Theatrical tribute to Kargil hero

Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, the global youth wing of Chinmaya Mission, in an effort to inspire the country’s youth, are conducting mono act plays on the lives of the martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War. The first such play will be held on the life of Param Veer Captain Vikram Batra, on his eleventh martyrdom day today. Captain Batra, of the 13 JAK Riles, captured point 5140 in Dras sector and point 4875 in Mushkoh valley during the Kargil war.

Inspiring Youngsters

After capturing point 5140, the 24-year-old captain had made famous the line, ‘Yeh dil maange more’ (the heart wants more), referring to his desire to lead his battalion to more victories. The young Captain fell in battle to enemy fire, while attempting to save a fellow officer.

Shiva Suryavanshi, an actor from the Himachal Culture Research Forum and Theatre Academy, Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), will be playing Captain Batra in the play. Says Suryavanshi, “Youngsters today aren’t keen to join the Indian army. They know very little about the sacrifices our heroes have made. We know about Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, but they don’t know about a Vikram Batra or Manoj Pandey, who also sacrificed their lives for the country.”

“In fact, we held a quiz for people on Marine Drive and Chowpatty recently, to see how many people knew Captain Vikram Batra,” he continues. “And the results were shocking — hardly anyone knew about his sacrifices. With our plays, we want to create awareness about our heroes.”

The play will depict the life of Captain Batra before his time in the army, as well as his bravery during the war. Suryavanshi met the Captain’s parents, and read the book, Param Vir Chakra, by Major General Ian Cardozo, to understand him better.

“His life is as inspiring as his achievements during Kargil are,” Suryavanshi says. “Captain Batra had been selected in the Merchant Navy, and was getting a great package there, but he didn’t take it up, and preferred the Indian Army instead. “In fact, his father had wanted him to give an exam for MA in Literature, but Vikram was so interested in joining the army, that he filled the entire paper with ‘Jai Bharat.’”

Country-Wide Play

The Yuva Kendra has invited current and former army officers to watch the play. Captain Batra’s parents will attend the event as the guests of honour. After this play, Suryvanshi will also enact the lives of other brave martyrs like Lieutenant Manoj Pandey and Major Somnath Sharma too.

“We have received invitations from Delhi, Chennai and Goa, and we hope to present the play in those cities as well,” Suryavanshi says. “This is just the beginning – we want to inspire the entire country.”

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