty-eyed. ``Our welfare was uppermost in his mind,'' he says. Perhaps valour ran through his blood. His father Harpal Singh also served the Indian Army and retired as a Captain.

The Major's body, wrapped in the tricolour, was cremated with full military honours at the Ram Bagh cremation grounds at Kharar this morning. Major R.K. Pathak, V. Sajiv, Dalwinder Singh, Rajesh Anand, V.S. Chahal and Lieutenant Deepak Vector, led by the Commanding Officer of Artillery Regiment, Colonel Kulwant Singh, were among those present.

Another story on Major H P Singh
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Jagan » 19 Jan 2004 16:37

Capt Mridul Sharma - Op Rakshak

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040113/cth1.htm#10
Will killings in Kashmir ever stop?

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040103/himachal.htm#3
Hamirpur bids adieu to martyr
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, January 2
Thousands of people of the district today bid adieu to Capt Mridul Sharma of Rashtriya Rifles, who died fighting Pakistani militants in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir two days ago.

Touching scenes were witnessed when Mukul Sharma, younger brother of the martyr, lit the pyre amid raising of slogans of “Martyr Mridul Sharma zindabad” and “Pakistan ho barbad”. Many persons broke down on the occasion. A state funeral was accorded to the martyr. Senior officers of the district administration and the Army, belonging to 514 AD Regiment, were present at the crematorium to salute the valiant officer.

Jawans of the Army and the Hamirpur police reversed their arms and fired shots in the air before the pyre was lit.

Mr Chander Kumar, Himachal Forest Minister, represented the state government, while the BJP team was led by Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Minister, to pay their respects to the martyr. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Devesh Kumar, the ADM, Mr K.D. Lakhanpal, the SP, Mr P.L. Thakur, and Army officers from various regiments also paid tributes to Mridul.

Traders of Hamirpur town observed a complete bandh after they got the news of the arrival of the martyr’s body from Jammu. Even tea stall owners and rehriwalas attended the cremation.

Earlier, the body was brought here from Rajouri in an Army vehicle.

The body was taken to the Hathli Khad crematorium through the main bazaar after the martyr’s mother, Ms Sudesh Sharma, and other members of the family performed the pre-cremation rituals.

Ms Sudesh Sharma asked the mourners not to weep as her son had made the supreme sacrifice for the nation. She, however, broke down when the coffin was lifted on way to the crematorium.

Col J.K.Sharma, his father, said,” I’m proud of my son. We send our children to defend our nation and in the process many sacrifice their lives. Mridul was among those who made the nation proud by safeguarding the Indian territory from intruders”.

Hundreds of residents of the town, including leaders of various political parties and other organisations, including the Hamirpur Bar Association, besides former students of the Hamirpur Kendriya Vidyalaya, where Mridul had studied, today mourned his death and offered their condolences to the bereaved family.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Naidu » 22 Jan 2004 22:27

Cross-posting what Manavendra posted in the Army News Folder:

Ashok Chakra for Lt. Triveni Singh, Ptr Sanjog Chhetri

http://us.rediff.com/news/2004/jan/22ashok.htm

These are the two heros from the start of this thread.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Mandeep » 22 Jan 2004 22:44

Kanavdeep was from 10 Sikh. It was very moving to see at his funeral, his mother, 3 sisters and a brother (all Canadian citizens) asking people, with folded hands, not to shed tears for the martyr, for he had died for his country.

'For how can man die batter than when facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods.'

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 24 Jan 2004 03:01

Capt Vinay Kumar Sachan (27 RR- MLI)
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RB Sachan is a shattered man. The body of his 26-year-old son, Vinay Kumar Sachan, was brought to the family’s Dombivli home yesterday from Jammu and Kashmir.Vinay, a captain with the 27 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed during an encounter with militants in the Valley on March 24. “I did not object when he decided to join the army, but now I feel he shouldn’t have done that,” the shocked father said yesterday, struggling to hold back tears.

Vinay completed his graduation in science and then gave the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exams. After completing a year-and-a-half’s training in Dehradun, he joined the 5 Maratha Light Infantry and then moved to the 27 Rashtriya Rifles.

“Vinay never had any childhood ambition to get into the army, but after graduation he gave the CDS exams along with his friends and subsequently cleared all the tests to join the army,” the soldier’s father said.

When asked about the continuing killings in J&K and alleged government inaction, the captain’s father chose to stay silent. However, Vinay’s cousin Ratnesh Sachan said everybody knew what was happening in Kashmir and who was responsible for the killings.

Vinay’s uncle and neighbour, LP Sachan, said the young army man was “very well behaved and always helpful to others”.

BJ Singh, another neighbour who is also in the army, said: “Vinay was very confident and passed all his exams on merit. He was a very capable person.” The last rites will be performed in Dombivli today with full honours.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 24 Jan 2004 03:23

Lt Dipendra Ghoshal (16 Jat)

The Ghoshal family would have normally celebrated his birthday on Monday but instead the cruel hands of destiny snatched their only son a day earlier.

Lt Dipendra Ghoshal had only recently left for duty to the 16th Jat Infantry Battalion in the first week of this month after spending a holiday with his family. The family was looking forward to celebrating his 25th birthday on September 15, albeit hundreds of miles away as Lt Dipendra Ghoshal was to be on duty in Jammu and Kashmir. But no one knew that the cruel hands of destiny had thought otherwise. Lt Dipendra Ghoshal was killed on the line of action in J&K during counter insurgency operations on September 14 a day before his birth day.

The Ghoshal family, which was looking forward to hear from him on the day, instead was left to grapple with the news of his martyrdom. The parents of Lt Ghoshal, Devi Dhar Ghoshal and Parmita Ghoshal based in Obra, rushed to the city on Tuesday to receive his body. Essentially from Allahabad, the Ghoshals are based in Obra where father Devi Dhar Ghoshal retired as an UP Electricity Board engineer and mother Parmita Ghoshal is still engaged in teaching job.

But young Dipendra, who did most of his schooling in Obra itself, was immensely inspired by his uncle Retd Major General Durga Das Ghoshal. Dipendra, who loved cricket football and reading, always wanted to be in the Army like his uncle, revealed family sources. After completing his BCom from Indore, Dipendra joined an MBA course but when destiny came calling, he left it for the armed services leaving his budding management career midway. Commissioned just last year on December 2002, Lt Dipendra saw his childhood dream fulfilled as an officer in the 16th Jat Infantry Battalion.

But what few can only wish to achieve after decade-long career, Lt Dipendra did in just 9 months of his service. During an counter insurgency operation in J&K, Lt Dipendra attained immortality by laying down his life in service of his country, leaving behind a family of grieving parents and two sisters, elder Shaswati and younger Shagwata.

The loss has been equally grave for (Retd) Major General DD Ghoshal's family. The close knit joint family of the two Ghoshal brothers, Devi Dhar and Retd Maj General Durga Das had only one son among the five daughters they had. Major General (Retd) DD Ghoshal, whose family resides in the state capital, could not control himself when he said: "Dipendra was equally a son to me. He was the son of our family."

The body of Lt Dipendra Ghoshal arrived in the city by flight on Tuesday evening to be received with full military honours. The body which was immediately moved to the Command Hospital mortuary would be shifted to the Ghoshals' residence at Golf Links Apartments on Wednesday morning at 7 am. The cremation will take place with full military honours at the Bhaisakund cremation ground on Wednesday at 9:00 am.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 24 Jan 2004 03:41

Capt Umang Bhardwaj ( ASC/7 Jat)
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Gurgaon, November 21
The mortal remains of Capt Umang Bhardwaj were consigned to the flames with state honours at his native Gaudoli village near here last evening. His elder brother, Maj Rakesh Bhardwaj, who is posted in the National Security Guard (NSG) contingent at Manesar, lit the funeral pyre.

Capt Umang Bhardwaj, who was commissioned as an officer about three years back, left home after a brief holiday on Saturday, only to be brought back in a coffin. No wonder that the family is devastated. He was just 25.Their son made the supreme sacrifice on the night of November 18 while leading an operation against Pakistan-backed militants who were trying to infiltrate the Rajouri-Poonch sector near the Line of Control in the trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

According to an official of his 7 Jat Battalion, Capt Bhardwaj, after getting a tip-off that militants would try to sneak into the Valley around midnight of November 18, led an assault along with members of his team. In the bloody encounter, the hero liquidated six of the militants on the spot. The seventh and the final militant of the group tried to play hide and seek, but was eventually shot down in an encounter that lasted till the early hours of the next morning. During the operation, a volley of bullets hit the captain, wounding him in the chest and thigh. He succumbed on November 19. Three of his team members are still in the hospital.

After the funeral last evening, an emotion-choked Maj Rakesh Bhardwaj said that in a full-fledged conventional war, the Indian forces were capable of overwhelming the Pakistani Army in a few days’ time. But the country was facing a low-intensity proxy war from across the border. It was difficult to crush a menace like this once and for all.

Representatives of the Chief of Army Staff, the Governor of Haryana and the Chief Minister paid floral tributes to Capt Bhardwaj. Several prominent residents of the city were present on the occasion. They raised anti-Pakistan slogans. Significantly, Capt Bhardwaj hails from a family of ex-servicemen. Capt Bhardwaj’s father was a colonel when he took premature retirement.

A graduate from the University of Delhi, he did a Business and Management course from Wigan and Leigh in England. He was selected at the National Defence Academy at the age of 19, but couldn’t join due to his mother’s resistance.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Sidd » 24 Jan 2004 04:16

No ordinary person
When I met N N D Dubey, what struck me was that he thought of himself as an ordinary person just doing his job, whose ten minutes of bravery catapulted him to fame and an Ashok Chakra nomination.

But N N D Dubey is not like people like us — this father of two has stared death in the face and faces a lifetime of pain today. But he’d do his duty again, he says, and his only regret now is that with his bad leg and arm, he can only do desk jobs in the Border Security Force, away from the action he loves. Here’s his story.

It was 3.30 in the morning. The eight BSF men, led by Dubey, had searched the first two floors of a house in Srinagar’s crowded Nurbagh area. They only found frightened women and children, whom they hustled into one room.

On the second floor, they found an empty room with a full-length mirror. Their informer Nissar pointed quietly towards the mirror and the eight men instantly fired their weapons, shattering it to reveal the hideout behind it. The answering fusillade of grenades and bullets killed one, injured five and cut off two men from the rest of the party.

The tremendous burst of firepower convinced them that this was indeed the hideout of Ghazi Baba, the dreaded chief of Jaish E Mohammad, who masterminded the attack on the Parliament in Delhi.

Dubey was hit, how many times and where, he didn’t know, but kept firing. “Though the entire fight took only about ten seconds, it seemed like a lifetime. Suddenly, my right arm went dead, my rifle fell down. If the terrorists had emerged from their hideout at that time, I’d have been dead,” Dubey recounted. Bleeding profusely, he crawled downstairs. “I thought I may not be able to survive that day,” said he, “but never lost my will to live!”

In hospital, doctors feared they might have to amputate Dubey’s arm. Another bullet lodged in his back was impossible to remove, being too close to vital nerves. A third burst of bullets would have ripped his chest apart - “but I was actually saved by the medal on my breast — just like in HIndi films,” said he grinning boyishly.

Two operations and four and a half months later, Dubey still can’t use his arm. And the bullet in his back is still there, causing him unbearable pain in his leg, which doctors have left to nature to heal.

But more than these ever-present painful reminders of BSF’s most successful counter-insurgency operation, he remembers the sheer adrenalin rush of the chase. “We were playing badminton on the afternoon of August 28, 2003, when we were called to interrogate a Pakistani militant who eventually showed us his hideout. From his landlord we learnt about Nissar, the mason from Anantnag who built secret chambers for Jaish militants to hide in. He told us about the other hideout he’d made in Srinagar,” said he.

Radio interceptions had already indicated that Ghazi Baba lived in the city, and Dubey suspected that the hideout Nissar had made might be where Ghazi Baba was hiding. The rest is history.

“We all knew that being in counter-insurgency operations was risky, that everyday when we went out of our homes, we ran the risk of not returning,” said he, “the price I paid for Ghazi Baba’s head is that I can’t run, I can’t write, I face a lifetime of pain!” But then, he adds, “but at least I’m alive! And perhaps, given another chance, I’d do it again,” he said, pausing with a smile, “perhaps that’s why I get so many abuses from my wife

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 24 Jan 2004 04:49

Major Navneet Vats (4/3 GR / 32 RR)

Picture of Major Vats from Lt Nawang Kapadia's website.
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Caption: The officers of the Phor Thud during the wreath laying ceremony. From left to right : Maj. Navneet Vats , Maj. D.B. Ale, Capt. Abhay Sinh, Maj. J.S. Mangat, Maj Ujjal Singh, Maj. D.S. Murthy, Capt. Ashwani Kumar and Capt. Rahul Verma

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Caption:Mr Neeraj Vats lights the pyre of his son, Major Navneet Vats, as the martyr’s wife Shivani with folded hands struggles to control her tears at the Mani Majra cremation ground in Chandigarh on Friday. — Tribune photo

Major Navneet Vats of Gorkha Rifles, who was killed in a militant attack in Srinagar yesterday, was cremated with full military honours this morning. As a mark of respect to their brave son, Mr Neeraj Vats and Mrs Vichitra Veena Vats did not break down, lest they demean his courage. “We are very proud that he died serving his motherland. We cannot let him down” said Mr Neeraj after he lit his elder son’s pyre. The martyr’s wife, Mrs Shivani, too, controlled her emotions but could not do so after the pyre had been lit.

Major Vats, who was on deputation to 32 Rashtriya Rifles, was posted in Srinagar. He was involved in an Army operation of evacuating a building in Srinagar, where two militants had holed up since Tuesday evening. He and a militant were killed and four soldiers injured yesterday when the security forces tried to storm the building. When the sharp-shooters from the Army tried to enter the area, they came under heavy fire from the militants, in which Major Vats and four soldiers were wounded. The Major, who received six bullets on his torso, later succumbed to his injuries.

The martyr’s body was flown in from Srinagar last evening and kept in the Command Hospital, Chandimandir. The body was first taken to the Sector 11 house of his father-in-law, Col R.L. Tiwari, (retd) where Mrs Shivani was staying. The body was then taken to the Vats’ house in Sector 4.

The martyr’s parents kept quiet for a long time but as the body was being taken to the cremation ground, they bent to kiss his cheek and then broke down. Their younger son, who is mentally challenged, was oblivious of the grief that had befallen the family. Relatives urged him to bid farewell to his brother with folded hands and he reluctantly obliged, mumbling that “... bhaiyya Kashmir se wapas aa gaya.” All this while, Mrs Shivani and her daughter, Inayat, sat beside the body, with the former caressing his cheek. Inayat seemed confused and unaware that her father was no more.

The cremation was held at the Mani Majra cremation ground, and people from all walks of life attended the funeral. A ceremonial guard from 5 Gorkha Rifles, reversed arms while the bugler sounded the last post. A three-shot volley was also fired as a mark of respect. Col Manvendra Singh laid the wreath on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Brig V.P. Kushwaha on behalf of the Chief of Staff, Western Command and Col A.S. Chandok on behalf of the Station Commander, Chandimandir. The Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat, DSP Headquarters, Mr Deshbandu and Prof Harbans Lal Sagar and his wife, besides the parents of martyr, Major Sandeep Sagar, also laid wreaths.

Among others who attended the funeral were local MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, BJP leader, Ram Vilas Sharma, district BJP chief, B.K. Nayyar, councillors R.K. Kakkar and Vikas Chaudhary, besides various members of the district administration, police and other political leaders. Major Vats was honest, upright and down-to-earth — this is how his family remembers him.

Mr Neeraj Vats (father) — “He was a good son, husband, father and brother, besides being a valiant soldier. I am proud of his sacrifice. He never wanted to join the Army, but wanted to be a doctor. However, he would not join a medical college on capitation fee and after dabbling in hotel management for a while, he joined the NDA. He was a prolific writer and I had suggested he take up journalism as a career, but his mother, who comes from a defence background, inspired him to join the forces.”

Major Alok Dutt (brother-in-law) — “Navneet was a true soldier and always led his men from the front. We adorn the uniform for this day, and he has died valiantly, fighting for the honour of his motherland. This was the best way for him to go”. Col R.L. Tiwari (father-in-law) — “He believed that the honour of the country comes first always and died for this belief. He has done us all proud”.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Anindya » 25 Jan 2004 18:47

An interesting story (apologies if there is a better place to post this)

Defence Mechanism (no URL)



An organisation of decorated war heroes leads a unique fight to help its gallant members receive the honour that is their due. And not let the nation forget their once-lauded heroism.

By Ramesh Vinayak

His heroics had long faded into oblivion. So had Risaldar (Honorary Lieutenant) Kartar Singh Gill, one of the only two soldiers in the Indian Army to have won the Vir Chakra (VRC) twice in a war. When he died in his village in Patiala, Punjab, last year it hardly dawned on his neighbours that they had lost the hero of the 1948 Indo-Pak conflict. That was until a contingent of Gill's former regiment turned up to blow the Last Post for him. A week later, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who had documented Gill's exploits in one of his war history books, offered to rename the village Kartar Singh Wala.


Sant Singh (third from left) with the heroes of the 1971 Indo-Pak war

Gill would have died an unsung hero but for the efforts of the War Decorated India (WDI), an organisation in Chandigarh to honour the country's gallantry awardees. Established in 1993, it ensures that the needs of these bravehearts and their families are taken care of. Only those decorated with the top three war medals-Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) and VRC-can be on board. "It is a class apart but it has a depleting membership," says Brigadier (retd) Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, who received the MVC for the Battle of Longewala in 1971. Of the 1,566 war-decorated soldiers-21 PVCs, 214 MVCs and 1,331 VRCs-only 600 are alive today.

For the WDI it is a fight to the finish-honour the heroes and keep alive their heroism. But it has not been easy. Compiling records apart, its members go about the stupendous task of locating survivors and the kin of the dead. Often they would discover soldiers declared dead or untraced in government records living a secluded life, like officially "dead" Brigadier (retd) P.S. Bhandari who won the VRC in the 1962 India-China war. WDI also got a slew of concessions for its members-a higher gallantry decoration allowance, free rail travel and telephone, no income tax on pension and a highway tax waiver.

"But we failed on the izzat front," rues Brigadier Sant Singh, an MVC and president, WDI. In the hierarchy of National Awards, which has been changed five times since 1952, gallantry awards have been shoved down the line. PVC was the highest National Award until the Bharat Ratna pushed it to second place in 1961. The MVC moved from the No. 2 slot to No. 8 and the VRC from No. 5 to No. 14. Some non-gallantry decorations are coveted more-the Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal are ranked higher than the MVC. "We want to preserve the aura of war medals," says Brigadier (retd) Jasbir Pal Singh, founder-member, WDI. How else would the young be motivated to join the army?


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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Babui » 25 Jan 2004 19:35

I had no idea that there was a ranking for gallantry medals and am absolutely appalled that the PVC, MVC and VrC are way down on the list ! Is there any way we can help WDI to bring the gallantry awards to Nos 1,2 and 3 on the ranking list ? Ideas would be appreciated.
[Please post replys to the General Army Discussion thread]

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 28 Jan 2004 02:22

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Caption:NEW DELHI, INDIA: Sanjeeta (L) sister of Indian army paratrooper the late Sanjog Chhetri receives the country's highest peacetime award the 'Ashoka Chakra ' from Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (R) during India's 55th Repubic Day parade in New Delhi, 26 January 2004. The award was given to Chhetri for his bravery, gallantry and concern for his comrades during an operation in Indian administered Kashmir in April 2003, in which he was killed.
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 01:30

L Nk Mohammad Altaf Dar

Lance Naik Mohammad Altaf Dar who achieved martyrdom while fighting Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) terrorists had chosen to join the Indian Army in 1997 at a time when most of his friends were crossing the Line of Control (LoC) from his native border district of Kupwara to Pakistan to get trained in conducting terrorist activities.

" My husband overcame pressure from his friends to become a militant and instead chose to join the Indian Army," his widow 24-year-old Meema Begum said in Jammu.

Meema, who received from General Officer Commanding in-Chief (GOC-in-C)Northern Command, Lt Gen Hari Prasad the Sena Medal awarded for gallantry to her deceased husband said:" I feel honoured and proud of my husband who died for his country."

Dar hailed from Hawari hamlet in the Kupwara district of North Kashmir. Meema, who has a four-year-old daughter appealed to Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Army Chief General N C Vij to help her in becoming a doctor.

She said that she now lives with her parents and does not want to be a burden for them any more.

" I want the army to help me as I am part of the Army family," Meema said.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 01:39

Sub-Inspector Ashwani Kumar (CISF)

Ahmedabad, Jan 27 It is rare for security personnel to defy convention and still get recommended for a President's Police Medal. But such has been the case with Central Industrial Security Force Sub-Inspector Ashwani Kumar, whose presence of mind helped save 36 lives.

Kumar was getting ready with his battalion colleagues to take part in the ceremonial parade to be held on the occasion of Republic Day when the earthquake occurred. Located near the CISF's barracks in Vastrapur area on Satellite Road in Ahmedabad, the ten-storeyed Manasi Tower collapsed under the impact of the quake.Without losing a moment -- which proved crucial in the end because the Fire Brigade reached the spot eight hours late --, Sub-Inspector Kumar and his 42 colleagues let themselves be guided by their conscience.

The CISF personnel, who are trained in combat, rescue and fire-fight activities, showing great presence of mind, chose not to take part in the regular ceremonial parade and flag-hoisting ceremony held regularly on the occasion of Republic Day, but instead begin rescue measures to save those trapped in the debris of the collapsed tower, CISF Commandant N C Sood said today.

The presence of mind shown by the CISF personnel helped save the lives of 36 people including women and children, Sood said, adding that such was their zeal that on many occasions, the jawans became emotional while removing a dead body. He cited an instance when a CISF jawan was rendered speechless and dazed for a few seconds when a critically injured baby died in his arms.

The CISF Commandant said even though the CISF personnel did not have any equipment to carry out the rescue operations, which they did with ropes and shovel, the situation did not deter them from undertaking the herculean task that lay ahead. Sood said he has recommended Sub-Inspector Ashwani Kumar's name for the President's Police Medal for showing courage and determination in saving the lives of quake victims.

Assistant Sub-Inspector Ramaswami of the CISF has also been recommended for an award for ensuring smooth conduct of the rescue operation at the Manasi Tower, Sood said. The CISF Commandant said there were still 20 to 25 people trapped inside the rubble and added that a crane has been requisitioned from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to speed up the rescue operations.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 02:07

Rfn Khazir Mohammad Bhat (22 RR/ JAK LI)

NEW DELHI, JAN 15: Being a soldier is doubly tough for Kazir Mohammad Bhat, a 23-year-old resident of a village near Lolab, Kupwara, in Jammu and Kashmir. Today, Chief of Army Staff General S. Padmanabhan pinned the Sena Medal for gallantry on Bhat's chest.

He has killed two terrorists in Kashmir. One from his own village and the other a Pakistani. Bhat, being a Kashmiri Muslim, feels he has to prove himself not only to the nation but also to his own comrades in arms. Not that his credentials as a soldier are ever in question but he feels he has to perform better than his comarades from other parts of the country since they all operate in J&K, his home turf.

``I feel okay but some other Kashmiri soldiers are apprehensive about going home on leave. The fear of being targetted by terrorists is there. I killed the terrorist not knowing he was from my area. But he was in wrong company and a Pakistani terrorist was killed too,'' he says. Lolab, Kupwara was at one time considered ``liberated land'' and that is the time Bhat joined the Army. As children when they played cops and robbers, Bhat always played the cop. While many young men took to the gun in the Valley and became terrorists, Bhat decided he wanted to be a soldier. Today, the 23-year-old stood proud as the medal was pinned on his chest.

``My mother told me that terrorists have a very short life-span. They last less than a year. We have two other villagers who are pensioners from the Army and their lifestyle is better than most others. There is free medical care for life and canteen facilities, apart from a chance to see the whole of India,'' he says as his younger brother Nazir Ahmed gazes at the medal.

Recounting the counter-insurgency operation in which he killed the two terrorists, Bhat, a rifleman with Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI), says: ``Our Echo company of 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) had prepared to ambush the terrorists. We had information that around 25 terrorists had sneaked in from Pakistan. Another company had killed eight terrorists earlier and these two had got separated from the rest. I tracked them,'' he adds.

The encounter lasted through the night and finally, Bhat emerged on top killing both the terrorists. Only later did he find out that one of the men was someone he knew. ``As children we had all played together. I felt bad for him but he had taken the wrong path,'' Bhat says.But he admits it is not easy to be a Kashmiri Muslim in the Army. ``There is a fear in the back of the mind about the family. My wife, Begum Javeda Akhtar, brother, and the rest of my family are all in our village in Lolab. So far terrorists have not targeted them but the fear is there,'' he says. Though he is the only serving soldier from his village (two others are retired) he is a role model there.

``When I return home on leave, I take presents for everyone from the canteen. Little things of utility which they all like. Then I am the only one who is well travelled. I have been to Dehra Dun and have served in other parts of the country too. My wife is also going to travel with me. The Army will take care of their health and education too. Therefore I tell my friends that the army is better,'' he adds.

Bhat joined the Army during a recruitment drive in 1995. His brother Nazir, a matriculate, is waiting for the next drive. ``We have some people in our village and around who have joined the Border Security Force (BSF) and police. But we need more job opportunities,'' says Nazir, visibly impressed with the military uniform and the respect that his elder brother commands. ``Senior officers come up to him and ask him about the gallantry medal which even they do not have. They are impressed,'' an awe-struck Nazir adds.As Bhat returns to serve with his battalion in J&K, there is hope that things would improve in the Valley and prays that his family stays safe.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 02:15

Capt Deepak Guleria (3 RR) - Op Rakshak

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“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of readiness to die.”

Her eyes mist over as she pauses several times, struggling to pull herself together to relive June 8, 1999, the day her husband, Capt Deepak Guleria, died in an IED blast in Srinagar, leaving behind a son just over a year old. It is rather hard.

Poonam Guleria & her son, Dhruv, learning to smile again.

Some things never get better even with time, especially if it means never having to see a dear one again. And yet life has a way of going on. You can see the strength in Ms Poonam Guleria, the sheer grit, as she talks about taking charge of her life and destiny. “I strongly feel it was fated. Why else would Deepak and five other jawans die when there were several other officers nearby. It had to happen.”

Captain Guleria was part of a team that rushed to the site of a blast to evacuate injured Army personnel. He dispatched the injured in vehicles to the helipad at Wlusan. as he was about to leave, another blast took place, critically wounding him. He was flown to the Base hospital in Srinagar but died on the way. He was awarded with the Sena Medal (Gallantry) posthumously. Earlier the officer had been decorated with the Special Service Medal for having served during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ms Guleria was told by the officers that her husband had been injured in the leg. After much wait and persuasion, the news was broken to her at the hospital. “I blacked out. When I regained consciousness, I insisted on seeing his body which was in a coffin. He looked as charming as ever. I hugged him and touched his feet for the last time. it was all very hard for me but something kept pushing me. My husband always wanted me to be strong. My son was with me all the time but he was just a baby...”. Next she knew she was on an half-hour air Force flight to Chandigarh with his body and her son in her arms. It must have taken courage of a formidable kind to be on the same flight with her husband's body without her people to share her grief with. “I don't know where did I get the strength from...It was such a long torturous day,” she says, her voice quivering.

Mr M.L. Guleria, Deepak's father and a retired DIG (CRPF), came from Mandi the same evening. “I was hoping he would comfort me but he broke down like a child. I told him I would be Deepak for them. We left for Mandi soon after and travelled the whole night. Deepak was cremated the next morning with honours.

She says people have been kind, but the Army has been especially supportive. the J and K Government had promised Rs 2 lakh as relief but it hasn't come through. The Himachal Government has named a school after Captain Guleria and offered her a job in the Tourism Department. “I let my brother-in-law have it. Dhruv (her son) was small and I needed to look after him”. She donates Rs 20,000 annually to the school to sponsor scholarships and a function is held in his memory every year.

Much later when her son turned three, she took up a job offered by Army School, Chandimandir.In times when self-interest predominates and love wanes, her concern for her in-laws is appreciable. “Though I am staying in my maternal house, I shifted to my own set-up on the first floor. My mother was upset with my decision. I knew I had to do it sooner or later. Also, I had my in-laws to think of. I had to instil in them the confidence that I was still a part of their family. If I wasn't staying with them, I wasn't staying with my parents either.” It is touching to see Captain Deepak's photograph in the Puja room where the family prays to him and for him every evening.

As she talks and the memories of that day come flooding back, it is clear, as is only natural, that the pain is still there. It is near impossible to erase memories. Notwithstanding the courage there are weak moments. “When I have my morning cup of tea alone...little things remind me of him. It does get difficult sometimes. Only a woman who has passed through what I have can know what it is like.” Ms Poonam was free to consider remarriage but feels he has left her with all she needs—a son for a companion, financial security and above all, honour. Though knowing the risks, she says she would not stop her son from joining the Army if he so desires.

Talking about peace, she says something positive ought to have come of the Agra summit. “War is unnecessary. What I have lost I never can get back. The wound is permanent, nothing can change that. No family should lose its son, no child his father, no woman her husband to something so mindless as a war. I know how dreams can turn to ashes in moments.”

Life can be cruel. It might not offer many choices but it does give reasons to live, to hope, to rebuild. Hardships and losses have to be accepted. Some do it with bitterness, some challengingly while others stoically. Ms Guleria belongs to the last category. It isn't life that matters. It is the courage you bring to it

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 02:27

Capt Rohit Kaushal (12 RR) - Op Rakshak

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Panchkula, November 9
The seventh martyrdom day of Capt. Rohit Kaushal will be observed at his native village in Jalauli on November 11.

The 27- year- old officer from 12 Rashtriya Rifles had attained martyrdom on November 11, while fighting Afghan militants in Gandoh area of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India honoured him posthumously with gallantry award, Sena Medal, in recognition of his gallant action in making this supreme sacrifice.

Rohit had an intense desire to serve his motherland and left a course in engineering to join the Army, says his father, Mr. S.S. Kaushal. After Rohit was commissioned on June 9, 1990, he opted for the infantry as he felt he could serve the motherland better here. Capt. Rohit was to get married on November 27, 1995, and was expected to proceed on leave from November 15. But fate had other plans in store for him. On the fateful night of November 10 and 11, he raided the hide-outs of militants along with his contingent. During the encounter, he laid down his life fighting courageously .

In order to commemorate his martyrdom, his parents have constituted Shaheed Capt. Rohit Charitable Trust, which extends financial assistance to poor and deserving students by way of stipends and scholarships. A memorial has also been raised in his memory at Jalauli village, which has now been handed over to district administration. The state government has also named the Government High School, Jalauli, after the name of the martyr and the school has been rechristened Shaheed Rohit Kaushal Government High School, Jalauli. A road in Sector 12 here has also been named after him.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 01 Feb 2004 03:56

Captain Anirban Bandyopadhyay (1/4 GR) - Op Parakram

In March 2002, Captain Anirban Bandyopadhyay, 24, was killed in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir, a bullet fired by a mujahideen piercing his heart while he was trying to save his comrades. In January 2004, his mother Shukla is away on a peace mission to Pakistan with a group of students from The Telegraph in Schools. On Thursday, his father, a retired lieutenant colonel, received the posthumous Sena Medal for gallantry.

“We are proud that our son died with his boots on, like a true soldier,” said Rabindranath Bandyopadhyay, after receiving the posthumous award for his son at the army investiture ceremony at Fort William. “But 50 years of war is enough. There has been too much sacrifice by both countries and this must stop,” he added, fighting back his tears.

Rifleman Braj Kishore Behera (25 Assam Rifles)
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Caption: N.C. Behera receives his son’s medal.

Another father who made that sacrifice was Narayan Chandra Behera, father of Rifleman Braj Kishore Behera of 25 Assam Rifles. In April 2002, Braj Kishore was killed in an operation against militants in Manipur. “We do not regret sending him to the army,” said Narayan, in a dhoti and shirt, clasping the medal of honour he had just received from GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Lt-Gen. J.S. Verma, tears trickling down his weather-beaten face. The man from a remote village in Bhagwanpur district of Orissa said he was all too willing to send any of his other five sons out to fight for the nation.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Joeqp » 06 Feb 2004 17:37

<A HREF="http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/feb/06spec.htm" TARGET=_BLANK>The Man who knew no fear</A>

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Anindya » 07 Feb 2004 10:57

Some amazing stories...

Young bravehearts

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 09 Feb 2004 05:53

Lt Triveni Singh
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Image Source - PIB
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Sridhar » 09 Feb 2004 06:00

Shishir:

Thanks for almost single handedly making this thread one of the most valuable on the forum. And obviously salutes to all the heroes to whose memory this thread is dedicated.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 10 Feb 2004 07:10

Two old articles on Capt Nongrum..

Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum (12 J&K LI) - Op Vijay
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O captain, my captain...
Today he is gone..... martyrised himself for the motherland. Proving daring unto death, Captain Nongrum left behind ‘yesterday’s beautiful moments’ which are today's beautiful memories.

The mission accomplished. The battle won. The ship is back to the home shores. But where is the hero of the battle? — the daring captain who made it all possible by leading from the front. Alas! It is a sad irony that he is no more to witness this great hour — while his deeds are immortal his mortal remains lie on the deck of the ship.

True to its name, a ‘Vijay’ may have been achieved in the operation by the Indian forces in fighting with the enemy but not without the great sacrifices made by the soldiers. A small close knit family in the far eastern city of Shillong in Meghalaya is one amongst those families of these martyrs — it gave to the country a leader amongst men, when, ‘he’ was born on March 7, 1974. It gave to the country a dynamic officer when ‘he’ was commissioned into the Indian Army at the Officers Training Academy, Chennai on September 5, 1997. It gave to the country a Captain who at the mere age of 25 fought on till the moment of martyrdom which came on July 2, 1999.

Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum of the 12 J&K Light Infantry had done all to be bestowed posthumously with Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry.

A winding journey by bus upward the hill carries one to the ‘Alugodam’ area of Shillong. Even before enquiring about the address, your eyes are sure to fall on the huge posters and banners which simply tell how proud and moved this place is by the heroic deeds of one of the local boys. They (the banners) act as a path-finder to one calm (and benumbed) house that now has almost become a shrine. As the front door opens, one’s eyes just get transfixed for a few moments on Captain Clifford’s his life-size photograph in full uniform. As your eyes meet his, you know immediately that he was one rare gem the country cannot forget. There are a number of articles like citation and honours which he received at the termination of his brief career, a few smaller photographs — a couple of them taken of him while he was in training, another with the his whole family and yet another showing his parents unbuttoning the stars on his shoulder at the ‘pipping ceremony’ on his passing out parade which was a glorious day merely a couple of years back. Few lighted incense sticks lie at the corner of the photograph. But then, the article that draws your immediate attention is a used Bofors shell that Clifford had carried back home as a memento from his posting at Siachen. Fresh flowers are now placed in thus hollow portion of its nozzle. Some idea of a flower vase! The combination may look bizarre but that’s the story of a soldier for you. The story of a martyr. The story of Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum. The story of Guns ’n’ Roses.

Born as the second of the three sons of Keishing Peter and Saily Nongrum, Clifford was a loving and bright boy from his early days. After completion of his schooling from Don Bosco Technical School, from where he also got his Diploma in Automobile Mechanics, Clifford did his graduation from St. Anthony’s College in 1996. It was in his final year at college in 1995 that he appeared for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) exams. He went to face the Services Selection interview board in Bangalore on July 7, 1996. That was the start of a heroic journey from Shillong, which was to end exactly three years later, matched to the date. It carried him to the Officers Training Academy in Chennai from where he was commissioned and attached to the 12 J&K LI. All through he was posted in very difficult places like Leh, Kargil, Dras and Siachen. The honour of being an Army officer came with the summons for duty in operation Vijay. Clifford rose to the occasion and returned to Shillong as an immortal warrior.

Reminiscing about his son’s life, Mr. Peter, a manager in the Personal Banking Division of Laithumkhah Branch of SBI in Shillong, says that the date of 7th has been very significant in Clifford’s life. Apart from being born on March 7, it was on April 7, 1999, that he left home for the last time... only for his mortal remains to land in Shillong draped in the Tri-colour exactly three months later i.e. on July 7.

A wall poster can be seen next to his photograph. It has a touching scenary and the line, "Today’s beautiful moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories" inscribed on it. It perfectly sums up the feelings of Clifford’s family members now. Mr. Peter and Clifford ‘Babah’ (elder brother), Keishing Geoffrey Nongrum seem to get transferred to another world as they narrate episode and incidents from Clifford’s life. In Mr. Peter’s opinion, Clifford was very different from any average person. He had the quality to please, be accommodative and helpful to all around him. He never wasted time and was always active. He even knew most household jobs and helped his mother in cooking. Mr. Peter never had to face any problem with his car nor take it to any mechanic while Clifford was in Shillong. Mr. Peter speaks of a day when all the three sons having a joyride on his scooter. Suddenly Clifford started jumping. When a number of ‘don’t-do-it’ please didn’t work, Mr. Peter slapped Clifford hard. Clifford started crying bitterly. Narrating this incident, the father himself starts weeping.

Geoffrey was a friend of Clifford. It was in his marriage that Clifford had last come to Shillong. "It is a great feeling to lead a few days of civilian life like you", Clifford used to say to Geoffrey after getting a break from his hard life. According to Geoffrey, getting into the Army was written in his fate. From playing with lots of toy-guns in the childhood, to reading encyclopaedias to collect information about world affairs particularly the defence systems and their mode of operation and also meeting unknown Army personnel to gather information about the services and its modalities were clear indicators that young Clifford had an inclination towards joining the services. It used to always surprise elder brother Geoffrey that how Clifford got the time to indulge into so many activities and gain so much of knowledge. Being so hard working and disciplined, it is no wonder that the caqll to serve the nation through the Armed Forces beckoned him, quips Geoffrey.

These old friends are now heart-broken... some still can’t believe the fact. "I tell these friends that Clifford made the supreme sacrifice dauntlessly, so we must not mourn, but be proud of him", says Geoffrey.

In his brief career, Clifford had always played with fire. He came face to face with death on many occasions. While posted in Siachen, he single-handedly rescued 12 ill-fated people in the Northern Glacier. He received the Sena Medal for it. In another incident he rescued a colleague in Siachen who was hit by a bullet in the brain. He bandaged the soldier’s skull and carried him to safety on shoulders with enemy bullets whizzing past his ears. His proud father shows releases and paper cuttings that profoundly relate the great courage and sheer will of the indomitable ‘Captain Saab’.

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"Ee mere watan ke logo, jara aankh me bhar lo pani , jo shaheed huwe he unkee jara yaad karo qurbani", It's English translation will go something like this…… 'Oh! my countrymen …. just fill your eyes with tears…and remember the martyrs and recollect their sacrifices'. This song brought tears to the eyes of Pundit Nehru as he sat listening to Lata Mangeshkar singing it. It must have raked up so many painful and yet memories filled with pride and honor for his contemporaries, who laid down their life for the sake of the country and his fellow men. And this is the very song which comes to mind when we think of our very own Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum, the first ever war hero from the state of Meghalaya and his sacrifice for the sake of his countrymen. He has joined all those martyrs of our country and engraved his name in bold letters forever, in the annals of the history of our country.

The city had a deserted look that day… on the day of his burial. It was mourning its brave son of the soil. For once in a long-long time, there was complete uniformity of feelings, among all the people of the state of Meghalaya. "There was no demand, no expectation and no inducement; everything was just spontaneous right from the heart" as expressed and experienced by a lawyer friend of mine while he stood in Fire-brigade ground paying his last respects to the martyr. In his death, he united all. There was just one destination for everybody that day… Fire brigade ground where Captain Nongrum's body was 'lying in state'. Crossing all barriers of caste, creed or culture and sect people thronged to see the last remains of their hero, a martyr who died fighting in Kargil but not before he had himself donned as many as his and the country's enemy's and falling prey to enemy's bullets himself. Known to his platoon mates as a daredevil he sacrificed his life and died fighting while regaining the strategic Tiger Hills. He belonged to the 12 J K Light infantry from Drass. He had also served in the Siachen sector earlier.

With tears in their eyes and flowers in their hands people paid tribute to their national hero. Sad at the loss, which can not be compensated yet pride was written all over their faces. Pride for the fact that they had also, sacrificed their son of the soil, along with so many other fellows Indians, who had also given up their life fighting the enemy and protecting the nation from the aggressors. His was a death- a death for a noble cause. No purpose or aim can be higher or nobler than the aim of dying for one's own country. Such men are not born everyday, they belong to the rare class of humanity, who are an example in themselves, and they are the ones who set precedents. And they themselves are unprecedented.

What did we really give him to deserve such a significant act of supreme sacrifice from him? But it is people like him who remind us of our own country, how beautiful it is- right from Kanyakumari to the peaks of the highest mountains ranges in the world the mighty Himalayas. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Beauty, chill and the evergreens of the mountains, pleasantness and humidity of the lovely golden beaches, tall and leggy camels traversing in the vast unending stretches of the Thar desert, life giving rivers, the heat of the plains or the snow of the mountains we have it all. India has a world in itself. It encompasses a universe of one billion people of different origins, religions, and sects living all together as Indians. The thought and the idea, with which the country was born, was great. Equality and Unity in Diversity. And it was men like Capt. Clifford Nongrum who had understood it. At the young age of 25 without getting anything from the country on a platter- he had to work hard and struggle for everything he had achieved- he gave up his life for a simple cause, love for his country and the 950 million people he did not know- Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or a Sikh, it did not matter, what mattered was that, he was protecting his country and all the Indians in it.

Capt. Nongrum had set a precedent for all the disgruntled and the direction-less youths of the state of Meghalaya, for once they have an icon to emulate, to look up to. Practically unknown till the day he died. His death will not go in vain. His life would be an example, a torch held by the hands of time for the future generation to show them the path and the way to a more fruitful, positive and a constructive way of life. He too, took up the gun, but the reasons were different; he too killed, but for a very different cause, and the reason was 'To protect' and that simple and noble purpose of his life, struck a cord among the public and touched their hearts. The pain, the loss and the grief was complete. While the love and the adulation that he got on his death goes to prove beyond doubt what is the mind-set of the people of the state. For the first time on that day in many-many years, the city of Shillong observed a complete "bandh" without a trigger pointed to their head. It was instinctive, spontaneous and willful. The city was paralyzed with pain and agony. They were all united in their grief for their young hero of Kargil. It was a signal given to all the sectional and the fractional forces of the state and the country that we are one with the mainstream. We are Indians and we shall remain united under all the adversities.

Capt. Nongrum's death and the death of the other three hundred and more soldiers in the Kargil conflict should make us ask a question or two to ourselves. Is it not the time that we ask about our own duty towards our nation? The soldiers have paid their debts to the nation but what about us? It's time that we take a lesson from the famous words of John F. Kennedy "Ask not what the country can do for you, say what you can do for your country" These are his famous words that inspired the Americans in the sixties. But it holds so true for our nation and the youths of our country today. They blame everybody and everything but never blame themselves, they expect miracles to happen, to take them out of the situation that they are in. But they do not do anything constructive and positive to make or change things around them. While they take up guns to kill and snatch what do not belong to them. We all want a change in the society, but do we change ourselves? Do we become the change we want to see around us? No! We don't, we expect everything and everyone around us to change but we do not change ourselves.

Captain Clifford Nongrum has taught us just this, learn to give before you ask. He gave up his life at the young age of twenty-five on the icy slopes of the mountains of Kargil and his name will be engraved forever on the golden sands of time, to be remembered for many-many years to come. Thousands of people die meaningless deaths every day but in his death more than 950 million people found a meaning. A meaning of a life, living for a purpose… a selfless purpose. Love for his country and his countrymen. His last words to his parents was "I shall come back". Yes, he did come back, ornamented with flowers and adorned with the flag of our country… but in a coffin. And not before doing full justice to his uniform and fulfilling his promise to the nation- as a soldier- that he shall protect the country and his countrymen from the enemy and shall lay down his life, if need be, for the sake of all.

As he goes down into the pages of our history to be remembered only in anniversaries and centenaries, here is another song that comes to my mind. "Kar chale hum fidaa jan or tan sathiyo ab tumhare hawale watan sathiyo." Which means "oh! Friends I have sacrificed my life and my body for the country … but now I entrust the nation in your hands…" Now, it is for all of us, to pick up the threads and make the most of the sacrifices made by our soldiers on the front. How united they were as they fought the undeclared war. A Hanifuddin, a Singh or a Nongrum it did not matter, they were Indians and brothers and were fighting for their country. Members of all the communities, let us all unite together, forgetting our discrepancies and our petty squabbles, and move towards a prosperous and a better India of the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our nation. He died a shattered man, watching his dreams disintegrate into chaos and anarchy. We owe it to him and his memories at least now, after 53 years of Independence! Can we, rise up to the occasion and do justice to the memories of the martyrs of our country? Can we? By their courage, resilience and sacrifice the Indian soldiers had shown us the way many a times… and the least that we can do is to follow the examples set by them!

– Uma Tiwari Tariang
March 1, 2001

Eulogy to a martyr
Last edited by Shishir on 05 Nov 2005 00:04, edited 1 time in total.

Shishir
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 10 Feb 2004 07:30

Captain Vinayak Gore (Op Rakshak)

Source:Indian Express - No URL
Mumbai, May 27: DEATH snatched away her only son and in return gave her an obsession. In the seven years since Captain Vinayak Gore, a resident of Vile Parle (E), lay down his life in Kashmir, his mother Anuradha Gore has drawn up a battleplan of her own.

Every vacation, she holds camps aimed at inspiring teenagers to join the armed forces.

‘‘Our internal and national security is important. But who will do it? If students, our next generation, do not want to join this profession, then who will protect us? Through my personality development classes, we work on improving their overall development. Apart from teaching vocational subjects, classes are also held on subjects like Maths and Physics. Patriotic feeling is also inspired among the children by holding plays, skits and organising talks by ex-servicemen about their life in the military. Information is given about how to join the armed forces,’’ said Gore.

Her efforts have not been in vain. At least two to three students join the armed forces every year after attending her camp. One of her students, Ankur, is currently training at the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun while another, Abhishek, has joined the National Defence Academy. Gore’s 26-year-old son died on September 25, 1995, fighting insurgents at his post near Kupwara. He was the first officer from Mumbai to die in the Operation Rakshak. Born to businessman Vishnu and Anuradha Gore, a school teacher with Parle Tilak Vidyalay, Vinayak was greatly inspired by Shivaji Maharaj and Veer Savarkar, says his mother.

A good sportsperson, he represented N M college at inter-college football meets. Vinayak wanted to join the army so much that he left his articleship halfway to appear for the Combined Defence Service (CDS) examination. His father was initially reluctant but later relented.

The disrespect shown to the soldier's family, who has laid down his life, or the ease with which he (the soldier) is blamed when some mishap occurs, is what disturbs the family. ‘‘Are they not someone’s brother, husband or son? Instead of thinking about the country’s security, people are concerned only about their safety,’’ said Gore. The Gores have been trying to change this thinking through their camps .

But some parents blame Gore for trying to make them lose their children by asking them to join the army. Though she tries not to take such statements to heart, sometimes the painful memories comes rushing back. They make her question whether she was a good mother for having allowed her only son to join the army. ‘‘I am a woman and mother. The sorrow of losing my child will always remain, but it is the thought that he died for the nation that comforts me,’’ said Gore.

How deeply Vinayak was devoted to the country can be made out from a letter he wrote on his 25th birthday last year.

In the letter, he thanks his parents for his upbringing and says that not supporting him emotionally in some issues has made him reach his goal. ‘‘I am happy that I have had a chance to serve my nation,’’ the letter said.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 11 Feb 2004 04:44

Havildar Bachura S. Devaiah - Op Rakshak

Madikeri, Aug. 20: Another havaldar from Kodagu become a martyr in the fight against militants. A youth from Kodagu, Bachura S. Devaiah 34 years, fell prey to the bullets of militants at Nowshera in Southern Kashmir, yesterday.

The team of 'Kodagu Front' treaded a tough terrain to reach the sorrow filled family of the deceased at Kemalekadu village near Karada today. The family members informed that they have not received any official information from the army headquarters regarding the death of Devaiah. But they have received oral message through the officials of Army Canteen, Madikeri who they say have received information from Bangalore army head quarters this afternoon.

Grief stricken Mr. Bachura A. Somanna, father of the deceased speaking to 'Kodagu Front' informed that his elder son among six others had jointed the army to serve the nation in November 1987 and was very proud of his job. He used to visit the family every year and used telephone every weekend to know the welfare of the family.

It is learnt that martyr Mr. Devaiah has served in MRC for the last 15 years. He had served at Wellington, Gujarath, Madhyapradesh and presently at Jammu. His contract in Jammu and Kashmir would have come to close in the month of February 2003.

The family sources have informed that Mr. Devaiah had visited his home on July 10 to 24 and has assured to take retirement after the end of his 3 year's contract at Jammu. The sources also informed that he intended to marry dur-ing his next visit to Kodagu in the month of October.With tears holding down from his eyes, Mr. Somanna asserted that his son has laid down his life for the sake of the nation.

Continuing he disclosed that his another son Mr. Bachura Poonacha is also serving in the army and is presently camped at Punjab.

Meanwhile, his bedridden mother, who could not contain the tragic message, as she was not informed about her son's death. She is bedridden for the last few months. The few family members have already left to Bangalore to receive the body. The body of the martyr may arrive at his native village Kemalekadu on the night of 21.Father, mother, two brothers and three sisters survive the martyr.

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