kargil vijay diwas: ‘It was a hand-to-hand battle after which Tiger Hill fell’

Theirs is a happy story — and an inspiring one at that — for those wanting to join the country’s Armed Forces. Jayant and Urmila Mijar, happily sent their only son to join the army. Today they stand proud with Colonel Prasad Mijar, their son, on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas. Colonel Mijar fought the battle of Tiger Hill and returned victorious. “Every child in this country must join the Armed Forces,” they say with pride. Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of India’s victory in the Kargil conflict.

It was the first week of July 1999 and tension prevailed in the Mijar household in Madiwale Colony. Prayers continued uninterrupted and fingers were crossed each time the phone rang. The family had just returned from a formation in Haryana, where Prasad, then a Major, was posted. The Kargil conflict had already begun and Tololing had started featuring in the reports. “When Major Adhikari of Second Mechanised Infantry, who was attached with 18 Grenadiers, attained martyrdom, our son mentioned in passing that he might have to go on the war front. By the time my wife and I reached home, our daughter-in- law confirmed that Prasad would be attached with 18 Grenadiers. She came to Pune with their son, who was then just two years old,” said Jayant Mijar


Major Mijar was commanding the Charlie company of 18 Grenadiers. The family kept the television on and the news of their son’s well being came in through calls from Udhampur. “They would say badge number so-and-so is safe. We got restless every time coffins of soldiers were shown on TV. I spent sleepless nights throughout that time,” said Urmila Mijar.

While talking of the Kargil conflict, Jayant Mijar transforms into a storyteller narrating tales of bravery of the Indian Army. “The soldiers started climbing Tiger Hill at night under heavy artillery cover. I have heard there were 130 artillery guns covering them. It was pitch dark and capturing Tiger Hill was crucial for the Indian Army. It was early on July 4 that the jawans reached the top, where they found well-entrenched Pakistani soldiers. It was a fierce hand-to-hand battle with Pakistanis after which Tiger Hill fell,” he said.

The phone rang on July 26, 1999. It was their son on the other side. “I am fine, he said. I cannot explain the feeling at that moment. God was kind to us. But not even once did we regret sending our son to the Indian Army,” said Mijar whose son, now a full colonel has commanded his own unit. “I wanted to join the Army. When I couldn’t, I wanted my son to join the Army. I believe God makes soldiers. They are special. One can become a soldier only if he ‘has it in him’.”

(A lecture on memories of Kargil by Col Gautam Khot has been organised at Swaroopwardhini Hall, Mangalwar Peth at 3 pm on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas. Lt Gen D B Shekatkar will also be present for the programme.)

Source: Pranav Kulkarni,  expressindia.com

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