‘Kiss of Death’ in Thar Desert during Kargil War

Manan Bhatt took to twitter to share his grasp on a 26-year-old weird experience, which he claims is still vivid in the minds of Kargil Yuddha's posted in Thar during the war

Kargil War:India’s largest component of the Armed Forces, the Indian Army is often filled with most wild, passionate and zealous experiences. The men in the army, both retired and in office, are frequently seen sharing such experiences with the civilians through various channels.

Alongside, these adventures, the men on duty also face several hindrances and many major obstacles throughout their service in harsh conditions. One such misfortunate experience, was recently shared by a Veteran Indian Navy officer and a Kargil Warrior, Manan Bhatt.

Recently, Manan Bhatt took to twitter to share his grasp on a 26-year-old weird experience, which he claims is still vivid in the minds of Kargil Yuddha’s posted in Thar during the war. The Kargil conflict, that lasted for around 2 months witnessed a number of such bizarre instances.

One such instance shared by Bhatt, reveals about officer Hari Ram’s (Pseudonym) tragic death in the midst of the war on May 1999. According to the post on Twitter, In the scorching heat of May 1999, when Lance Dafedar Hari Ram of the Indian Army’s Armoured Corps was deployed somewhere in the vast Thar Desert, in Rajasthan.

The Deadly “Mashak”

Hari Ram’s Sentry duty lasted until 12 a.m. Every soldier in the Desert at the time carried a Desi water bottle made of thick cotton cloth – locally known as Mashak. It helped to keep the water cool. The desert began to cool as the sun fell.

Hari Ram and the other soldiers were joking and chit-chatting until past midnight. Hari Ram’s “Mashak” was dangling from a Khajri tree branch.

Bursting out laughing in the middle of a ‘Fauji Joke’ Hari Ram took the Mashak (Watter Bottle) and sipped some water. And placed it to the tree branch, failing to cover its mouth with the cap. There are no easy days in the Desert because of the terrible climatic conditions that exist, particularly the blazing summer heat, when the water dries up all across the region.

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He further added into the post, that during the cool summer nights, a deadly predator unique to this region of the world and a master of Desert camouflage, emerges.

The Sochurek’s Saw Scaled Viper, popularly known as “Bandi,” is infamous among desert residents for its angry, irritable, and exceedingly aggressive character, as well as its fatal toxin. A thirsty Viper sensed the wetness of the dripping “Mashak” and inadvertently slipped inside and became stuck.

Hari Ram had been sleeping soundly for about two hours when his mouth began to dry up and he felt a strong impulse to drink some water. He rose up, half drowsy with partially closed eyelids, seized the “Mashak” and raised it.

He raised the Mashak, to quench his thirst but to his bad luck, fuming angry Viper sprang from the tilted water bottle’s opening, his venomous fangs piercing Hari Ram’s tongue. Hari Ram went into shock as soon as the Viper bit him and fell backwards in the sand. The neurotoxins spread quickly through Hari Ram’s nervous system.

Unfortunately, it was the ‘Kiss of Death’ for Him.

When a fellow soldier saw Hari Ram unconscious in his own pool of blood early in the morning, he was immediately rushed to MH, where the doctor certified him dead.  Bhatt further went on to add about the insights on the 1999 season that witnessed 33 snake bites among soldiers forward posted in remote places owing to the ongoing Kargil War. The miraculous Army Doctors was able to save 32 of them. Hari Ram, the unfortunate soldier, was the only one who could not be spared.

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