The Indian Army soldier and a Junior Commissioned Officer, Subedar Sanjay Kumar, was the recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award for his gallantry in the 1999 Kargil War.
Born on March 3, 1967, in the village Kalol Bakain in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh, he worked as a taxi driver in New Delhi, before enlisting in the army.
Notably, Subedar Sanjay Kumar's application to join the army was rejected thrice before he was finally selected into the army ranks.
Subedar Sanjay Kumar was leading a scout of team tasked to capturing Area Flat Top on July 4, 1999, when his team was pinned down by machine gun from an enemy bunker, about 150 meters away.
Tasked with capturing a point in Ladakh's Mushkoh Valley, Rifleman Kumar crawled alone up the ledge, and charged towards the enemy bunker even though they were firing at him.
He took two bullets in his chest and forearm but continued the charge with valour and in subsequent hand-to-hand fighting killed three enemy soldiers.
He then crept towards the second enemy bunker with a fallen enemy machine gun and the enemy soldiers, taken completely by surprise, were killed by him as they fled their post.
The rest of the platoon followed with a charged, assaulted the feature and captured Area Flat Top.
In 2010, Subedar Sanjay Kumar was demoted from the rank of Havildar to Lance Naik.
The army refused to cite any reasons for his demotion. Moreover, the army concealed the facts by continuing to refer to him as Havildar in press releases.
On July 2, 2014, Sanjay Kumar became a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Indian Army, with his promotion to Naib Subedar.
Kumar's story along with others who were part of the same conflict was portrayed in the film LOC Kargil, in which his character was played by Bollywood actor Sunil Shetty.