India’s Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes- Review

Book Title: India’s Most Fearless: True stories of Modern Military Heroes

Author: Shiv Aroor, Rahul Singh

Publisher: Penguin Books

Pages: 272

Price: Rs. 250

India’s Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes gives us glimpse of heroism of Indian defence personnel. The book by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh narrates 14 stories of extraordinary courage. These are stories of Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. There will be hundreds of stories of great courage shown by soldiers but selecting 14 is not easy. The authors have done it perfectly.

The authors were able to meet officials and persons who were part of the operations. In some case, they also met family members of martyrs. The first chapter is on the last year’s surgical strikes across Line of Control (LoC). It gives first-hand accounts of that highly debated surgical strike. The job was not easy. The soldiers always prefer to remain silent. They cannot reveal certain things as operations are always conducted in the most secretive ways.

India decided to do a surgical strike immediately after Uri was attacked. The sentiment was running high and so the decision was taken at the highest level. It was not the first one. Less than four days after the Uri attack, Pakistan’s then PM Nawaz Sharif addressed United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and said,” Peace between India and Pakistan cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.”

The Major who led the mission talks to authors on the surgical strikes. The officer is referred as Major Mike Tango in the book for obvious reasons. The responsibility of strike was given to an elite Para-SF (special forces). SF are never deployed for defence. Their principal task is to attack and destroy. On September 26 2016 they received message to be on standby. The targets were two terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) across Uri and two other teams were given a single launch pad target each. According to authors, a total of 38-40 terrorists and 2 Pakistani Army personnel were killed at the four targets. The return was the most difficult part. Maj. Tango recalls,” At one point, bullets were so close, they were whistling past our ears. There’s a familiar put-put sound when rounds fly very close to your head. If I were a foot taller, I would have been hit many times over.”

The second chapter is on the surgical strike in Myanmar. It was in June 2015. The decision of surgical strike was taken following the killing of 18 Army jawans in Manipur. The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang, Kangleipak Communist Party and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup were believed to be behind the ambush. They managed to return to their safe haven in the forest of Myanmar after killing Indian soldiers. Both Pakistan and Myanmar denied of any surgical strikes took place in their land.

The book tells us about brave Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami. He always led from the front. Maj. Kumar said,” He used his terrain wisdom to detect a trail-something that the drone could not see.” He was martyred in Kashmir in September 2015 fighting terrorists. The story of Havildar Hangpan Dada is of amazing courageous person. Every soldier who fought alongside Dada swears they have never seen a man so possessed by the fight. The tale of Dada’s final fight became a legend soon. Maj. Raj reminisces,” We did not celebrate the killing of 4 terrorists. We mourned the loss of a remarkably brave soldier, a brother. For 3 days, no one in the company spoke about the operation.” He was posthumously awarded India’s highest peacetime military honour, the Ashok Chakra.

The chapter on Captain Jaidev Dangi “Two Bullets Can’t Kill a Commando” shows his tremendous confidence. He told his colleague Mukesh, who was injured while fighting terrorist, that two bullets cannot kill a commando. Capt. Dangi finally shot dead Hizbul Mujahideen area commander Adil Ahmed Mir. Adil was a mentor of Burhan Wani. The story of Cdr Mokashi is of 2015. He captained Navy’s patrolling warship INS Sumitra. The warship rescued 1621 stranded persons including over 600 foreigners from 26 countries from the Yemen. Mokashi was awarded with the Shaurya Chakra.

The book highlights how Indian soldiers display heroism in hostile conditions. Finally, the question comes to the mind is when militancy and conflict will end. When people will be able to live in a peaceful atmosphere.

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