Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Story of Three War Heroes!





The three war heroes – Naib Subedar/Hon Captain Bana Singh, Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, who exemplified raw courage, bravery and patriotism against all odds were awarded the Param Vir Chakra. They made the nation proud with their bravery and courage.

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‘No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country; he won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.’

‘There are only three principals of warfare – audacity, audacity and audacity.’

These were the famous words by American World War II hero General George S Patton.

Bana Singh, Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav showed the audacity in different conflicts for India. Their courageous feats won them the country’s highest wartime gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra. They are also the only three surviving Indian soldiers to proudly wear that medal on their chests.

Bana Singh scripted his tale of valour on the icy heights of the Siachen glacier, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield; in 1987 when the Indian Army recaptured a crucial post from the Pakistanis in a daring assault. Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav are both Kargil heroes. Kumar crawled up a ridge alone amid a hail of bullets that tore his chest and forearm apart, inspiring his platoon to capture a vantage point, Area Flat Top. Yadav, too took several bullets in the battle to capture Tiger Hill, a turning point in the 1999 Kargil conflict.


Tiger Hill hero
Night of July 4, 1999 – A crack unit called the ‘Ghatak’ platoon of the 18 Grenadiers stealthy approached Tiger Hill from a cliff face. The vantage post was held by the Pakistanis. The odds are stacked against the Indian troops. Yogendra Yadav was part of a ‘Ghatak’ platoon (crack team) that was given the responsibility of capturing the critical Tiger Hill on June 3, 1999, during the Kargil war. The odds were against the Indian soldiers as they had to climb a cliff to launch the assault on the enemy. As the bullets came raining down, Yadav was hit in the shoulder and groin. A lesser man would have given up. But the 18 Grenadiers soldiers resolve to complete the mission never faltered. His platoon killed three Pakistani soldiers before recapturing the post, a turning point in the war.

Siachen hero
June 1987 – Pakistanis had set up Quaid post on Siachen. The dominating heights allowed them to fire at Indian posts. The Indian Army launched an operation to evict them. 8 Jakli was to do the honours. Leading a five-man army, Bana Singh launched a fierce assault on the Quaid post held by the Pakistan army in April 1987. They killed five Pakistani soldiers before reclaiming the post, which the Pakistanis had taken in the early 1980s. That post is now called the Bana post, named after the 8th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry man who retired as honorary captain. Dominating positions on the glacier gave the Indian Army a huge advantage over Pakistani posts located below. Pakistan had started claiming possession of the glacier in the early 1980s, allowing foreign mountaineering expedition’s access.

Ambush
On July 4, 1999 – ‘A’ company of 13 Jakrif was ordered to capture Area Flat Top in the Mushkoh valley, where Pakistanis are using artillery fire to disrupt Indian Army supply lines. Sanjay Kumar volunteered for the mission. Sanjay Kumar and his comrades were tasked with capturing Area Flat Top, a crucial feature held by the Pakistanis. Barely 150 meters from their objective, heavy machine gun fire from an enemy bunker halted their advance. Showing steely resolve, Kumar crawled up the ridge alone amid a hail of bullets that tore his chest and forearm apart. Bleeding heavily, he charged at the enemy bunker and killed three enemy soldiers. Inspired by his daredevilry, the rest of the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles platoon assaulted the feature and captured Area Flat Top.

The military usually awards the PVC posthumously. But Bana Singh, Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav, who received their medals on Independence Day in 1999, proved they were exceptions to the rule by returning from the jaws of death. This exemplifies their audacity. Such brave soldiers make the nation proud. And India salutes the brave men.


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Truck drivers of India

Trucking in India is a world by itself. It is generally believed, within the truck community there is a quiet friction between drivers from the north and south India. One can barely see divers from north, mainly Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh or Rajasthan spend time or chit chat with those from Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala or Tamilnadu; may be its due to the cultural divide or a mutual suspicion. Most drivers speak or understand 2-3 languages. Dhabas or road-side hotels are the drivers’ favorite eating and resting spot. The Northern India state drivers are a bit loud and good eaters. The Southern Indian drivers are quiet and not very out-going. So you rarely see the North and South drivers mingle or the camaraderie one sees from the drivers of the same region.


As the trucks ply all over the country, even the remote corners, it is one of the best media or vehicle to advertise and spread social messages across the country. One of the most interesting aspects is the lines or messages painted on the back side of the truck. The most common is – Horn Please. Ok! Some lines are funny and some thought provoking like - Don't come too close, you might fall in love.

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Picture Post:
Vellore Fort, Tamil Nadu, India.
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