7 July: Remembering Captain Vikram Batra on his Punya Tithi
Captain Vikram Batra (9 September 1974 – 7 July 1999), an officer of the Indian Army, awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War.
Captain Vikram Batra was born on 9 September 1974. His father Girdhari Lal Batra was a government school principal while his mother was a schoolteacher.
He went to DAV Public School in Palampur. He got into Central School to get his senior secondary education. In 1990, he and his brother represented the school at All India KVS Nationals in Table Tennis.
He was a green belt in Karate, and he went to the national camp in Manali.
He graduated from DAV College with a B Sc in Medical Sciences.
Following completion of his bachelor’s degree in 1995, he went on to Panjab University in Chandigarh to study MA English so he could prepare for CDS Examination.
He passed the CDS exam in 1996 and was called for an interview at the Services Selection Board (SSB) in Allahabad. His ranking was among the top 35 in the Order of Merit. After earning his MA in English during the 1995-96 session, he left school to join the Indian Military Academy.
He joined the IMA in June 1996. After 19 months of training, he graduated from the IMA on December 6, 1997. As a lieutenant, he joined the 13th battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. He was sent to Jabalpur and Madhya Pradesh for further training that lasted for a month.
He got regimental training in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh after commissioning. One month of training took place from December 1997 to January 1998.
He was posted to Sopore in Baramulla district, Jammu and Kashmir, after training. There was a lot of militant activity in the area. He spent five months in an Infantry School in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, to finish his Young Officer’s Course in March 1998. As soon as he finished, he got his alpha grade and rejoined his battalion.
In 1999, he completed a two-month Commando Course at Belgaum, Karnataka. After completing the course, he got the highest grade– Instructor’s Grade.
In 1999, he visited his home during Holi festival on leave from the Army before he died in the Kargil War. When he visited his hometown, he mostly went to Neugal Cafe.
In Sopore, he rejoined his battalion after his leaves were over. It was ordered for his battalion to head to Shahjahanpur. Under the 192 Mountain Brigade of 8 Mountain Division, the battalion finished counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir
On June 5, the battalion orders were changed, and they were ordered to Dras.
After reaching Dras on 6 June, Batra’s battalion, 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13 JAK Rif), was assigned to the 56 Mountain Brigade as reserves for the 2nd Rajputana Rifles (2 Raj Rif) during their attack on Tololing mountain. On 22 May, the 18th battalion of The Grenadiers (18 Grenadiers) attacked Tololing, but couldn’t get it. While suffering heavy casualties, 18 Grenadiers attempted to capture Tololing four times, but only succeeded in securing the lower slopes. Tololing was eventually captured by 2 Raj Rif on 13 June 1999.
13 JAK Rif marched from Dras to Tololing in 12 hours after capturing Tololing. After arriving, Alpha company of 13 JAK Rif took over Tololing and part of Hump Complex from 18 Grenadiers.
The Delta Company of Captain Vikram Batra was ordered to recapture the arduous and crucial peak 5140 on June 19th from the sub-sectors of Drass and Batalik.
Nicknamed Sher Shah, he and his Delta Company decided to surprise the enemy by coming from behind. At 17,000 feet, Captain Batra and his men planned to take their enemies by surprise by approaching from the rear.
In the midst of ascending the cliff, Pakistani troops fired machine guns at them, but the brave Indian soldiers didn’t let it discourage them, and Captain Batra and five of his men climbed up.
In close combat, Captain Vikram Batra killed three soldiers alone and despite getting badly wounded, he regrouped his men and continued. Even though he was seriously injured, he inspired his team to keep going. On June 20, 1999, point 5140 was captured at 3:30 am.
Award and Legacy
He was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War.
After Point 4875 was captured, it was named Batra Top in his honour.
There’s a memorial at DAV College, Chandigarh, for war veterans including Batra.
New Delhi’s Mukarba Chowk and its flyover were renamed Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra Chowk in December 2019.
The Bollywood movie LOC Kargil was released in 2013 and was about the whole Kargil conflict. In the movie, Abhishek Bachchan played Captain Vikram Batra.
On 12 August 2021, Amazon Prime Video released Shershaah, a Vishnu Vardhan film. Based on Captain Vikram Batra’s life.
He died on 7 July 1999, in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
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