Col Bikumalla Santosh Babu of the 16th Bihar Batallion had laid down his life in the clash between Indian and Chinese forces in Galwan Valley on June 16. As per a report in Times of India, upon hearing the news about col B Santhosh Babu’s demise, B Upendra, his father, did not cry. Though visibly shaken, he held up his demeanour.
He said,” I was always aware that one day I could hear what I heard today, and I was mentally prepared for it. Everyone dies but it is a privilege to die for the country and I am proud of my son.”
The grieving father proudly narrated stories about his bravery and told how Col Santosh had fought terrorists in Kupwara and received a commendation for his exemplary service. He said he had encouraged his son to join the army from a young age. He knew the dangers involved in the line of duty. When he was young, Col Babu had joined the Sainik School at Korukunda in Andhra Pradesh and had eventually committed his life to the uniform.
The last conversation
As per the TOI report, on 14th June, when the parents asked Col Santosh about the border skirmishes during a brief call, he said,” I am not supposed to tell you anything. You should not ask me that. We can talk when I am back with you”.
During the telephonic conversation, the officer had reportedly told his parents that what they are listening on news channels is drastically different from the reality on the ground. The father said, “Little did we know that it would be his last call to us. Everyone has to die. But dying for the country is a big thing and we are proud of our son.”
B Upendra further added that he wanted to join the Army but he could not. When his son was 10-years old, he started telling him that he should think about serving the country by joining the armed forces. Col Babu studied in Sainik school from class VI to class XII and later joined NDA, followed by IMA. He had served in many sensitive locations, including Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
Exemplary 15-years of service
In 15-years, Col Babu had got four promotions. His parents wanted to see him in higher positions. Upendra said that he was aware of the uncertainties involved in the army and they are proud that their son made the ultimate sacrifice.
Col Santosh’s body will arrive at Shamshabad airport on Wednesday and travel to Suryapet by road, where his last rites will be performed.
Col Santosh was married and his wife is living in Delhi with a 3-years old son and 8-years old daughter. His wife, Santoshi, was the first to learn about his demise. His parents, Upendra and mother Manjula, are currently living in the Suryapet town of Telangana. His mother was waiting to meet him soon. She had reportedly asked Col Babu to get transferred to Hyderabad so that he can live closer to the family. She said,” I am happy that he gave his life for the country, but as a mother, I am devastated. I have lost my only son.”
Col Babu had reported back to duty near Leh only a month ago after the lockdown was relaxed.
Last rites to be performed in hometown
As per the latest reports, the martyred colonel’s last rites will be performed in Suryapet, Telangana. His wife and children had earlier arrived in Hyderabad by a flight from Delhi. Telangana CM K Chandrasekhara Rao had earlier commemorated the soldier. He had informed that Energy Minister G Jagadeesh Reddy will be resent on behalf of the Telangana government at the last rites of the family.