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Almost exactly 19 years later, Hitesh has been commissioned as a lieutenant in the Indian Army after passing out from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.
Not just that, he will be serving in the same battalion as his father. Shortly after the passingout parade, Hitesh paid tribute to his deceased father, Bachan Singh, at the latter’s memorial in the Civil Lines area of Muzaffarnagar.
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,” said Hitesh.
“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,” said a tearful Kamesh Bala, Hitesh’s mother, at the memorial to the Kargil martyr.
“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,” said Rishipal Singh, who was in Bachan’s battalion.
It was the 2nd Battalion of Rajputana Rifles which won Tololing, the very first success in Kargil, which was the launch pad for further assaults.
It came at a very heavy cost. It took three weeks of fighting and over 100 casualties.
Four officers were killed in the final assault as well as two JCOs and 17 jawans. Seventy were wounded.
The battalion’s second in command was among those killed, the most senior officer killed in Kargil.