BETADUR(DHAWARD): He defied death for six days buried under snow and almost pulled off a medical miracle. But even in his death, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad demonstrated that heroes live on.
Hailing from a poor agricultural family in Betadur village near Hubballi, Koppad’s parents and three brothers learnt to live with whatever they produced on their 1.5 acre land. It was a childhood of struggle that young Hanumanthappa bravely faced and which helped him endure bigger battles ahead.
He walked six miles every day from his village to the high school in Aralikatti and the trudge did not deter his resolve to finish his studies and chase his dream of joining the army.
He was rejected eight times at the recruitment rallies held in Gadag, Dharwad and Belagavi. His family and friends in the village often asked him to change his dream so that he could get a job in Hubballi or Dharwad.
“There were many opportunities in Hubballi-Dharwad when Koppad had finished his SSLC. But he never gave up his ambition to wear the uniform. Each time he was rejected, we advised him to take up some other job, but he never listened. He used to wait for the next rally. The only time he demanded money from the house was for attending rallies. He finally enrolled as a soldier in 19 Madras Regiment during a rally at Ooty,” recalls Govind, elder brother of Koppad.
Even after joining the Army, not for him the craving for a peace time posting. The fighting spirit in Hanumanthappa drew him to the conflict zones of Jammu and Kashmir, where he excelled in combating the separatists.
In fact he volunteered for a second stint in Jammu and Kashmir and proved his mettle in fighting the insurgency in North-Eastern states too. His exemplary spirit took him to the heights of Siachen, where he has emerged a legend even in death.
Till recently his family was living in a dilapidated house and they moved into the present new house at the time of his wedding.
childhood of struggles
Hailing from a poor agricultural family in Dharwad’s tiny Betadur village, Hanamanthappa walked six miles to school, and had set his sights on becoming a soldier. Rejected eight times at recruitment rallies, this kabaddi player never gave up
enrolled in Army
The 33-year-old was enrolled in the 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment on October 25, 2002
During 14 years of service, he served 10 years on difficult terrain, including J&K and the North East
his last post
He was serving in Siachen from August 2015. Koppad was deployed at the Army’s Sonam Post when an avalanche engulfed their camp on Feb 3