Blood. Gore. Guns and Guts. This book is a superb thriller on India’s undeclared war with Pakistan in 1999 at Kargil. The icy mountains come alive with booming guns as Colonel S.C.Tyagi tells a fast-moving tale in simple words of how it all began — how it ended.
And what came in between. Like the staccato burst of a machine gun, this book has short sentences, loaded with action. Taking you into the thick of the battle.
Soldiers die and guns boom as Indian Army jawans climb treacherous cliffs to dislodge Pakistani Army soldiers who sometimes resort to treachery to deceive our soldiers.
And the Indian Army is filled with men from all religions and races. Like Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse from Kohima in Nagaland who shoots to kill despite being very religious, a good guitarist, drummer and singer.
Or like Major P. Acharya whose head was blown off in a grenade blast while taking a Pakistani outpost. And Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav who played dead among his fallen comrades and managed to sneak back despite being shot in the legs and abdomen. These are a few of the bravehearts who fought the enemy with their ammunition running out and no chance of reinforcements.
Forty-five Pakistani men engage our men in hand-to-hand fighting with the cries of the injured and dying echoing down the desolate land. Making men of steel like Lt Sehrawat to break down and cry over the radio saying all his men were dead while he was critically wounded.
To be sure, the author gives a Pakistani Captain Karnal Sher Khan his due for fighting like a true soldier to be posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, which is the Pakistani equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
Journalists fare poorly because a “greenhorn TV journalist” took live footage of a Bofors gun shooting at the enemy, giving away its location and costing the lives of our soldiers.
Freedom of the press does not include the freedom to give away locations to the enemy. The only minus point in this book is its poor quality of colour photographs.