There has always been a complex relation between India and Pakistan due to a large number of political and historical events. Relations between the two states have been defined by the brutal partition of British India in 1947 where the Kashmiri conflict and the several military conflicts fought between the two nations.
The relationship then soon turned out to be a pure malice and unfriendliness, thereby resulting in hostile behaviour between the two. According to the reports, the war lasted over 83 days from May 4, 1999, to July 26, 1999.
On July 26, 1999, a fierce war came to a close between India and Pakistan where the Indian soldiers displayed exemplary courage. In the process, our soldiers were smart enough to decisions in crunch situations. The soldiers climbed the mountains where they had to and they faced bombardments from enemy fire from the hills.
Not just that, they were involved in hand to hand combats. Despite facing such scenarios, our heroes didn’t let the country down and finally, the operation Vijay was declared successful as India trounced Pakistan well and truly in the Kargil war.
The victorious day since then has been identified and celebrated as “Kargil Vijay Diwas”. In the battle, our nation suffered 527 casualties, in what was the higher Warzone. Apart from that, more than 1300 soldiers were injured. “July 26” is wholly dedicated to our unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives for our motherland.
One of the heroes who bravely fought for the nation was the veteran Satbir Singh of the Rajputana Rifles. He was left disabled when he took six bullets for the country during the 1999 war. He was someone who was never scared of anything that came in his way.
Like other soldiers, he had the primary motive to safeguard the nation with tones of pride. He was someone who didn’t hesitate to do his duty even at late nights and sometimes, he doesn’t sleep too. This serves as a testament to the fact that he is qualified as ‘a real-life hero’. He gave his heart out for the nation. This is why we must adore him to the core.
Gone are the days when he used to serve the country but now he is forced to run a juice shop in North Delhi’s Mukhmelpur village. It’s been over 18 years since he last extended his fruitful contributions in the Indian Army. The retired soldier now relies on the juice shop business. Apart from being a juice seller, he plied his trade in odd jobs as well.
Speaking exclusively to The Logical Indian, Satbir Singh narrated his unpleasant experience and the 19-year-long battle with the authorities which began after the Kargil War of 1999. Singh joined the Indian army in 1986 and was admitted within the Rajputana Rifles Regiment. At the beginning of his career, Singh was posted in different locations. It was the Kargil War which came as the hardest challenge for him and for the other soldiers who famously fought despite fatal injuries.
Satbir said, “When my regiment was informed about the battle, we were given rigorous training on how to climb mountains.”
Talking about the Kargil war experience, he said, “I threw a hand grenade at them and fired a round of bullets at them.” In the process, three of them were killed by Satbir. Meanwhile, a hiding terrorist shot Satbir in his ankle and the other under the knee which left him disabled for the years to come. As he was crippled and unable to walk, he was admitted at the Army hospital in Delhi for the next year. Due to his inability to walk, he was given an early retirement.
Satbir said, “I got to know that those who are left injured after the Kargil War was to be given an acre of land for sustenance.” Even after acquiring an acre of land he faced yet another challenge. However, after relentless efforts, the Central Government gave him an acre of land.
He said, “I started growing vegetables in that land and started selling that in the market as well.” This land was taken away from him in 2006. In addition to that, the petrol pump, as promised has also not been given to him, said Satbir.
He said, “People with strong political connections created a ruckus and snatched away the land from me.” Not just that but they allegedly threatened the retired jawan and even built a wall around the land to restrict him from using it.
Over the past 18 years, Satbir has claimed to have written over hundreds of letters to different bureaucratic authorities on the subject of his rights and entitlements. However, he didn’t get the right response. He has also filed a number of RTIs (Right To Information) related to the allotment of a petrol pump licence and his farmland being snatched away. He said, “I have copies of forms and letters which state that I am entitled to certain benefits.”
“I was supposed to receive Rs 40,000 a month, but I had been getting Rs 22,900 for all these months. I have sold fruit, cut stones and set up electricity boards as well,” he said. However, in today’s world, this income is not sufficient to run a family of four. His son studies in the second year of college and Satbir managed to do odd jobs to make money for his family.
Satbir will forever remain indebted to the Indian Army. He said, “They are my family and I am forever grateful to them.” He credited military as they helped Satbir to pay for his children’s school fees.