Heroes don’t die

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Melbourne family mourns the loss of military hero Captain Tushar Mahajan

As Prakash Gupta grieved the loss of his cousin, the community in Australia and across India paid tribute to martyred Captain Tushar Mahajan.

Tushar Mahajan.Indian Link

The 26-year-old Captain was killed in a gunfight between alleged terrorists and Indian forces in Pampore, part of Pulwama district, South Kashmir, recently.

In a moving ceremony, his mortal remains were cremated with full military honours in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.

Captain Mahajan’s cousin, Prakash Gupta lives in Melbourne and is a successful entrepreneur from TechnoSource Australia.

In an update provided to Indian Link, Prakash said he was in touch with Tushar’s parents in India and they are understandably shaken with the death of their son, however are very proud that he sacrificed his life for the nation.

Though Prakash did not spend a lot of time with Tushar, as he has lived overseas for 30 years, 16 of which have been spent in Melbourne, Tushar’s life and death have both been inspirational to him.

“I am fortunate to have known him. RIP brother,” said Prakash.

Captain Mahajan’s parents, retired principal Dev Raj Gupta and mother Aasha Rani, had seen their son briefly around ten days before the incident, when he visited them for half an hour. Little did they know that it was the last time they would see him alive.

Tushar Mahajan.Indian Link
The mother of Tushar Mahajan, an Indian army officer who was killed in a gunbattle, weeps as she touches the coffin of her son Tushar during his wreath laying ceremony in Udhampur, north of Jammu, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

His mother was inconsolable with grief, as she wept loudly, hugging his coffin during the official wreath laying ceremony. His grief-stricken father was quoted as saying, “How long will children continue to become martyrs? When will politicians take a decision that puts an end to this?”

Captain Mahajan was hit with four bullets whilst leading his team in an operation to flush out armed militants that were holed up inside a Government building.

The encounter took place inside the multi-storeyed Entrepreneurship Development Institute where the alleged terrorists were hiding after attacking a CRPF convoy.

Captain Tushar Mahajan was also remembered at an event at Melbourne’s Federation Square, where some of the community came together to pay their respects.

Tushar Mahajan.Indian Link
Tushar Mahajan’s father salutes his coffin

His friends, who created a Facebook page dedicated to his memory, remembered how Tushar always wished to join the army and fight terrorists since his childhood. Captain Mahajan was enlisted in the Indian army to the elite Para 9, and had earlier completed his course from the National Defence Academy, India’s premier Joint Services Academy in Khadakwasla, Pune.

Bhavesh Malviya in an emotional Facebook post wrote, “Thank you Sir, we will miss you, and we all know that no one can replace you, but I still want to become like you.”

On India’s Republic Day, 26 January, Tushar posted an expression of his patriotism on WhatsApp. He wrote on his status, “So jayegi kal lipatkar tirange ke saath, yeh deshbhakti hai saheb, tarikhon par jagti hai” which loosely translates as, ‘Tomorrow patriotism will go to sleep along with the folding of the national flag, it only wakes up on a few days.’

The thousands that thronged the streets of Udhampur to attend his memorial, and the millions who watched the extensive coverage, could only lament the loss of a brave son, one who did the nation proud.

Subrata Joy Saha from India wrote in a Facebook post: “People are sacrificing life so that we people can live a happy life, and we are fighting with each other for reservation, money and power. Wake up India. Change it, time has come. Salute Captain Tushar Mahajan.”