Manoj Kumar Pandey

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Captain
Manoj Kumar Pandey
PVC
ManojKumarPandey.jpg
Born (1975-06-25)25 June 1975
Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh.
Died 3 July 1999(1999-07-03) (aged 24)
Batalik Sector, Kargil
Allegiance Republic of India India
Service/branch Indian Army Flag of Indian Army.svg
Rank Captain of the Indian Army.svg Captain
Unit 11gorkha.jpg 1/11 Gorkha Rifles
Battles/wars Kargil War
Awards Param Vir Chakra Param Vir Chakra.png

Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975, Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh - 2/3 July 1999, Kashmir), was an officer of the Indian Army of the regiment 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, posthumously awarded the India's highest military honour, Param Vir Chakra for his audacious courage and leadership during adverse times. He died during the attack on Jubar Top, Khalubar Hills in Batalik Sector, Kargil.

Early Life[edit]

Captain Manoj Pandey, PVC belonged to Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh. He was the son of Shri Gopi Chand Pandey, a small time businessman living in lucknow. He was eldest in his family. He was educated at Sainik School, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Rani Laxmi Bai Memorial Senior Secondary School. He had a keen interest in sports with boxing and body building in particular. He passed out from National Defence Academy in 90th course and stayed in MIKE squadron. He wanted to join Gorkha Rifles and got commissioned in the 1/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.

Prior to his selection, during his Services Selection Board (SSB) interview, the interviewer asked him, "Why do you want to join the Army?" He immediately replied, "I want to win the Param Vir Chakra." True to his words, Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey did win the country's highest gallantry honour but posthumously.

Kargil[edit]

He forced back the intruders on 11 June 1999 at Batalik Sector in the Kargil War. He led his men to capture the Jubar top which was considered as important due to its strategic location. Quickly sizing up the situation, the young officer led his platoon along a narrow, treacherous ridge that led to the enemy position. While still short of the objective, the enemy fired upon the Indian soldiers effectively stalling the Indian attack. Displaying great courage, he surged ahead of his troops and charged at the enemy with a full-throated battle cry through a hail of bullets.

Although wounded in the shoulder and leg, he pressed on his solitary charge with grim determination, until he closed in on the first bunker. Then in ferocious hand-to-hand combat, he killed two of the enemy and cleared the first bunker. It was the turning point. Inspired by their leader's spontaneous valour, the troops charged at the enemy and fell upon them. Unmindful of his grievous wounds, he rushed from bunker to bunker urging his men on. Critically injured, he collapsed at the final bunker and finally succumbed to his injuries. But by this time he had already captured the bunker with his men.

Operation Vijay[edit]

Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey took part in a series of boldly led attacks during Operation Vijay; forcing back the intruders with heavy losses in Battlik including the capture of Jubbar Top.

On the night of 3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Captain Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being in a vulnerable position. He quickly moved his platoon to an advantageous position under intense enemy fire, sent one section to clear the enemy positions from the right and himself proceeded to clear the enemy positions from the left.

Death[edit]

Fearlessly assaulting the first enemy position, he killed two enemy personnel and destroyed the second position by killing two more. He was injured on the shoulder and legs while clearing the third position. Undaunted and without caring for his grievous injuries, he continued to lead the assault on the fourth position urging his men and destroyed the same with a grenade, even as he got a fatal burst on his forehead.

His last words were "Na chhodnu" ("Don't Spare Them" in Nepali language). This singular daredevil act of Captain Pandey provided the critical firm base for the companies, which finally led to capture of Khalubar. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries. Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, thus, displayed most conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.

Param Vir Chakra[edit]

The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:

Captain MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY
1/11 Gorkha Rifles (IC 56959W)

Captain Manoj Kumar Panday took part in a series of boldly led attacks during ‘operation Vijay; forcing back the intruders with heavy losses in Batalik including the capture of Jabbar Top. On the night of 2/3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Captain Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being in a vulnerable position. He quickly moved his platoon to an advantageous position under intense enemy fire, sent one section to clear the enemy positions from the right and himself proceeded to clear the enemy positions from the left. Fearlessly assaulting the first enemy position, he killed two enemy personnel and destroyed the second position by killing two more. He was injured on the shoulder and legs while clearing the third position. Undaunted and without caring for his grievous injuries, he continued to lead the assault on the fourth position urging his men and destroyed the same with a grenade, even as he got a fatal burst on his forehead. This singular daredevil act of Captain Pandey provided the critical firm base for the companies, which finally led to capture of Khalubar. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries.

Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, thus, displayed most conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.

Legacy[edit]

  • Manoj Kumar Pandey was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest medal for gallantry, posthumously.
  • His father, Mr. Gopichand Pandey, received the award from the President of India on the 52nd Indian Republic Day.
  • Manoj Pandey is considered a martyr for his sacrifice to his country. He remains as a role model to people everywhere.
  • The Army Welfare Housing Organization (AWHO) designed and constructed an apartment complex for veterans in Ghaziabad district, Uttar Pradesh, and named it for Pandey as Manoj Vihar.
  • The army quarters near the Cardio Thoracic Center(CTC) hospital in Pune is named after Martyr Capt Manoj Pandey as 'Capt. Manoj Pandey Enclave'
  • The National Defence Academy named the science block as the 'Manoj Pandey Block'.[1]
  • A roundabout is also named after Martyr Capt.Manoj Pandey as "Captain Manoj Pandey Chowk" in his home district Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh and center of Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • A hall is made in the name of Capt. Manoj at Service Selection Center Allahabad named as Manoj Pandey Block.
  • A gallery in the Kargil War Museum at Drass is named after him.[2]
  • In the memory of his greatest efforts to save the nation from the enemy forces, Rani Lakshmi Bai Memorial Senior Secondary School constructed an auditorium in his name, which was inaugurated by his father and mother.

His diary[edit]

  • Manoj used to maintain a personal dairy, where he penned down everything he learnt. In his personal diary he wrote "Some goals are so worthy, it's glorious even to fail".
  • On several instances, he poured his heart out. The poetry he wrote in the memory of his doting mother read: "She is the star which shines brightly in the darkness, some one who will always give and bless."
  • Just below the poem, are the four lines written in bold letters, which shows the metal, out of which Lt Manoj Kumar Pandey's Param Vir Chakra was carved: "If death strikes before I prove my blood, I promise (swear), I will kill death."

In film[edit]

He was portrayed by Ajay Devgan in the film LOC Kargil.

References[edit]

External links[edit]