We love telling stories. Stories of the great Indian legacy, which prove to the world that India has been an epitome of courage, heritage and essence. And the one place that provides us the best of stories that make us proud and considerate each time we hear them, is undoubtedly the Indian army.
For decades now, the Indian army has shouldered the country’s security with utmost sense of duty, in the course of which there have been instances that shook the nation with grief. And some other, which have set the standards for what we define as valour. Here’s an untold story of one such soldier who has been acknowledged to be one of the bravest men ever to habe guarded the Indian borders. Meet Captain DPK Pillay, who near-escaped death as he saved the lives of a handful of children during an insurgent operation in Manipur.
Apparently, Captain Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay was one of the soldiers deployed to protect the village of Tamenglong in Manipur during the phase of violence faced by Manipur. A group of militants were tracked down to be hiding in a shed, towards which DPK Pillay rushed in hopes of bringing them down. However, he was only greeted with raging bullets fired from AK-47 guns, and a grenade that was thrown at his feet. In a mad rush of reflexes, DPK Pillay kicked away the grenade which took with it a part of his leg. Gravely injured by the four bullets that had found him on the shoulders and torso, all we can think of is whether the man was rushed to safety. Yes, he was, but he choose to remain where he was and ensure the safety of two children whom he noted as he passed the crossfire.
The two kids whom he noted were gravely injured by the crossfire, just as an evacuation plane approached to excavate DPK Pillay to safety. Well, the madly brave man chose to excavate the children first, even though he predicted that there was just about five minutes of life left within him.
The nearest hospital was 6 hours away, and it was an endless wait as the evacuation facilities returned to ferry DPK Pillay to medical aid. It can only be called a miracle that the man has survived with only marks to remind him of this great experience.
Imagine having shot by four bullets, having lost a leg a grenade, and still choosing to stay behind to ensure the safety of two kids you don’t even know. Maybe this is what a soldier’s will looks like – he always makes sure that he puts others before himself. Regardless of that, it is extremely rare and precious that we get to hear instances like this one.
Today, Captain DPK Pillai is 50 years old and the experience is a part of history for him, but not for the state whose two souls he saved without self-regard. Manipur acknowledged his selfless service with the greatest of the honour they are authorized to give away – calling him Pillay Pamei, which is the surname of a local influential clan of Manipur.
Pillay did not stop at just that. He established a livelihood program for the villagers, which has been instrumental in bringing roads to the village he once protected as a soldier. He organises numerous developmental activities in the area, and is rightfully an apple of the eye of the natives of Tamenglong.
We can hardly even put ourselves in the place of DPK Pillay and imagine what we might have done in his place. Not to mention, maybe died of panic attack when the first bullet hit us. This man displayed incredible courage that day, which is surely amongst the world’s greatest stories of valour. Here we have an icon, a real life hero who has lived doing good for people he doesn’t even know.