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‘Be Brave’: Galwan Martyr Col Santosh Babu’s Last Words To Wife

‘I tell my kids that he will come home soon’, wife of Col Santosh Babu, who laid down his life at Galwan Valley.

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Video Editing, Graphics & Animation: Puneet Bhatia
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani
Reporter: Santosh

(This story was first published on 15 August 2020 and is being republished from The Quint's archives in the backdrop of Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu being awarded the country’s second-highest military gallantry honour, the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously on 23 November.)

“Duty is first priority. I love my country,” Colonel B Santosh Babu, who laid down his life for the country at Galwan Valley, used to tell his wife.

The 37-year-old had spoken to his family for the last time on 14 June. The next day, he, along with his men, made the ultimate sacrifice while guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) from soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

“On the night of 14 June, he video-called us. He spoke to kids and me. He asked, how are you all? Said, take care, stay happy, be brave.”
Santoshi, Wife of Col Santosh Babu

A commanding officer of 16 Bihar Regiment, Santosh Babu was promoted in December 2019. He spent most of the new year planning his homecoming.

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He was to return to his home in Suryapet, Telangana in October to his wife and two children – Rishi and Abhigna.

“He planned to come home in October for his new posting. We had so many plans. With family members, kids. Along with unit also. We planned many things for the coming tenure. We kept on talking about that, discussing all that.”
Santoshi 

Santoshi, who married the martyr nine years ago, is putting on a brave front to her kids. “Whenever they are asking me, I tell them that he is in the office only. He will come”, she says. She was appointed Deputy Collector in Telangana after Santosh Babu’s demise.

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The Colonel Has Left a Huge Void

No compensation is enough for the loss his family and parents face. Santosh Babu’s 9-year-old daughter knows she has lost her papa and feels the need to cry every night so that she doesn’t forget him.

“A new house was given to me because of my husband’s work. Wherever I am decorating the house, photos, almirahs, study room, even living room... each and every time I am recalling him.”
Santosh

Colonel Babu’s family has received hundreds of letters from across India expressing gratitude and support, saluting the ultimate sacrifice he made. A community from his hometown is sculpting his statue using digital sculpting technology – a first for India.

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