Thursday, July 2, 2009

Param Veer

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!! He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use."Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop.Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car. "You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized.""Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and well built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school.He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.

"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside." Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it." For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex." "It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. " Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing." He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point."Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country.Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?"The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium.This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things.""I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project Manager." "Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now." This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work.Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization.What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the Line of Fire".

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire." He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time."There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the Tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a...?"

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil.They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment.But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib (Captain Batra) refused me permission and went ahead himself. He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded,his own personal safety came last, always and every time."




"He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir....I know,what it is to be in the Line of Fire."

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes.

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight. "It was nice meeting you sir."

Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand... had climbed mountains,pressed the trigger, and hoisted the Tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

Source - A forwarded email
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Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India's independence. His father Mr. G.L. Batra received the honor for his deceased son from the President of India, the late K.R. Narayanan. Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, and his Delta Company was given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed Sher Shah ('Lion King' in Hindi) for his unstinting courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine gun fire. Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875. He was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, "Jai Mata Di." ('Hail the Divine Mother'). For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.


Batra's Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!), erstwhile a popular slogan for a Pepsi commercial, became an iconic battle cry that swept across the country and remains popular with millions of Indians, invoked at patriotic public events, in memory of the war and the soldiers, and as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Indian patriotism and valor in face of future attacks.

Upon reaching Point 5140, he got into a cheeky radio exchange with an enemy commander, who challenged him by saying, "Why have you come Sher Shah (Vikram’s nick name given by his commanding officer)? You will not go back." Captain Vikram Batra is said to have replied, "We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top."

While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied "Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche," ("You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!").

Batra's last words were the battle-cry "Jai Mata Di!" ("Victory to Mother Durga!")

"Ya toh Tiranga lehrake awunga, ya fir Tirange mein lipta huwa awunga, lekin awunga" (Either I will come back after hoisting the Indian flag, or I will come back wrapped in it, but i will be back for sure).


Source - Wikipedia
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He was 25 when he sacrificed his life , 10 years ago . I am 25 now . I cannot but only dream of making such a sacrifice and dying such an honourable death .




Image Source - Google Image Search

22 comments:

ramblingsbybones said...

People in the armed forces are made differently - I really don't know how they knowingly stand in the line of fire...I salute all of them...They deserve more recognition than they get...

wordsndreamz said...

As Bones says, people in the armed forces are a world apart.. The way the go into danger, with full knowledge that they might not return alive...

They deserve all the recognition they get and more.

And yes, it certainly reminds you what real 'line of fire' is, doesn't it? Our lives are so easy in comparison and yet we probably complain more than them..

Kislay, it amazes me that you are so young and think so deep.

BK Chowla said...

No wonder our Armed forces are considered amongst the best in the world.
I hope they continue to remain so ,irrespective of the political interfarence

Kislay said...

@Bones , BK Chowla , Smitha

Absolutely . And the parents of this great man were not treated right by the GoI . And these politicians missed the funeral of FM Manekshaw .

@Smitha
Not very young I guess . :) 15-19 would be very young . I have covered one third of my life .

Ordinary Guy said...

classic dude........

people in the army are made differently and i have nothing other than respect for them......

Capt "vikram batra" is a true iconic figure.........

MaxX said...
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MaxX said...

i loved this, man....immensely moving!!..good on you boy!!

craftyshines said...

Gosh kislay! what a heart felt post!

it took me by surprise....

i have read that mail earlier too an also on brave Capt Vikram Batra...

sometimes, the feeling creeps in , whether i am doing enough with my life....maybe life is not content coz i am not yet doing any greater good to this world, not exploring, for whatever constraints n reasons...and such stories not just fill me with pride, but also a wanting to do more than just make my life happy...

me and every indian owes their life to him and many more like him...

the least i think we can do to respect thier sacrifice and their family's sacrifice, is to protect our fellowmen...

what a waste it is when indians kill indians in the name of sects, community and politials conflicts.

my salutes to all men n thier families, who have lost thier sons, so we could live with our family, safely.

indyeahforever said...

Thank you Kislay.

ritu said...

a very touchy and thoughtprovoking post kislay..
I feel indebted to all the brave men because of whom we can sit here comfortably and safely.
But I feel ashamed of ourselves at the way we dishonour and behave soo ungratefully towards them n their berieved families. Jus reminded me of Achudanand's words that even a dog would not have come to their home...if not for maj. unnikrishnana... I was aghast.. ashamed n felt helpless.. at the way we treat our soldiers n their families...
Our soldiers are among the best of best but then y do we Indians conveniently forget their sacrifices....

vimmuuu said...

Thanks a lot for sharing all these. My maternal side is filled with officers from the armed force, and I sometimes feel ashamed of myself for not contributing even 1% of what they did.

Chrysalis said...

Sigh!!Great Post.I slaute our men in the armed forces. They inspire me to do something and more. Nothing else needs to be said.

Winnie the poohi said...

Have read this forward before. Makes you take stock of what you are and what you want to be.

I wish such heroes were more famous :(

Chikki said...

Touching!!

J P Joshi said...

Thank you Kislay - this was really a touching post. Capt Batra's courage and sacrifice are worth emulating - he was definitely a Param Veer. I have always admired our men in OG because they do what most of us cannot even imagine.

Zivana said...
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Zivana said...

It's humbling and...beautiful.

destinationinfinity said...

There are some gem of people like this in the armed forces. I wish more people follow such good examples of not opting for 'soft' assignments. We need to salute their bravery.

Destination Infinity

manju said...

Thanks, Kislay, for reminding us of the bravery and sacrifices made by these brave people in our armed forces.

Solilo said...

Thank you Kislay. :D

I have seen this life up and close and enjoyed every moment of it. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Proud of my Dad and everyone in the forces.

Charakan said...

Great post Your post is a fitting tribute to those brave men who protect our liberty Recently met a 70 yr old Grand Pa who had participated in all 3 major wars India fought in the 60s and 70s He was actually one among the troops who marched in to Dhaka in 1971. I told ihm I am privileged to meet one among those brave men

Charakan said...

Great post Your post is a fitting tribute to those brave men who protect our liberty Recently met a 70 yr old Grand Pa who had participated in all 3 major wars India fought in the 60s and 70s He was actually one among the troops who marched in to Dhaka in 1971. I told ihm I am privileged to meet one among those brave men