July 26 marks the 22nd Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas. This day is celebrated to rejoice the victory of the Indian army over control of Kargil district and clearing out illegal intrusion of Pakistani forces from the region.

The Kargil War, also known as operation Vijay, was named after the Indian military operation to clean out Kargil sector. It was an armed forces conflict between India and Pakistan that took place in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, and lasted over 80 days between May 3 and July 26, 1999.

‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ is specifically celebrated to honour the valour of Indian army while carrying out Operation Vijay and pay a tribute to the martyred soldiers of the country who lost their lives during the conflict.

Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Captain Vikram Batra, one of the brave hearts of Operation Vijay who fought diligently during the Kargil war.

Military life of Captain Vikram Batra:

  • Captain Vikram Batra popularly known as “Sher Shah” was an army officer who served the Indian army from 1997-1999.
  • He received the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious military decoration for his contribution in the Kargil War, 1999.
  • Captain Batra was a part of the operation Vijay carried out by the Indian army to clear out the illegal infiltration of Pakistani troops from the Kargil sector. He was also a part of Battle of Point 5140 and Battle of Point 4875.
  • Batra was a part of the 13 JAK RIF unit. The 13 JAK RIF was placed under the command of 56 Mountain Brigade. The unit was ordered to act as reserves to the 2nd battalion, Rajputana Rifles (2 RAJ RIF) during their attack on Tololing mountain, one of the important battles in Kargil war.
  • He was a part of 13 JAK RIF, which was ordered to capture Point 5140 under the command of Lt. Col. Yogesh Kumar Joshi which is about 1600 metres north of Tololing at an altitude of 16,962 feet above sea level.
  • At the Point 5140 battle, Captain Batra had shown immense bravery by leading at the front and directly pounced on the enemy and killed four of them in a hand-to hand fight.
  • In another operation carried out in Pt 4875, the Captain had shown brave leadership by assaulting the position of the enemies along a narrow ridge and got into a fierce hand-to-hand fight with the enemy and killed five enemy soldiers at point blank range. Despite of sustaining injuries, he crawled towards the enemy and threw grenades clearing the position. He then led from the front, rallied his men and pressed on the attack amidst the heavy enemy fire.
  • During the Pt 4875 battle when Batra got to know that one of his men had been shot, he pushed the official and placed himself in front and said, “You have a family and children to go back to, I’m not even married. Main sar ki taraf rahunga aur aap paanv uthayenge.”
  • Vikram Batra is also known for his slogan, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More!’ He used it as a signal of success to their mission which became very famous and was later on used by Pepsi which became very popular among the people.

Vikram Batra’s personal life and his education:

  • Vikram Batra was born on 9 September 1974, in Palampur, Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh.
  • He did his schooling from D.A.V. Public School in Palampur, where he studied up to middle standard and had done his senior secondary education from Kendriya Vidyalaya Palampur.
  • In 1990, Batra and his twin brother Vishal represented their school in table tennis at All India KVS Nationals. He was also a green belt holder in Karate and went on to attend a national level camp in Manali.
  • For his bachelor degree he joined B.Sc Medical Sciences at DAV College, Chandigarh. During his college, in his first year, he joined the Air Wing of the National Cadet Corps (NCC).
  • Vikram after completing his bachelors in 1995, he enrolled himself in MA English course at Panjab University in Chandigarh, so that he could prepare for the “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination. He passed the CDS examination in 1996 and got selected at the Services Selection Board (SSB) at Allahabad.
  • After completing just, a year of his MA in English degree course, he left the University to join the Indian Military Academy.
  • Vikram Batra was engaged to his fiancé Dimple Cheema.  Both met each other at Punjab University in the year 1995 during their MA in English program. From there they both started liking each other and had started dating. But destiny had different plans for them. After Vikram was martyred, Dimple never got married and choose to stay as Vikram’s widow for the rest of her life.
  • Vikram used to write letters to his fiancé Dimple Cheema regularly when he away due to his posting but Dimple never really responded thinking her letters would never reach him. One day Dimple wrote him a letter and he died the next day.
  • “I’ll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I’ll come back for sure.” These were the lines Vikram told a friend of his before heading for the war.

Vikram Batra’s Memory

  • To honour the martyred, the capture of Point 4875 led to the mountain named as Batra Top.
  • As an honour to the veteran soldiers, a memorial for war veterans including Batra stands at his alma mater DAV College, Chandigarh.
  • In memory of Captain Vikram Batra, Government College Palampur was later renamed as Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra Government College, Palampur.
  • In 2021, a biographical war film based on the life journey of Captain Vikram Batra, directed by Vishnuvardhan and co-produced by Karan Johar named SherShah is made. The film stars Siddharth Malhotra in a double role, as Batra and his identical twin brother Vishal and Kiara Advani plays the role of Dimple Cheema. The film is set to release on August 21 on Amazon Prime Video.

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