“Remember us”, even the almighty knows the true value of such heroism, maybe that’s one of the reasons why they were called upon the glorious kingdom atop heavens. To serve respectfully as Gods’ protectors. But who were they before their final posting? Mere humans?
I guess no words can do justice to the acts of valor which are about to unfold. It’s not just a story about men doing their duty, it’s their war cry, a song so powerful that it brings the most stern people to a point where they bow down to pay respects. The only reason why I am penning these lines is that my genesis (and the kids from the same era), coupled with the first year of my life was safe only because “they” sacrificed their lives on the line of duty.
Behold the legends of the 1999 Kargil War:-
Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav(PVC)
Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav participated in a daring mission which involved the capturing of Tiger Hill. Hailing from the unit, 18 Grenadiers, his task was setting up a rope line which would enable the other units in climbing atop the strategic position. However, the welcome wasn’t accompanied with party poppers as the first casualties were the platoon commander and two other brave souls. Sustaining bullet injuries, the Subedar lobbed a grenade inside the first bunker killing 4 Pakistani soldiers immediately.
What followed was a brutal hand to hand combat as Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav killed the enemies with a pick axe. Both the bunkers were then captured and the remaining units commenced their assault on the higher positions.
This heroic act made Subedar Yogendra recipient of the highest honor, ie. the Param Vir Chakra at a very young age of just 19.
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (PVC), Posthumous
On the night of July 3rd 1999, Lieutenant Manoj was clearing the enemy positions and recapturing Khalubar. The terrain wasn’t friendly, and so were the enemies. Devising a tactical response to the tough situation, Lieutenant quickly dispatched a team to attack the enemy position from the right side while joining the second team to do the same from the left.
Heavy small arms fire ensued following the capture of the first enemy position. Lieutenant Manoj killed 2 enemy personnel and charged for the second position, he devastated the second position as well, while charging towards the third position, the officer sustained bullet injuries in his shoulder and legs but refused to stay put.
The final blow to the enemy was delivered via a grenade which destroyed the fourth position as well.
However the fatal blast had injured the officer in the forehead, Lieutenant Manoj succumbed to his wounds but gave the Indian Army a major tactical advantage. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.
Captain Vikram Batra (PVC), Posthumous
War gives every soldier a nick name, something which the enemies remember in their worst nightmares. Captain Vikram Batra, also known as Sher Shah did possibly the hardest mission throughout the war, the capturing of points 5140 and 4875. While being debriefed about the line of attack, the, then Lieutenant, Batra chose the phrase “Yeh dil mange more”, a signal which would blare out on the radio if the mission was a successful one. And it was successful indeed, two companies namely Bravo and Delta attacked point 5140 from the east and south.
Under the cover of artillery fire, both the companies engaged in heavy fire from the enemy positions. Despite being wounded, the radio finally cracked to life and both the companies were heard saying their mission completion code names. Lieutenant Batra was then promoted to the rank of Captain, but there was no time to celebrate as point 4875 required immediate attention as well. The terrain was steep, one wrong step and the company could fall to certain death but with an officer like Vikram Batra, nothing was impossible for the Delta company.
They attacked in daylight which made it even more deadlier than before, a verbal war commenced between Captain Batra and the enemy personnel while taking cover behind a boulder. An angered Captain Btara plunged towards the enemy position and engaged in intense hand to hand combat in which he neutralized the final position, he was seriously injured.
Despite sustaining serious injuries, Captain Batra heard the plight of his junior and rushed into a heavy volley of fire. He grabbed the fallen comrade by the shoulders and began pulling him off the battlefield to a cover, but amidst the heavy volume of fire, Captain Batra got shot many times and the final blow came in the form of an RPG shrapnel. Seeing the officer dying on the battlefield enraged the company so much that they overran the remaining positions and slaughtered the enemy offensive.
For his courage and supreme sacrifice, Captain Vikram Batra gave his company, the victory over point 5140 and point 4875. He earned the Param Vir Chakra for his actions towards the war effort.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar (PVC)
While the battle for point 4875 was seeing intense action from the 13 JAK Rifles, another part of this battle was the battle for the flat top point 4875, in the Mushkoh valley. Rifleman Sanjay volunteered for a scout patrol who worked in collecting intel on the enemy positions. Upon reaching the terrain, the company saw heavy fire from two enemy positions.
These positions were seen equipped with UMGs (Universal Machine Guns). While the company ducked for cover and awaited further orders, Rifleman Sanjay crawled towards the first position and took the enemy by surprise. He then engaged and killed the occupants of the first enemy position. Despite being wounded, the Rifleman grabbed the UMG left by the fleeing enemy personnel and turned it against their previous users, killing all the fleeing personnel.
Rifleman Sanjay then crawled up to the second enemy position, this time with the captured UMG, he took the enemy by surprise and cleared the second position while his UMG rattled. The most important aspect of this engagement was the fact that Rifleman Sanjay displayed utmost courage and bravery in the face of the enemy and was the only soldier who carried out the clearing of those two strategical positions. He earned the Param Vir Chakra for his actions.
The intense high altitude warfare came to a full stop on 26th July 1999. Operation Vijay was then declared a success. Indian army regained possession of Kargil and nearly 80-90% of the intruders were instantly cleared from the region.
Indian soldiers displaying the supreme dedication and love for the motherland not only encourages the people to do more but it also brings tears to the eyes of every man and woman who comes across the stories of legends like these.
Some of them aren’t alive among us, but their names still remain immortal.
The list of heroes isn’t just limited to the aforementioned names they also include:-
Captain Anuj Nayyar, 17 JAT Regiment, Mahavir Chakra, Posthumous
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, 18 Grenadiers, Mahavir Chakra, Posthumous
Captain Haneef-u-ddin, 11 Rajputana Rifles, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
Major Mariappan Saravana, 1 Bihar, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Indian Air Force, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
Havildar Chuni Lal, 8 JAK LI, Vir Chakra
Remember the heroes, for their last breath gave us a reason to live. This nation will always call upon men like these and they will come, this time inside another human body maybe….
Lata ji : Unforgettable moments from her journey
‘On the first day in school, she started teaching songs to other children. When the teacher stopped her, she was so angry that she stopped going to the school.’
Queen of melody, voice of the nation, Nightingale of India and the Voice of Millennium, there is just a dearth of good epithets for the singing Virtuoso, Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata-The Naming of the legend
Lata ji was named Hema at her birth. Her parents later renamed her Lata after a female character, Latika, in one of her father’s plays, Bhav Bandhan. She is the eldest daughter of her parents.
The family’s last name used to be Hardikar. Her father changed it to Mangeshkar in order to identify his family with his home town Mangeshi.
How Lata ji developed her own style
She is said to have imitated the famous singer Noor Jahan, but later she developed her own style of singing. Actor Dilip Kumar once made a mildly disapproving remark about her Maharashtrian accent while singing Hindi/Urdu songs so for a period of time. Hereby, Lata took lessons in Urdu from an Urdu teacher named Shafi.
Owing to her mellifluous voice, Lata ji developed her own unique style which we know to be the voice that is heard in over 40,000+ songs.
Lata ji’s Godfather
In 1948, Music Director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer. He introduced Mangeshkar to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, who was then worked on the movie Shaheed, but Mukherjee dismissed Mangeshkar’s voice as “too thin”. An annoyed Haider responded that in coming years producers and directors would “fall at Lata’s feet” and “beg her” to sing in their movies. Haider gave Lata her first major break with the song “Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora” in the movie Majboor , which became her first big breakthrough film hit.
In an interview on her 84th birthday, in September 2013, Lata herself declared,
“Ghulam Haider is truly my Godfather. He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent.”
PM Nehru cried because Lata ji’s was a voice that could move anyone to tears
On 27 January 1963, against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian War, Lata ji sang the patriotic song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon” in presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, then the Prime Minister of India. The pain in the voice and the great sacrifice by the brave soldiers moved the Prime Minister so much that he was in tears.
Lata – An Inspiration to a Magnum Opus
Raj Kapoor directed Satyam Shivam Sundaram in 1978. Lata Mangeshkar gave her voice to the main theme song “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”. It was among the top blockbuster songs of that year. The story of getting inspiration from Lata Mangeshkar is revealed by Raj Kapoor’s daughter Ritu Nanda in her latest book.
“I visualized the story of a man falling for a woman with an ordinary countenance but a golden voice and wanted to cast Lata Mangeshkar in the role.”
Hindi cinema’s greatest melodious voice will sing till eternity and beyond and in Martin Luther King Junior’s words,
“As long as we live, there is never enough singing.”
Neerja Bhanot: Remembering the queen of hearts on her 32nd birthday
Neerja Bhanot, majorly known as the HIJACK HEROINE was a decent, affectionate, beautiful, courageous and selfless lady who sacrificed her life to save hundreds of passengers on board!
She was the miracle baby for her parents, and they often called her their Laado! Who knew that soon their 23 year old Laado would become a source of inspiration for million! Let’s get to know about some of her major life events.
Neerja was a ‘no problem’ child.
A child without any tantrums, she followed whatever her father said, without even questioning. She was mature from very young age. Neerja always wanted to make her parents proud which she wrote in a letter to her mother, right an year before she was killed by the terrorists.
A very successful model!
After graduating from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, Neerja was approached by a photographer. This took her career to great heights and she was consequently approached for modeling in famous ads of various companies.
Neerja got married at the age of 22
Neerja’s early marriage was a decision by her father, and proved to be an ill-fated one.
She was constantly subjected to physical abuse, mental torture on the pretext of not providing with dowry. However the marriage ended in just 2 months.
Brave? She truely defines what bravery is!
Neerja showed exceptional amount of dare while dealing with the terrorists.
She was alert enough to understand the situation and immediately inform the pilots to abandon the plane, so that the plane couldn’t take off in an hijacked situation.
Her bravery saved the lives of about 300 passengers. She was shot dead while trying to save a 7 year old. She had an option to escape, but her conscience couldn’t allow her to leave the kid with the terrorists.That same kid is now a pilot and considers Neerja as his role model!
She was a workaholic
It is known that on the night of the flight, her mom tried to convince her to call the PAN AM and ask for a leave, since she had been working on a modeling project the whole day. But, her committed self didn’t allow her to skip.
Remembering who Neerja Bhanot was, can definitelty not be summed up within these lines. If one really wants to pay tribute to her, then it is by being more selfless, brave and compassionate, whatever the situation be.
Gulzar : The art of weaving magic with words.
“Ek taslim ko har baar meri aankh jhuki hai, aapko dekh ke badi der se meri saans ruki hai.”
This is how we feel when we read or listen to the eternal lines penned by the living legend, Gulzar Saab. His words are so intricately written, they never fail to make our heart skip a beat. Born as Sampooran Singh Kalra, he adopted Gulzar as his pen name. For so many years now he has excelled the art of Urdu and Hindi poetry.
He has always believed that nostalgia is the most important aspect for a writer. Even though nostalgia is distracting, he feels it and brings out the deepest thoughts to paper. If we talk about his genre, it is something uncountable. He has written for almost everything we usually wonder about. From “Aey zindagi gale laga le” to the patriotic “Aey watan, watan mere abaad rahe tu”, he has written about everything. Generations have loved to listen to his lines, for they are so full of realism and life.
Patriotism, love, heartbreak, life, relationships and even some item numbers: Gulzar saab has made them all feel so powerful. His love for words and expressions reflect in his work. His exquisite quotes have inspired many and still continue to remain the best. Here are some of his glorious works:
The man whose charisma reflects in his work has ruled Bollywood for ages. His personality in itself portrays a poet who has the honor of weaving most beautiful thoughts into words. There never was and can never be another Gulzar. He has given the industry the gift of unmatched literature.
When his words are given the beats of music, they become the most echoed songs of Bollywood. His poetry creates the magic that is absolutely soulful. Every soul feels the words written by Gulzar saab. His greatest possession as a poet has been the respect and connectivity people feel with him.
On his birthday today, Wordhazard pays tribute to the only unique man with an extraordinary art: Gulzar Saab.
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