As a country, we have often showered love, honor, and respect on those who not only are undeserving of those respects but also have no contribution to the nation. Can you believe that Saif Ali Khan was awarded the Padma Shri in 2010 when all he had to his name was a series of flop movies? A degenerate Hinduphobe MF Hussain was decorated with Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhusan. However, civilians, who have endeavored to protect and enrich the country, have often been overlooked.
In recent years, the BJP government has introduced a pleasant change in the system. The country’s deserving sons and daughters are recognized and awarded. However, one such man who remains unaddressed and unacknowledged despite his massive service to Bharatbhoomi is Tashi Namgyal.
Every year on July 26, we proudly celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas to commemorate the glorious victory of Bhartiya soldiers over the infiltrating Pakistani intruders. But it was Tashi, a poor Buddhist shepherd from Gharkon near Kargil, who was the first Bharatiya to thwart the evil designs of the Pakistanis.
On May 2, 1999, Tashi began his day as another day at work. He was looking for one of his yaks when he spotted six men breaking stones and cleaning up the snow. This appeared rather unusual for the shepherd after he noticed no footprints around. It was evident that these men had come from the other side of the border. These men were dressed in Pathanis and the Pakistani army uniforms; some also had weapons.
This scene witnessed by Tashi was the launch of what we today know as the Kargil War. As soon as Tashi saw the infiltration and understood it for what it was, he immediately reported it to the Army. Based on his information, the Bharatiya Army sent a team of 20 to 25 Army men with him to scan the spot and discovered that Pakistan was gearing up for a battle.
The Bharatiya armed forces moved quickly and took full action, minimizing the damage. The bravado of the armed forces and the supreme sacrifices made by the 527 Braveheart remain etched in the history of this land. The war continued for two months, three weeks, and two days, after which our armed forces unfurled the Tricolour, reclaiming our land.
However, somewhere down the line, we as a country have forgotten Tashi, whose timely shared intel made the victory happen. Our successive governments have also failed to recognize his wisdom and service to the nation. In one of his interviews, he shares how he and other villagers had supported the Army in the war times.
“I took my kids towards the Khalsi village as artillery fired like rain here. For three months, local people helped the Army in bringing the weapons. Even we took the weapons to high mountains after shifting our families to safety,” he recounts.
A simple man, Tashi shares that he is illiterate, so he has not been able to reach anywhere in life. Despite getting no civil awards for his act of wisdom, he continues to love his motherland. “India is my country, and I will always stand for it. The Pakistanis came like rats and were defeated,” he says.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has initiated a great practice and discipline of rewarding and recognizing the people who come from the ordinary but make extraordinary achievements for the country. We expect the government to acknowledge Tashi’s contribution too at the earliest. He is one of the real unsung heroes of the Kargil War.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I feel ignorant for not knowing about him. I hope Modi ji recognizes him on the next Kargil Vijay diwas.