Praveen Kumar Teotia is the hero of 26 November, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He survived four bullets from the enemy side and fought with them. His famous quote is “Janani se pehle hamari Janani”.
“The Operation Black Tornando” was the name given to the operation that was carried out to fight back the terrorists and moved them out of their hidden places in Taj Hotel. Finally, it came out to be successful killing all the terrorists.
Story of 26 November, 2008 from the mouth of Hero Praveen Kumar
It was a normal day like others in Mumbai. The only difference was that Indian cricket team was playing against South Africa. It was a nice match and Indian boys were playing very well.
Praveen Kumar, the merchant navy commander recalls how he was watching the match and had gone to the terrace just before the incident happened. He told how he went to take some fresh air and everything was very peaceful until then.
He came down and shortly after that the phone calls started ringing in the guard room and there was a lot of movement in that area. He was told by his duty officer to report and reach the Mumbai Taj Hotel as the terrorist had attacked there. He was not sure of the situation until he reached there in cycle.
He was appointed as the point-man of the mission of his team. The role of a point-man is that he would either face the first bullet or hit the first bullet. He should be the most efficient person in a team as the whole team performance depends upon him.
Already earlier teams of commandos had reached the hotel, and his was the next team that reached at 2am. He told how they all made a blind entry as were not aware of its passage and map. People were crying and blood was spread everywhere.
The team asked for passage from the security manager and asked him to come after him. They reached to the first floor where a person was hiding. The team thought him to be a terrorist but he was a visitor there and came out with his shaking hands up. Praveen sooner realized the situation was not that simple as it was appearing to be and it was very serious.
The security manager led them to the next floor where the terrorists were hiding. There were three marriages, in the Taj hotel that day and many parties were also there, so there were lot of people gathered there.
He reached on second floor in a chamber and opened the door of a room which was totally dark. There were 8 Marcos in his team. In a team of Marcos(earlier known as Marine Commando Force (MCF)) there are 8 people which is called “Prahar”. Sooner he opened the door and realized there was wall on his left . He leaned towards the wall and the security manager was behind him. He wanted to ask him the interior of the room but could not do so as the manager was behind him.
Praveen was the leading man of the team leading the room. Barely he had taken 7-8 steps, he heard the triggered sound of AK-47 guns. He could easily recognize the sound as they have some different noise. Since there was darkness in the room so he was trying to locate them. He saw a flash of light and he heard the sound, but before he could do something, the terrorists had fired him.
The first shot in any attack is always a head-shot, and he was luckily he had escaped from that shot. It was very painful and to prevent that pain he held the carpet and tried to divert the pain. He noticed there was a wall and a sofa. And there was a space between sofa and wall, so he sat in that area and checked his injured ear which was profusely bleeding.
He lost a little conscious but immediately regained it back and went into a hiding place. Sooner he came to know that there are four terrorists opposed to two as they earlier thinking so.
He wanted to engage them with firing so that his team could get the next step they should take.
There was a huge round of fires from both the sides. His team had left that place when the terrorists hit them back but he did not go and remained there. He had two hand grenades and it fell at the right place. But he was disappointed that it did not blast. There were around 150 people in the adjacent room. The managing director of people were also sitting in the room outside that room. Had those terrorists got those 150 people, it would have been very difficult situation.
Sooner he realized that his team mates had gone out of that room and he was left alone there. The team was not aware of his presence in the room and they thought he had died. He did not have a communication set also that time and neither was wearing a helmet. They asked about the entry and exit of the room from the security officers,so they left tear-gas in the room which started suffocating him also.
He coughed due to lack of oxygen, the terrorists shot him back. He was about to lose his breath, when he decided to take the final step. He just rushed towards the door but simultaneously kept on firing at the terrorists. During the process he was hit by three bullets on his chest. His momentum made him reach the door and sooner he reached the door, luckily his team pulled him out. He was taken to the hospital and had five surgeries held on him. His buddies kept on saying him take breath easily.
After few days he was told that the Operation Black Tornando was successful. Due to surgeries he was considered unfit for his job. He was given a desk job as he could not serve his usual job that needed his 100% fitness.
Life of Praveen Kumar after Operation Black Tornando
It was the u-turn for his life as he spent most of his time in hospital after the operation. He was considered unfit and given desk job. His lungs had damaged so could not dive and swim. He could not swim and dive any more so could not get navy job again as Marcos. His hearing capability had also reduced to the damage to ears.
He told he could not carry his luggage easily for two years. He started doing yoga by waking early in the morning. He started spending 2-3 hours in yoga and as a result his lungs size also increased. His breathing capacity improved and made him fit again. The doctors also consider it to be a miracle.
Today, this proud Indian official is fit enough to win Ironman challenge and has already won many Marathon race. Praveen Kumar is a perfect example of bravery who place country service before their self.