Captain Vikram Batra, 24, sacrificed his life fighting for India fearlessly in the Kargil war.
On July 26 every year, India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas. On this day, the country honours all the Kargil war heroes and also marks the anniversary of the army's victory over Pakistani troops in 1999, after over 60 days of conflict in Kargil, Ladakh.
Every year, on this day among the numerous bravehearts who laid down their lives, if there's one name that comes to everybody's minds, it's that of Captain Vikram Batra.
Captain Batra sacrificed his life fighting for India fearlessly in the war. He was just 24 at the time and was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry award, posthumously.
Born in Himachal Pradesh's Palampur, Captain Batra had a twin brother and two sisters. After finishing school, he took admission to DAV College, Chandigarh, and then joined Panjab University for his post-graduation degree. In 1996, though, he went to Dehradun's Indian Military Academy, where he trained for the armed forces and graduated a year later. His first posting was with the 13th battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. The same regiment, later, fought the Pakistani troops, that had infiltrated Indian positions in Kargil, along the Line of Control (LoC).
The most difficult mission for Captain Batra was said to be the capture of Point 4875. As shown in the trailer of his biopic, Captain Batra was given the codename "Shershah", which he lived up to by ensuring the Indian armed forces' victory. Besides Sher Shah, he is also fondly remembered as the "Tiger of Drass", the "Lion of Kargil", and the "Kargil Hero".
Legend has it that Captain Batra led the contingent despite running a high temperature and fatigue. His colleagues recall the stories of his bravery and courage. He is said to have gunned down at least four Pakistani soldiers during the battle. On July 7, the mission was almost accomplished. But Captain Batra rushed out of his bunker to rescue another officer, Lt. Naveen Anaberu, who had suffered severe injuries on his legs in an explosion. In the process of saving his colleague, Captain Batra exposed himself to the enemy fire and was shot.
Retired army general Lt Gen Satish Dua, in an earlier tweet, wrote that after a successful attack, Captain Batra had said, "Yeh Dil Mange More...!", and added that these words "fired up the imagination and Josh of an entire generation, in fact, the whole nation."
Captain Batra's father GL Batra has written a book titled ‘Param Vir Vikram Batra, the Sher Shah of Kargil', in which he chronicled the life of his son. Three years after Captain Batra's death, his father paid a visit to Kargil in 2002. Writing about it in the book, he says, “The journey would not have been complete without touching the soil where Vikram laid down his life. It was an overwhelming gesture when the corps commander gifted us with two glasses filled with the soil of Point 4875 and Tololing. For us, it was nothing less than visiting a pilgrimage site.”
On July 25, the trailer of Captain Batra's biopic, Shershaah, with Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani in lead roles, was released.