Home > News > Lest We Forget

The Web



< Back   Next >  

The soldier who became a legend

Reportage: Archana Masih. Photograph: Press Information Bureau. Design: Dominic Xavier, Rajesh Karkera

Their battle cry tore the night sky as 24-year-old Vikram and his men assaulted the enemy.

The bunkers were destroyed, many enemy soldiers killed and 13 J&K Rifles won a decisive victory.

All his men had made it alive.

Vikram was elated. 'Yeh Dil Maangey More' -- the Pepsi catchline those days -- he told his commander at base camp.

His words became the catchline for the Kargil war.

Vikram Batra had led a brilliant operation in one of India's toughest campaigns in mountain warfare. His men swore by him. General Ved Prakash Malik, then the Chief of the Army Staff, called to congratulate him. His triumph was being beamed from television screens across the country.

Photographs of him and his men striding the captured Pakistani gun at the base camp made it to every newspaper.

In a time of war, he became the face of the young Indian soldier who fought ferociously and died fearlessly.

His code name was Sher Shah.

The other soldier India knew with the same name had lived in the Middle Ages and was called 'The Lion King.' Sher Shah Suri was an accomplished commander who defeated the Mughal emperor Humayun and sat on the throne of Delhi for five years.

Vikram Batra was the hero of the nation. Two weeks after his conquest of 5140, people would remember him as the Lion of Kargil.

< Back   Next >  

Article Tools Email this article
Write us a letter

Copyright © 2004 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.