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'Did he die fighting?'

Updated on: 22 July,2009 08:13 AM IST  | 
Anshuman G Dutta |

Prof SK Nayyar enquired about his Mahavir Chakra winner son Anuj, who laid down his life at Mushkoh valley

'Did he die fighting?'

Prof SK Nayyar enquired about his Mahavir Chakra winner son Anuj, who laid down his life at Mushkoh valley

At 9.30 in the morning, the phone rang and a restless Prof SK Nayyar hurriedly picked it up. It was from the brigade headquarters of his son Capt Anuj Nayyar. After the initial pleasantries, the man on the other side fell silent.

After more than a minute of ominous silence, Prof Nayyar asked, "Did he die fighting?"

"Not just the Indian Army but the entire nation is indebted to your son," the man replied.

But it was just the first frame of the story. Capt Anuj Nayyar went down while paving the way for his troops to take over the Pimple Complex in Kargil's Mushkoh valley with just a bayonet.

Before being hit by a grenade shell, Anuj had cleared all the bunkers. The 17 Jat Regiment soldier was awarded Mahavir Chakra second highest gallantry award for his inspiring leadership and incredible bravery.

"He was a magnificent officer. He was like a true Jat soldier who never feared anything. As soon as the initial euphoria of the victory settled down we realised the biggest loss of our lives. The man who won us the post was not there to celebrate with us," said the then Delta company commander of the unit, Col Deepak Rampal, who was awarded the Vir Chakra.

Captain Anuj Nayyar called his father for the last time on the night of July 6, 1999 to inform him about his big mission in Operation Vijay. Before putting the phone down Prof Nayyar said, "Haar ke ghar mat aana warna goli maar doonga (Don't return without winning, or I will shoot you)." Anuj knew his father meant what he was saying and he shot back a reply which still makes his father swell with pride. "He said, 'Papa aapka beta hoon. Haar ke aane ki baat soch bhi nahi sakta. (I can't even think of returning without winning.)'"
Prof Nayyar spends his days at the Kargil Heights the petrol pump he was given by the government as compensation for the martyrdom of his son. His office is decorated with the photographs and memoirs of his brave ward. "I and Anuj were like buddies. He was very close to me, I miss him every single moment," he managed a smile while saying that.

Even after 10 years people who come to get their vehicles filled at Kargil Heights ask Prof Nayyar about his son and the Kargil war.

Anuj used to regularly write letters from the warzone and in one of the letters he had written, "I am not that irresponsible that I will die without fulfilling my duties for the country. My army and this country has put so much faith in me, it would be a mistake to think of death at this time. Till the last enemy is there I will keep breathing."

Wanted dead or alive
Anuj was known as the most notorious student of his class. Even though he was a brilliant student, tired of his regular mischief, his teacher once had written on the notice board, "I want Anuj, dead or alive." "Even though he had broken almost all the window panes of the society he was loved by everybody," said his father.

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