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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

On Day 2 of PILF, untold stories of bravery and lessons on courage

The talk was moderated by Marathi writer Geetanjali Joshi.

Pune |
Updated: December 24, 2021 8:46:32 am
The two guests invited to talk about their books were Lt General Satish Dua, former GOC of 15 Corps, and Kulpreet Yadav, a retired Commandant from the Indian Coast Guard. Express

WRITTEN BY ASHISH CHANDRA

Day 2 of the Pune International Literary Festival 2021 (PILF) on Thursday saw a discussion on the valour and sacrifices of Indian soldiers during the session — ‘Bravehearts of the Country’. The two guests invited to talk about their books were Lieutenant General Satish Dua, former GOC of 15 Corps, and Kulpreet Yadav, a retired Commandant from the Indian Coast Guard who is today a novelist, screenwriter, and actor. The talk was moderated by Marathi writer Geetanjali Joshi.

Lt Gen Dua, who had headed the surgical strikes in September 2016 against Pakistan, wrote India’s Bravehearts: Untold Story from the Indian Army in 2000. The book encapsulates the lives of soldiers along the Line of Control. Lt Gen Dua said that all his life, he was “involved in counter-terrorism operations, especially at command positions” and therefore had first-hand experience of the life of a soldier who undertook such dangerous operations.

According to him, the book aims to tell those stories of Indian Army soldiers which are never reported in official documents and media, along with motivating the youth as “they are the leaders of tomorrow.” On being asked about the struggle he faced while writing the book, Lt Gen Dua said that he had to do a “tightrope walk” while writing the book as “these are sensitive topics and not everything can be put in the public domain, yet one doesn’t want to lose out on the authenticity by cutting out too much.”

Lt Gen Dua also paid rich tribute to late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, saying, “We lost a great son of India.” He called Gen Rawat an “enigma”, a “transformer” and “someone very unique” as Gen Rawat had been a four-star officer general for more than five years.

The next speaker, Kulpreet Yadav, finished writing his book, The Battle of Rezang La, in September this year. He admitted that before writing the book, he had not “written any military history or military non-fiction book”, and therefore had to undertake two-and-a-half years of extensive research on the battle, which was fought during the 1962 war against China.

According to Yadav, the Battle of Rezang La — in which 120 Indian Army soldiers of Charlie ‘C’ company of 13 Kumaon fought against 5,000-odd Chinese soldiers — has somehow not received its due recognition. The company lost 114 of its brave soldiers but managed to stop the Chinese aggression, killing almost 1,300 enemy soldiers in the battle. Yadav said he had heard about the story during his visit to his village in Haryana, as most of the soldiers came from the “plains of Haryana”, but he couldn’t find a definitive book on the battle.

Yadav considers the battle of Rezang La to be “a guiding battle for whatever we do in our lives – be it courage, time management, hard work, discipline, training, camaraderie, or teamwork.”

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