Currently retired as a captain and serving as an engineer for the defence forces, Nagappa talked about how a hand grenade thrown by the enemy troops during the war injured both his legs critically. While he wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive, Captain Vikram Batra came to his rescue. Batra pulled Nagappa out of the bunker and started to fire at the enemy.
After he was airlifted, he underwent 8 major surgeries and spent 21 months in hospital. He was ultimately declared unfit to serve in the army.
He also talked about how society bombarded him with questions once he returned to his home. He highlighted the fact that as a war veteran, he had seen so much that not every question can be answered.
He then talked about what question must not be asked to a war veteran.
The most common question I have been asked is ‘Did captain Vikram Batra die because of you?’ When I was severely injured by the hand grenade thrown by the enemy troops, Captain Vikram Batra came running towards my post. He dragged me out of the bunker. Had he not come at that point of a time, my name would have also been written on a brick in the national war memorial along with 25,942 other martyrs of Independent India.
He then talked about how his family reacted to his injury, as his legs were somehow nailed together after the grenade blasted right at his feet.
This was the time when my mother came to see me. The moment she landed, she tried feeling my leg by keeping her hands over the mattress. When she couldn’t find it, she lifted the bedspread and saw my condition. She said ‘Naveen, you shouldn’t have come back in this state’ with a heavy heart. Just imagine the pain and anguish I caused upon her.
He concluded his talk by saying how soldiers willingly sacrifice their limbs and lives. He requested everyone not to ask insensitive questions.
If you are not able to lessen the burden of a soldier, at least don’t try to dig deeper into the wounds. We did our best for the peace of our people. Jai Hind.
You can watch the inspiring TEDx Talk clip here:
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