Our Flag does not fly because the wind moves it, it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it. In the most ferocious Kargil war many young soldiers shed their blood for our Mother India. One among them is Captain Vikram Batra, an Indian soldier who did a legendary operation in one of India’s toughest campaigns in mountain welfare. He was awarded India’s highest and most prestigious award for his bravery act in the Kargil war known as ‘Param Vir Chakra’. He was also affiliated with the title “sher shah” meaning Lion King in the intercepted message of the Pakistan army.
This brave legend was born in September 1974 in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. He was the eldest of twin and third son of Girdhari Lal Batra, a government school principal, and Kamal Kanta, a school teacher. He was an active child in all activities and had a strong sportsman spirit. He attended DAV public school in Palampur and senior secondary education at Central school in Palampur. He did his B.S.C in medical Science from DAV College Chandigarh adjudged the best NCC cadet of north India; he used to play tennis at the national level and was a green belt holder in Karate.
He qualified for a certificate in NCC and attained the rank of senior under officer in NCC. In 1994 he was selected for the Republic Day parade as he was an NCC cadet. His parents had no astonishment when he told them about preparing for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) examination and dreaming of joining the Indian Army as an officer. In 1995 in college itself he was selected for merchant navy at shipping company Hong Kong but he changed his mind. Further, he enrolled himself at Punjab University for an MA in English course to get time to prepare for the UPSC CDS examination. In 1996 he was selected among the top 35 candidates for the UPSC CDS exam. So, after one year of his MA, he left University and join the Indian Military Academy where he was a gentleman cadet. This was a righteous path to serve his nation and dream to an extraordinary supreme.
Vikram Batra joined IMA at Dehradun in June 1996 in the Menekshaw Battalion. Further completing his graduation from IMA he joined as a gentleman cadet and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, Jammu & Kashmir Rifles. Then he was sent to a regimental center in Jabalpur for further training. After completion of training, he was posted to the Sopore Baramulla district. an area pronounced with military activities. In mid-march 1998, he joined Infantry School at Mhow, Madya Pradesh for a young officer’s post. This training lasted for 5 months till September 1995 and then he was awarded the Alpha grading and joined the battalion back in October 1998.
In January 1999, he was sent for a Commands Course at Belgaum, Karnataka where he excelled and was awarded the highest grading- the Instructor’s grade. Soon after a few days, he went to his village Palampur to celebrate the Holi festival with his family. On the contrary, a historic war in Kargil broke out and he was at a cafe with his friend when he was asked to resume his duty and come back to the post. He was a true patriot so to his friend’s sympathetic caring words he replied courageously” Do not worry I will come back after raising the Indian flag or wrapped in it, but I will come sure”.
Soon after he received the order to move to Kargil, he joined duty On June 1, 1999, after completing his counter-insurgency tenure in Kashmir under 192 Mountains Brigade of 8 Mountain Division, received an order to proceed to Shahjanpur, U P. He was so dedicated towards service that even on rare calls to his family he would probably say “I am absolutely fine, don’t worry about me”. In spite of the enemy having the advantage of height he and his battalion led a brilliant assault on the enemy and won a decisive victory that strengthened India’s hold on territory. From a lieutenant, he had roused to the rank of captain because of his bravery and willpower.
Due to the outbreak, his post was changed to Dras, so with his battalion 13 JAK RIF, he reached Dras on 6 June as a reserve to 2nd Battalion, attacking Tololing Mountain and succeeded in capturing Tololing and thereafter it took them from Dras to Tololing, at an altitude of 16,962 feet above sea level. They were assigned to capture point 5140 under Lt. Col. Yogesh Kumar Joshi on 17 June. They examined enemy bunkers and positions as well and found that the eastern approach to the peak was easy. Hence on 20 June midnight troop started climbing as decided the artillery gun would stop firing when the troop was 200 m short of the objective. Batra himself decided to reach the hill, surprising the enemy to cut off the withdrawal route. After a lot of bombardment, the disaster succeeded in capturing point 5140. Despite the severe injury, he leads his mission. On 26 June, 13JAK RIF was ordered to move to Ghumri to rest, refit, and recoup. The battalion then moved to the Mushkon valley on 30 June.
Capture of Point 4875
In the next mission, they moved to the Mushkoh valley, where they were placed under commando of the 79 Mountain Brigade. This peak featured the National Highway 1 completely from Dras to Matayan hence it became imperative for the Indian army to capture it. Perhaps due to vast open areas, Indian machinery, guns, position, and bunkers every minute aspect could be located and targeted by the opposition.
From 1 – 3 July 1999, they formulated the effective strategic plans and requirements for implementing the same on 4 July the company commander of A and C coys, Major S.V Bhaskar and Major Gurpreet Singh conducted their final reconnaissance and at 1800 hours artillery bombardment was done. This war continued vigorously and on 5th July Indian victory was celebrated with the capture of Area Flat Top after a fierce battle with Pakistanis. Meanwhile, the see-saw war was going on. Suddenly, a shell hit the peak, seriously injuring capt. Nagappa splinters pierced both his legs. Pakistanis took it as a golden moment to climb faster seeing the situation Batra insisted on going up instead of being ill and wanted to lead the mission forward.
Seeing Batras determination to save the peak and honor of Ballation several soldiers before order pleads to the head to let them accompany him. The soldiers just wanted to accompany Batra. On July 7 night, Vikram and his men begin their torturous climb to fortify Indian soldiers which were already fighting the waves at 16000 feet. The enemy got wind that formidable Sher shah has arrived and intensified their attack, raining mortar and automatic fire from above. Vikram’s counter-attack was ferociously supported by his friends and fellow officer Army Nayyar engaging in hand–to–hand combat, cleaning the enemy bunkers, and egging their men forward. The two brave hearts forced the shocked enemy battalion to retreat from their post.
However, on the verge of victory, there were still Pakistanis JCO’S guiding enemy machinery fire guns in the nest so Batra took the lead forward alone and killed all 4 members of the Pakistani crew. The mission was almost over when a junior officer injured his legs in an explosion. He rushed forward to help him admist the constant firing and was lunging to lift his mate when he was hit by a bullet in his chest. Batra courageous exposed himself to enemy fire to drag injured Soldiers to safety. Meanwhile, a bullet pierced him, and a split second later by a splinter from an RPG whit hit his head. Till morning they succeeded in capturing the peak but unfortunately two of our best soldiers. Captain Army Nayar and young patriot Captain Batra lying next to each other scrambling with their fatal wounds.
- Captain soldier Vikram Batra, the Swashbuckling soldier gives the nation their war cry and a determined motto to youngsters. He was awarded the “Param Vir chakra’’ for his gallantry services in war e on15 August 1999 the 15th anniversary of India’s independence. His father G.L Batra received the honor for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K.R. Narayan. He served the Indian Army for only 18 months being 24 he did such commendable work. His parents though were proud of his brave blood but missed him every single moment of their life. His mother at the time of offering prayers to God would give a glimpse of his son’s photo kept near to it. They left their original home as it reminded them of Batra and their eyes would become wet.
Now Today is the Captain Statue which adorns the town center shared with another brave cop Major Sharma from Palampur, India’s first Param Vir Chakra awardee. In Batra’s honor, the mountain peak was known as Batra’s Top. A hall at Service Selection Centre, Allahabad named Vikram Batra block, a residential area in Jabalpur Conlonment is called Vikram Batra enclave. Even the combined cadet mess at INA is called Vikram Batra mess. There are few residential areas in Meerut, Pune, and Siliguri named after him. A memorial for a warrior including Batra stands at his alma mater DAV College as a tribute to his Extravagance. Even a government college and stadium in Palampur is named after him.
Punjab College dedicated a state-of-the-art Indoor shooting Range in his honor. He was stayed in hostel no 1 at the PU campus while pursuing MA in English in 1995-1996. New Delhi Mubarak chowk and its flyover in 2019 was renamed as saheed captain Vikram Batra chowk. To commemorate his supreme sacrifice Northern Command Lt. Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi overflew the famous Batra Top in Sukhoi – 30 MKI and paid homage to national heroes from the sky.
- As a homage and tribute in 2003, a Hindi film LOC: Kargil was made to reflect the entire war conflict where Abhisekh Bachan Played the role of Captain Batra. In the 2021 film “Shershaah” Siddharth Malhotra played a biopic directed by Vishvardhan and produced by Dharma Productions and Pen India Limited. Hence Vikram Batra was one of the mothers of India’s bravest and finest of all soldiers who fought recklessly to make India and held his head high amongst everyone with pride. This historic day is even a message that war isn’t for pride rather it causes devastation as well as the loss of some precious jewel. We never realize the agony and pathetic situation undergoing within a soldier. As a true symbol of an extra vigilant patriot and warrior, he will always be remembered. The tribute paid to him is not only for the Kargil war but it lasts forever within our Indian hearts. Henceforth the deeds of our martyred son will ever lie in Indian soil and its fragrance and as an honor, we Indians will bow with pride before it.
Top 13 Facts About Vikram Batra
Batra was determined not to lose any of his men. When in a terrorist assault a bullet meant for him stuck one of his men behind him he was very upset. On a telephonic conversation with his sister, he said” Didi, it was meant for me and I lost my man”.
When he was selected as a merchant in the Indian Navy he rejected it. His rejection could even make a 120000 crore company feel humble. This reflects the true patriot spirit within him.
He used the slogan “Dil mange more” a Pepsi cola ad to create new enthusiasm and determined spirit among his men to urge forward to complete the mission
During his march towards one f the historic operation, he along with his men went to worship goodness and then marched forward, this shows his utter respect towards Indian culture and belief in divine power.
During the funeral death ceremony, his mother was sad as well as proud she said “that’s why God gave me two sons one for the nation and one for me”
In Chandigarh when he was in college he vowed to a girl to marry her after returning from the mission. Behind him his brother Vishal would take care of her but he completed his mission successfully and died for the nation. He didn’t return and the girl kept weeping at his funeral ceremony.
The chief of army officer wrote that in Vikram’s death the army had lost a dedicated and devoted officer” It’s a personal loss to me “
“I wish the families of deceased soldiers are looked after well by government authorities” Vikram replied and turned his face towards the camera. His father believed his son is not going to return.
When Vikram ran out to rescue another junior officer his subedar begged him not to go rather he will go but he replied “Tu Baal Bacchedar hai, hat Ja Peeche” This shows he was very soft from within and had a caring attitude within him.
To save the officer he kept himself between that of officer ad enemy. He was shot but he saved the officer saying “You have a family even kids you go”.
Batra had a twin brother. The family nicknamed the twins ‘Luv’ (Vikram) and ‘Kush’ (Vishal).
Vikram was selected and underwent a helicopter flight course for 40 days at the Pinjore flying club. He was also selected for the 1994 Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.
Vikram received his primary education from his mother, who herself is a teacher. He received his education up to Middle Standard at the D.A.V. Public School in Palampur and up to senior secondary stage in Central School, Palampur.