Captain Vikram Batra, PVC
I'll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it.
- Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra, PVC
Twin sons were born to the family of Mr Girdhari Lal Batra and Mrs Jai Kamal Batra, on 09 September 1974 at Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. The family had two daughters earlier and twin sons were a joyful addition to the family. The family nicknamed the twins as 'Luv' (Vikram) and 'Kush' (Vishal). Luv received his primary education from his mother, who herself is a teacher. He received his education up to Middle Standard at the D.A.V. Public School in Palampur and up to senior secondary stage in Central School, Palampur. Both his sisters are married and his twin-brother, Kush, is undergoing an internship training course as a Junior Executive with Tata Finance Limited. He was very brilliant, diligent, and active from the very beginning of his student life. He was very popular among his friends, students and teachers since, he was ever smiling and respectful to everyone. He was an all rounder, good in studies, always a first divisioner, equally good in sports and all other co-curricular activities. He always kept himself in first line and among the toppers in all the different fields. He was also a green belt holder in Karate. He always kept himself in first line and among the toppers in all the different fields. He used to sweep almost 75% of the prizes from the prize distribution table during his schooling. He participated in 'national level' table tennis (Central Schools) and represented the North Zone. He participated in a national youth parliamentary competition.
After passing his 10+2 in 1992 from Central School Palampur, he got admitted in D.A.V. College, Chandigarh in B.Sc where he was adjudged the best N.C.C. Cadet (Air Wing) in two zones. He was selected and underwent a helicopter flight course for 40 days at the Pinjore flying club. He was also selected for the 1994 Republic Day Parade at New Delhi. During his B.Sc. course in 1995, he was selected to join the Merchant Navy at a company in Hong Kong. However in the nick of time, he dropped the idea of joining the Merchant Navy due to his patriotic zeal to serve the Nation. As a true son and soldier of the motherland, he decided to join the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer. He joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in June 1996 at Dehradun. After passing out in December 1997, he joined the army as a Lieutenant of the 13 JAK Rifles at Sopore, Jammu & Kashmir. Later he was sent for the Young Officer's Course at the Infantry School in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh where he was awarded alpha grading for his overall performance. Next, he attended a 35-day commando course at Belgaum, Karnataka in February-March 1999 where upon completion of the course, he was placed in Instructor's Grade.
On 01 June 1999, his unit proceeded to the Kargil Sector on the eruption of a war-like situation in Kargil, Drass and Batalik sub-sectors from where he was sent along with his company on the first strategic and daring operation to recapture the first peak of utmost importance - Point 5140, which was at an altitude of 17,000 feet. Upon reaching Point 5140, leading a company of troops, he encountered the commander of the Pakistani-backed terrorists on radio. The enemy commander challenged him by saying, "Why have you come Shershah (Vikram's nick name given by his commanding officer), you will not go back." Captain Batra, being the last person to back away from a fight, replied, "We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top." In a short while Captain Batra and his company of troops killed eight enemy soldiers and more importantly captured a heavy anti-aircraft machine gun, neutralising the advantageous peak. Mission Point 5140 was a success!
Re-capture of Point 5140 paved the way to the return of the rest of peaks and cleared the Srinagar-Leh highway which sat in motion of successes like capturing Point 5100, 4700 Junction, Three Pimples and the ultimate prize - Tiger Hill. Soon after capturing Point 5140, he radioed his commanding officer and said jubilantly, "Yeh Dil Mange More!" On the successful capture of the vital peak he was congratulated & graced by the Chief of Army Staff, General Ved Prakash Malik on telephone. After taking rest for 4 to 5 days he proceeded towards Point 4750, where he was challenged again by the enemy who said, "Shershah, nobody shall be left to lift your dead bodies," to which Captain Batra curtly replied, "Don't worry about us, Pray for your safety." He captured Point 4750 and hoisted the national flag. He also played a commendable role in the capture of Tiger Hill. He had dedicated himself and was determined for total victory.
Captain Batra was on a victory rampage, his heart asking for more honor and victory. He volunteered himself for a third crucial operation, recapturing Point 4875 which was at an altitude of 17,000 feet and had a gradient of 80 degrees. He attacked the peak along with his company and another led by Captain Anuj Nayyar, MVC. They gave the enemy a tough time, killed a number of enemy troops and re-captured the peak on 05 July 1999. The enemy counter attacked the peak on 07 July 1999, but he retaliated the counter attack with vigour. In the heat of the battle, one of his junior officers (Lieutenant Naveen) was seriously injured and he immediately went to his rescue. While dragging Lieutenant Naveen back under cover, he pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight despite his injuries to which Captain Batra replied, "Tu baal bachedaar hai! Hatt jaa peeche." (You have kids and a wife to look after! Get back). Destiny however had something else in store for him and during the rescue, the brave Captain was hit by a bullet in the chest. With the words Jai Mata Di on his lips, he fell down and was hit again in the waist by an artillery splinter. Before succumbing to his grievous injuries, this brave son of the motherland and a true lion of Bharat Mata killed another five enemy soldiers.
Captain Vikram Batra fought with exceptional bravery and magnitude, which is rarely seen. He has set an example before the youth of our nation, which shall inspire generations to come. In recognition of his gallant act, Point 4875 has now been renamed as Captain Vikram Batra Top and has received all credit to capturing this vital peak by his Commanding Officer, Colonel Y.K. Joshi, 13 JAK Rifles. For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and junior leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest medal for gallantry, posthumously. His father, Mr. G.L. Batra, received the award from the President of India, on behalf of his brave son.
Article © Mr Girdhari Lal Batra, father of Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra, PVC
Images © A Ridge Too Far: His Highness The Maharajah of Patiala