A talented hero, a brave heart and an ideal son who was loved by all, this is how Colonel Santosh Babu’s parents who were visibly shaken remember him. Along with Colonel- a Commanding Officer from 16 Bihar Regiment, 19 other Armymen were martyred on Tuesday in massive escalation at Galwan Valley during the India-China face-off.
As one enters Suryapet in Telangana- Babu's hometown, barricades were set up to avoid crowding as hundreds were waiting to salute the hero for one last time. His last words with his parents were over a phone call on June 14.
“You sent me to Army, now let me do my duty,” Babu told his parents over the call. Upon questioning the situation on the border, he added, “you are not supposed to ask me that and I cannot tell you anything. Everything is fine.”
Recollecting his achievements, Colonel’s parents maintaining a stoic demeanour stated that during his tenure he executed multiple crucial missions and always received appreciations from Army Chiefs.
Babu studied at Sainik School, Korukunda from Class 6 to 12, that’s when his journey for the defence sector began. He successfully qualified the National Defence Academy examination and the Indian Military Academy to join Indian armed forces in 2003.
During his journey in the Army, Babu was posted in Congo and Srinagar, Arunachal Pradesh and from the past one year, he was posted in the Ladakh region.
“He was always praised amid peers, his stint at Kupwara, helped eliminate infiltrators was much appreciated by seniors,” recalled Babu’s 62- year old father Upendar.
A retired bank chief manager, Upendar was longing for his son’s posting in Hyderabad which was delayed due to the lockdown, implemented to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. “It was my wish to join the Army and when I looked at his achievements, I felt my childhood’s wish was fulfilled,” Updenar added.
Babu’s mother- Manjula remembered his son as a kind-hearted man, who always helped her in the kitchen whenever he was home. “As a mother, I am very sad. But, simultaneously, I am also happy that my son gave up his life for the nation,” his mother said.
The colonel is survived by his wife- Santoshi, their daughter (8) and a son (3.5) who reside in the national capital.