R.I.P.: Late Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh
By Cdr Roy Francis, PRO Defence, Kochi
In a solemn and poignant ceremony on September 30, at Akhnoor War Memorial in Jammu and Kashmir, two brothers, several school mates and the 2 JAT Regiment of the Indian Army, honoured the memory of a young officer who laid down his life, defending the country in the 1971 Indo-Pak war by lighting a flame at the Memorial. Several senior Army Officers led by Major General K.S. Venugopal and Colonel H.S. Mavi Commanding Officer of 2 JAT Regiment were beside Dr Gopi Mohan Naresh and Mr Praveen Naresh as they lit the Memorial Torch again near Raipur Crossing along Munawar Tawi River where the brave heart actually died in battle.
Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh was commanding a platoon, and tasked to defend the Raipur crossing, on the Munawar Tawi river, where the Pakistani Army had launched a major infantry offensive. Naresh led his platoon from the front, as they fought a valiant battle to hold the post, till reinforcements arrived. In doing so, the brave officer, fell, in one of the most ruthless battles of the 71 war. Second Lieutenant Naresh was laid to rest, somewhere near the Indo-Pak border. The officer was just 21 years old and barely a week since being commissioned into the Jat Regiment of the Indian Army, as the war erupted.
There were no memorials, epitaphs or memorabilia for Naresh, but for a passport size photograph, still held with his mother, Smt. Subhadramma. The valiant soldier’s deeds went unsung, except at Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala, where generations of cadets remembered him with pride and reverence. For he was the first of several alumni from the school, who laid down their life for the country. Colonel N.J. Nair, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra the highest decorated Soldier in the Indian Army till date, Major Harshan Ashok Chakra and several other Martyrs from Sainik School Kazhakootam followed Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh’s resolute footsteps into heroic martyrdom.
Honouring Martyrs from the school during the ongoing Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sainik School Kazhakootam was weaved in as one of key programs by the Old Boys' Association of the school. Captain Ramesh Babu (Retd) a member of the Old Boys' Association is the architect of this unique but meaningful venture.
“There is no better way and occasion to honour the Heroes and inspire the present generation,” said Captain Ramesh Babu (Retd). For Dr Gopi Mohan Naresh and Mr Praveen Naresh, who were 17 and 5 years old respectively, when their brother fell in battle, it was a very emotional, proud and private moment, as they lit a flame at the precise spot where their brother died. A bust of Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh contributed by the family of the brave officer will be unveiled at his Alma Mater in January 2012, during the culmination of Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Indian Army personnel at the Memorial function of Late Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan, held 40 years after his martyrdom.