Anuj Nayyar – Who Laid Down His Life Two Months Ahead of His Date of Marriage When He Was Just 21

A soldier for whom nation always came first, Anuj Nayyar set an example of courage and dedication seldom equalled in the history of the Indian Army. He lived up to the promise he had made to his father in one of his many letters to his family: “I am not that irresponsible that I will die without fulfilling my duties for the country. My army and this country has put so much faith in me, it would be a mistake to think of death at this time. Till the last enemy is there I will keep breathing.” In fact, Anuj even left his engagement ring with his commanding officer when he left for the Pt. 4875 mission, asking him to return it to his fiancée Timmy in case he never came back.(Engaged for over a year when the war began, the two were planning to get married in September.)

Born on August 28, 1975, Anuj Nayyar grew up in Delhi. His father, S K Nayyar, worked as a visiting professor in Delhi School of Economics while his mother, Meena Nayyar, worked for the South Campus library of Delhi University. A student of Dhaula Kuan’s Army Public School, Anuj was deeply patriotic from a young age and always wanted to join the army. And he fulfilled this cherished dream by joining the National Defence Academy (Echo Squadron).

In 1997, Anuj graduated from the Indian Military Academy to be commissioned into the 17th battalion, Jat Regiment (17 Jat). During 1999, Capt Anuj Nayyar’s unit was deployed in J & K along the LOC when the Indian Army detected a massive infiltration by the Pakistani military and paramilitary forces in the Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir. Capt Nayyar, a junior commander in the 17 Jat Regiment, was one of the more than 500,000 Indian troops deployed in the region. His first major operation involved securing Pt. 4875, also known as Pimple II, a strategic mountain peak on the western side of Tiger Hill which was occupied by Pakistani infiltrators. Due to its strategic location, securing Pt. 4875 was a top priority for the Indian Army. The peak, which stood at 15,990 feet above sea level, had extremely steep slopes. The eviction of Pakistani regulars from Pt 4875 in Kargil was crucial if Tiger Hill had to be recaptured. Capt Nayyar’s Charlie Company was given the task to secure the peak without waiting for any aerial support on 07 July 1999.

During the initial phase of the assault on Pt. 4875, Capt Nayyar’s company commander Maj Ritesh Sharma got injured and was evacuated. Capt Nayyar who had been promoted to the Captain’s rank during the Kargil war itself, took over as the company commander. After the initial setback, the assault team split into two groups, one led by Capt Vikram Batra and other by Capt Nayyar. The Pakistani infiltrators had constructed several bunkers on Pt. 4875 and Capt Nayyar’s team, which consisted of 7 personnel, located 4 enemy bunkers. The company began to ascend Pt. 4875 during which it came under heavy artillery and mortar fire from Pakistani infiltrators. However, the troops counter-attacked, which also included hand-to-hand combat, forcing the Pakistani soldiers to retreat. During the battle, Capt Nayyar killed 9 Pakistani soldiers and destroyed three medium machine gun bunkers.

Under Captain Nayyar’s leadership, the company had successfully cleared three of the four bunkers and began its assault on the last remaining bunker. While clearing the fourth bunker, an enemy rocket-propelled grenade directly hit Capt Nayyar. Despite being grievously injured, Capt Nayyar continued to lead the remaining men in his company. He succumbed to his injuries but not before clearing the last bunker on Pt. 4875. None of the soldiers from Capt Nayyar’s team of Charlie Company survived the battle. Two days after Pt. 4875 was secured, it was counter-attacked by Pakistani infiltrators during which the second team of the Charlie Company, led by Capt Batra, successfully defended the peak. The securing of the Pimple Complex area paved the way for the recapture of Tiger Hill which finally forced Pakistan to retreat its forces to pre-conflict positions.

Capt Nayyar’s courage and leadership was an inspiration to his troops. He had such a deep impact on his troop members that Tejbir Singh, a fellow soldier of the Jat Regiment, named his son Anuj in honour of Capt Anuj Nayyar. Capt Anuj Nayyar was given the nation’s second highest gallantry award, “Maha Vir Chakra” for his exceptional courage, unyielding fighting spirit, and supreme sacrifice.

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