J&K encounter martyr: Captain Pranjal: A photographer, traveller, amateur magician

PG Venkat Rao, Pranjal’s guide and teacher from his scout days in Mangaluru, said he was a bright child and was always prompt to help other people.
Captain MV Pranjal with his wife
Captain MV Pranjal with his wife

BENGALURU: Captain MV Pranjal was a passionate photographer, an avid traveller, amateur magician and a committed Scout Ranger. Every time Pranjal visited Mangaluru during his leave from the Indian Army, he made sure to take a class on the Flag Code of India for Bachelor of Education (B.ed) graduates. He was quite knowledgeable about the manufacturing, history and protocols that needed to be followed. 

PG Venkat Rao, Pranjal’s guide and teacher from his scout days in Mangaluru, said he was a bright child and was always prompt to help other people. They’d also go on many treks and hikes together during his training days.  

“Pranjal completed his Rashtrapati Scout in 2009 post which he took classes for budding scouts whenever he visited Mangaluru. In fact, when he outgrew his scout uniform, he purchased a new one with all the accessories and would wear it to classes,” said Rao, who currently works as a trained graduate teacher and holds a Himalaya Wood Badge, Pre-ALT (Scout). 

As soon as Rao was informed of Pranjal being martyred in an encounter between security forces and militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday, he came to Bengaluru to pay his last respects and salute one of his best students who is now the pride of the nation. 

Rao teared up when he recalled the last conversation with Pranjal just days before the incident. “My mother passed away on November 6, when Pranjal got the message on November 9, he was on ground zero. His last message to me was, ‘I am sorry for your loss, sir. I will speak to you in some days’ but unfortunately those days never came,” he said. 

The scout teacher added that his parents have been extremely brave and have also raised a brave man. Pranjal’s room in Mangaluru was decorated with all his special memories from scout days and honoured all his teachers.

Recalling another incident Rao said at an official event, he was asked to honour the Captain to which Pranjal had said, ‘You are my teacher, why are you honouring me? I should be honouring you.’ “That’s the respect he exuded for elders,” said Rao.  

The Captain also saved a teacher’s life by raising a donation who was suffering from bone marrow cancer a couple of years ago. Pranjal’s last rites will be held in Bengaluru post the Guard of Honour. His mortal remains are expected to be brought to the city on Friday, confirmed a source.  

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