Someone somewhere is a series of write ups on brave hearts who made the supreme sacrifice but little is known about these men. It is a humble attempt to bring to fore the many unsung heroes of Indian Armed Forces.

My previous article was a homage to Sepoy Vikas Bhardwaj, who was killed in an ambush in Manipur in 2015.

Gone too soon

When one travels on the Kangra Palampur road, at the Ambadi Chahadi road a statue of a warrior stands tall, something that is hard to miss. The family of this warrior lives just a few meters away from the place where the statue is erected.

I wonder what would be the feelings of the family/ parents of this young warrior every time they pass this place. As you get closer and enter their home, you realise that they have a bust of this warrior erected in the compound of their house too.

The bust is of their son Capt. Shailesh Rialch.

Capt Shailesh Rialch was born on 14th October 1975. His father Shri Vikram Singh was serving in the Indian Navy and his mother Smt. Susheel, a homemaker. He was the elder of the two siblings.

After completing his schooling Shailesh got recommended for the prestigious National Defence Academy at Pune. He joined NDA in 1994 and three years later subsequently he joined Indian Military Academy at Dehradun from where he was commissioned into Corps of EME of Indian Army as a Lieutenant on 6th December 1997. Among others his course mates include the SHERSHAH of Indian Army, the Param Veer CAPTAIN VIKRAM BATRA. Saurabh Kalia was junior to them.

In 1999,  as part of 216 Field Workshop 0f 606 EME Bn, he was deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. On 24th Nov 1999, Capt Shailesh volunteered to lead a Quick Reaction Team in an operation in Anantnag. As the team was moving to their position,  they encountered heavily armed militants who were trying to escape. Capt. Shailesh and his team got into action immediately in a bid to prevent the escape of the militants. The militants retaliated with heavy firing due to which Capt. Shailesh Rialch suffered a gun shot wound. Unmindful of his injury and personal safety, Capt. Shailesh continued the counter attack and eventually eliminated one militant. He kept directing his men, despite being shot and finally succumbed to his injuries at 1400 hrs on 29th Nov 1999.

In true Chetwood Motto, he put the safety of the Nation and his men above himself and made the supreme sacrifice at the age of 24, within two years of his commissioning. Capt. Shailesh Rialch was awarded Sena Medal for this act of valour.

While his parents take pride in their courageous son, they also live with the pain that he had barely lived or seen life and that he went away too soon. Twenty two years later, his mother still weeps for him. Time hasn’t healed that pain. The son that should have been walking in and out of the compound of their house, now remains forever 24 years old , in the form of a bust. Is it even possible to imagine what the mother must be going through every time she walks past the bust or the statue that stands tall?

Despite this grave loss, the next generation youngster, Capt. Shailesh’s nephew is preparing for NDA and to join the Armed Forces.

Such is the cost of our freedom. Someone somewhere guards our borders on icy heights, someone somewhere spends sleepless nights so that we sleep peacefully and someone somewhere came back wrapped in the Tricolour.

Let us remember those who never came back and keep them in our thoughts always.

Jai Hind!


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