Nawang H. Kapadia
15, 1975 – November 11,2000
Lt Nawang Kapadia, who was
commissioned on September 2, 2000 in the Fourth Battalion the Third Gorkha Rifles, died while
gallantly fighting Pakistan based terrorists in the jungles of Rajwar in
Kupwara district of Srinagar on 11th November 2000.
The happiest day in twenty four year old
Mumbai-born Nawang’s life was
when he joined the Officers’ Training Academy at Chennai.
His parents, well-known mountaineers Harish and Geeta, encouraged
him to the fullest in spite of the cynical views of others.
It was a proud moment indeed at
the Passing Out Parade on 2nd of September 2000 when
his family and friends saw him receiving his Lieutenant stars on
commissioning to the prestigious Fourth Battalion The Third
Gorkha Rifles. After
a brief visit home, Nawang proceeded to the Regimental Centre at
Varanasi from where he joined his Battalion on 29th Oct 2000
. The Battalion was, during this period, continuously involved
in operations against foreign terrorists who had infiltrated and were in
the process of establishing their bases in the Kupwara area of Jammu and
Nawang was immediately involved in these
operations where his qualities of heart and mind as well as his abundant
courage were a beacon to the troops under his command.
On the 10th of Nov the Battalion
received information of a large number of terrorists hiding in the
notorious jungles of Rajwar near Kupwara. Search and destroy operations
were immediately launched with Nawang leading his own platoon. At
approximately 11 am, a large hideout was discovered by the Battalion and
Nawang’s platoon came under fire from a group of eight to ten
terrorists in the vicinity. Havaldar Chitra Bahadur got a burst in the
stomach and fell mortally wounded. At this stage, Nawang instinctively
rushed to rescue Chitra Bahadur, firing his weapon ,under the covering
fire of his comrades. A terrorist who was hiding in the nearby foliage
fired at Nawang. In the crossfire, Nawang got a bullet in the face and
died, leading his troops in the highest tradition of valour and
The encounter has resulted in the killing of
two terrorists of the Al Omar Tanzeem, a Pakistan based organization,
with reports of two others grievously wounded and likely to have died.
Large quantities of arms and ammunition have been recovered. The fight
lasted over over 36 hours. Lt Nawang Kapadia died in the highest traditions of the Indian
Army, living up to the ethos and standards of his Battalion, which
earlier had lost two officers like him in counter insurgency operations
in 1983-85 and again performed gallantly, despite severe casualties, in
the Batalik Sector of Kargil.
Harish Kapadia was born on December 15, 1975, in Mumbai three years
after his elder brother, Sonam . As
his surname indicates, theirs is a family of traditional cloth
merchants, of a community that has a scarce presence in the Defence
From his early childhood, Nawang had imbibed
the best adventurous talents of his parents, both of whom have many
achievements under their belt. Sonam
and Nawang were named after famous Sherpa mountaineers; ironically both
are Gorkha names. Nawang
means “leader of men”, a very apt name for an able soldier.
Nawang did his initial schooling at New Era School and subsequently at
the St. Xavier’s Boys’ Academy.
All through his student days, Nawang was always a free-spirited
lad, spending a lot of time on the sports’ field and displayed
leadership qualities from a young age.
With such a fun-loving and carefree attitude, he was always
making new friends, many of whom developed and maintained close and
loving bonds with the entire family. He did his B. Com. from Jai Hind
college, Bombay. In
college, his interests included trekking, hiking, mountaineering (which
of course, was in his genes), sports, martial arts and music.
He enjoyed life to the maximum, and it was most evident in his
passion for food. When it
came to eating, no one could match him. Nawang could out-eat anyone and
Lt Nawang Kapadia’s sacrifice will remain a
shining light to inspire future generations. The city of Mumbai should
be proud of its son who lived his life here and leaves behind a
sorrowing family and a large circle of friends.
was cremated with military honours on Tuesday 14 November, 2000.Nawang
lies in peace, having chosen a career as he desired and dying for the
country, trying to save a life, in best traditions of the army.