Authors

The life of a great soldier

Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra was martyred at the tender age of 24. However, the story of his life of valour and his service to his country is one that will endure forever. Inspired by his life, Deepak Surana, a 21-year-old graduate of business administration (BBA) of St. Joseph’s College of Commerce, left no stone unturned researching it.

He did what one would expect from a scholar by gathering first-hand information on Batra, which led to a detailed biography The Shershah of Kargil. “I visited his parents in Palampur,” says Deepak. “They showed me the Param Veer Chakra he had received. When I held the medal I realised how much he has done for his country,” says Deepak as he turns emotional. “I consider the book a small token for a great martyr.”

Batra has a twin brother Vishal, who Deepak met. “I told him I wanted to write a book, and he gave me the blue print on who to contact and visit.” Deepak spoke to Captain Batra’s family, friends, and fellow soldiers. “I spoke to Captain Naveen Nagappa, who Captain Batra rescued, Subedar Raghunath Singh, in whose arms Captain Batra had fallen, and Lieutenant General Y.P. Joshi, who was his commanding officer. I also saw his last uniform, the gun he captured from the Pakistanis, and went through his war diaries.”

Though books on Captain Batra have been written before, Deepak says that his is the first book that is based entirely on primary sources. “His father had written a book too but due to his age he wasn’t able to meet people. I interviewed about 30 to 35 people and visited four different locations in North India.”

Deepak stresses that soldiers have personal lives too but they never hesitate when there is a call of duty. “I collected his personal letters which he had written to his sister. In them, he wrote of his life in the Indian Academy.”

Asked how he balanced his studies with writing the book, Deepak says: “BBA is not as demanding as engineering. I also kept Saturdays and Sundays free to work on the book.”

Deepak was always inspired by war heroes. “I watched LOC Kargil as an eight-year-old boy.” The trigger for the book came in September 2013 when he went through Captain Batra’s Linkedin profile. “I was always fascinated by Captain Batra, and by the line he said, Yeh Dil Maange More’, at 17,000 feet.”

Deepak had initially planned a vacation to Himachal Pradesh. “But I chose Palampur. In fact I have met the families of other martyrs, but I felt a special bond with Captain Batra.”


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 9:01:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/the-life-of-a-great-soldier/article19709450.ece

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