Twenty three years ago, on this day, 26 July, Indian Army troops recaptured all the Indian posts in Kargil that had been occupied by Pakistan’s army and brought to an end to the war that had been raging since May.
Since then, this day has been celebrated across the country as Kargil Vijay Diwas to honour the war heroes.
To commemorate their valiant efforts, newly-elected President Droupadi Murmu said: “Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of extraordinary valour of the armed forces, and people will always be indebted to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives to protect Mother India.”
कारगिल विजय दिवस हमारे सशस्त्र बलों की असाधारण वीरता, पराक्रम और दृढ़ संकल्प का प्रतीक है। भारत माता की रक्षा के लिए अपने प्राण न्योछावर करने वाले सभी वीर सैनिकों को मैं नमन करती हूं। सभी देशवासी, उनके और उनके परिवारजनों के प्रति सदैव ऋणी रहेंगे। जय हिन्द!
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 26, 2022
As the country marks this solemn occasion, we take a look back the story behind the famous words
‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ uttered by Kargil War hero Captain Vikram Batra and became the slogan for the Kargil war.
A catchy tagline
The slogan ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ was first released as a tagline for Pepsi in 1998. The ad film at that point featured an up-and-coming Shahid Kapoor, with the cast of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherji, and Kajol, in an extended dance sequence.
The slogan was the brainchild of Anuja Chauhan at JWT. This was the Indian version of the ‘Ask For More’ commercial by Janet Jackson for Pepsi.
The phrase became extremely popular, especially with the youth whom Pepsi was targeting, and it became a part of the everyday lexicon in India.
Later, in 2018 former chief of the Pepsi business for communications firm JWT Rohit Ohri also named ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ as his personal favourite advertising campaign.“’Yeh dil maange more’ had more heart than the other slogan. This was because ‘Ask for more’ was more about asking for more of a drink and ‘Yeh dil maange more’ was more about wanting more from life and thus had a deeper and richer meaning,” he was quoted as saying in an interview to Business Standard.
Becoming synonymous with Vikram Batra
If the slogan was catchy, it was immortalised and holds a special place in the hearts of Indians today, thanks to Captain Vikram Batra — who was later christened as Shershah for his brave exploits during the Kargil War.
Initially planning to join the Merchant Navy, Vikram Batra, hailing from Bandla Gaon in Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh, changed his mind last minute and enrolled into the Indian Army.
He was commissioned into the 13 JAK Rifles, an infantry regiment well known for its intrepid soldiers and numerous battle exploits.
When the Kargil War broke out in May 1999, his battalion received orders to move to Dras.
After leading a series of successful attacks, the toughest challenge was when Batra’s Delta company was tasked to capture Point 5140 on Tololing. The peak was the highest point on the Tololing Ridge and one of the most arduous and crucial peaks in the Drass region.
On 19 June 1999, Batra, who realised that the steep cliffs do not provide any cover against the enemy’s line of sight, decided to lead his company from the opposite side to surprise them.
Once he was discovered, Batra hurled two grenades at the Pakistani’s machine gun posts, forcing the enemy to retreat. He led hand-to-hand combat and killed three soldiers. By this time, Batra was seriously wounded, but he did not give up. He continued to lead his mean to the peak of the hill where they regrouped with the rest of the company and captured the peak.
At 4.35 am on 20 June, after having killed eight soldiers and capturing one heavy artillery gun a tired Batra radioed his command post, uttering the four words — ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’.
Batra reiterated the slogan during an interview with reporter Barkha Dutt for NDTV. “My company’s success signal was ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’. The guys were so highly charged up that they wanted that more bunkers should have been there and we would have got more chaps,” he told Dutt in the interview, thus turning those four words into a national motto.
I’m often asked which assignment has shaped me most-my answer always- the privilege to report the Kargil war. On #KargilVijayDiwas goosebumps to this day recalling Vikram Batra saying Yeh Dil Maange More’ to me & here- a trip to Kargil with his twin Vishal https://t.co/AIsbzqZ4rT
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 26, 2022
The capture of Point 5140 subsequently led to other success stories.
After that ordeal, Batra along with his pack, fought and won the adjoining peaks. Amid thick fog, he with his men began a precarious climb to peak 4875 at a height of approximately 16,000 feet.
On 7 July, at Point 4875, Vikram called his Commanding Officer again, just to say, ‘yeh dil maange more’. As if in answer, the enemy launched a counter attack, and Vikram rushed to rescue an injured officer.
“His subedar begged Vikram not to go, saying he would,” his father recounts, adding, “but Vikram told him: ‘Tu baal-bacchedar hain, hat ja peeche. (You have children, step aside)’. He lunged forward to save the soldier when a bullet pierced through his chest.”
By the morning, India won back Peak 4875 but lost Vikram Batra.
Param Vir Chakra for bravery
His bravery, fighting skills and leadership earned him the country’s highest award for valour, the Param Vik Chakra on 15 August 1999.
His father GL Batra received the honour for his deceased son from the President of India, the late KR Narayanan.
As India celebrates its victory in Kargil, one can’t help that the outcome of the war could have been very different if it wasn’t for the likes of Captain Vikram Batra. Long live his bravery!
With inputs from agencies