He is one of the 457 Gentlemen Cadets who passed out from the Indian Military Academy on June 9, adding another feather to the family’s glorious contribution. “I was five and a half years old when my father attained martyrdom at Kargil and became my inspiration. But it was my mother who struggled the most to keep me on track,” says Lt Hitesh.
Mother Kamlesh Bala’s happiness is infectious. “Meri 19 saal ki tapasya puri hui. Abki June 13 ko unko shaheed hue 19 saal ho jayenge (My 13 years of struggle is over. On June 13, it would be 19 years since he (her husband) attained martyrdom),” said Bala over the phone from Muzaffarnagar, their ancestral home where the family is being felicitated.
Born on October 23, 1994, Lt Hitesh has a twin brother Hemant, a minute older than him, who is also preparing to join the Army. Sharing his 19-year-long journey to achieve his dreams, he says soon after his father’s martyrdom his mother put him in Rashtriya Military School at Chail in Himachal Pradesh.
A B.Com (Honours) from Delhi University’s prestigious Shri Ram College of Commerce, he had the option of joining the Faculty of Management and a high-flying corporate career.
“But for me, life without being in the Army was unthinkable. I had decided that if I fail to do so I will join the paramilitary forces. After school, I cleared the NDA’s written exam but failed to clear the interview,” says Lt Hitesh. A keen sportsperson, he plays basketball and loves reading historical fiction and mythology.