other foreign country,’ Navdeep would tell his mother who
had previously been in the legendary city of beauty as a BEd
student in 1983, a few years before militancy ushered trouble into paradise.
His enthusiasm wiped away their concerns, and they were
happy that their son had found the life he had aspired for.
Navdeep had given up a job in Chandigarh to join the
army. He had a degree in business management, but his
heart was set on the army since he was a boy.
His father and grandfather had been junior commissioned
officers, but Navdeep dreamed about becoming an officer
The letter for his Combined Defence Service exam came to
the address in Kolkata from where he had completed his
management degree. A friend telephoned him about the
interview and Navdeep travelled to Bhopal for the entrance
Four months later, he was on his way to the Officers
Training Academy in Chennai.
“The course started April 9, 2010 and ended March 19,
2011,” says his mother, meticulously remembering every
date pertaining to her son’s tragically short-lived military
The day he joined the Ordnance Corps in Kanpur. The day
he left to join the 15 Maratha Light Infantry in J&K for a
two-year stint mandatory for all non-infantry officers. The
day he passed through Pathankot en route to joining the
unit in J&K when they met for 45 minutes at the station…
It was raining that day.
‘Go back home now, it’s getting late,’ he had told her. It was
the last time they would see each other.
The night of August 19 when he died preventing infiltrators from crossing the Kishanganga river, which forms a
part of the LoC in the Gurez sector perilously close to
Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
‘Don’t fire till I fire,’ Navdeep had told his men; waiting till
the terrorists were just meters away before opening fire to
ensure that the infiltrators did not escape.
Lieutenant Navdeep Singh
with his father Honorary
Captain Joginder Singh and
mother Jagtinder Kaur at his
Passing Out Parade
COUR TES Y: LIEUTENANT NAVDEEP SINGH’S FAMILY
Requiem for a soldier
RAJESH KARKERA/REDIFF. COM
Mr and Mrs Singh with the Ashok Chakra
When Navdeep finally opened fire, there was no way the
terrorists could have got away. He actually waited to literally touch them, crowd them into a little rock strewn slope
from which the only choice was death or bullet aided.
The terrorist who shot Navdeep, was just five meters away.
This was the distance at which Navdeep was fired at, pulling
in his buddy to safety as he fell dying. There could not have
been a nobler death.
In a salute to the young officer, retired Major General Raj
Mehta — who spent 30 hours at the site of Navdeep’s martyrdom in homage to a fellow soldier — gives a meticulous
description in his article ‘Au Revoir, Navdeep Singh’ published on the South Asia Idea Web site.
“He led the operation with 26 men against 17 well trained-fully armed terrorists,” Major General Raj Mehta told India
Abroad. The general, who has served seven tenures in
Jammu and Kashmir, physically retraced Navdeep’s entire
operation in Gurez.
“He had positioned his men behind boulders and put him-
self at a point of least cover behind a rock which just about
covered his body,” he said in a telephone interview.