Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose
But young men think it is, and we were young.
They'd promised their families they'd come back. They more than kept their word. Went as mere men. Came back as heroes. In coffins.
Rifleman Yogendra Singh, 23, of Rajputana Rifles was looking forward to coming home. It had been a long journey. From grinding poverty, from that kutcha brick house in Johragaon near Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh to the proud certitude of this uniformed self- assuredness in Kargil. Now there was much to look forward to: a future, a bride this June 30 when he would return home to the admiring gaze of his peers. To marry in style, build that pucca house... That June 7 morning at Kupwara he walked up to fellow rifleman and village neighbour Joginder Singh-"Tell me if you want to send anything home. I'm going soon." Next day, at 3.30 am, Joginder and he were part of a patrol stalking militants in the...