SHAHEED Captain Pannikot Visvanath Vikram

By D Jose

'My son has accomplished what I could not'

"My son has accomplished what I could not. I am really proud of him," was the immediate reaction of Lieutenant Colonel (retired) P K P Viswanatha Panickar when he heard about the death of his son, Captain Pannikot Visvanath Vikram, 25, in a shell attack at Kargil yesterday.

In a family where military tradition runs in the blood there were no ostentatious signs of grief. "I participated in two wars against Pakistan, but I could not sacrifice my life for the country. He has sacrificed his life for the nation. I have no regrets," the colonel commented stoically. In his service days he himself had a stint at Kargil.

Lt. Colonel Panickar, who works in Bangalore, reached Kozhikode on learning about the death of his eldest son. To the hundreds who gathered at his home to offer condolences, he voiced the same matter-of-fact refrain, "a soldier should always be prepared to die in the battlefield.''

Growing up among soldiers, Vikram had set his eyes on the army in school itself. He had managed a 'C' certificate as a NCC cadet. After graduation he followed his father to the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun. Passing out from the Academy in June 1996, he was commissioned in the Madhya Pradesh-based 141 Field Regiment, again his father's regiment.

Vikram came down to Kozhikode on leave in April. The last time the family spoke to the captain was on May 4, when he called home. Vikram's mother is the principal of the Vidyatmika School at Kozhikode, while his younger brother, P V Keshav, is a third-year student at the dental college in Kozhikode.

His body was cremated on Sunday within the premises of his house at Panniyankara near Kozhikode. State minister K Radhakrishnan represented the state government at the funeral

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