On the night of June 12, 1999, a lance naik in the second Battalion of Rajputana Rifles, Bachan Singh was killed in Kargil at Tololing. At that time, his son, Hitesh Kumar was just six years old. After hearing the news, he swore to become a part of the Indian Army when he grew up.
Following his passion, exactly 19 years later Hitesh Kumar has been appointed as a lieutenant in the Indian Army. The 25-year old got this position after passing out from the Indian Military Academy of Dehradun.
Moreover, he will be serving in the same battalion that his father served. In Civil Lines area of Muzaffarnagar, Hitesh paid tribute to his deceased father at his memorial, soon after the passing out parade.
Expressing his feelings, Hitesh Kumar said, “For 19 years, I dreamt of joining the Army. It became my mother’s dream too. Now I want to serve my country with pride and honesty.”
At the memorial to the Kargil martyr, Hitesh’s mother, Kamesh Bala said with teary eyes, “It has been a difficult life since Bachan was martyred. I dedicated my life to raising my two sons.”
“Today I am proud that Hitesh was commissioned into the Army. His younger brother, Hemant, is also preparing to join the Army. There is nothing more I could ask for,” she added.
Rishipal Singh, Bachan’s mate from his battalion said, “Bachan was a brave soldier. When our battalion was attacked at Tololing, he was shot in the head and died on the battlefield. We lost 17 soldiers that day, including Maj Vivek Gupta from Dehradun. I am glad Bachan’s son has received his commission. His father would have been proud of him.”
2nd Battalion of Rajputana Rifles brought the very first success in Kargil, when it won Tololing. This became the launching platform for further assaults.
The winning came with a very heavy cost and took three weeks of fighting, along with over 100 casualties.
In the final assault, four officers, two JCOs and 17 jawans were killed. Besides, seventy were injured. Among those killed was the battalion’s second in command, and was the senior most officer killed in Kargil.