These are the words of the famous Kargil hero, Yogendra Singh Yadav, who with his immense courage and heroism, helped us get one step closer to winning the battle of the Tiger Hill. He’s one of those officers who are remembered for their service during the Kargil War. It has been 21 years since the war began and it still continues to be as fresh as it can be in the minds of the people. Yogendra Singh Yadav was born on 10 May,1980 in Aurangabad Ahir, Bulandshahr District of Uttar Pradesh. His father, Karan Singh Yadav participated in the 1965 and 1971 Indo- Pakistan wars serving in the Kumaon Regiment. As a son of an Army man, he always felt inclined towards this profession and therefore joined Indian Army at the age of 16 years and five months.
The Battle of Tiger Hill encompasses the battles fought in and around the peak of Tiger Hill between the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army from the final week of May till the second week of June 1999, during the Kargil War. Yadav, signed up with the 18 Grenadiers, and was part of the Ghatak Force commando platoon, which was commanded to seize three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill. The bunkers were situated at the top of a cliff which was 100 ft high vertically. It was heavily covered with snow and was difficult to reach. Yadav was on the fore-front of the assault. He climbed the cliff face and installed ropes that would allow further assaults on the feature. When they reached halfway up the hill, they were exposed to machine gun and rocket fire . The enemy bunker ended up killing the platoon commander and two others. The enemies thought that they were dead and to be sure of it fired them continuously. With the grace of god, Yadav survived the bullets and In spite of being hit by multiple bullets in his groin and shoulder, he climbed the remaining 60 feet of the hill and reached to the top. Though severely injured, he crawled to the first bunker and threw a grenade, killing four Pakistani soldiers and neutralizing enemy fire. This gave the rest of the platoon the opportunity to climb up the cliff face.
Gradually, he reached the second bunker along with two of his fellow soldiers and engaged in hand-to-hand combat, killing four Pakistani soldiers. The platoon eventually captured Tiger Hill. Even being hit by 21 bullets, Yadav didn’t lose courage and continued to fight for his nation. After getting severely injured, it was believed that he wouldn’t survive and therefore the Param Vir Chakra was announced for Yadav posthumously. Soon it became clear to everyone that Yogendra Singh Yadav was in fact recovering and fighting for his life at the hospital. It also became public knowledge later that it was not him but his namesake who was killed in the mission.
There have been alot of Bollywood adaptations on the life of the kargil hero and the war in particular. Movie “Lakshya” revolves around the heroic deeds of Yadav’s platoon with Hritik Roshan in the lead character. Another movie, “ LOC Kargil” was filmed about the Ghatak platoon from the same regiment on Tololing. Bollywood actors Manoj Bajpai and Ashutosh Rana portrayed the role of Yadav in the film.
It is important to note that often when soldiers go through the intense times of war, very few amongst them want to continue serving for the army. Yogendra Singh Yadav, even after bleeding almost to death, continued being a part of the army as a Junior Commissioned Officer. Taking a glance at the lives of such heroes, one weeps at the thought of someone being so devoted and committed towards the vision of India. There are very few soldiers from history who have outshined like the kargil heroes. Yadav is one of the three living recipients of the PVR award and India salutes Yadav’s leadership and his contribution to the army.