Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey was an Indian Army soldier who
laid down his life in the service of his nation during the 1999 India-Pakistan
Kargil War. A recipient of India’s highest military honour, the Param Vir
Chakra, Lieutenant Pandey was only 24-years-old when he breathed his last. 

While the entire country celebrates the bravery of India’s armed forces on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, it is imperative for us to take a look at the bravery put on display under dire circumstances by this hero.  

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Reports suggest that joining the Indian armed forces was
Pandey’s ambition right from childhood. During the Kargil War, Lieutenant
Pandey was commanding a platoon of the ‘B’ Company of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles. Atop
a narrow ridge, this platoon was on its way to capture Khalubar top when they met
with heavy fire from the enemies. Undeterred by the danger, Lieutenant Pandey
led his team with a fiery battle cry. He single-handedly destroyed both the
first and second battle positions by killing four enemy soldiers despite
suffering bullet injuries to his shoulder and leg.

Lieutenant Pandey also managed to destroy the fourth enemy
position with a grenade, but then himself succumbed to fatalities. His Param
Vir Chakra citation is reflective of the bravery he put on display that day, “Lieutenant
Manoj Kumar Pandey, thus showed most conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage,
exemplary personal valour, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty of an
exceptionally high order, in the face of the enemy and made the supreme
sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Army”.

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The National Defence Academy has also honoured this brave
martyr by renaming its science block as the Manoj Pandey Block. His valiant efforts were also honoured at the Kargil War museum, where a gallery is named after him. Bollywood superstar
Ajay Devgn portrayed Lieutenant Pandey in the 2003 film ‘LOC: Kargil’, which
depicts some of the most notable events of the Kargil War.