Captain Vikram Batra service number IC 57556 was born on 9th September, 1974 in Kangra valley in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. During the Kargil invasion of 1999 by Pakistan, Lt. Batra (at time) was ordered to recapture peak 5140 on June 19, 1999 five weeks after the war began.
The Pakistani camp on the peak was filled with enemy soldiers and all of Batra’s men made it alive to the top of the peak with a decisive victory. The captain elated with capturing the peak at the time famously told his commander at the base camp – ‘Yeh Dil Maangey More’.
Vikram Batra’s men stood beside him during difficult times as he led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare in Indian history. He evoked such fear in the hearts of enemy that he was often called as ‘Sher Shah’ in the intercepted messages of the Pakistan army.
The capture of peak 5140 led to the fall of Tiger Hill and India’s eventual hold on the valley got stronger. When he called his father after the operation saying that he had completed the operation and captured the peak, little did he know that his responsibilities were going to increase many fold in the coming days.
Nine days after that phone call, Vikram Batra made one more phone call as he was to leave for an urgent mission to recapture peak 4875. This was one of the most difficult peaks to capture as the Pakistani troops sat above the peak at 16000 feet and the climb gradient was 80 degrees. The fog made matters worse for Batra and his team. He never called back home again.
The enemy sitting above the peak got to know of Batra’s arrival and he was heavily wounded in combat. Anuj Nayyar, another young officer fought with him until his last breath on the night of 7th July 1999. By the morning of 8th July 1999, India had recaptured peak 4875 but lost Captain Vikram Batra. Vikram Batra was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military honor.
Captain Vikram Batra was a man of great courage and soaring spirit who never looked away from taking a challenge. Many buildings in army cantonments are named after the brave warrior and even today in IAS exams questions are asked related to the peaks that Vikram Batra captured. He left a rich legacy for many youngsters who went on to join the Indian army and we salute this brave son of Mother India who lived up to his name ‘Vikram’ and died fighting a good fight.
The Param Vir Chakra citation of Captian Vikram Batra is-
CAPTAIN VIKRAM BATRA
13 JAMMU AND KASHMIR RIFLES (IC 57556)
Captain Vikram Batra, thus, displayed the most conspicuous bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy and made supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the India Army.