Lest We Forget Kargil! ‘I Want You To Join the Indian Armed Forces’- Army Veteran Brig I N Rai
Mangaluru: Even though we celebrated ‘Vijay Diwas’ on 16 December 2023, however, 26 July 1999 is indeed a very important day in the history of India, especially for the Indian Armed Forces. On this very day, the valiant Armed Forces drove out Pakistan Army intruders from unauthorized occupation of Indian territory of Kargil, Drass, Tololing, Batalik and Turkok sectors of Kashmir. This war was an example of great courage, valour, comradeship, sacrifice and leadership on the part of the Isacrificed Forces.
26 July 2014- It has been 15 years since India won the historical 1999 Kargil War against Pakistan. Even after these 15 years, the countrymen still remember stories of the country’s Kargil heroes who played an important role in the iconic victory. The Kargil War began between India and Pakistan on May 8, 1999, when the Pakistani army had illegally intruded on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) which divided the Indian territory of Ladakh from the northern areas of the state. It is believed that Pakistan had been planning the operation since 1998. The war came to an end on July 14, 1999, when both countries threw troops from the border.
Till the end of June, India had captured two vital posts near Tiger Hill – Point 5060 and Point 5100. On July 4, India recaptured Tiger Hill after an 11-hour-long battle. After the Indian Army too11-hour-long Dras on July 5, Sharif ordered the withdrawal of the Pakistani Army from Kargil. The then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared Operation Vijay (Kargil War) a success and by July 26, the Kargil War officially came to an end as the Indian Army announced complete eviction of Pakistani intruders.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) rapidly adapted to the air campaign’s unique operational challenges, which included enemy positions at elevations of 14,000 to 18,000 feet during the war. The IAF code-named its contribution to the campaign Operation Safed Sagar or White Sea. India won the war against Pakistan on July 26, 1999, which is now celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas across the nation.
There are many names which we cannot forget when it comes to the historic victory of the Kargil War. These brave men had promised their families that they would soon return from the War…and they kept their word. They went to the battlefield as valiant soldiers carrying the Indian flag and came back as Heroes draped in the National Flag. Think of their sacrifices: They gave their Today for our Tomorrow!
After the Vijay Diwas programme on 16 December 2023 at the War Memorial, I had the opportunity to talk to Brig. I N Rai, and gathered all the following information “Why do only a few very intelligent people volunteer to join the armed forces in India? “He stressed the youth to join the Indian Armed Forces, where lots of scope and benefits are awaiting them. He said that he feels proud that he served the Nation, and he wants others to follow in his footsteps by coming forward to join the Indian Armed Forces and serve the Nation with pride and dignity.
Following are the statements from Brig I N Rai:
Yes, the Armed Forces is a tough life. There is loads of physical effort. And today, our education system is so focused on mental effort and bookish knowledge, that the youth is scared of doing something so physical ical. Decreasing moral values in the country as a whole. Respect no longer is a reason to join anywhere. People, sadly, are interested only in money. A constant discouragement from family, who will always prefer their child working in an AC office, rather than a 50C desert, or a -10C glacier, while facing enemy fire.
We want others to risk their lives to protect us so that we can have a secure 9 to 5 job, earn money, grow rich, try to run away from the country, get married, have kids and tell them to do the same. Everyone is so blinded by the prospect of earning money that they are oblivious to the sheer beauty and respect that comes with being a first-class gazetted officer. I am a retired A first-class, and no amount of salary earned can replace the sheer pride and awe when you see men in uniform.
This is one of the most common misconceptions about armed forces that prevails not only in India but all around the globe. People believe that the armed forces are the choice of the people who do not get into any institutes of higher education. And also that getting into the armed forces does not require any intelligence to get you through. No, that is blatantly wrong. Young people come here because they want to serve their nation and that’s their priority. They don’t come here because they have no other option left.
Any individual who wants to enter into the armed forces as an officer in India has to go through an interview by the Service Selection Board (SSB) which tests your potential and compatibility which includes your intelligence along with many other traits. Services Selection Board. And some other entries like NDA, and CDSE require ySomess through a qualifying written exam even to get into the interview round. They then undergo rigorous training and mind that the training emphasis is more on mental strength rather than physical. And that is what helps them to stay ahead of the curve. How else do you expect men with guns in hand, with a platoon to command and whose decisions can be the difference between life and death to be left in the field?
At the end of the day, an average officer in the armed forces is as intelligent as his civilian counterparts with many other traits which make him special on his own. They have huge responsibilities along with the fact that they put their life on the line every time they step into the uniforms. Soldiers are not what we most often see portrayed on the screen. The best of them, the ones who ascend to generals’ stars, are thoughtful students of their profession, scholarly commentators on history, and gifted observers of human psychology. The profession of arms is every bit as broad and deep as medicine or law. Like physicians, officers must know their subject in every detail, for they deal in the currency of life and death, and some mistakes can never be corrected. Like attorneys, they must plan everything in exquisite detail, because in some areas you have but one chance to get it right.
Parental pressure is one notable cause. Parents want their children to work in AC-fitted offices, make big bucks, marry a decent girl have kids and raise a family.
Patriotism is not the only factor nowadays. Today’s youth does not seek an adventurous lifestyle, just a seat belt and safety goggles culture which has firmly taken its roots in our country.I mean, why stay awake on a cold winter night in Ladakh manning an outpost when you can work 8 hours a day and make 15 times a soldier’s salary working in the comfort of your AC-fitted office?
Lack of fitness sessions in schools. Nobody gives a damn about a student’s physical shape when he wins trophies to please the Principal, even though he can’t run 50 yards if his life depended on it. No motivation from parents. There are several reasons why youngsters don’t want to join the Armed forces: They feel that if they join the military, they will die soon. When in fact more people die due to road accidents in a day than soldiers deployed in an active combat zone in a month.; People feel that they won’t earn any money in the defence forces.
When in fact military officers earn more than 90%of the software engineers nowadays; Some people have this terrible idea that you don’t need intelligence to be a military officer, but you need Einstein-level intelligence to be a computer programmer; Parents won’t allow them. Due to these reasons, many people don’t wish to join the military, even though they are interested, but end up working 18 hours a day in a job they don’t even like to earn more money.
Trust me, as an armed Forces recruit while during training you can earn Rs 6000 plus a month, and get all the facilities, including education expenses. Once you become a soldier you can earn from Rs 20,000 plus. And later when you get promoted as an Officer, you could earn up to Rs 1.5 lakhs or even more depending on your experience and achievements. Apart from a healthy salary, you get free food, accommodation, health and life insurance, canteen and travel facilities, 2 months annual leave, 20 days casual leave, children’s education facilities and much more. After retirement, you get a decent pension, continued health and life insurance coverage ( 6-7 best hospitals here in Mangaluru accept our Medical Insurance), canteen facilities, etc- and best of all as a “Man in Uniform” you live a quality of lifestyle, and feel proud of your dignity in service.
Yes, it’s true that not too many people want to serve the country, salaries are not much as compared to private job salaries, risk for life, distance from family and more…It’s really sad. But you can still motivate and convince yourself, and take the challenge by joining the Indian Armed Forces- and trust me, ” You’ll Be Glad That You Did”.
You Can Get More details by calling the Bangalore number by dialling 08025599290, or the Army Recruiting Office at Kulur in Mangaluru (Ph.: 08242458376) or you can contact the District Sailors and Soldiers Board, Mangaluru.
Brig. I N Rai – his journey in the Indian Army for 34 years:
What award can one give to the unsung heroes who make the supreme sacrifice for the nation, says Brigadier I.N. Rai, an army veteran from Dakshina Kannada, who has served in the Indian Army for 34 years. He narrated how he fought in the 1971 war as part of the Sikh Light Battalion. The hostilities took place in the Punjab plains. Then 22 years old, he was with Lieutenant Karam Singh (posthumously honoured with the Seva Medal) and Second Lieutenant Hardev Pal Nayyar (posthumously awarded Veer Chakra). Fatehpur, which was jutting into the Indian territory, was a trouble point, and the Sikh Light Infantry had to capture it.
For more than two hours, the hand-to-hand battle went on. He was leading the company when he got a message that he should take command (as his senior was injured). Major Tirath Singh, company commander, with a handful of able-bodied men, left to face the enemy. Believable-bodied to the last man and fight to the last bullet,” Maj. Tirath Singh lost his life as he asked for “Red, red, red”, which meant that he was asking the artillery of his army to open fire at him. “His name is nowhere in the history books. Is there something better than Bharat Ratna?
These are the unsung heroes, who honour our motherland. They have made incomparable sacrifices, there are no suitable awards for them…what award can you give them?” said Brig. Rai. Later, when Brig. Rai went to recover the bodies, he found that both his teammates had died “the tremendous peaceful death of a hero”. In that one night of battle, India lost three officers,48 soldiers and 102 injured and 31 Pakistani soldiers were killed and nine taken prisoners. He handed over nine Pakistani prisoners to the divisional headquarters at Amritsar, he said.
He was a captain for 3 years operating in Nagaland from 1973-1976. He was a Major at Ladakh and was an instructor for 2 years at Officers Training Academy-Chennai where he trained the selected candidates. When he was posted in Sri Lanka – IPKF, he was involved in an encounter, where he was severely injured- he had to be airlifted from Sri Lanka to Chennai and then to Bangalore, where he was in the ICU for three months, and for another 3 months he had to undergo surgery. Later after recovering from injuries, he was promoted to Col. Commander of Battalion, at Guerez, which is West of Kargil from 1990-93.
He got the Best Infantry Regiment Award from the Chief of Army Staff. (Chief’s Unit Citation). He has fought many wars, and before retirement, he was posted as a Commandant of the Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Center, UP. where he was at the helm handling training and posting soldiers, manpower planning, pay allowances, promotions, handling pensions of nearly 24,000 retired soldiers.
Retired in 2003, he has been actively involved in many organizations and is also the former Chairman of DK District Ex-Servicemen’s Association. Other than that he says he keeps himself busy, plays golf, and “Getting Old Day-by-Day”! “The biggest reward I have got is that I am happy, content at 63 and a very proud Indian citizen. After 34 years, I left the Indian Army. If I am born again, I will join the Indian Army,” he said.