The year 2021 marks the 22nd year of the victory of the Indian Army over the Pakistani intruders in the Kargil district,  popularly called the Kargil War. On the occasion, Deepak Surana got into the conversation with Local Samosa about his books ‘The Shershah of Kargil’ and ‘The Kargil Folklore’.

The Kargil war, which broke out between May and July 1999 between the Indian Army and Pakistani intruders, later turned out to be the paramilitary forces, had claimed not less than 527 lives on India’s side. While many of the national heroes who sacrificed their lives or were alive after the war were recognized by the government, a lot of them remained unrecognized, whose efforts led to India’s victory in the war. And, this was not acceptable for Deepak Surana, a patriot who wrote ‘The Kargil Folklore’, including over 100 stories of such martyrs.

Talking about his book, which was released on July 26, 2019, marking the 20th year of the war, the Bengaluru-based author says that people should not forget the ones who gave their lives for the country and its people. “When I began researching about the incidents that took place during the war, it filled me with emotions as well as pride. Such stories of our Jawans should be there for people to understand their sacrifices,” he says.

Out of all the stories that have been covered by Mr. Surana, he says, the one which had a long-lasting impression on his mind was of the Jawan Balwant Singh, who was martyred after handling the bullets for 12 hours. “As his comrades tried to save him, Balwant Singh had asked them to not do so because, for him, it was important to win the war and not to be saved. I remember how this incident had shaken me from within,” says Mr. Surana telling another heartwarming incident.

Deepak Surana

“While I was writing the book, I had also met a young man coincidentally who asked if I was writing about his father or not in my book. His father was Ranbir Singh, who was martyred in June while his son was born in September. He had not even seen his father but the moment I told him I was writing about his father in my book, he smiled and I can never forget that gesture ever in life,” the 25-year-old says.

‘The Kargil of Folklore’ is, though, his second book. Before this, he had traced out the sacrifices made by Captain Vikram Batra, who was awarded the ‘Param Vir Chakra’, the highest gallantry award for his contribution during the Kargil War, to write a biography of him in ‘The Shershah of Kargil’. According to various reports, ‘Sher Shah’ was the term used by the Pakistani military to refer to Captain Batra in their intercepted messages.

The book was compiled in 2016 after contacting Vishal Batra, Captain’s identical twin, through LinkedIn, followed by mails. “I was in contact with him (Vishal Batra) for three years before writing the book. I wanted to cover the finest details of the life of Captain Batra, who made the whole country proud in the Kargil war,” says Deepak Surana.

Hindi movies, and inspiration

The 7-year-old Deepak Surana had found his inclination towards the Indian Army, even though he never got the chance to join it. “I remember going to watch movies like Border, LOC Kargil, Lakshya and being fascinated about the lives and sacrifices of the Indian Army. I cannot ignore how those movies played an integral role in motivating me to write about the war and the brave people,” he says.

His book, The Shershah of Kargil, is now part of the syllabus of a few courses taken by the young officers of the Indian Army. However, the happiness for Mr. Surana lies in the fact that this book was taken to ‘Point 4875’, or ‘Batra point’, which Captain Vikram Batra had recaptured from the Pakistani intruders during the Kargil War. Mr. Surana remembers the moment he had received the picture from Vishal Batra, who had gone to the Point on July 7, 2019, along with the Indian Army to mark the 20th death anniversary of Captain Batra and calls it “unforgettable”.

Vishal Batra with ‘The Shershah of Kargil’

“I had requested Mr. Batra to send me a picture from there as he had participated in the expedition with the Indian Army. And, as I received it from him, I could not stop feeling blessed about my very small contribution to bringing out the stories of the pride of our nation – our jawans,” he says.

Also Read: ‘C’ for Constitution, ‘E’ for Education…. Learn the ‘Inqilab alphabets’ created by Sarah Modak, the illustration artist from Mumbai!

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