Thi khun se lath path kaaya, phir bhee banduk uthaake
Das das ko ek ne maara, phir gir gaye hosh ganvaake
Jab ant samay aaya toh, kah gaye ke abb marate hain
Khush rahana desh ke pyaaro, abb ham toh safar karate hain
Kya log the woh diwaane, kya log the woh abhimaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani
Tum bhul naa jaao unako, iss liye kahee yeh kahaani
Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani
Jay Hind, Jay Hind ki sena
Jay Hind, Jay Hind, Jay Hind
The legacy of our armed forces is perhaps very aptly depicted by this very famous patriotic song written by Kavi Pradeep, composed by C. Ramchandra, and sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Although it was originally written to commemorate the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Sino-Indian War, the song has transcended time and wars. It has evolved into a song for all our martyrs through history. It reminds us of the sacrifices of our soldiers, their heroism and valiant efforts to protect our country at all times.
Our Soldiers! Soldiers of the Indian Armed forces- the very reference of which instils pride and security amongst its citizens. And why not? Throughout history, our soldiers have left behind a legacy of their valour. They are all heroes to the Nation but there are some amongst them whose outstanding gallantry transcend even heroism and Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse, was one such son if India.
Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse, nicknamed Neibu, by his family and friends, was an Indian Army Officer of 2 Rajputana Rifles. Born in Nerhema village in Kohima district of Nagaland, Capt. Neibu, studied in St. Xaviers School in Jalukie and graduated from Kohima Science College. At the age of 20, he joined the Government High School in Kohima as a teacher and taught there for three years before he decided to join the Indian Army.
Capt. Neibu was referred to as Nimbu Sahab, by the north Indian soldiers commissioned under him. He was the son of a Neiselie Kenguruse, a government employee, who was religious man and did not believe in wars. Understandably, he was not happy with his son’s decision and initially opposed it. However, the legacy of fighters and warriors went back generations in Nerhema and in the Kenguruse family. During Nagaland’s head-hunting days, the village of Nerhema was known as Perhema or home for the ones who always fought. Capt. Neibu’s great-grandfather, Perheile, was also revered as the most respected warrior in the village. So, it was not surprising for Capt. Neibu to have inherited the Naga warrior spirit as well. He convinced his father that the honour of serving in the Indian Army was much greater than the risks associated with it and in December of 1998, he was commissioned into the Indian Army.
Maha Vir Chakra Awardee
In 1999, infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into the Indian side of Line of Control (LOC), led to the Kargil War between India and Pakistan. At that time, Capt. Kenguruse, was a junior commander in the Rajputana Rifles battalion. However, his motivation, determination and ability, earned him the position of the lead commander of the Ghatak Platoon, of his battalion, that makes up the first wave of the counter forces.
As part of Operation Vijay, on June 28, 1999, Capt. Nimbu’s platoon was endowed with the responsibility to take out the machine gun post held by the enemy on a cliff face, called Black Rock. The post was providing the enemy with a strategic advantage and hindering his battalion’s progress. Capt. Kenguruse and his platoon, met with heavy enemy firing while scaling the cliff as a result of which, the he himself was injured by a bullet that pierced through his abdomen. But, Nimbu Sahab was not deterred. He urged his men to continue on their mission.
Very close to the enemy post, the platoon’s advance was halted by a vertical rock. To help his men continue, he secured a rope but his boots kept slipping on the icy slopes that hung at obtuse angles. Still bleeding profusely from the gunshot, Capt. Neibu, ignored the intense adverse conditions of his health and the weather. At 16,000 feet and -10°C, he removed his boots, and continued on his climb hauling a RPG rocket launcher. He attacked the seven Pakistani bunkers when the enemy retaliated with intense gunfire. He even defeated two enemy soldiers in hand-to-hand combat with a commando knife and single-handedly fought against some others. His valour helped the Indian platoon unfurl the Indian flag once again on the Black Rock. But it cost the nation his life.
Capt. Kenguruse, had personified bravery and heroism. He had almost single-handedly won the Black Rock for India through his determination and dedication to his Nation and his duty. His jawans dedicated their victory to their beloved Nimbu Sahab. “Yeh aapki jeet hai, Nimbu Sahab. Yeh aapki jeet hai”, they cried on seeing the lifeless body of their commander.
He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra award and is the only soldier from the Army Services Corps (ASC) to have been honoured by it. His medal citation read ‘He displayed conspicuous gallantry, indomitable resolve, grit and determination beyond the call of duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the face of the enemy, in true traditions of the Indian Army’. His last rites were performed at Dimapur with full military honours, where despite three decades of insurgencies, Nagaland united to pay respect and honour the National Hero.
Kargil hero, Capt Neikezhakuo Kenguruse MVC’s statue unveiled by his parents at ASC center
“Dad, I may not be able to return home to be a part of our family again. Even if I don’t make it, do not grieve for me because I have already decided to give my best for the nation”, wrote Capt. Kenguruse in his last letter to his father and lived up to every word of it. He gave his life for his Nation, in the true spirit of the Indian Armed Force.
Image credit: twitter.com, indiatimes.com