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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

saluting the great heroes of Nation - Kargil Diwas

saluting the great  heroes of Nation - Kargil Diwas


1.     Earlier it was known as  Purig ~   the  Suru River,  a 185 kilometres (115 mi) long river, that originates from the Panzella glacier enriches it – it is the place in news and apt to be remembered by the entire Nation today – 26th July !

2.   The name of the award translates as the "Wheel of the Ultimate Brave".  The medal is a circular bronze disc 35 millimetres in dia.  On the obverse, or front, the National Emblem of India appears in the centre on a raised circle surrounded by four copies of the vajra, the weapon of Indra, the ancient Vedic king of the gods. The motif symbolizes the sacrifice of Rishi Dadhichi, who gave his bones to the gods to make the vajra to kill the demon Vritra.  Can you identify what this is ??

The Great Game was a rivalry between the 19th-century British and Russian Empires over influence in Central Asia, primarily in Afghanistan, Persia, and later Tibet. The two colonial empires used military interventions and diplomatic negotiations to acquire and redefine territories in Central and South Asia. Russia conquered Turkestan, and Britain expanded and set the borders of British colonial India.  Great Game was marked by distrust, diplomatic intrigue, and regional wars, it never erupted into a full-scale war directly between Russian and British colonial forces – British created enough schisms in every Region to ensure that they remained at the helm. 

July, Chennai is seeing rains and to  those who feel cold Chennai is cold – life is far far different ! . .. its  landscape is mountainous, rugged, and high, the minimum elevation being some 8,000 feet (2,440 metres). The climate is cold and dry, with scanty precipitation that falls mainly as snow in winter. One locality, Dras (Drass), is reputed to be one of the world’s coldest permanently inhabited places, with winter temperatures falling to as low as −40 °C or colder. Vegetation, mainly grasses and shrubs, is largely confined to river valleys at lower elevations, as the higher places are rocky and largely barren.  It is Kargil.   Rapid ascent to elevations beyond 8,000 feet (2,446 m) above sea level generally causes AMS. Headache and nausea are the most common symptoms. Most men afflicted with AMS suffer muscular weakness, fatigue and appetite loss as well.  The only sure treatment for AMS is descent to a lower elevation. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and cerebral edema (HACE) are more severe syndromes that occur when soldiers rapidly ascend beyond 8,000 feet (2,438 m) above sea level.

The towering peaks of the Himalayan Mountains have challenged man’s ability to survive in extreme conditions for centuries. Waging war at high altitude has proven to be the most  daunting task. The high altitude environment has posed the same unique challenges to soldiers throughout history, from Alexander the Great’s Himalayan expedition in the fourth century B.C. to the Indo-Pakistan Kargil Conflict in 1999.  Thin air is the only condition exclusive to high altitude; in the Himalayas, it combines with freezing temperatures and mountainous terrain to create an inhospitable environment.   

The distinguished history of Indian Army dates back more than ten thousand years. The two grand epics of ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ constitute the fundamental framework around which the edifice of Indian Army is built.  Though innumerable wars have been fought thereafter, most were in quest of universal peace and ‘dharma’. Recourse to arms was only taken when peace was threatened. In fact the word 'peace' forms the very core of Indian philosophy, which can most aptly be traced to one of India's ancient scriptures known as the ‘Yajurveda’. It is stated in verse, the English translation of which reads - “May the sky be peaceful; may the atmosphere be peaceful; may the earth be peaceful; may eternal peace cometh upon us”.

The name Kargil is derived from two words Khar and rKil. Khar means castle and rKil means center thus a place between castles as the place lay between many kingdoms.  Gasho Tha Tha Khan is said to be the first crusader who established a dynasty in the area. Tha Tha Khan was a scion of the royal family of Gilgit who captured Kargil in early 8th century. His dynasty ruled the Sod area of Kargil in early period  .. centuries later,  Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st  October 2019 and Kargil  came under The Union Territory of Ladakh .

In ancient time, the major part of present Kargil was named as Purik. This name has been given by the Tibetan scholars as the people living in this part of the land have the features of Tibetans. Drass is inhabited by the people of the Dard race and Zanskar has Ladakhi – Tibeto stock.     

In  1822, Raja Gulab Singh of the Dogra dynasty was anointed as the Raja of Jammu by the Sikh emperor Ranjit Singh. In 1834, Gulab Singh sent his general Zorawar Singh Kahluria to conquer the territory between Jammu and the Tibetan border. Marching through Kishtwar, Zorawar Singh reached Purig and defeated the Bhotia leader Mangal at Sankoo. Kartse, the then capital of Purig, fell into Zorawar Singh's hands, who built a fort there before advancing towards Leh. Following the First Anglo-Sikh War and the Treaty of Amritsar (1846), Gulab Singh was made an independent Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, as it eventually came to be called, was organised into two large provinces, Jammu and Kashmir, and two frontier ilaqas, Ladakh and Gilgit. Ladakh was a wazarat (district) with a governor called wazir-e-wazarat. It had three tehsils: Leh, Kargil and Skardu.   The city of Kargil always had a tehsil headquarters.

We have seen Cine heroes donning role of  Army Jawans and applaud them too –  the Nation needs to read and know more about the real heroes who protect the Nation.   In our history books, we have read about 3 battles of Panipat, Plassey, Arcot and more ….. the text books should have the battles of  Tololing  and Kargil ! ~ on every 26th of July, I circulate something on Kargil  - the Nation today pays homage to the jawans who sacrificed their lives in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan.

Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of pride and glory of Maa Bharati. On this occasion, my salute to all the brave sons of the country who have accomplished their valour in the defense of the motherland.  In 1999, when the war broke out, the Pakistan army did not admit to their involvement in the war and blamed Kashmiri militants for the occupation. However, statements by then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and then Pakistan Army Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf clearly indicated their involvement in the war.

Both the Nations conducted nuclear tests in 1998.   India and Pakistan had signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999. Before the ink could dry, the traitor  Pakistani Armed Forces were secretly sending troops to India's side of LOC.   When India did realise the gravity of the situation, the Indian Army sent 20,000 troops for Operation Vijay against Pakistan.  As history has it, India successfully evicted the Pakistani troops from its territory as the war ended on July 26. This momentous day is now known as  Kargil Vijay Diwas. Sadly,  527 soldiers sacrificed their lives for the country during the war. Traditionally, the Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated all across the country. The Prime Minister of India pays  tribute to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate every year. There is a Kargil War memorial as well in Dras on the foothills of Tololing Hill. These honour  the soldiers who lost their lives during the war. The  gateway of the memorial has the  poem 'Pushp Kii Abhilasha' and the names of the martyrs inscribed.    

The reference at the start -  "Wheel of the Ultimate Brave" is Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is the highest Military decoration, awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime.  Sadly, most of its recipients are posthumous !  Major Somnath Sharma (1923-1947) was the first recipient for his gallantry and sacrifice during the Battle of Badgam. 

Captain Vikram Badra – a very young Officer was awarded PVC for his gallantry during Kargil war.  The 24 year young Captain led a group to recapture peak 4875.  Earlier Vikram Batra had successfully captured peak 5140 (at a height of 17000 feet, the highest point in Tololing Ridge) – he had told his colleagues ‘yeh dil mange more’. 

Remembering the Hero Jawans and salute their supreme sacrifice.

With great respects – S. Sampathkumar
26th July 2023. 

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