These are the inspiring words of the Kargil War veteran Captain Vikram Batra who is also known as ‘Shershah’. Captain Vikram Batra was born on September 9, 1974 in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh and he sacrificed his life for the country while he was in service as an Indian Army Officer. His service number is IC 57556.
His father, Girdhari Lal Batra was the Principal of a government school and his mother, Kamal Kanta Batra was a school teacher. He had a twin brother and two sisters. Captain Vikram Batra studied at D.A.V. Public School and later at Central School in Palampur. From a young age, Vikram participated in a bunch of sports namely, Table Tennis All India KVS nationals and a national level camp in Karate.
While he was pursuing his first year in B.Sc Medical science at D.A.V College, he joined N.C.C. and was the best Air Wing Cadet in Punjab, North Zone.
Later he went on to pursue a MA in English and simultaneously prepared for the Combined Defence Services (C.D.S.) Exam. He passed the C.D.S. examination in 1996 and was among the top 35 in the merit list. After completing a year of studies at Punjab University, he joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Quoting the words of his father, “Vikram had found his purpose in life”.
After his 19 month period of training at the IMA, he was conferred the rank of lieutenant in the 13th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir rifles, an infantry division of the Indian Army. He undertook military training and was stationed at Sopore which is in Baramulla District of J&K. This was a sensitive area and he had fought off militants on several occasions. There was one particular encounter with militants which was a close call and he just managed to survive as a bullet almost hit his shoulder and ended up hitting one of the army soldiers behind him. The militants were finally killed by the morning, but the loss of one of Batra’s men brought him a great deal of sorrow. Saddened by the loss of a teammate and someone’s family member, he told his elder sister over the phone that the bullet was meant for him.
The battle at Kargil between India and Pakistan was among some of the most intense battles of any infantry division since the Second World War. Captain Vikram Batra was given the orders to reclaim peak 5140 during the Kargil War. He went with his men and captured the peak even though the peak was full of Pakistani soldiers. In a roar of victory through a radio message, he exclaimed, “Chanakya...It’s Shershah reporting!! We’ve captured the post! Yeh dil mange more!”
After recapturing peak 5140, India’s strength over the valley increased. Batra made a phone call to his father and told him about his successful mission. However this was only the beginning of many more battles. He had to capture the peak 4875 which was at an altitude of 16000 feet above sea level and it was a very tough mission as there was a steep climb. The Pakistani army sensed his presence and during this battle with the enemy, he was injured alongside Anuj Nayyar, another brave soldier. The Indian troops won that battle and captured the peak on 8th July, 1999 but Captain Vikram Batra couldn’t survive through the last night. He bravely went into the enemy fire to provide cover for an injured soldier so that he could move to a safe region, but he was shot by a sniper rifle in the chest and an RPG shot ended up striking his head.
Batra was one of the most courageous soldiers of the Indian Army who never gave up even in dire circumstances. He wanted to capture more peaks for India and he managed to do it till his last breath. He was honored with the highest military award, Param Vir Chakra posthumously.