Shershaah - Captain Vikram Batra Biography: Birth, Early Life, Family, Education, Military Career, Award, Kargil War and Martyrdom
Captain Vikram Batra was an awardee of Param Vir Chakra posthumously-- India's highest and most prestigious award for his martyrdom during the Kargil War in 1999 (between India and Pakistan). Shershaah, an upcoming Bollywood movie starring Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani traces the life journey of PVC awardee and Army Captain Vikram Batra. The movie is directed by Vishnu Varadhan and produced by Dharma Productions and Kaash Entertainment.
Shershaah, a film based on Captain Vikram Batra's life, directed by Vishnu Varadhan, produced by Dharma Productions and Kaash Entertainment will be released on Amazon Prime Video on 12 August 2021. The film stars Sidharth Malhotra as Captain Vikram Batra, Kiara Advani as Dimple Cheema (his girlfriend), Shiv Pandit, Raj Arjun, Pranay Pachauri, Himanshu Ashok Malhotra, Nikitin Dheer, Anil Charanjeett, Sahil Vaid, Shataf Figar and Pawan Chopra in pivotal roles.
With love, pride and happiness in our hearts,— amazon prime video IN (@PrimeVideoIN) July 15, 2021
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Releasing on 12th August 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/LwVLRj2kw7
Captain Vikram Batra: Birth, Family and Education
Captain Vikram Batra was born on September 9, 1974, in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh to Girdhari Lal Batra (Father) and Kamal Kanta Batra (Mother). His father Girdhari Lal Batra was a government school principal while his mother was a school teacher.
Captain Vikram Batra attended DAV Public School in Palampur. He then got himself admitted at Central School to receive senior secondary education. In the year 1990, he along with his brother represented the school in Table Tennis at All India KVS Nationals.
Captain Vikram Batra was a green belt in Karate and attended the sport at the national level camp in Manali.
He was a graduate in B.Sc. Medical Sciences from DAV College. During his college days, Captain Vikram Batra joined NCC's, Air Wing. In the Inter-State NCC Camp, he has adjudged the best NCC Air Wing cadet of Punjab Directorate in the North Zone.
Captain Vikram Batra was selected for a 40-day training at Pinjore Airfield and Flying Club with his NCC Air Wing unit.
Captain Vikram Batra qualified for the 'C' certificate and was given the rank of Captain Vikram Batra in NCC.
In 1994, he did the Republic Day parade as an NCC cadet and the following day told his parents his desire to join the Indian Army. During his college days in 1995, he was selected for the merchant navy with a shipping company headquartered in Hong Kong but changed his mind.
After completing his graduation from DAV College, Chandigarh in 1995, he enrolled at Panjab University, Chandigarh to pursue an MA in English. He chose the subject to prepare for Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination.
He took the evening classes there and during the day worked as a branch manager of a travelling agency in Chandigarh.
In 1996, he appeared and passed the CDS Examination and was selected by Services Selection Board (SSB) at Allahabad. He was one of the top 35 candidates to get selected. He drops out of his college to join the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
Captain Vikram Batra: Military Career
In June 1996, Captain Vikram Batra joined IMA in the Manekshaw Battalion. On December 6, 1997, he graduated from the IMA, after completing his 19-month training. He was then commissioned as a lieutenant into the 13th battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. He was sent to Jabalpur and Madhya Pradesh for further training that lasted for a month.
Post his training, he was posted to Sopore in Baramulla district, Jammu and Kashmir. The area had significant militant activity. In March 1998, he was sent to Mhow, Madhya Pradesh for five months, in an Infantry School, to complete Young Officer's Course. Upon completion, he was awarded alpha grading and rejoined his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir.
In January 1999, he was sent to complete two months Commando Course at Belgaum, Karnataka. Upon completion, he was awarded the highest grading-- Instructor's Grade.
Before his martyrdom during the Kargil War, he visited his home on leave from the Army during the Holi festival in 1999. He mostly visited Neugal Cafe whenever he visited his hometown. This time too, he visited the cafe and met his best friend and fiancee Dimple Cheema. Dimple asked her to be careful in the war to which he replied, 'I'll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I'll come back for sure.'
After his leaves were over, he rejoined his battalion in Sopore. His battalion, 13 JAK RIF, received an order to proceed to Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The battalion completed its counter-insurgency tenure in Kashmir under the 192 Mountain Brigade of 8 Mountain Division. However, on June 5, the battalion orders were changed and were ordered to move to Dras, Jammu and Kashmir.
Captain Vikram Batra: Kargil War and Martyrdom
After the 13 JAK RIF battalion reached Dras on June 6, it was placed under the command of 56 Mountain Brigade and was given orders to act as reserves to the 2nd battalion-- Rajputana Rifles(2 RAJ RIF)-- during the attack on Tololing mountain.
The 18 Grenadiers battalion was given the order to capture mountain Tololing. The battalion attacked the mountain on May 22, but was unsuccessful even after four attempts and suffered heavy casualties. Amid this, Rajputana Rifles was assigned the task and they successfully captured the peak of the mountain on June 13, 1999. After its successful capture, 13 JAK RIF took over Tololing mountain and a portion of the Hump Complex from 18 Grenadiers.
The capture of Point 5140
This point is the highest point on the Tololing range at an altitude of 16,962 feet above sea level and overlooks the Tololing nullah. Between the Tololing mountain and point 5140, lies the Hump Complex having ten grounds numbered from I to X and Rocky Knob. The 18 Grenadiers proceeded to capture Humps I-VIII while 13 JAK RIF then took Humps IX, X and Rocky Knob.
After the Tololing mission was completed, the then commanding officer, now Lt. Col. Yogesh Kumar Joshi, planned an assault on Point 5140 before dawn, else the battalion will suffer maximum casualties.
Joshi ordered B Coy to attack Point 5140 under the command of Lt. Sanjeev Singh Jamwal, and D Coy, under the command of Lt. Vikram Batra, from two sides-- east and south. At the Hump Complex, Jamwal and Batra were given the orders directly by Joshi. Jamwal chose 'Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah!' while Batra chose 'Yeh Dil Mange More!' as their success signal. D-Day was June 19 and H-Hour was at 20:30.
It was planned that the assault groups will climb Point 5140 after midnight on June 20 under the cover of artillery fire. The guns would stop firing once the troops were 200 m short of their target.
As planned, the Indian side started to cease firing and Pakistani soldiers immediately came out of their bunkers and did heavy firing with their machine guns on the advancing troops. Amid this, both Jamwal and Batra at Hump Complex contacted the base and asked to continue artillery bombardment of the enemy positions till the companies were 100 metres short of their target.
At 3:15 hours, both the troops (B and D coys) reached Point 5140 and by 3:30 hours, B Coy marked its victory as Jamwal send his victory signal over the radio.
Meanwhile, Batra decided to reach the hill from the rear to surprise the enemy and to block their withdrawal route. Before attacking the enemy, Batra fired three rockets towards the bunkers. As he along with others advanced to the top, the enemy pinned them with machine gunfire. Batra hurled two grenades at the machine gun post and reached the top. He killed three enemies in close combat single-handedly but was seriously injured in the process. Despite injuries, he charged the next enemy position and captured point 5140. At 4:35 hours, he sent his victory signal over the radio.
There was no casualty and no soldier died in the operation at Point 5140, Point 4700, Junction Peak and the Three Pimple Complex. After Point 5140, Batra was promoted to the rank of Captain. On June 26, the battalion received orders to move from Dras to Ghurmi to rest. On June 30, the battalion moved to Mushkoh Valley.
The capture of Point 4875
After reaching Mushkoh Valley, the 13 JAK RIF was placed under the command of the 79 Mountain Brigade. The next target was to capture Point 4875. The target was dominated by National Highway 1 and thus it was imperative for the Indian Army to capture it as the Pakistani Army could easily see its gun positions, army camps and troop movements.
A plan was carried out to capture Point 4875. 13 JAK RIF was deployed to a fire support base, 1500 m away from the target point. On July 4, at 18:00 hours, the Indian Army started bombarding enemy posts on Point 4875 and continued non-stop firing throughout the night. At 20:30, under the artillery fire cover, A and C coys advanced towards the destined point. Batra was at the time lying in a sleeping bag as he was unwell.
Both the troops advanced towards the target and were 50 m short by the first light. At 4:30 hours, the troops began firing at enemy positions at the top of the feature. On July 5, at around 10:15 hours, Joshi fired two Fagot missiles which directly hit the base of the enemy soldiers and provided a cover to the advancing troops. At 13:00 hours, the A and C Coys captured Point 4875 but continued receiving artillery and machine-gun fire from Pimple 2 and areas north of Point 4875.
At 22:00 hours, the Pakistani Army heavily fired at the A and C Coy. In the morning at 4:45 hours, C Coy reported heavy firefight and the need for ammunition which the B Coy brought up to help them continue their firefight. On July 5, after a battle with the enemy, the Indian Army captured Area Flat Top.
Young Capt. N.A. Nagappa was holding Flat Top with a small force. All of sudden, a shell hit the area and pierced through both the leg of Capt. Nagappa. Taking advantage of the situation, the Pakistani Army advanced faster. Batra was observing the situation from the fire support base and voluntarily asked Joshi to go to the Flat Top.
Despite strict rules, several soldiers pleaded for permission from their seniors to join Batra at the Area Flat Top. The soldiers were so moved by the determination of Batra, that they wanted to join him anyhow at the cost of being jailed or court-martialled.
Before leaving for the Area Flat Top, Batra along with 25 other men of D Coy prayed at the Temple. A wireless message was sent to the commanders at the top about Batra joining them. This was intercepted by the Pakistani side. Fearing Batra, they broke into the Indian wireless system to threaten him. However, Batra kept on climbing.
Indian soldiers were unaware of the presence of the Pakistani troops on the ledge ahead of the Twin Bump. The Indian troops destroyed the enemy bunkers at Peak 4875 but firing from the ledge pinned them down. While climbing, Batra noticed the enemy's machine-gun position firing at the trapped soldiers. He advanced towards the machine gun and destroyed it with a grenade.
On July 7, before the first light, the Indian troops destroyed two more enemy machine guns. However, the firing from the ledge continued. At 5:30 hours, he was commanded to recce the area. Batra located the position of the enemy sanagr on the ledge. At great personal risk and under heavy fire from the enemy, he along with other members advanced towards the sangar and charged with his AK-47. He continued his charge with other members despite several injuries and reached the narrow entrance of the sangar leaving the enemy in shock. In close combat, he killed 5 enemy soldiers. He killed another 4 members of the enemy troop who were operating machine gun nests.
At this point, Batra realised that one of his men had been shot. He immediately turned to Sub. Raghunath Singh and said that both of them will save the injured soldier. He said to Singh, that he will take the head and Singh must take the feet. Amid this, he was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper from a close range and in a blink of an eye by a splinter from an RPG, hitting him in the head.
Captain Vikram Batra: Movies
In 2013, the Bollywood movie LOC Kargil was released and was based on the entire Kargil conflict. Abhishek Bachchan played the role of Captain Vikram Batra in the movie.
Shershaah, a film directed by Vishnu Vardhan will be released on Amazon Prime Video on 12 August 2021. It is based on the life of Captain Vikram Batra.
Captain Vikram Batra: Legacy
1- The historic capture of Point 4875 led to the mountain being named Batra Top in his honour.
2- A residential area in the Jabalpur Cantonment is called 'Captain Vikram Batra Enclave'.
3- A hall at the Service Selection Centre Allahabad is named 'Vikram Batra Block'.
4- The combined cadet's mess at the IMA is named 'Vikram Batra Mess'.
5- A memorial for war veterans including Batra stands at DAV College, Chandigarh.
6- In December 2019, New Delhi's Mukarba Chowk and its flyover got renamed as Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra Chowk.
Captain Vikram Batra: Param Vir Chakra
Captain Vikram Batra received Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, for his distinguished acts of valour during the Kargil War in the year 1999.