Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Commemorating Kargil Diwas - Remembering the martyrs of Kargil


Kargil Diwas - Remembering the martyrs of Kargil

We have National Holidays and We celebrate important days for the Nation including The Independence Day (Aug 15th) and Republic Day (26th Jan) – we recall the birth and death days of important National leaders.    Another day  is more important than most of them… 26th July…. The Kargil Diwas..  in very many countries, Victory day is a much celebrated day commemorating the victory in an important  battle for the honour of the Nation.

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list includes all the  527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil. 

Kargil War was fought on the high glaciers of Himalayas between May and July 1999 – 13 years ago.  During that time Pak soldiers infiltrated and after valiant fight, India recaptured the positions, in exhibiting the highest valour in high altitude warfare in mountainous terrains. 



the war memorial at Drass (source : wikipedia.org)

This year, today on 25th July itself a two day commemorative celerations have begun.  A massive tricolour, weighing 15 kg, was  hoisted at the Kargil war memorial here in Drass sub-sector as part of the celebrations of the 13th anniversary of victory in the 1999 war.   The flag is 37 and a half feet in length, 25 feet in width and weighs 15 kilograms, chief executive officer of National Flag Foundation of India Commander (retired) K V Singh said.  Singh said the flag hoisted at the Kargil war memorial here at Drass, 150 kilometers from Srinagar, is "more than double in dimensions" than the ones which are hoisted over Red Fort and Parliament house in New Delhi.  The flag was hoisted over a specially built pole which is three tons in weight, 101 feet tall and 15 feet below the ground.

Singh, a retired naval commander, who manages the affairs of the foundation which presented the flag to the Army unit here, said the idea is to "promote the national flag by making them monumental".  The flag, made of knitted polyester, was hoisted by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army's Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik and Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal, who heads the flag foundation.  "It is a very significant occasion for us today because we are celebrating the victory day of the Kargil war...and on this very pious occasion Shri Jindal has gifted us this wonderful flag of ours. It is a huge flag which will flutter here 24 cross seven," Lt Gen Parnaik told reporters at the war memorial.

Jindal, who heads the non-profit flag foundation, said the aim of installing these "monumental" flags and flag poles is to "popularise" the national flag.  "We are feeling proud by presenting the tricolour in the form of a monument. This flag, which is fluttering in front of us, is our national pride," Jindal said.

Kargil Vijay Diwas, is the day  named after the success of Operation Vijay. On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.  This did result in the loss of lives but not the honour of the Nation. 

Kargil was not high altitude alone it represents the hardest of places.   There is the ice-clad Himalayas which would be scenic to a tourist but life out there is extremely difficult.  There are army posts in high glaciers where they would have no companion for kilo meters – some even turn lunatics due to loneliness – there would be gusty winds and chilling temperature.  The terrain of the Kargil and surrounding regions of the LOC is inhospitable in the best of times. Some of the characteristics of the region are jagged heights of up to 18,000 feet and harsh gusts of wind and temperatures plunging to about -60 degrees Celsius in the winter. The battle of Kargil was not fought on land but on the high altitude peaks and ridgelines most of which are over 16000 ft.; in regions which are dry and extremely cold, snow covered and not the place where humans can survive.  Due to the extreme weather conditions, the armies of either side reportedly were not occupying posts between Sept to April.

July 26, 1999 will remain written in gold in the annals of Indian history as a day when the determined Indian forces achieved a glorious victory  forcing Pak army to retreat.  It was on this day that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. True to its character despite having to pay a heavy price for fighting a war within its territory, the Indian forces allowed the Pakistanis to return across the Line of Control (LoC). It was a gesture which depicted the great Indian tradition of forgiving even the enemy.  There were reports that Pak had chosen to torture and kill the Indian prisoners of War (PoWs), rather than handing them over safely as was done by India through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

WAR is never to be craved for, it causes innumerable and irreparable losses to both the warring sides.  But no Nation can afford to forget the sacrifices of its warriors.   Kargil has lessons for both, India and Pakistan.   The peaks of Tololing and Tiger Hill once reverberated in Indian news etched in history.   India would remain a peace loving Nation having good relationship with its neighbours but should remember that there are military adventurist army driven Nations who have the propensity to engage in conflicts notwithstanding any episodic peace rhetoric.  The Nation needs to remain prepared and strong militarily and in terms of civil defence measures but should not never get buoyed by war calls. 

Today, is the time, we remember the martyrs of Kargil. 
Jai Jawan, Jai Hind

At Kargil, a polo match between a local team and Army's Ladakh Scouts will be held later in the day followed by a cultural programme by local artists and Army units. A motorcycle show by Army's 'Tornadoes' team will also be held on the day one of the celebrations.  The two-day commemoration will also include a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial, 'sainik samelan' (soldiers meet), memorial service and band display, all scheduled for tomorrow.  Widows and relatives of the soldiers who lost their lives in more than two months of intense battles in Kargil, Mushkok, Batalik and Drass will be present through all the memorial events to mark the anniversary.


Saluting the heroes with greatest of regard and reverence
- S. Sampathkumar.

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