Capt. Haneef Uddin: A singer-soldier whose contribution in Kargil war is exemplary

Capt. Haneef Uddin: A singer-soldier whose contribution in Kargil war is exemplary

By Ila Garg

Kargil War Heroes – Part 14

Soldiers are humans too. They aren't void of emotions. However, people tend to ignore this fact. Amidst the Kargil martyrs, there was a singer-soldier Captain Haneef Uddin. Born on 23 August 1974, Captain Haneef Uddin, belonged to the 11th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army. He joined the Indian Military Academy in 1996 and later was commissioned into the army on 7 June 1997.

These lyrics written by his younger brother Sameer aptly summarize Capt. Haneef Uddin's life. Captain often sang this song for his troops during the moment of stress as it helped relax. His impromptu "Jazz Band" echoed his zest for life in the mountains. The music in his songs was a respite for troops who had to spend maximum time away from civilization where they had no privilege of televisions. Also, to ward off the tension of the battle ground, music helped. Music thus remained his constant companion throughout his life.

His family proudly remembers him and his elder brother Nafees still keeps his recordings safe and cherishes them as a priced possession.

Capt. Haneef Uddin risked his life for the sake of the country. At an altitude of 18000 ft, his courage remained infringed and he scaled the snowy heights to face the enemy. The tenacity with which he fought is exemplary. Despite heavy artillery bombardment, he was undeterred and nothing could stop him from fulfilling his goal. As the fight continued, he and his troops ran out of ammunition but their grit overpowered. His body could not be recovered from the dangerous ridges of Turtuk, Ladakh, and the sad part is that the ridge is still in the enemy hands.

Haneef's father died when he was only seven years old and his mother Hema Aziz is a classical singer who worked for Sangeet Natak Academy and Kathak Kendra for years. She gets overwhelmed at the mention of her son, "As a soldier Haneef served his country with pride and dedication. There cannot be a greater statement on his valor than his death which came while fighting the enemy."

Capt. Haneef Uddin was awarded with nation's third highest gallantry award, Vir Chakra for the bravery he displayed during Kargil war. There's a corner in every soldier's home that is dedicated to memories, Capt. Haneef Uddin's home is no different.

The family turned down the offer for gas agency or a petrol pump by the government as no one was free to manage it. Mrs. Aziz says she could not accept these because she strongly feels that if somebody does not require financial help, he/she should not accept such offers. She, however, clarifies that this is her personal view. If anybody else wants to accept such things, it is okay. "I think such benefits should be given to the family members of those soldiers who really need financial help. I know the number of such soldiers' families is really huge," she said.

Soldiers like Capt. Haneef Uddin should not to be forgotten but the nation moves ahead at a fast pace. The families are left behind, though. They promised their families to come back soon. They went as men but came back as heroes. The nation should respect what they did for us.

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