“Ye Dil Maange More”: How Did Kargil Martyr Capt Vikram Batra Capture a Nation’s Imagination?

Social Commentary

“Ye Dil Maange More”: How Did Kargil Martyr Capt Vikram Batra Capture a Nation’s Imagination?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

“My boys went wild. How dare Pakistani troops challenge us?” said “Sher Shah” Captain Vikram Batra, Param Vir Chakra recipient, in an interview. It was just before the recapture of Pt.4875 on July 7, 1999, 21 years ago. Captain Vikram Batra sacrificed his life for the country at the young age of 24 while fighting the intrusion in Kargil, and will forever be etched in our history and collective memory.

Captain Batra was born on September 9, 1974 in Himachal Pradesh and started military life on December 6, 1997 with the 13th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of Indian Army. Posted in Shahjahanpur, UP, he was summoned to join the troops in the Dras sector of Jammu and Kashmir during the Kargil war.

On June 20, Captain Batra led his team in the fight for control of Peak 5140. After engaging in intense hand-to-hand combat with enemy soldiers, he sent the iconic codeword “Ye Dil Maange More” to inform his seniors that Indian troops had recaptured Peak 5140.

After recapturing Peak 5140, Captain Vikram Batra was given the task of hoisting the Indian flag at Point 4875. The battle was dangerous and Lieutenant Naveen suffered a bullet injury to his leg. In a bid to save his partner, a stray splinter from a rocket propelled grenade hit Captain Batra and he was martyred immediately.

The Indian Army paid its tribute to the brave soldiers, stating, “Our salutes to the brave soldiers of the country who always made Indian Vasundhara proud by their dedication and dedication to the motherland.”

The Northern Command of the Indian Army recalled the bravery of the martyr through a heartwarming video message.

While much is known about Captain Batra’s bravery on field, many facts about his personal life have stayed away from the public glare. Vikram Batra has an identical twin brother Vishal Batra, and they would both get Rs 50 from their father for the school bus fare. While Vishal took the bus, Vikram would walk and then spend the money in the canteen. The twins were full of life as kids, playing pranks on friends and family members, as well as impersonating each other.

There was also a romantic side to our beloved braveheart. Captain Vikram Batra had a girlfriend Dimple Cheema, with whom he had been in love for years. They planned to get married after Vikram returned from Kargil. Unfortunately, that never happened. After receiving the news of his death, Dimple decided to return to Chandigarh and live, what she calls “memories worth a lifetime”.

It has been over 20 years since Captain Vikram Batra’s death but father Girdhari Lal Batra’s tears haven’t dried. “For 20 years, all the respect we have received from society is because of him. But this pain will never go. He was our Kohinoor…” he said in an interview to The Indian Express. His mother keeps his memories alive, dusting hundreds of his photographs.

The Batras had only one wish, which is that the government should not let the memories of Kargil heroes die. “They should be kept alive forever and younger generations should be told about them. Even today when soldiers die in Kashmir, I feel the same anger and pain that I felt when I lost Vikram,” Girdhari Lal Batra added.

Given Captain Vikram Batra and his family’s sacrifice, their wish should be our command.