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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

20th Kargil Vijay Diwas - ‘Today, his name is my identity’: Rifleman Sunil Jung Mahat’s mother

20th Kargil Vijay Diwas: “Had this war not happened, we would have been in Dharamshala and Sunil would have promoted to the rank of Subedar,” Sunil Jung Mahat’s mother Beena said.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2019 07:40 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Shortly before the Kargil war broke out, rifleman Sunil Jung Mahat’s family was excitedly planning its relocation to its ancestral home in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
Shortly before the Kargil war broke out, rifleman Sunil Jung Mahat’s family was excitedly planning its relocation to its ancestral home in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.(MANISH SWARUP/HT (Representative image))
         

Shortly before the Kargil war broke out, rifleman Sunil Jung Mahat’s family was excitedly planning its relocation to its ancestral home in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Then, on May 15, they received the news that Jung, the eldest born, had been killed in Kargil’s Kukarthang. He was 19 years old. Two months before this, his regiment, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, had been deployed to Pune, and for the Mahats, this meant that they didn’t need to live in Lucknow anymore.

Jung’s mother Beena, 59, who runs a gas agency — given as compensation to families of those killed in Kargil — said, “Joining the army was Sunil’s childhood dream. We too had dreamt about settling in Dharamshala, but that didn’t materialise.”

Jung’s grandfather, Major Nakul Jung Mahat, was a 1962 war veteran, and his father, Nar Narayan Jung, was a 1971 war veteran. Jung joined the army in 1995, the year his father retired as a Subedar, and enrolled in the same regiment.

“Had this war not happened, we would have been in Dharamshala and Sunil would have promoted to the rank of Subedar,” Beena said. Jung would fight with relatives who wanted him to become doctor or teacher. “He used to say, ‘One day you will be known by my name’. Today I am known by his name,” Beena said.

Jung’s youngest sister was 10 at the time and still keeps stacks of his letters. “He used to write letters very often,” said Suneeta, 30, who works in a private school here. Shrijana, now 35, said, “Our country won the battle but I lost my brother.”