Kargil War Stories — Anecdotes From The Martyrs' Families!
Almost two decades have been passed, but the flashbacks and the heart-wrenching memories are still clear. Kargil was not just a story or an incident but a period which has been coined in the history of India for eternity — a period which many generations will keep talking about.
The May-June of 1999 not only lost India’s sons, father, or brothers, but also immortalized many brave soldiers.
It is impossible to fill the void, but the least we can do is revive them in our stories, conversations, and feelings. I know for sure how a family feels about losing their loved ones — when someone is gone. But the war of Kargil did not let these families shatter — they remained strong and were proud by the martyrdom of these knights — they still are.
On the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, today I would like to share with you some of the anecdotes of the families of these knights who show their pride and love with their words.
Captain Vikram Batra
If you do not know Captain Vikram Batra, then, believe me, I do not think that you belong to this country. During the Kargil War, this soldier instituted a different fear among the enemies. He was probably one of those soldiers whose enemies would also have saluted on his martyrdom.
During an interview with Quint, his long time girlfriend, Dimple Cheema, shared her love and feelings towards him by saying,
“Not a single day in the past 17 years, have I felt detached from you. It feels as if you are away on a posting. I feel so proud when people talk about your accomplishments. But along with that, there is some regret in the corner of my heart. You should have been here, sharing, listening to the stories of your brave deeds, of how you are an inspiration to the youth of today. I know in my heart that we are going to meet again, it’s just a matter of time.”
Major Padmapani Acharya
When Major Padmapani Acharya’s martyrdom was reported to his family, his wife was pregnant. Major Acharya did a course in hotel management, but his passion for the Army was always there. His mother did not shed tears on his martyrdom as she had promised his son that she would not cry.
During an interview with The Hindu, his parents, late Smt. Vimala Acharya and Wing Commander (retired) Jagannath Acharya, shared their feelings,
“As a mother, I am definitely sad and hurt, but as a patriot, I am proud of my son. He lives forever, whereas I will not. He made me promise that I would not cry when he left for the front.”
“You have to accept the inevitable and adjust accordingly. It is tough to digest, but we all are proud of him and miss him.”
Captain Vijayant Thapar
By taking forward the legacy of three generations of his family, Captain Vijayant Thapar’s martyrdom did not only make his family proud but also dignified the entire country.
During an interview with The Hindu, his father, Colonel (retired) Vijender Thapar, shared some of his son’s memories,
“Most sons are known by their fathers. I am a father, fortunate or otherwise, who is known by his son. When he was alive, we used to have the odd scrap, but after he went away, I realized his life was rich although he died young. We have lost him physically, but there’s a lot of him still alive — his spirit that we must propagate. Those who knew him felt uplifted. There is no better monument to him than a book.”
Major Mariappan Saravanan
Major Mariappan Saravanan is known as the ‘Hero of Batalik’. His body was buried in snow for 41 days and was recovered only after a lot of gunfighting by the army.
During an interview with the Times of India, his sister, Dr Chitra Senthilkumar, shared her sentiment, reminiscing about her brave brother,
“He was quite dedicated and completed various courses, including commando course, improvised explosive devices and winter warfare course. I remember clearly — he had written to our mom, Amirthavalli after his battalion was moved to the insurgency-infested area in Jammu & Kashmir. He was excited and had said he was waiting for an opportunity to prove his mettle. On May 14, 1999, he made his last-ever call to amma, and said, ‘I’ll get you a Vir Chakra. I love you all. Do take care of yourself, Chithra and Revathi. He came back home wrapped in the Indian Tricolour… And yes, he did get my mother, a Vir Chakra…”
Lance Naik Nirmal Singh
Lance Naik Nirmal Singh was not able to spend more than a year in his five years of marriage with his wife, Jaswinder Kaur. Leaving behind his 3-year-old son, he sacrificed his life for the country.
During an interview with Tribune, his wife shared her love and feelings for her martyred husband saying,
“My son was only three years old when my husband sacrificed his life atop Tiger Hill. I had been married to him for only five years then. I lived with my husband for only a year when his unit was at Pathankot. A month before he died, he was posted in the Kargil sector. They were celebrating victory atop Tiger Hill when he was shot in the chest. I’ve lived all these years without him, and our son has been brought up amidst stories of gallantry. I’m ready to send my son to the armed forces.”
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari was married for ten months when he had to leave for the Kargil war. In one of his last letters to his wife, Kiran, he wrote that he was not sure if he would return. He requested her that if he did not return, Kiran shall take their unborn child to Kargil once and show the place where his father fought against the enemies. His wife, who was pregnant at that time, wrote a letter to him in response, which did reach him but was never read by him.
During an interview with Readoo, his wife shared some part of the letter she had written,
“It doesn’t matter if I deliver a baby girl or a boy, if you come back I shall be happy, and if you don’t I shall be proud to be a martyr’s wife, but one thing I would want to promise you via this letter that I shall not just show them Kargil but will also ensure they too become a soldier like you.”
Captain Anuj Nayyar
Anuj Nayyar, who attained martyrdom at just 24 years of age, was fast and brave since childhood. It is said that nothing can be more painful for a father than performing his son’s last rites, but for Captain Nayyar’s father, this ill-faith was equal to the crown of his head.
During an interview with the Deccan Herald, his father, Professor Nayyar, shared some memories of his son’s childhood,
“His Maths teacher used to call him ‘a bundle of energy’ as he was always on the run. He was the most notorious student in his class. Even though he was a brilliant child, tired of his regular mischief, his teacher had once written on the notice board, ‘I want Anuj – dead or alive’! He was the best volleyball player in his school. We used to tell him not to play because he ruined his shirt. From then on, he used to take off his shirt and play. Then we told him, his vest was getting dirty so he should not play the game. But then, he took off his vest too and played! With a mind like his, how could one stop him from doing what he wanted to, for the country?”
‘Senaraksh’ salutes the soldiers who were martyred in Kargil and the ones who are still serving.