Friday, July 17, 2015

Capt. Haneef Uddin: A singer-soldier whose contribution in Kargil war is exemplary

Kargil War Heroes – Part 14

Soldiers are humans too. They aren’t void of emotions. However, people tend to ignore this fact. Amidst the Kargil martyrs, there was a singer-soldier Captain Haneef Uddin. Born on 23 August 1974, Captain Haneef Uddin, belonged to the 11th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army. He joined the Indian Military Academy in 1996 and was commissioned into the army on 7 June 1997.

“Ek pal mein hai sach saari zindagi ka; Iss pal mein jee lo yaaron, yahan kal hai kisne dekha (The truth of our lives is encapsulated in one moment; Live this moment, who knows what tomorrow holds).

These lyrics written by his younger brother Sameer summarize Capt. Haneef Uddin’s life. Captain often sang this song for his troops. His impromptu “Jazz Band” spread his zest for life and music in the mountains, and was a welcome relief for troops who were cut off from civilization and television. Also, to ward off the tension of the battle ground, music helped.
“Whether up in the hills or down here with us, his music system remained his constant companion,” says elder brother Nafees, who is a physics teacher. The family is proud of their brave son.
Capt. Haneef Uddin risked his life for the sake of the country. At an altitude of 18000 ft, his courage remained infringed and he scaled the snowy heights to face the enemy. The tenacity with which he fought is exemplary. Despite heavy artillery bombardment, he was undeterred. As the fight continued, he and his troops ran out of ammunition but their grit overpowered. His body has not yet been recovered from the perilous ridges of Turtuk, Ladakh, which is still in the enemy hands.

Haneef’s father died when he was only seven years old and his mother Hema Aziz is a classical singer who worked for Sangeet Natak Academy and Kathak Kendra for years. She gets overwhelmed at the mention of her son, “As a soldier Haneef served his country with pride and dedication. There cannot be a greater statement on his valor than his death which came while fighting the enemy.”

Capt. Haneef Uddin was awarded with nation’s third highest gallantry award, Vir Chakra for the bravery he displayed during Kargil war. There’s a corner in every soldier’s home that is dedicated to memories, Capt. Haneef Uddin’s home is no different.
The family turned down the offer for gas agency or a petrol pump by the government as no one was free to manage it. Mrs. Aziz says she could not accept these because she strongly feels that if somebody does not require financial help, he/she should not accept such offers. She, however, clarifies that this is her personal view. If anybody else wants to accept such things, it is okay. “I think such benefits should be given to the family members of those soldiers who really need financial help. I know the number of such soldiers’ families is really huge,” she said. (1)
Soldiers like Capt. Haneef Uddin are not to be forgotten but the nation moves ahead at a fast pace. The families are left behind though. They promised their families to come back soon. They went as men but came back as heroes. The nation should respect what they did for us.

The whole Kargil segment and few other write-ups written by me can also be read here - Ila Garg

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