‘Every army begins with one man’ – lines from movie ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’
In late 80’s and 90’s, G.I.J.O.E action figures were craze in the toy stores. Based on the cartoon TV show on Doordarshan, it captured the imagination of little kids like me. I used to play with the action figures and create my own war stories which were quite closer to war movies like ‘Saving Private Ryan’. From that moment I always aspired to become a soldier someday. Somewhere in Palampur, a kid had already decided to dedicate his life to armed forces. This kid was the great Kargil braveheart Captain Vikram Batra who took a bullet on his heart while defending Kargil from invaders.
‘Hamare desh mein army man ko Superman kehte hain’
The TV serial – Paramvir Chakra on Doordarshan was an inspiration for the little Vikram. Instead of opting for merchant Navy, he decided to join armed forces. Despite suffering from high fever, Captain Vikram Batra scaled high peaks even in disastrous weather conditions, motivating his soldiers at every instance.
The intrusion of Pakistani army in Kargil sector was an alarming moment for Indian army. All the official leaves of army officers were cancelled. The year 1999 was a difficult time for every mother who had her son posted on Kargil. Kargil war was the first national event that got media coverage and was reported on news channels by several reporters including Barkha Dutt. Brave officers like Vijayant Thapar and Padmapani Acharya were killed in the horrific war. Reporter Barkha Dutt had personally interviewed Captain Vikram Batra and his patriotism had already won the hearts of several Indians. After capturing Point 5140, Vikram Batra became an inspiring icon for youngsters. His victory cry ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ became a rage among masses. Vikram had plans to marry his fiancée Dimple once the war was over. Unfortunately the point 4875 claimed the life of Captain Vikram Batra before he could fulfill his dreams. While capturing this point, Vikram was shot down by an enemy’s sniper. Though Vikram died defending Kargil, he saved the life of one of his fellow soldier – Captain Naveen Nagappa. In an interview retired captain Naveen Nagappa recounted the war events and how bravely Vikram rescued his life by dragging Naveen out of the bunker. Ironically Captain Vikram Batra collapsed to the enemy’s bullet within an hour after saving Naveen.
Fondly called as ‘Shershah’ Vikram’s bravery had sent shivers of fears among the enemies.
‘Either I will come after hoisting the tricolor flag in Kargil or return wrapped in tricolor flag but I will return for sure – words spoken by Captain Vikram Batra
It will be 18 years this 2017 when the brave boys went to war in Kargil in 1999. Some returned alive while some returned wrapped in tricolor. They did return for sure, giving a befitting reply to the enemies and winning the Kargil war.
It is such a sad irony that biopics have been made on Sachin Tendulkar, M.S.Dhoni but no one has cared to make a biopic in memory of Captain Batra. J.P. Dutta’s 2003 war movie – LOC: Kargil is the only movie that immortalized the courageous story of Vikram Batra. The role of Captain Vikram Batra was brilliantly portrayed by actor Abhishek Bachchan.
Now Palampur is not just the hometown of Vikram Batra, it has become a historical destination where brave heroes like Major Somnath Sharma and Captain Vikram Batra were born.
Today the mountains at Kargil still echo with the victory cry of Captain Vikram Batra – ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’.