The Kargil War of 1999 was a episode that shook India and billion of people in the Indian sub-continent. There have been several stories of valour and patriotism from the war-torn Jammu and Kashmir and one such account is of Late Captain Vikram Batra.
“Ya toh tiranga lehra ke aaunga,
ya tirange mein lipta chala aaunga,
lekin vapas jarur aaunga.”
These lines are of Captain Vikram Batra which perfectly sums up the spirit with which our Indian Army jawans fight at the border.
Inducted as a lieutenant in the 13 JAK Rifles on December 6, 1997, Captain Batra was promoted to the rank of Captain during the Kargil war.
Captain Batra, a soldier in the 13th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, led one of the most resistant counter-insurgency operations in the Valley. Such was his impact on the infiltrating Pakistani armed forces, he was addressed as ‘Sher Shah’ in the messages shared by the Pakistani Army.
He earned immortality on July 7, 1999, in the Kargil war defending his country and his fellow soldiers. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Captain Batra had the plans to marry his girlfriend Dimple Cheema after his return from the war, he never did. But his death wasn’t the end of this beautiful love story. In an interview with The Quint, Dimple expresses how his loved has shaped her life and how will it stay with her forever and ever. Dimple and Vikram first met in 1995 at Punjab University, where both of them were enrolled under MA English. In 1996, Vikram moved to Dehradun after his selection to the Indian Military Academy. But the Sher Shah whom the enemy feared was a filmy romantic by heart.
The couple used to be apart a lot because of Batra’s mission and whenever she used to get pressurised for getting married, he would always tell her, “Take care of what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get.” It was a ritual for the couple to visit the Mansa Devi temple and Gurudwara Sri Nada Sahab. During one such visit, while doing parikrama, he was holding her dupatta and on completing the parikrama said, “Congratulations, Mrs Batra!” On one of his next visits, when Dimple raised her concern of marriage, he took a blade out of his wallet, cut his thumb and filled her ‘maang’ with his blood. Though the couple had only four years of association, Dimple is living her life in the loving memories of her beloved Captain Batra.
In The Quint’s interview, Dimple says, “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.”
On July 7, 1999, when Captain Vikram Batra lost his life at the Kargil War, it was not one but two souls who sacrificed their ‘everything’ at the altar of the duty.
Kargil Vijay Diwas, named after the success of Operation Vijay, is celebrated on July 26 every year in honour of the Kargil War Heroes. On July 26, 1999, Indian Army evicted Pakistani’s intruders and succeeded in recapturing the Tiger Hill and other posts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The war was fought for more than 60 days and ended on July 26 and resulted in the loss of 527 brave hearts who laid their life for the country.