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Remembering Major Acharya: Bravery Beyond Words

He had just celebrated his birthday a week ago when Major Padmapani Acharya was assigned to a specific mission in the Kargil War.

He was instructed to destroy and capture the enemy bunker at the Tololing Top. This was a very strategic position as it overlooked the Srinagar Leh highway. In a way, the battle of Tololing and the early demolition of this enemy bunker were crucial to the success of the battalion.

Major Acharya took the reserve platoon and led them through heavy firing. The risks were huge, and so were the causalities, but achieving his mission was his sole purpose. He kept encouraging and motivating his soldiers in spite f heavy odds and mass injuries. He managed to crawl up to the bunker and lobbed grenades at the enemy bunker. In the process, he suffered severe injuries, which made him immobile.

He ordered his men to march ahead and keep attacking the enemies while he kept firing. The battle of Tololing Top was fierce and night-long, but in the end, Major Acharya’s team succeeded in recapturing Tololing Top.

Many say that this win was pivotal and turned the course of the Kargil War. As for the great Indian hero, he closed his eyes only after the Indian flag was flying high once again on Tololing Top. He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra award.

Padmapani was born in Odisha and had shifted to Hyderabad. He then joined the army under the training and inspiration of his father, Jagannath Acharya. His father belonged to the retired wing commander of the Indian Air Force during the years 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. His father is currently working with the Defence Research and Development laboratories in Hyderabad. He was a resident of Hyderabad and then was married to Charulata. And his sole inspiration remained his father, the way he serves the motherland and his dream of serving and securing the people of the motherland in a similar way.

The battle of Kargil is engraved in our minds. The battle has been depicted in many stories as well as the Bollywood movie L.O.C Kargil where Acharya’s role was played by Nagarjuna.

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