“They gave their today for our tomorrow.”
11 May, 1998: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes, DRDO Head APJ Abdul Kalam wearing red coloured caps, making victory signs after the success of Operation Shakti in Pokhran, Rajasthan. (Nuclear Tests in India)
28 May, 1998: Operation Chagai-I concludes successfully in Pakistan. (Nuclear Test in Pakistan)
19 Feb, 1999: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee travels on the inaugural bus service from Delhi to Lahore via Wagah Border in an effort to establish peace between the 2 neighbouring nations.
21 Feb, 2009: Lahore Declaration: Bilateral agreement signed by both the Indian and Pakistan PM recognizing the principle of building an environment of peace and security and resolving all bilateral conflicts.
Words such as ‘Dras’ ‘Batalik Sector’ ‘Kargil’ ‘MiG’ were added to my dictionary.
I remember the sighting of Pakistani intruders in Kargil by shepherds in May 1999.
I remember Flt Lt Nachiketa being captured as the first Prisoner of War of the conflict by the Pakistan army after his aircraft crashed into the enemy territory and his subsequent return. The thin moustache, the crisp Air Force uniform.
I also remember Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja whose aircraft was shot down when he held his position to locate Nachiketa and then was shot at by the Pakistani soldiers when he ejected.
I remember the Battle of Tololing and the heavy loss of Indian Soldiers.
I remember the recapturing of Tiger Hill and various key positions in the Batalik and Dras Sectors.
I can recall Barkha Dutt on NDTV covering the war while the noise of cannon shots and explosives could be heard clearly in the background.
I recollect Captain Vikram Batra’s famous lines ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ but I also remember the news of his death a few hours later.
I remember the sacrifices of Lt. Manoj Kumar Pandey, Grenedier Yogender Singh Yadav, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, Capt. Anuj Nayyar, Capt. Saurabh Kalia and hundreds of other brave Indian Soldiers who fought for their motherland.
I also remember those fathers, mothers, wives and kids who were proud that their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands laid their lives for the country but no person in the nation could keep their eyes dry on seeing their grief.
Operation Vijay declared a success.
India resumed control of all territory south and east of the Line of Control.
July 26 marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
But the war is still fresh in our memories.
The losses cannot be obliterated.
The pride cannot escape our minds.
The unity cannot be forgotten.
JAI HIND ! BHARAT MATA KI JAI !
P.S. I’m sorry for the delay. I also apologize for the mistakes I have made and for leaving out vital information.
I have written this post from recollections of memories when I was 9 years old. It had a deep impact on me and maybe on you as well.