Indian braveheart and Ashok Chakra recipient Major Mohit Sharma would have turned a year younger today if he had not sacrificed his life to protect his beloved motherland. Born on 13th January 1978 in Rohtak district of Haryana, Major Mohit Sharma, fondly called ‘Chintu’ by his family and ‘Mike’ by his NDA batch mates is, however, most famously known for his alias ‘Iftikhar Bhatt’.
The Para Special Forces Officer is a legendary figure in the military circles for carrying out one of the most sophisticated and deep undercover operations in the modern military history of the country.
Major Mohit Sharma aka Iftikhar Bhatt
In 2004, Major Mohit Sharma through extensive surveillance and the groundwork established contact with two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists named Abu Torara and Abu Sabzar, under the alias of Iftikhar Bhatt.
With long, flowing hair and an unkempt beard reaching down to his neck, Major Mohit was able to camouflage himself to blend into the terror outfit and its terrorist members.
When asked why he wanted to fight the Indian army, Major Mohit Sharma, staying true to his character threw the choicest expletives at the army in chaste Kashmiri, whom he held responsible for his brother’s death during a stone-pelting incident. He told the duo that he wanted to avenge his brothers’ death and needed help from them.
A Young Kashmiri lad Iftikaar Bhatt, with shoulder length hair and wearing the traditional Kashmiri Pheran, approached the dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen in Shopian, Kashmir sometime during 2003. pic.twitter.com/HK6sVEf4dn
— Ramnik Singh Mann 🇮🇳 (@ramnikmann) January 18, 2021
After Torara and Sabzar cross-checked the story, they arranged for a consignment of grenades and other terrorists for the operation. Slowly and gradually, Major Mohit won the trust of the terrorists and was eventually assigned with the choice to cross over the LoC.
The Hizbul terrorists assigned him the task to carry out a strike on one of the Indian outposts, whose decoy hand-drawn map of army movement was presented to them was Major Mohit himself.
Two to the chest, one to the head
However, owing to the sharpness and the meticulousness of the plan, Torara began having second thoughts. Major Sharma sensed the operation could go sideways and quickly reacted by saying, “If you have any doubts about me, kill me.” While dropping his Ak-47 rifle, he said, “You cannot do this if you don’t trust me. So you have no choice but to kill me now.”
Throwing the two Hizbul terrorists into confusion, Major Mohit seized the opportunity, flung out his loaded 9-mm pistol and shot both of them dead. Two to the chest, one to the head – just how the special forces are trained to do.
The terror encounter of Kupwara
Five years after his incredible counter-terrorist operation, Major Mohit Sharma found himself in familiar territory once again after being deployed in Kupwara. Based on the information received from intelligence about the infiltration attempt by some terrorists in the Kupwara district, the security forces decided to launch a search and destroy operation on 21 Mar 2009.
During a firefight with the terrorists in the forests of Haphruda, Major Sharma killed two terrorists in close combat and rescued many of his colleagues before being hit on the chest with a bullet and succumbing to his injuries later.
The Ashok Chakra citation truly gives a proper account of Major Mohit Sharma’s gallant bravery:
“In the heavy exchange of fire, four commandos were wounded immediately. With complete disregard to his safety, he crawled and recovered two soldiers to safety. Unmindful of the overwhelming fire, he threw grenades and killed two terrorists but was shot in the chest. In the brief respite that followed, he kept directing his commandos, in spite of serious injuries. Sensing further danger to his comrades, he charged in a daring close quarter combat killing two more terrorists and attained martyrdom fighting for his motherland in the finest traditions of Indian Army.”
Mike’s early days
Maj Mohit started his education at Manav Sthali School, South Extension Delhi, after which he took admission in Holy Angels’ School, Sahibabad for a year and from where he took admission in DPS Ghaziabad in the year 1988 and passed out from the school in the year 1995.
In 1995, he left his Engineering and joined the NDA. After completing his academic studies in NDA, he joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1998. He has commissioned a lieutenant on 11 December 1999 and his first posting was Hyderabad in the 5th Battalion The Madras Regiment (5 Madras).
On completing 3 successful years of Military service, Major Mohit opted for the Para (Special Forces) and he became a trained Para Commando in June 2003.
A movie based on Major Mohit Sharma coming out
A movie based on the life of Major Mohit is on the cards titled ‘Iftikhar’. The movie is an adaptation of the first chapter of journalist Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh’s book India’s Most Fearless 2: More Military Stories of Unimaginable Courage and Sacrifice.
While the cast, title, and other details are yet to be announced, the film is expected to go on floors in September and set for an Independence Day release in 2022.
Major Mohit Sharma is one of the true superheroes of the real world and his bravery needs to be celebrated and cherished, especially more so on his birthday. Here’s to a true nationalist who gave it all, annihilated enemies and kept his country safe for people like us. Jai Hind.