Chetan was watching NDTV and was angry. The images on TV disturbed him terribly.
Chetan Batra had just arrived home after an emotional trip to the Kargil district of Kashmir. He accompanied Barkha Dutt, the famous journalist of NDTV to shoot a program that will be aired to commemorate the 10 years anniversary of the Kargil war. The reason for Chetan’s participation was to involve in NDTV’s endeavours to honour the many martyrs of this war, one of which is Capt. Vikram Batra, his brother.
The cause of the Kargil war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC) which serves as the de facto border between the two states. During and directly after the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, later on supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced withdrawal of the Pakistani forces across the LOC.
Vikram Batra was a fine young man who was the second of the two sons of Mr and Mrs. Batra in Dehradun. Young Vikram was brilliant, smart, diligent and attractive personality in school. He scooped away most of the awards in his school during the prize distribution ceremony. He was an all rounder, good in academics as well as sports and extracurricular activities. His drive to achieve his dreams took him to the Indian military academy in Dehradun in 1995 where he was trained to be an officer in the Indian army.
Capt Vikram Batra of 13 JAK rifles was nicknamed Sher Shah by his colleagues for his raw bravery and energy. He was leading a team that was entrusted with recapturing a strategically key post 5140 that was taken over by the infiltrators. Braving extreme weather conditions and an unfriendly terrain, his successful exercise at 5140 on 20th June 1999 set off a chain of more successful captures by other Indian troops and himself.
However, in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999, Capt. Vikram Batra was killed when he tried to rescue an injured officer Lt. Naveen during an enemy counterattack against Point 4875. While dragging Lt. Naveen back under cover, Naveen pleaded to Captain Batra to let him continue the fight in spite the injuries to which Captain Batra replied "Tu baal bachedaar hai!! Hatt jaa peeche," ("You have kids and wife to look after! Get back!"). His last words before succumbing to his injuries were, "Jai Mata Di." ('Hail the Divine Mother').
For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra the highest military honour posthumously. The award was collected by Mr. G.L. Batra, Vikram’s father from the then president Dr. K.R. Narayanan.
The loss of Vikram Batra has left an uncomfortable void in the Batra household. The silence of the pain caused by loss still reverberates in their residence in Dehradun where the family currently resides. They had lost their most precious jewel as a price for the security of this country.
Vikram was a patriotic young man who successfully chased his dream of guarding his nation, India. He took pride in his abilities and his zest for living a meaningful life. Vikram’s favourite line “Yeh dil maange more!” (My heart asks for more!) which he used during the military operations to motivate his team has now become an iconic battle cry that sweeps across the country and still remains popular with millions of Indians.
On the TV screen, a woman was being molested and forcefully stripped by a group of men in Patna. Tens of men and women were watching the spectacle in the street, muted and not coming forward to help the woman. Police arrived 30 minutes after the incident was reported to them by the media and watched the shameful incident for another 30 minutes before intervening to rescue the woman. The whole fiasco was telecast live on national television with utmost shock and much interest.
Chetan was angered by this disgraceful incident and the apathy of the spectator men folk in the vicinity. He didn’t have words to explain this mishap of civilization in this country under broad daylight and national media coverage.
He painfully remembered his brother and his supreme sacrifice for this country. He reminisced the difficulties that the armed forces have to go through for the security of this country. He felt cheated by his country, his motherland. He burst out crying.
He cried for his brother. He cried for India.
He cried for his brother. He cried for India.