Batalik, Jammu and Kashmir: Losing her only son at the oxygen-sapped heights of the treacherous Batalik terrains during the Kargil war has not deterred Amirthavalli from launching a drive to motivate youth to join the armed forces.
Amirthavalli, the mother of Kargil martyr Major Mariappan Saravanan, has set up a Memorial Trust at Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu with a mission to encourage the youth to join the Indian army.
Popularly known as the 'Hero of Batalik', Major Saravanan, who braved all odds to capture point 4268- a well fortified Pakistani position at a height of 14229 feet on Jubar Hills in the Batalik sector, laid down his life as a first officer of the Indian army on May 28, 1999.
"Major Saravanan Memorial Trust has been set up by his mother in his native place-Tiruchi. The aim of the trust is to campaign for the army," an officer said here. "The trust visits schools, holds seminars and camps in colleges and universities round the year to motivate youth to join the army," he said.
"It is noble mission. In Tamil Nadu, it has become very popular among the youth. We need such people to campaign for the army, which has huge shortage of officers and jawans," he said.
The trust has also made video CDs of brave officers, including that of Major Saravanan, to impress upon young minds.
Codenamed Changiz Khan for operation, Major Saravanan led his company of Bihar Regiment in re-capturing point 4268 in Jubar ridge.
"The battle was so fierce that the army captured these positions after a month. Saravanan led from the front and died in course of the battle. His body was recovered on June 14 after 45 days," the officer said.
Amirthavalli's husband Lt Col A Mariappan, who was with the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Sri Lanka, had died in a road mishap in Karnataka in 1988 when Saravanan was only 14-year-old.