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E-Mail this column to a friend 'Vikram wanted to do something extraordinary that would bring fame to his country'

Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles: Posthumous Param Vir Chakra winner


Captain Vikram Batra Twenty-four-year-old Captain Vikram Batra laid down his life while clearing the enemy positions on peak 4875. He and his regiment had earlier won the appreciation of the Chief of the Army Staff, General V P Malik, when they successfully liquidated the enemy from peak 5140 in the Kargil conflict.

For the young man who believed in the sobriquet Ye Dil Mange More! acts of bravery came naturally to him.

Principal G L Batra, father of the brave young army officer, and his mother Kanta feel proud that their son gave up his life for the defence of his country. After his regiment regained peak 5140, Captain Batra called his parents in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, and gave them a minute to minute description of how the battle had progressed. He told them how he had killed his enemies one after another, including a certain Colonel Khan who was awarded the Nishan-e-Haider by the Pakistan government.

Kamal Kanta Batra, Captain Vikram Batra's mother:

I remember once when I reached my school in Palampur, one of my colleagues told me that she had seen my son in the hospital. I panicked and reached the hospital immediately. But once I saw him hail and hearty, I asked him how come he was in hospital. He smiled and told me how he had saved a seventh standard girl who had fallen out of a moving school bus.

The bus door was not properly secured and as the bus took a sharp turn on the hills, the door swung open and the girl fell out. Vikram lost no time to jump out and move the bleeding girl to the hospital.

I feel proud of my son that he has done me proud. I feel honoured that I gave birth to a son like him who did not flinch from his duty when the hour arrived and sacrificed his life. Usne mere kokh ki laaj rakh lee, us ne mere doodh ko dhanya kar diya (He has instilled great pride in the virtues of motherhood).

Principal G L Batra, father:

Vikram Batra's parents In 1994, my son took part in the Republic Day parade as a NCC cadet and when he came back he told us that he would love to join the army. His nana (maternal grandfather) was in the army. We had several other relatives. He was selected for the merchant navy and had almost joined it. But something made him change his mind. He told me he was not after money. He wanted to do something extraordinary that would bring fame to his country.

He joined the army as an officer on January 1, 1998 and within two- -and-a-half years, he went on to win the highest award for bravery. I am proud of my son.

A keen sportsman, Vikram loved to skate. But it was table tennis that became his first love as a student. He was Kangra's No 1 table tennis player in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, he was one of the leading table tennis players in the boy's group from the state at the national level.

He was an ambitious person and would do anything to achieve his goals. Of course, he was a bit of a spendthrift as well. He loved to spend money. A jolly fellow, he could get along with anyone. I always told him he should be number one in whatever profession he chose. He proved me right. He was indeed the best in his profession.

He was very happy and told us that the army chief had personally congratulated him and his regiment on this unique achievement against all odds. He told us that he was fine, but he asked us to pray for him so that he and his fellow officers and men succeeded in their missions. This was on July 3. His mother told him to pray to Goddess Durga and keep on marching ahead as the Mother would protect him and help him attain his missions. He laid down his life on July 7. We got the news on July 8 when two officers from Palampur visited our home and told us about how our son Vikram had attained martyrdom.

We were shocked, but proud of our son. Whenever we are a bit down and out, we think of Guru Gobind Singh who had sacrificed his four sons and father for the sake of the Sikh Panth and to save the Kashmiri Pandits. If he could do that, we are nothing in front of Guru Gobind Singh. In fact, I have put up the picture of the great guru in Vikram's room so that when we go into the room we remember the words of the Guru: In Putran Ke Sis Par Var Diye Sut Char, Char Muye to Kaya Huva Jab Jivit Kayee Hazar.

We were later told by his colleagues how he jumped in to save the life of his fellow officer Lt Navin who lost his legs because of a grenade blast. While he was in the air, one bullet hit him in the chest. Though mortally wounded, Vikram killed the enemy who had fired at him before saying farewell to all of us.

Param Vir Chakra winner Captain Vikram Batra's parents spoke to Onkar Singh.


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