“Some goals are so worthy, it’s glorious even to fail!.”
—-CAPTAIN MANOJ PANDEY PVC
Captain Pandey was born in Rudha village of Sitapur district, in UP to Gopi Chand Pandey, a small time-businessman living in Lucknow, and mother Mohini. He was eldest of his siblings. He was very obedient to his parents and always help them in their households. He completed his schooling from Sainik School, Lucknow. In the 1st attempt only, he got selected to NDA. In his Personal Interview, he was asked by his interviewing officer, ‘Why do you want to join Armed Forces?’. On this he replied boldly, ‘I want to win Param Vir Chakra’, He was counter questioned, ‘Do you know how it is awarded?’, he answered, ‘Yes Sir, mostly it is awarded posthumously, but I want to win it alive.’ In just 6 years he proved his words by winning the PVC, but sad, he also got that posthumously. He joined NDA for the 90th course. Got commissioned to 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, one of the most decorated regiments of Indian Army, in 1997. His first posting was in Kashmir for insurgency operations. After that he completed 1.5 Years tenure at Siachen, highest battlefield in the world. One of the most difficult terrain to complete a tenure.
|Operation||Op Vijay (Kargil)|
|Award||Param Vir Chakra|
|Date of Martyrdom||Jul 3,1999|
Before the war, 1/11GR had just completed the tenure of Siachen, and was about to move for a peace area for next posting in Pune, when they were called for the Kargil. 1/11 GR was one of the 1st Battalion to be posted at Kargil to get back our captured area from the enemies. CO of the unit was Colonel Lalit Rai. One of his first attack was at Battalik sector with his team, along the capture of Jubar Top. Then ‘B’ company of his battalion was tasked to capture Khalubar, On the night of 2/3 July, he led a platoon to capture the ridge area of Khalubar. He led the team from a narrow trench to reach the final objective, where they spotted 6 enemy bunkers. They suddenly came under heavy firing from the enemy, then he make a quick decision and moved his team from the bad position to an advantageous position. He sent another section from his platoon to flank right, and destroy 2 bunkers. And himself moved straight to attack the remaining 4 bunkers. He assaulted from the front and killed 2 enemies on his own and the bunkers was cleared. After clearing first, he went to the second bunker and there also he killed 2 more enemies. Then while charging on the third he went into hand to hand combat, and was injured. His soldiers told him, Sir only 1 bunker is remaining, we will clear that, you are injured. On this Captain Pandey said, ‘This task was given to me by the CO sir, so I am gonna lead this.’ And he went to fourth bunker and all of a sudden he was hit by a burst of enemy fire on head and chest, and was injured badly, but then also he throw a grenade in the bunker and that killed 3 more enemies. Then it was his final time, and his final words are, ‘NA CHHODNU’ (Don’t spare them in Nepali). He succumbed to his injuries. After listening this, the soldiers went unstoppable and charged the enemies with their highest potential and killed the enemies who have martyred their officer. After this victory, other company of the Unit, went on to capture Khalubar on 7th July. For his exemplary bravery, thinking first about the soldier’s life in place of his own. He showed conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage, exemplary personalvalour, quick decisioning under heavy firing, outstanding leadership, and making an ultimate sacrifice for the nation. Because of this, he achieved his dream of winning PVC, the PVC was received by his father, Gopichand Pandey on 26th January, 2000.
There was an incident recalled by his mother, while he was on a leave. His mother said that you are an officer, your soldiers will follow your orders. So you just keep your soldiers in front of yourself to keep yourself safe. On this he answered instantly, Mummy, if some dacoits come this time, and attacked us, then what will you do, she said, I will come in front of you to keep you safe. Then he said, this is same, my soldiers are like my sons, and it’s my duty to keep them safe always, so how can I keep my self behind them. This shows the leadership skills of a true leader. He also proved these in the war.
In his honour, his school was renamed as CAPTAIN MANOJ KUMAR PANDEY U.P. SAINIK SCHOOL, LUCKNOW. Also, Science Block at NDA was named as MANOJ PANDEY BLOCK.
“If death strikes before I prove by blood, I promise (swear), I will kill death.”
Reads his personal diary.