Born on Army day (January 15), 23-year-old para commando Captain Pawan Kumar cared only about India and not for calls of "azadi" on the college campus or demands for reservation by members of his community in Haryana.

Exactly three years ago on February 21, 2016, Captain Pawan Kumar from Indian Army’s 10 Para Special Forces unit laid down his life while fighting four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists. Not before saving the lives of many civilians who were in trapped in a building.

For his supreme sacrifice, Captain Pawan Kumar was awarded with the Shaurya Chakra posthumously on August 15, 2016.

Captain Pawan Kumar was leading his team from the front in an extremely complicated operation in a multi-storied building in the Pampore area of Kashmir where four terrorists were holed up.

The Army recalls him as an “inspiring leader” as he not only saved the lives of civilians but, despite being injured in an earlier anti-terrorist operation, volunteered to lead the combat.

Captain Kumar's team stormed the building in Pampore to flush out militants who were hiding inside. The militants first attacked a Central Reserve Police Force convoy coming towards Srinagar. After killing two CRPF jawans, the militants sneaked into the seven-storey Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) complex.

For the security forces, the focus was to evacuate civilians to safety. Army and CRPF launched a joint operation with armoured vehicles to evacuate 120 civilians from the building. The militants responded with automatic gunfire and hand grenades. During the ensuing battle, Captain Kumar lost his life.

During the same operation two more paratroopers, Captain Tushar Mahajan, 26, and Lance Naik Om Prakash, 32, were killed.

Early life of Captain Pawan Kumar

Captain Pawan Kumar had graduated from the National Defence Academy. He had a degree from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He was a Jat from the Jind district of Haryana which, at that point of time, witnessed large-scale violence over the demand by the community for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions.

Interestingly, when other students of his university were in news for raising 'azadi' slogans and Jats in Haryana were agitating for quota, his last post on Facebook read, "Kisiko reservation chahiye to kisiko azadi, bhai. Humein kuchh nahin chahiye, bhai. Bas apni rajai. (Some want reservation and some freedom; I don’t want anything, brother, I want only my quilt).”

Pawan Kumar was the only child of his parents. During his cremation, his father Rajbir Singh told media he was proud of his son's achievement: “I had only one child. I gave him to the Army, to the nation. No father can be prouder.”