20 years on, Kargil hero's teachers remember their star student
Lucknow: Twenty years after the Kargil war, teachers at the 'Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey UP Sainik School' here remembered "as if it was only yesterday" their conversations with the brave soldier who lost his life in the 1999 conflict and was such an inspiration that his school was renamed after him.
Captain Manoj Pandey, who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for exhibiting exemplary valour, was a brilliant student "bestowed with natural talent," they recalled.
"Manoj was an individual bestowed with natural talent, and was not interested in approaching a concept or theorem the orthodox way. In fact, he self-devised some methods in the subject, which were new and innovative. I had joined as a teacher, and even I learnt from him," Rajeev Kumar Pandey, who taught mathematics to the braveheart in classes 10, 11, and 12, said.
Showering praises on his former student, who was awarded the country's highest military honour, Rajeev Kumar Pandey said Manoj was good in academics and had a "special interest for cross-country race."
Rajeev Pandey, who retired from teaching two months ago, also, "Whenever the teachers discussed about Manoj, we felt as if it was yesterday that we were interacting with one of our best students. While teaching him and evaluating his answer sheets, I felt that as if the examinee (Manoj) is better than the examiner."
The teacher recalled how Manoj used to visit his alma mater whenever he was in Lucknow during the term-breaks of the NDA (National Defence Academy).
The alumni section of the school's website says, "He is the guiding light to not just the cadets of the school but the whole nation. Manoj Pandey belonged to the 1987-93 batch of school."
Taking pride in his student, the former mathematics teacher went on to say, "The Lucknow Sainik School is the only Sainik School in the country which is now known the by the name of its student."
In July 2017, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved the renaming of the UP Sainik School after Captain Manoj Pandey. The institution is now called Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey UP Sainik School, Lucknow.
Initially known as the UP Sainik School, the institute came into existence in 1960, becoming the first such school to be established in the country and has been nurturing young talent for 57 years.
After this, 27 such Sainik Schools were established in other parts of the country. In its journey of more than 58 years, the school has the honour of producing more than 1,000 military officers, and is the first Sainik School in the country whose student was awarded the Param Vir Chakra (Manoj Pandey).
R P Shukla, who taught Manoj chemistry, said, "Manoj maintained an above-average academic standard, but he excelled in various sports, be it hockey, football, cross-country or other athletic events."
Shukla retired from the school in 2006.
Sursari Tarang Mishra, hindi teacher at the school said, "Captain Manoj Pandey is the pride of the entire nation who at a very young age proved himself by sacrificing his life for the motherland. He will be a source of inspiration to all of us. He gave top priority to the interest of the nation, and I salute this brave son of the soil."