Kargil Lest we forget
Manoj Pandey was born in Sitapur , Uttar Pradesh, his father Shri Gopi Chand Pandey, a small time businessman living in Lucknow. Manoj was elder son to their parents. He had his preliminary education at Sainik School, Lucknow and Rani Laxmi Bai Memorial Senior Secondary School. Even since is school days Manoj was interested in sports, he loved boxing and body building in particular, after his secondary education Manoj joined prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA).
After 3 years of hard work, he was passed out in 90th course from NDA, He wanted to join Gorkha Rifles so he joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) to complete his final phase of training and got commissioned in the 1/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.
Before his selection, during his Services Selection Board (SSB) interview, when the interviewer asked him, “Why do you want to join the Army?”
He replied: “I want to win the Param Vir Chakra.”
The interviewer was stunned by the answer of 20 year boy. Ordinary boy Manoj became lieutenant Manoj.
It was May 8, 1999 when Pakistani army cowardly entered the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC), the Indian govt declared Kargil war.
1/11 Gurkha Rifles, Lt Manoj was directed to capture Jubar Top on Khalubar Hills in the Batalik Sector. On the night of 2/3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective; it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Lieutenant Pandey was tasked to clear the entering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being exposed.
On one side he took his platoon to advantageous position and instructed them to attack from right and he went left to capture enemy troop, soon seeing the Indian soldiers entering , Pakistan soldiers started firing heavily, Manoj advanced himself and captured first position by killing two enemies, and suddenly a bullet hit his soldier, while noticing it another bullet was in his leg, even with pain and pool of his own blood he advanced and shot two more enemies and captured second position, and started to crawl towards final bunker a bullet pierced his forehead and blood sprung like water from a pipe, before he collapsed, he shouted “na chhodnu” (don’t leave them) ordering his men not to spare a single Pakistani. It was too late when his men tried to carry him, Captain Manoj pandey stopped his breath at the age of 24.
After his death her mother saw his personal dairy and read poem about her, “she is the star which shines brightly in the darkness, someone who will always give and bless”.
Soon after reading it her mother broke, when media asked about her son’s death she replied, “More than us, he was the son of his motherland. He was born with a special purpose.
“It doesn’t affect us. Manoj never died, we are living by his name,” said his father.
He achieved his dream when his father, Mr. Gopi Chand Pandey, received the nation’s highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra from the President of India on the 52nd anniversary of Indian Independence.
Dear friends ! We proudly celebrate July 26 as “Vijay diwas”, there are thousands of Manoj who lost their life for saving our life, we even don’t even try to know their names. Our history still concerned about teaching how much Gazhni looted, when renaissance took place, who invaded America…
But these heroes will shade with time, we too forget as time passes.
After reading this story if Manoj Pandey comes in front of your eyes and if a drop of tear roll from edge of your eyes, I am indebted..
Ending with beautiful poem of Manoj Pandey, which he wrote in his dairy, which came to light after his death, which shows his dedication…
“If death strikes before I prove my blood, I promise (swear), I will kill death.”