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'He was on a mission...I only channelised it'

KARGIL HERO
Last Updated : 07 May 2012, 15:14 IST
Last Updated : 07 May 2012, 15:14 IST

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The Kargil conflict was marked by examples of extraordinary valour of men and officers of the Indian armed forces. To commemorate its 13th anniversary, Metrolife begins a series - Kargil Diaries, a tribute to martyrs, their families, survivors and life after the war. 

7th July 1999. India lost another hero, Captain Anuj Nayyar, an officer of the 17 Jat Regiment of the Indian Army during Operation Vijay - another name for the Kargil Conflict. He was just 23. The brave heart was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second highest gallantry award, for exemplary valour in combat during operations in Kargil in 1999.

13 years on, the grief and sadness still remain alive in the heart of Professor S K Nayyar, Anuj’s father.
 A proud father still smiles as he remembers Anuj’s mischievous nature during school days. “His Maths teacher used to call him ‘a bundle of energy’ as he was always on the run. He was the most notorious student in his class. Even though he was a brilliant child, tired of his regular mischief, his teacher had once written on the notice board, ‘I want Anuj - dead or alive’!”

“He was the best volleyball player in his school. We used to tell him not to play because he ruined his shirt. From then on, he used to take off his shirt and play. Then we told him, his vest was getting dirty so he should not play the game. But then, he took off his vest too and played! With a mind like his, how could one stop him from doing what he wanted to, for the country?” he asks.

Anuj served the Indian Army for only two years but has won a million hearts. A true Jat soldier who combated the enemy with courage and valour. His father is under the impression that his son maintained a record of Pakistani soldiers he killed.

 “During the war whenever he captured one of the enemy, he would write down their names, names of their villages and parents on a piece of paper; he took their palm impressions on it and then slit their throats,” he says.

“He used to regularly write letters from the warzone. Once a reporter asked him why he chose to be part of the Army and he said, ‘I wanted to see Siachen and to see who is stronger, me or Siachen’.” 

Anuj wanted to be in the Army all along and despite the cost that the family has paid, Prof. Nayyar, a fighter himself against corruption and bribes,  does not regret his decision of sending his son to the Army. “He was in a mission to serve the country and I just channelised his mission.” 

He remembers another incident of Anuj’s bravery much before he had joined the NAP. “When Anuj was in Stud X, he met with a severe accident where the muscles of his leg were torn completely from the knee to the toe. As a 16-year old, he went through 22 stitches without anesthetist. He told me that “pain lies in the brain not in the leg.” 

Today, Professor Nayyar spends his days at Kargil Heights - the petrol pump he was given by the Government as compensation for the martyrdom of his son. His office is decorated with Anuj’s photographs and memoirs. “This is one of India’s top five petrol pumps,” he shares. “In Delhi it was ranked Number 2 in 2011 and sells the maxi­mum petrol even now. My station is full with cars because of the trust people have in us. We have never done anything wrong till date because this station is not a ‘compensation’ for our child. It has never been a business for me.”

Professor Nayyar is angry with the India Army which is time and again tainted with controversies. “Why is the government tampering with the Army? Please leave them alone and let them do their work. The media and bureaucrats have Rundle the institution,” he says. “The OLY (officer like quality) is missing in today’s officers. The Army needs the right kind of manpower with the right amount of calibre. No Dhoti or Sachsen can do that.”

Like his son, Professor Nayyar too fought a battle and won it. He battled cheekbone cancer. “I am absolutely fine now. Mair Itin ashanti se naif janie waals hoon.” Today, Kargil Heights stands tall, not just as a tribute to a martyred soldier, but as a symbol of a citizen’s victory. 

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Published 07 May 2012, 15:13 IST

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