It was a sunny afternoon of 3rd of May 1999..a shepherd came running to the army camp in Kargil and claimed to have seen few individuals who are not locals, wearing pathani attire and few of them carrying guns. The shepherd was not aware of the fact that this bit of information was going to culminate into one of the most miraculous wars of all the times where the gallant action witnessed by the world was unimaginable. The terrain where the war was fought, is completely inhospitable and rugged, having peaks which are beyond human effort to climb on normal days.
However, those peaks were not only scaled and captured but done so within unbelievable time frames by the soldiers possessing unimaginable courage and undaunted bravery and proved to be nothing less than supernatural Heroes.
Major Saurabh Kalia along-with his team went on a reconnaissance mission to locate the intruders. The entire patrol went missing and this was the trigger which awakened the defence forces. By the time it was realised that the intrusion was fully supported by Pak army, many important heights in Kargil and Drass sectors were already in the enemy’s hold, including Tololing top-dominating NH1D, Tiger Hill and Point 4875 and many more.
The turning point in the war was the capture of Tololing in which many heroes laid down their lives- Major Rajesh Adhikari, MVC(Posthumously), Major Vivek Gupta, MVC(Posthumously), Naik Digendra Kumar, MVC(Posthumously) and this list goes till 23 martyrs contributed their lives in turning the tides towards India in the war. The capture of point 4875 in Mushkoh Valley was again an example of raw courage and conspicuous bravery. Captain Vikram Batra, Param Vir Chakra(Posthumously), Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, PVC besides every soldier, played a heroic role in such harsh weather conditions, in capturing point 4875 which ensured the upper hand for India in the Kargil War. On the other hand, capture of Tiger Hill almost ensured the win for India in which enemy sitting on the heights of more than 5000 m were astounded by the heroic deeds of Major Ravinder Singh, Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, PVC and many more gallant faces with indomitable spirit who overturned victory on the face of the enemy.
The quantification of battles and heroes in Kargil war would be left unjustified in one article, as the list of national martyrs is long and each marty’s bravery is too big to enclose in words.
In-fact, we shouldn’t have second thoughts abput saying that each and every soul who participated in the war, is the real Hero of Operation Vijay. Besides, the soldiers who fought in Operation Safed Sagar launched by Indian Air Force and Operation Talwar launched by Indian Navy have also played heroes in the battles of Kargil War.
The list of heroes doesn’t end with the names of those who were in uniform, rather there are many unsung personalities whose name didn’t appear on any piece of paper but the contribution made by them played a vital role in concluding the war in Indian favour.
The involvement and contribution in shaping the battle globally by the ambassadors sitting in United Nations shouldn’t go unrecognised. These acts also played decisive role in the flow of the battle which makes those ambassadors nothing less than Heroes of that war.
As there is a saying that “besides defeating enemy on ground, they must be defeated in their mind”, that task was considerably performed by our media during the Kargil War. As per many analysts, Indian media, being larger and more credible than the adversary’s media, played as force multiplier for not only the soldiers fighting the war but for the whole nation. The real-time telecast of the war definitely acted as morale booster for the country and affecting our neighbour adversely. Therefore, media is also considered as one of the Heroes of Kargil War.
“Every small step count in submitting the peak”, apart from the mainstream participants in the war, there were few villagers whose contributions can’t go unobserved. It was a mere villager, a shepherd Mr. Tashi Namgyal, who reported the first information about infiltration which helped Indian army to react in time. Besides, the individuals of the abandoned villages were willingly helping Indian army in establishing administration camps. Therefore, these villagers and the shepherd are also revered as real Heroes of the war.
In Kargil, in a war of its own kind, where two countries with nuclear weapons indulged in a conventional war, there can’t be set parameters based on which, Heroes of the War can be defined. Certainly, the acts of bravery performed by our soldiers were miraculous and are second to none, still, when it comes to bracketing the heroes of this war, it can only be justified by considering that every single soul who was part of the war directly or indirectly is the real “Hero of the Kargil War”.