The man who put his country's citizens before himself


The story of Col. DPK Pillay will be remembered for many generations to come. It is a story of valour and sacrifice, it is a story about why army is not just a fighting force but a reflection of your country's conscience and soul. We interviewed Col Pillay and talk to him that what it means to be a soldier of Indian army. We talked about the value system that is so heavily ingrained, that even if it comes to giving up your life, you don't back away from that value system.

What happened on that day?

Captain Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay was one of the soldiers deployed to protect the village of Tamenglong in Manipur during the phase of violence faced by Manipur. A group of militants were tracked down to be hiding in a shed, towards which DPK Pillay rushed in hopes of bringing them down.

However, he was only greeted with raging bullets fired from AK-47 guns, and a grenade that was thrown at his feet. In a mad rush of reflexes, DPK Pillay kicked away the grenade which took with it a part of his leg. Gravely injured by the four bullets that had found him on the shoulders and torso, all one could think of is whether the man was rushed to safety. Yes, he was, but he choose to remain where he was and ensure the safety of two children whom he noted as he passed the crossfire.

The two kids whom he noted were gravely injured by the crossfire, just as an evacuation plane approached to excavate DPK Pillay to safety. Well, the madly brave man chose to excavate the children first, even though he predicted that there was just about five minutes of life left within him. The nearest hospital was 6 hours away, and it was an endless wait as the evacuation facilities returned to ferry DPK Pillay to medical aid.

It can only be called a miracle that the man survived with only marks to remind him of this great experience. Imagine having shot by four bullets, having lost a leg a grenade, and still choosing to stay behind to ensure the safety of two kids you don't even know. Maybe this is what a soldier's will looks like – he always makes sure that he puts others before himself. Regardless of that, it is extremely rare and precious that we get to hear instances like this one. (

Why it had to be done?

The easiest things to do was after the operation, he would have gotten the first available flight out and the other injured would have had to be taken to a nearby hospital. Where they possibly would not have survived. But that decision of letting the civilians get evacuated first was a decision Pillay took without second thoughts. This man who comes from a home where his father was also in the military knows that there was no way that he would live and let two innocent children die in front of his eyes.

Moving Forward

But Pillay hasn't stopped there, the village has now adopted him and he has gotten a national highway going to the village. He said that one thing always stuck in his head and that is why he followed through with it that where a road begins, terrorism ends. Well at least in the case of the North East it is true.

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