‘Our flag flies high not because of the wind but with the last breath of each soldier who sacrificed their lives protecting it.’
This post is an ode to one such soldier; Capt Roopendra Singh Garcha.
Roopy, as he was fondly known was born on 29th Oct 1974 in Jalandhar, to Lt Col J S Garcha and Mrs. Harminder Kaur Garcha. He did his entire education in Jallandhar and graduated from Lyallpur Khalsa College in 1995. Seeing his father, he too had been keen on joining Army and got commissioned into 323 Air Defence Regiment on 5th September 1997, after successful completion of training from OTA, Chennai.
He had completed 04 training courses, including the Commando course, in his short service tenure of 2 ½ years.
In 1999, his unit moved to J & K, and was under HQ 2 Sector RR. On 30th June, at around 1430 hrs, they received inputs about presence of militants in village Ghat Tokun, Awantipora. At 1530 hrs a column comprising of 5 officers, 6 JCOs, and 60 OR moved out for cordon and search of village Ghat Tokun in a convoy. Capt. Roopendra Singh Garcha was leading the convoy in a Jeep. At 1610 hrs, owing to an IED, the jeep was blown off and the driver side was completely destroyed. Capt. Garcha succumbed to his injuries, on the spot. He made the Supreme sacrifice at the age of 26 with just 2 ½ years of service.
His legacy is being carried on by his family in the form of a trust; ‘Capt. Roopendra Singh Garcha Memorial Charitable Trust”. This Trust works towards helping the destitute and needy students to pursue their studies. A bust of the braveheart has been erected in the shopping complex at Urban Estate Phase II which has been renamed as Shaheed Capt. Roopendra Singh Garcha Commercial Complex (PUDA) Urban Estate Phase II, Jalandhar. On 30th of June every year, a small memorial function is held where a guard of honour is presented to the braveheart, by the personnel from his unit, the 323 Army Air Defence Regt.
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.
Happy Birthday Hero.. Gone too soon, never forgotten.
Let us remember those who never came back and keep them in our thoughts always.