Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, better known as the Siachen braveheart, died on 11 February 2016. He had spent six days struggling to stay alive under 35 feet of snow after his team had been hit by an avalanche. Koppad lay buried under snow for 5 days along with his comrades but when rescue parties finally located and rescued them, he was the only one still breathing.
Koppad was admitted to the hospital with severe shock, hypothermia, pneumonia and dysfunctional liver and kidneys. Despite the prayers that poured in from across the country, Naik died one day after being rescued.
One of our brave soldiers recently succumbed to his fate, but, before that he found place in each and every Indian’s heart and showed the world that nothing is impossible.
When the news that Lance Naik ‘Hanumanthappa‘ has been extricated alive after being buried for over six days under 25 ft of snow at the height of more than 20,000 ft with temperature ranging between -30o C to -40o C, the natural response was how could this be possible.
Experts in the field of medicine had started believing that he may pull through. The whole nation prayed for him. Hope is a thing which at times defies all logic. But at the end, he could not be saved, despite the best of efforts.
Dying in the face of the enemy is one thing for which each soldiers will fight till the last drop of his blood. But braving death in the face of natural calamities like snow blizzards, landslides, cloud bursts and avalanches is something that soldiers have to be prepared for at any time, as should the medical teams supporting them.
He left behind his wife, Mahadevi and a three-year-old daughter. Amidst the tributes and condolences for the dead soldier, many promises were made to help the grieving family. While the Karnataka government has provided the family with money and four acres of land as compensation, the single mother is still without a job.
She said she wants to inspire her daughter with stories of valour and bravery, especially that of her father, and wants her to join the army as well.
The GOOD NEWS is Army has confirmed Mahadevi has been amply compensated to make a comfortable living. She has got about Rs 1.1 crore which has been invested by the military. Beside this, she gets a liberalized pension of Rs 40,000 a month, apart from receiving the interest from the FD. She also has received 4.5 acres of land. Army sources said that her total earnings is about Rs 1.40 lakh per month, enough to sustain her with dignity.
The Karnataka government had also promised to erect a memorial in the memory of Kobbad in his hometown but she says nothing has come of that promise. The memorial was supposed to have been completed by his first death anniversary. Even though the material required for the structure has been dumped near the village panchayat office, actual construction is yet to begin, claimed Mahadevi.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was POSTHUMOUSLY awarded a service medal on Republic Day this January which Mahadevi accepted.