CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: GRATITUDE FIRST

 

Eighteen years since Kargil. Eight months since Akshay.

Emotionally, I think we are feeling a little more stable, maybe because it feels like Akshay is somehow with us. We talk a lot about him, thinking of how he would have reacted to Naina’s chatter and naughtiness, Bingo’s gobbling up of chicken-rice (and even dahi-chawal!) and his good recovery from surgery, Pradish’s fitness passion (Akshay would have said great going Bro…) and Neha running the TCS 10K for charity (Proud of you Neha…!)  He would have loved the fact that his dad has taken to his loved game of Golf and that Sangy is enjoying her school job. We see him in smiling pictures around our home and in our thoughts all the time…sensing his presence beside us. If only we could also speak with him, touch him, hug him….hear his lovely voice….his exuberant laughter. The fact that he would never approve of anyone ‘cribbing’ makes me stop asking for what we cannot have. I know that wherever he is, he is so very proud of how Sangeeta and Naina are braving it out. Just as he would have wanted.  Missing yet smiling…..

He would however, have been most upset to see that on 26th July, the salutation  of Vijay Diwas was overshadowed by the political drama in Bihar. I can picture his handsome face with a mix of hurt-disappointment writ all over it …… he would have probably burst out with ‘how can people be so ungrateful? Its Vijay Diwas …….527 brave soldiers died defending the rest of us ………and so many living legends bear the scars of that battle. Instead of learning more about their feats of valour…… and honouring the sacrifices with pride and gratitude….. we have to watch this stupid RJD- JDU-BJP musical chairs?!

It felt as if we as a nation are proving what has been said earlier – ‘We remember Gods and Soldiers only at the time of crisis.’ At home, we did our bit lighting candles in honour of every soldier who made that victory against all odds a reality. And earlier that week, thanks to the DESH group of Adrija, Vikas and Anasuya, some of us got together with one such battle-scarred Kargil returned hero – Capt Naveen Nagappa. It was an emotional meeting- seeking images of our sons, fathers, husbands and brothers in Naveen, sitting proud and humble amidst us, telling us about his experiences. When he said ‘all gave their some but some gave their all’, we were humbled and touched beyond words.

Thinking of what Akshay would have wanted me to do today, 8 months after he left, fighting for all of us, here I am, trying to recollect and recount Kargil from 18 years ago.

The Line of Control between India and Pakistan stretches across high mountainous peaks and valleys and a national highway connecting Srinagar to Leh cuts through Kargil. Because of the extreme winter weather in Kashmir, Indian and Pakistan Army commonly abandoned forward posts each year, reoccupying them in the spring. That particular spring, the Pakistan Army used deceit and reoccupied the forward posts within Indian Territory early. It was a tip-off by a patriotic shepherd in the Batalik sector which led to the exposure of the infiltration.

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By the second week of May 1999, the Pakistanis had ambushed an Indian army patrol team led by Capt Saurav Kalia. Defying every rule of war agreed to in the Geneva Convention, the brutes tortured, killed and   mutilated our soldiers before returning their bodies. Even after that incident, we did not know the details of their sneaky plan to take away huge parts of our motherland without waging a ‘conventional’ war.

A 160 km long stretch on the border of the LOC, overlooking a vital highway on the Indian side of Kashmir had been infiltrated by Pakistani army (Northern Light Infantry along with ‘Mujahideen’ and Special Services Group). Pakistan targeted Kargil for incursions because its terrain lent itself to a pre-emptive seizure. The outposts on these ridges generally stood approximately 5,000 metres (16,000 feet) high, with a few as high as 5,600 metres (18,000 feet). Apart from the district capital, Kargil, the populated areas near the front line in the conflict included the Mushko Valley and the town of Drass, southwest of Kargil, as well as the Batalik sector and other areas, northeast of Kargil. With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, it provided an ideal high ground for a defender akin to a fortress. Any attack to dislodge the enemy and reclaim high ground in mountain warfare would require a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, further exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures. The scale of the challenge was ominous.

In a prolonged conflict that lasted 74 days from May to July 1999, our braves fought back to reclaim peak after peak that had been occupied by Pakistan’s army along the LoC. This was the war that inspired a generation of kids who were around Akshay- Neha’s age of 13 years in 1999. As a family, we had followed each day since 26th May when IAF fighters launched the first airstrikes against the infiltrators. On 27th May, we had lost 2 fighters with Flt. Lt. Nachikata taken POW. Then followed the bombing of the National Highway 1A –India’s lifeline in the region.

The Indian Army launched Operation Vijay which needed our soldiers to climb the high peaks without any tree cover while being shot at in direct view of the Pakistanis sitting in fortified bunkers above.  The young officers, as is the tradition in the Indian Army motivated their men, leading from the front.  Since any daylight attack would be suicidal, all the advances had to be made under the cover of darkness, escalating the risk of freezing. Accounting for the wind chill factor, the temperatures often fell as low as −11 °C to −15 °C (12 °F to 5 °F) near the mountain tops.  It was love for their country that made them display the kind of valour they did on the highest battlefield in the world. The first two peaks conquered under heavy fire were in the Batalik sector.

Regaining Tololing against all odds was the turning point for India. Every move against Tololing was being met with deadly covering cross-fire from adjacent heights where the intruders were entrenched. It was enough to make the army set recapturing Tololing as the current priority in the Kargil war. This is the place that claimed Major Rajesh Adhikari, Captain Vivek Gupta and Lt-Colonel G. Viswanathan, the place that has accounted for more than half the dead in this war. The thought of what our soldiers braved to do the nearly impossible gives me gooseflesh as I write.

‘Tololing being bang on the road, it choked our throats,’ said an officer. Once Tololing was taken, it took just six days for Indian troops to notch up a string of successes by evicting well-entrenched intruders. Three battalions from Naga, Garhwal and Grenadier regiments tried to make their way up to Tololing from two sides but made little headway in the face of saturation fire. When the Grenadiers began operations on May 22, they were bloodied so badly that commanders in the valley below realised what they were up against.

With virtually no cover and intruders entrenched all across the ridges in bunkers fortified with iron girders and corrugated sheets, an advance was stopped even as it began by the enemy on the heights. When the icy winds screamed along with gunfire, temperature hovered between -5 and -11 degrees centigrade. From the base, it would take at least 11 hours for a fit, acclimatized soldier to climb the 16,000 ft to the top. ‘Every gram of the weight you carry is extra load,’ says Captain Ajit Singh of the 16 Grenadiers who was part of the initial assault. ‘And you have to choose between your ration and ammunition.’ A 2-kg food pack or 100 bullets? Ajit, like many of his colleagues, chose bullets. But crawling up, inch by inch, along the steep, smooth incline in the face of blanket firing by the intruders made the troops’ task like a “suicidal mission,”

And while we all learnt about the Charge of the Light Brigade and memorized the famous poem by Lord Tennyson, we have failed to write poetry or sing in praise of our heroes of Kargil. A friend, Pratap Deshpande, had recalled last week, how that assault to stop Russians had ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains, but  the lines of the poem emphasise the valour of the cavalry in bravely carrying out their orders, regardless of the obvious outcome. And rightly so. Our braves went further – not just in obeying orders regardless of the outcome, but also in ensuring a decisive victory. That we forget that, hurts.

The re-capture of Tiger Hill (Point 4660) was the other major victory which was a physical and psychological blow to Pakistan . Tiger Hill is 5062 metre high with sharp conical features, which stands majestically among the mountaintops a few kilometres north of Drass. One cannot miss it, or help admire it, as one drives along NH 1A from Zojila to Kargil. Who can forget the sight of the Tricolour hoisted atop Tiger Hill on 4th July? This broke the back of the entire Pak resistance. In India, a wave of jubilation and relief overtook the mood of our people.

 

The Indian Air Force supported the Indian Army with ‘Operation Safed Sagar’, but its effectiveness during the war was limited by the high altitude and weather conditions, which in turn limited bomb loads and the number of airstrips that could be used.

The victory came at a very high price. As per official reports, India lost 527 braves and 1,363 were wounded. The loss on the Pakistani side was between 357 and 453. The Indian Army declared the mission successful on July 26, 1999. Since then, the day has been celebrated annually as Vijay Diwas.

In his book on Kargil From Surprise to Victory, General V P Malik (the Chief of Army Staff during OP Vijay) recounts mainly how gutsy infantry units which, with minimum acclimatization, fought doggedly uphill to dislodge the Pakistan Army’s stalwart Infantry troops settled in strategic gun positions and fortified sangars. He writes ‘A  reflection  on  the  Kargil  War  will  never  be  complete without a mention of the brilliant junior leadership that we witnessed during  the  battles.  It  was  an  eye-opener  for  those  who  lament  that  the  armed  forces  are  no  longer  attracting  the  best  talent,  or  that  the  training  in  our  basic  military institutions has got diluted, or that our young leaders are less motivated.’

‘The Cassandras and pessimists were proved wrong! In every battle, the young officers were upfront, not hesitating to make any sacrifice to uphold  the  regimental  and  national  pride  and  dignity.  With  great  determination,  high  morale  and  exemplary  leadership,  our  troops  performed  superbly. There were countless acts of most extraordinary valour, courage and grit to achieve what would have appeared impossible under normal circumstances.’

On this Vijay Diwas, I watched martyr Amit Bharadwaj’s father on TV. The proud father was saying; ‘I am proud of my sons sacrifice for the country. He was the first in our family to join the army. He could have been a doctor or engineer but chose to join the Armed Forces and through him, I have seen this is the one organization that has vast knowledge and culture and most importantly, knows how to sacrifice for the country. Everybody should be ready to sacrifice for our country.’

Astounding bravery by young officers like  Vikram  Batra, Manoj Pandey, Padmapani Acharya, Vijayant Thapar, Balwan Singh, Sachin Nimbalkar and soldiers like Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Singh Yadav (Param Veer Chakra- Living Legend!)  can never be forgotten. Commanding officers like Ravindernath, Khushal Thakur and  Lalit  Rai  displayed  steely  resilience  and  single-minded  devotion  to  duty.  Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja laid down his life for his brother. And for every single brave deed noticed and recognised, there were many that went unnoticed in the fog of war.

These legendary tales deserve mention not only in our military history books but  also  in  the  textbooks  of  our  primary  and  secondary  schools,  to  be  able  to  inspire  young  children. 

Akshay was inspired too. He did not waver in the face of unexpected and grave danger during the Nagrota terrorist attack. When he gave up his all – as have thousands of brave soldiers in the past, he joined his band of brave brothers in bringing honour to his family, his unit, the Indian Army and our country.  

I urge each one of you to watch this video.

https://www.facebook.com/protectindiamyduty/videos/868269496667500/

JAI HIND

Meghna Girish

P.S. If the kids in the family havent seen the Hindi movie Lakshya, please do encourage a watch.

References

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/tololing-peak-the-battle-that-probably-changed-the-course-of-kargil-war/1/255895.html

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-kargil-war-indian-air-force-pilot-aimed-at-pak-base-with-nawaz-sharif-pervez-musharraf-1728899

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Kargil_War

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kargil-vijay-diwas-all-you-need-to-know/articleshow/59766192.cms

55 thoughts on “CONNECTED BY AKSHAY: GRATITUDE FIRST

  1. Started the day with your article… Very inspiring and emotionally connecting… Tears in my eyes but heart bursting with the Pride..Keep writing.. Jaihind..

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    • Tears while I wrote too Sheetal…important to acknowledge the sacrifices of our braves…of our loved ones. With pride, yes. Thank you for reading ….love and take care.

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      • Fantastic video and the details
        when we learn to acknowledge and remember our myrteers with dignity and honour
        Have served in that part it is is needless to say it is one toughest areas to serve in
        Our salute to all those who fought with valour and indomitable spirit

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  2. Dear Meghna…Time is the greatest healer they say…… to see you all getting into your routines and carrying on with life is amazing and like you said ” this is exactly what Akshay would want’…he must be smiling from above. Proud and in awe of all of you! I have visited the sector you mentioned in your article…and it still gives me the chills to see what our soldiers achieved there and how!!? It is crazy….yes..not a single tree to take shelter from the attack from above….virtually impossible! But they did it…Salute!!
    Like · Reply · Just now

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  3. An article which is extremely insightful especially for non army people to understand how difficult it is for our Army men to keep our lives safe. Very often I hear insensitive civilians comment that all this is a part of Army life.. just want to tell them that protecting borders is but sacrificing your own life is not. And yet our martyrs do not even think twice before jumping into action. Much respect for our forces and those who have laid down their lives. A big salute to their families for making it possible for them to follow their heart. Keep writing aunty.. I feel there is lot more for you to tell us and lot more for us to learn

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    • Very true Ruchi. How they do what they do is incredible and makes me so emotional. God bless them- they are special and we must honour the fact that they put others before themselves and their families. Thank you for your thoughts. God bless. Love and take care.

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  4. Its a beautiful article aunty. It made me recollect my memories during Kargil war. We were in a township near Jhansi, in between Babina & Talbehat. As kids we used to run to the nearest gates to bid bye to all passing by army vehicles..Not missing any till it was dark and time to return back home. It was a ritual for us. I used to ask papa uncle log wapis kab aaenge. Not realizing then what it meant.

    Then moving to Jaipur and the very locality (Malviya Nagar) where Capt Amit Bhardwaj resided. To top it..I married one.
    All this made me realize, maybe i was destined to be a part of this fraternity. And I am so thankful for it.

    Thanks to Maj Akshay for making it a reality though.
    I have never really met Capt Bhardwaj’s family. But my next visit home I promise I will. I must.
    I haven’t really done my bit I believe. I wish I could talk to Maj Akshay and tell him that I will from now on make it a priority.

    I miss them a lot. Our lives here are pointless without the 4 of them. Unsaid words but its a mutual feeling Amit and I share. I just hope we keep up to your expectations and his.

    Lots of love aunty.

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  5. I am just speechless. Have seen Lakshya innumerable times. No words are enough to show respect & gratitude to the brave soldiers of our armed forces who fought against odds & scarf iced in line of duty. All those who were wounded & those who worked behind the actual theatre of war deserve equal mention. It was a team effort of each & every member of our armed forces that made it count. I bow my head in respect & gratitude to all fought directly or I directly in Kargil war. Salute to Indian Soldiers. Jai Hind. Jai Hind ki Sena.

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    • Very right- each one who fought for us deserves our respect. The least we can do is honour their valour and sacrifice…take pride in what they did for us. Thank you for your salutes Lal Singh. And your thoughts. God bless

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  6. Namastey Meghna Ma’am,
    Your blogs fills patriotism in each blood cells…we feel so connected with all those brave hearts who led their lives in the line of duty…whenever mother india called.
    Our young officers never thought a second about their safety or their family while going in war zone…and give their all… Nothing is too tough for them… Be it China in Dokhlam or gunning down more than hundred TERRORIST in J&K against all odd…
    Without any support they perform their duty selflessly without fear.. Our Maj. Akshay was one of them… Happy Vijay Diwas to you Veer and your families….
    But I wonder sometimes what for.. For whom… This Vijay Diwas I don’t remember hardly any television channels, news channels this year telecasted Shaurya gatha of Kargil heros… All are interested in bihar musical chair…. Telecasting pain of betrayal to a currupt politician… But no body remembered those who sacrifice everything thing for us…
    A group on social media is against installation of a war Tank in JNU…
    1.5% of GDP is spent on defense forces when we have neighbors like Pakis and Chinese…people and government of union of India must introspect this…
    Nevertheless given or not we and our soilder’s will keep protecting this Nation till our last breath…
    Anyhow Ma’am good to see you all more stable than November December 16…
    Please do take care of yourself… And we all are there with you and this nation
    Jai Hind
    Regards

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    • Thank you for your valuable thoughts Amit- all valid. However, despite our loss, I can sense that the mood of the nation is slowly changing- our braves are respected in the hearts of our people. The media and politicians work differently but our country is made of its people. Which is why, it is important for each of us to take a stand- spread awareness so more people know what is happening and how our soldiers do for us against all odds. Yes, Akshay is guiding me I think- that I am able to write with clarity after losing him is a miracle. God bless you. Stay positive and smiling at all times. Love and take care.

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  7. Respected Meghnaji,
    Straight from the heart.
    It is truly inspiring.
    Just visited Nagrota.Highest commander in Station recounted to me the incident on 29Nov.Said Akshay had done him and the Army Proud.
    About Akshay’s mettle and action
    Naught may be said.
    He has with his sacrifice left a legacy to pride us and inspire us all eternally.
    We r looking fwd to 15Aug for a grateful Nation to Honor him.
    Sincerely,
    Gen Oberoi

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  8. It’s sad to see our Men’s in olive green sacrificing their life’s for the nation and nation is forgetting them. Our nation and governments only remember when any particular day comes. The pain of loosing our brothers is only seen in the families and in the forces. Instead of recognising armed forces work,the present and past governments were busy in curroption and reducing army quota. There’s lots to be discussed on this topic, but we only want from our nation to respect the soldier and his family.
    They are giving their present to keep yours future safe.

    Jai Hind
    Jai Hind Ki Sena.

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  9. Aunty I just yesterday I read some article saying the ‘Kargil war’ could have been avoided and it was just an election winning gimmick by some political party. it pains to read such things when we give up our husbands, brothers, sons, fathers to defend the nation and in spite of everything some people are heartless enough to disregard the sacrifice and call it ‘war politics’. Your articles bring the sacrifice to light to the ‘civilian’ lot who are not aware of the ground situation. Even if it is indeed all politics lives are still lost and we are the ones who lose our loved ones.

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    • Empty vessels make noise Priyanka. We know our loved ones are the real heroes. Let us respect and support the men and women in uniform and let the politicians fight each other. Lots of love to you. Stay positive and smiling. God bless.

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  10. It’s a sad truth dear Meghna aunty but it’s in our faces and we have to live with it.. What our men in uniform serve is the idea of a nation..a purpose of Devine intention , the fact that most of our politician s don’t have a son or a daughter in the armed forces is quite a matter to ponder over…Even then Our Men never get demeaned less demoralized..they fight and fight till their last breath till the mission is accomplished.
    Feel extremely proud to have known’ our Akshay’ and solemn it is to be connected to all of you…only love and a warm hug

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  11. Hlo meghna mam plz keep writing because ur blogs give inspiration to many of us and i learnt a lot of things from ur blogs .

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  12. Hello ma’am,
    Feel extremely proud to be honing the same uniform as Akshy. Hats off to your inner strength and courage for taking on life in the right path .our best wishes n regards to all the family members, continue to spread awareness about great sacrifices of our brothers in uniform,It would surely add on to our motivation to do our bit. Jaihind.

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    • You made me smile and feel sentimental Srinivas. Akshay was very proud of his uniform and made it a nations pride like so many of your brothers. Glad if I can make a small difference. Stay blessed son. Love and take care.

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  13. Dear aunty,i was waiting for your blog & checking the dates as i do every month,something makes me feel ki aap kuch likhoge,actually I read your posts several times specially when i feel the need to search some most difficult answers of life.The video is awsome & your blog so inspiring,Iwas in 10th when the kargil was took place so remember every news very distinctly.very truely said everybody lost some but some lost everything.u all are walking just the fauzi way like Maj Akshay wanted you all to, brave & undaunted.Aunty I wanted to know more about Desh,what is it,how can civilians reach desh,if you could please help me.Aunty aapko kuch batana tha actually i am pregnant and i have been advised no travelling so whenever i am alone sitting & doing nothing i read your posts & mujhe bahut accha lagta hai.Bless me aunty that I sail through.

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    • Dear Lisa,

      I always look forward to your feedback on my posts- so glad to be connected through Akshay. And today you have given such wonderful news- hope you are taking good care of yourself – eating well, resting and staying cheerful? Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and look forward to the little one spreading joy in hearts.

      Desh is a group started by three passionate people (Vikas Manhas, Adrija Sen and Anasuya Mitra) who have dedicated themselves to honouring our nations martyrs. They feel it is very important for citizens to not forget the sacrifices made for our motherland by soldiers of our defence services. So they create awareness by communicating the stories of valour and sacrifice and visit every martyr family for giving emotional support. They contacted us when Akshay was martyred and have visited and been in touch like an extended family. Adrija lives in Bangalore, Vikas in Jammu and Anasuya in Lucknow!

      Do take care. Lots of love and hugs to you. God bless

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  14. Honored , humbled by your blog . Wake up to reality . Please accept our humble Pranams .
    My wife and I are not able to say anything else .
    GOD Bless you and family

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  15. So well researched and narrated Meghna! It all shows the heart and the emotion that has gone in. Of course our beloved Akshay inpires us always and I am sure that is how the thoughts, word and sentences have poured out so fluently and accurately.

    Yes the verse by Lord Tennyson was most inpiring when we were at school and very green behind our ears. It brings out a feeling of worthlessness when we now know the how and why of the infamous order to charge and the brigade who followed those orders without hesitation. It appeared reckless! But then, the human spirit is such that things which seem impossible, become possible.

    And that was what was shown in Kargil. Of course the quality of senior leadership was stellar to say the least and no comparison to that of the days of the Crimean War. But the junior leadership of the Indian Army is most outstanding. It has proved in every engagement and continues to do so. Our family values and upbringing and the inspiration of our rich mythology and culture would continue to give birth to many many of our Akshays in our families and strike fear in our enemies so that our homes would be safe!

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    • Thank you Pratap. Yes, in a way, Akshay is instrumental even for starting this blog and he continues to spur me on in different ways- be it to smile through sorrow, fulfill responsibility as best as we can and do whatever little possible to honour the sacrifices our soldiers have made for us Indians. You and Sarit being with us is huge- we rely on you for so many things! Take care friend. And may God bless our kids.

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  16. What a wonderful way to pay tribute… N seamlessly intervene your own experience….

    We had been to Drass just a couple ole of months ago….. I’m so glad we could see the peaks that our Braves scaled so valiantly…. My daughter who was born in 1998 was so moved by the beautiful Memorial there that she had tears rolling down her cheeks…

    May God bless all the brave men risking their lives..
    Salute to all of them!
    And to Akshay n you too!!

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    • So nice to know you had recently been to Drass andpaid tribute to our bravehearts Aruna. God bless your little one. Thank you for your support to our family and salute to Akshay. Love and take care.

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  17. Wonderfully written .To loose your loved one hurts always .Lost our father in 1965 war .No body was found no rights performed ….Army wrote to my mom (29 year old with three babies eldest 9 ) missing in action believed killed .Can u believe it a soldier just vanishes with no trace.Hats off to the Veer Naris(!) who face all odds to raise their family.My mom passed away thinking he will surely return .

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  18. Pranam aunty..very inspiring and extremely well written article. You covered all the aspects of Kargil so well. This war should be a part of text books. We need to make sure the young generation is aware of the sacrifices of so many young lives. Please continue writing. Salute to the brave hearts. Jai Hind!

    I always get goosebumps whenever I read the below poem:

    Sonnet – Poem by Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar M.D.,

    March Ye forward, O Indian sepoy!
    ’Tis wartime again on land, sea and sky;
    Our foes occupy the Kargil hills O boy!
    And mountains and vales, where war-planes can’t fly.

    March Ye forward, O Indian soldier!
    The north-west sky is filled with smoke and fire;
    Kashmir’s vale’s at stake, so is the frontier;
    The enemy has the vantage, not attire.

    March Ye forward, O Indian jawan;
    Ye flush out the intruders everyone;
    Climb the mountains by night and strike by dawn;
    Give thy precious life to silence their gun.

    March Ye forward, March Ye forward, nev’r stop;
    Hoist the Indian tricolor Kargil-top!

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    • It is beautiful poem Baishaki- one I had not read before. Thank you for sharing and for your valuable suggestion. I wish children do read a lot more about our heroes. Maybe one day …..we all live on hope. Take care. Love and God bless

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  19. Hi ma’am..
    I don’t know you personaly!

    But from an army family, can easily feel your pain. This is so touchy… you wrote so well.

    I used to watch the photographs of you all… I must appreciate the app like facrbook through this.. I can easily sense the presence of being good.

    Take care of your family & the cute one your grand daughter “Naina” lots of love to her.

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    • Thank you Ritu- for your concern and support- sweet of you. Naina is doing well- our joyful one! Love and God bless you and your family.

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  20. Dear Aunty, this is another best article from you.. To me this is the first time I have known about Kargil war in detail. You are right aunty, this should be he textbooks of secondary school students. I am so pleased that you came up with this writing. Eighteen years since the war, eight months since Maj. Akshay’s martyrdom and 70th Indian Independence day coming soon, this one is such an inspiring article with lots of attention to details for a common man to know about. Even before you published this article, in a random conversation with Shyam one evening, we were discussing about the state of India before and after 70 years of Independence and I did mention, expecting a good write up from Meghna aunty on this occasion. So thank you very much for this article. you have very well brought in the leadership, wisdom and courage. I salute all the armed forces of our country with respect and gratitude and to you for communicating the message to the public.. Well done aunty!!! Keep up your good writing!!! Looking forward to read a many more of your write ups….

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    • You are reading me well I think Amritha- hadnt planned to write but maybe collective thoughts and consciousness made me?! Thank you- your feedback means a lot to me. Lots of love and God bless. Please convey to Shyam as well.

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  21. Well mam,
    It’s an honor to have known you personally. I knew you were a strong and cheerful lady who in spite of loss of Akshay, you carry yourself with so much grace and dignity, but never knew you are such a prolific writer.

    Having met you on Kargil Vijay Diwas at Adrija’s place was a blessing. I did really mean when I said “ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL”. Indeed my battle scars are physical, but a loss of son is something too difficult to bear for the rest of life. The ultimate sacrifice is not only of the soldiers but their families too.

    Yes, certainly Op Vijay was an arduous task, where the soldiers of the Indian Army proved their mettle by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. In the bargain 527 soldiers made the supreme sacrifice and thousands were injured for whom life would never be the same.

    Mam, you have rightly brought out that it was predominantly young officers and soldiers who were at the forefront of the war. It is definitively to uphold the regimental and national pride & dignity, but also to do with the upbringing in the family which installs the patriotic fervor during their formative years.

    The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. It is such a noble idea to include bravery of soldiers in the curriculum of children. Unless the children are made aware of the grit, determination, courage, bravery, pain and sacrifice of the soldiers they may not fully comprehend the worth of freedom. Completely second this idea.

    Kargil war might have been an inspiration to Akshay, but he has also become an inspiration for generations to come. An ever cheerful person Akshay was – Sangeetha mam, Girish sir and you are carying his legacy forward with your infectious smile. The nation will ever remain indebted to likes of Maj Akshay Girish and their families.

    Tons and loads of love to Naina….

    JAI HIND
    Capt Naveen Nagappa, SM

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    • Dear Naveen, was waiting for your response to this- a Kargil Hero commenting on my post is a big honour. Thank you for your valuable inputs. Akshay will be happy to know his legacy is inspiring many. And yes, do hope the value of freedom is better comprehended in future through various modes including through inclusion of stories of valour and sacrifice in educational curriculum.

      Is wonderful to know you, Soumya and Savera and seeing your wonderful family makes us smile through our loss. God bless you all. Take care and keep smiling. One day Naina will grow up and be happy to have you all on her and Sangeeta’s group of family friends.

      With love and best wishes….
      Jai Hind

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