First to fall, last to return: MAJOR SARAVANAN MARIAPPAN – HERO OF BATALIK LAY NESTLED IN SNOW KEEPING VIGIL TILL THE SECTOR WAS CLEARED OFF ALL ENEMY
1 Bihar regiment was in Assam when #KargilWar
broke out. They were airlifted from the heat of Assam to the cold of Kargil, with little acclimitization. The Batalik region has altitudes of 7000 to 15000 feet and frigid weather of -10 C to -20 C. The high altitudes meant fighting in areas with very little oxygen.
was launched on 26 May. The 27-year-old braveheart, Major Saravanan and his team of Veer Biharis were tasked to capture a well-fortified enemy position, #Point4268
on Jubar Ridge located on the western side of Batalik sector, the second highest battle field in the world after #Siachen
. The terrain comprised of jagged rocks covered with snow and knife edge ridges with no greenery.
Previous two attempts by the unit to capture the point had failed. With his final command to the men , “Do or Die", Maj Mariappa and his men launched a frontal attack on the enemy in the early hours of May 29, 1999. Despite intensive firing from the enemy with artillery and automatic weapons, they charged up into a volley of bullets. During the combat, he was hit by shrapnel and injured but continued fighting. ‘Genghis Khan fall back,’ came the order from his Commanding Officer. ‘Not today sir, we are very close to the objective,’ replied Major Saravanan who was code named #GenghisKhan
Major Saravanan was the first to reach the top. He fired a rocket launcher into the enemy position, killing many enemy soldiers. However, he was hit by a bullet in the head at 6.30 am and fell into a ravine, where his mortal remains nestled in the snow. His unit, 1 Bihar took an oath to capture Point 4268, which they did by 6 July.
The enemy were so entrenched on higher altitude and battle so fierce that Major Saravanan lay martyred in snow until June 14, 37 days after his ultimate sacrifice, following the bitter fight. The entire Jubar ridge was cleared by 8 July. Batalik was free of intruders!
Major Saravanan was among the first casuality in the Kargil War. His mother wrote to then Army Chief, "I am proud that my son was