His eyes were never off the peak which he summits. His fountain of youth is eternal; he is an inspiration to many young mountaineers, an adventurer, a decorated military cadet, the pride of India. All these traits qualify only one person on the Earth’s face i.e., Narendra Kumar aka “Bull” Kumar. His courage and valour earned him the sobriquet “Bull” at the Joint Services Wing (JSW) when he gave a tough fight to S.F.Rodrigues in a boxing bout.
Mt. Everest to Mt. Blanc – Undisputable
His passion and love for trekking are immense, it is this very spirit which assisted him to overcome all the hurdles on his way to success. His glorious journey was started with the successful expedition of Indian Army and Navy to Mt.Trisul (23,360 ft.) in 1958. In his expedition to Mt. Neelkanth (21,644 ft.), he lost his four fingers due to frostbite, but it failed to prevent him from achieving other notable feats. He successfully scaled Mt.Everest in 1965 along with 9 other Indian army officers after a failed attempt in 1960 due to foul weather. He even scaled the highest peak of Alp mountains – Mont Blanc (15,782 ft.) in 1968.
Chomalhari Episode – King’s expedition
He led a successful joint Indo-Bhutanese expedition to one of the holiest peaks of Bhutan i.e, Chomalhari Peak. This was a special one to him since he was asked to climb it by the then Majesty of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. He initiated his journey to the peak on the arrival of V.V.Giri to Bhutan (First visit by any president of India).Finally, he reached the summit on 23rd April at 10 A.M, which added yet another success story to his wonderful career.
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His 1977 ascent of Kanchenjunga world’s third highest peak was remarkable and memorable one. All the previous attempts by Germans to scale this peak from dangerous north-eastern spur turned futile and created a dogma that it is unachievable. However, that belief was shattered away with Narendra’s success. On this, occasion Wing Commander Sridharan of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) remarked, “…Kumar’s eye-mind coordination for exploration is unparalleled and Kanchenjunga was its best exhibition”.
“Conquest of Kanchenjunga ” titled stamp was issued by the Government of India to commemorate this achievement.
Epic of Operation Meghadoot-Siachen saga
The success of operation Meghadoot (1984) owes much to the work of Col.Narendra Kumar. India lost a part of Jammu Kashmir to Pakistan in 1947 Indo-Pak war, which is today termed as Azad Kashmir. The remaining portion of Jammu Kashmir was surrounded by its adversaries i.e. Pakistan in the west and China to the North and East.
The mutual animosity of Pakistan and India resulted in the emergence of world’s highest battlefield ground i.e. Siachen Glacier. Narendra Kumar once noted that Nj9842 is being shown as an integral part of Pakistan in American maps which he considered it to be a cartographical error. He reported this to Lieutenant General M. L. Chibber, India’s director of military operations. On Chibber’s orders, Kumar launched a reconnaissance expedition to Siachen along with 40 climbers and 30 porters. They began at the snout of the glacier reached halfway point, braving temperatures that dipped to -50. They successfully reached Teram Kangri, which is located in the southernmost part of the Sakshgam Valley. This was highly applauded by Indian Army and this story was published in “The Illustrated Weekly of India”.
He became the first person to dot the uncharted Siachen Glacier in April 1981. Thus providing India with a priceless weapon in securing the strategic Siachen Glacier, this is recognised as the highest battlefield and third pole of the world.
Awards and Medals
He was awarded MacGregor Medal by the United Service Institution of India for the best military reconnaissance, exploration or survey in remote areas in India.
He was honoured with Padma Shri (4th highest civilian award), Arjuna Award, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Kirti Chakra and much more.He is highly respected among the Indian army and set new standards for tomorrow’s India. He stood as an icon of the youth by instilling the “pride of India “among them.