Shaheed Major Mariappan Saravanan - 'Hero of Batalik'

Major Mariappan Saravanan is possibly the first officer to fall in the Kargil conflict. He was an officer in the prestigious Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army. He was Martyred in hand to hand combat with intruders after killing four intruders in the Batalik area of Kargil Sector on 29 May 1999, along with 33 soldiers and four other officers.

Major Mariappan Saravanan had led a platoon up the Jubar Hills on May 29. While he was able to take back two bunkers the rest of Jubar Hills was under enemy control. One of the platoon members accompanying Major Mariappan Saravanan and the only one to survive the attack, was Naik Shatrughan. He was hit on his legs three times and it took him ten days to crawl back to base. He gave the unit the information of how Major Mariappan Saravanan died after killing at least four of the enemy in hand-to -hand combat. Naik Shatrughan later died in the field hospital because of gangrene.

Major Mariappan Saravanan , the hero of Batalik, was finally among friends. Martyred on May 29 after wresting two bunkers from the enemy, Maj Sarvanan’s mortal remains lay out of the reach of his men until July 3.

All this while members of 1 Bihar, his unit, fought valiantly and desperately, having taken an oath to not only recover his body but also the Indian heights from the infiltrators. Success was theirs on July 3 when they brought the hero home.

Major Mariappan Saravanan is possibly the first officer to fall in the Kargil conflict. The attack led by him came in the early stages of the conflict when adequate information was not available.

On 28 May 1999, Major Mariappan Saravanan was assigned the task of capturing a well fortified enemy post in the most inhospitable terrain at an altitude of 14299 feet (Pt 4268). The officer brought his coy into action on night 28/29 May 99 and launched the assault on the enemy position at 0400h on 29 May 99. Enemy opened intensive fire with automatic weapons, artillery and mortars making it difficult for Maj Saravanan and his coy to move ahead. In the face of such heavy opposition Maj Saravanan displayed unparalleled courage, and with total disregard to his personal safety charged through the volley of bullets and fired a Rocket Launcher on the enemy bunker, killing two enemies on the spot.

In the fierce fighting the officer sustained splinter injuries. Two more enemies who were hiding in the bunker opened fire from the top killing once NCO and injuring Major Mariappan Saravanan . Despite being injured and facing a heavy volley of fire, Major Mariappan Saravanan eliminated both of them but later succumbed to another burst on his head. Thus Major Mariappan Saravanan , single handedly killed four enemies and led his men from front. He was honoured with the title of 'Hero of Batalik' for his gallant action.

Shaheed Major Mariappan Saravanan , the legend, has been enshrined in the history of one of the most difficult and brutal wars ever fought by any Army. His name and his saga of extreme bravery has been etched in golden letters in the annals of the Indian Army as the entire nation stands as one to salute him, who was the first army officer to have shed his blood on the frontiers for the country and the last one to come back home. And whenever there is talk of bravery the Nation will talk of Major Mariappan Saravanan, he who enabled the country to climb the first pedestal of success in "Operation Vijay".

The Historical Monument for the "Batalik Hero", at the heart of his home town, Trichy, has been inaugurated on his 8th Anniversary, 29-05-2007 by MAJOR GENERAL SIVA SANKAR, General Officer Commanding, TNAK&K Area. We strongly believe that the monument will blossom more Saravanan to the Pride Nation...

12 years post Kargil war, the memories of the gory battle fought on the inhospitable terrain of Dras and Batalik sectors in Jammu and Kashmir seem to be fading. Through the fading images of our heroes, one figure which looms larger than life is of Major Saravanan, the brave son of Tiruchirapalli city.

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