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Believe in your core values - Kargil war hero Captain Akhilesh Saxena

Sunoj Nambiar Sunday, December 4, 2022
Believe in your core values - Kargil war hero Captain Akhilesh Saxena

From the war front at Kargil leading his team to victory at one of the most difficult wars India witnessed till date to the corporate world of India's most respected company TATA group, we have a lot of big lessons to learn from Captain Akhilesh Saxena.

The Kargil War Hero Captain Akhilesh Saxena and his wife Shikha Saxena was in Kuwait to attend the conference organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants India (ICAI) Kuwait Chapter. In a brief chat with, Captain Akhilesh shares his transition from a war hero to the corporate world, which taught us the biggest lesson in one's life.

Can you briefly tell our readers about the victory at Kargil War?

Kargil War was one of the most difficult wars we ever faced. All circumstances were against us and favorable to the enemy. The enemy is sitting on top and we are at the bottom. The land is almost inclined to 80 degrees and we are climbing up. Each one of us to carry 40 to 45 kg of weight including ammunition on our back. Temperature is going from -18 to -25 degree while we are going up. And after all, we never were prepared for such a mission at that point.

However, we have one thing which helped us to achieve the victory. The winner’s mindset. With that we were able to achieve the success. But in a war, everything comes at a cost. During our last attempt, when we are very close to target, I was hit by two enemy bullet. But we keep on moving. The thought came to my mind is that we are nearing to reach our target and as I am leading the troop at that moment if I tell my team about my injury, my team will get little bit slowed down. I don’t want that to happen and I started moving forward despite the bullet injury and we reach the victory. But by the time we reach the target, I was almost unconscious. The nearest medical point was almost 8 hours of walking. I lost so much of blood by then and the chances of survival was very narrow. But we keep on moving and by the time I reach medical point I was unconscious. After two days when I got my conscious, I was in Delhi hospital.

So after the victory at Kargil, how you transformed yourself into the corporate world?

We got victory. We all are happy about that. Now the next question is what next. There I have two options either to continue in service and take up sheltered appointment in Delhi or Mumbai. I cannot go to the field as I am war injured. Second option is to take challenges in life and move on. In army I got all the discipline quality to lead a team and achieve the target with success. When I look at it, I came to know that in corporate also we need the same quality. So I thought why not. So I decide to shift my focus to the corporate world.

I was offered few jobs from Railway, ONGC, and even from TATAs as I am a war hero. But What I told them was that what I did in the war front is my 'Karma' I don’t want to put a price tag for that and get a job in a company only because I fought a war. If at all I am joining any corporate, I should acquire the qualification for the post I am taking. So I started to pursue my career from the scratch. From hospital bed, I started my studies again. It was a difficult journey. My treatment is going on, and same time preparing for my MBA exam. I got admission in some of the top colleges in Delhi. Finally, I joined FMS Delhi and passed my MBA in gold medal.

Captain Akhilesh Saxena

After my MBA, I joined Wipro in Delhi. It was a very good platform. After that also I continued on my education. I did Six Sigma, PMP and many other exams. Later I got an opportunity to join Bharathi Airtel. I was the Deputy General Manager there. After around 2 and half year, I got a call from TATA group. I joined Tata group as a General manager based on my competency. Now it’s almost 15 years I am in Tata group and I got four times Pro Club award from Tata group.

Was it easy to leave your Army culture behind while you are at corporate world?

No. Not at all. What I explained is one part of the transformation. The other part is since I am not in army now, how do I serve my nation. Army is the right place to inculcate all the core values in your life. I got that values because I was in Army. We wanted all citizen to acquire these qualities. So my wife took the initiate and started a forum called "Inspiring Mantras". This is to inspire everyone in the society. If we can achieve success in Kargil war, which is one of the most difficult one, then we can achieve success in everything. What set right at Kargil was the mindset. The winning attitude is all what we need. If we inspire the youth with this message, we can build a better world around us.

With "Inspiring Mantra's" we teach them how to live your life, the value of discipline, core values, integrity, sincerity in your life. Our moto is every citizen is a soldier.

Captain Akhilesh Saxena

How this Army discipline helps you in the corporate world?

The discipline I attained from my Army days really helped me in my corporate world. Its your core character what matters. In the corporate world if you prove yourself that I will not deviate from my core values, initially you may face difficulties, but eventually your team will realize that your words are actual words. Second is to lead from the front. In army, the leader actually leads his team. The leader will be in the front to defend his team from enemy attack. In corporate world also this helps you to become a great leader. If you tell your team that if you fail, I will support you but if you achieve, I will put you in the front. Then the team will believe in you. After all, it’s the team aim. Even in cricket, you as a player may hit a century, but if the team fail, your century is gone waste, right? Army value system has taught me being a leader is not by your organizational hierarchy. It’s when the others accepting you as the leader with your action.

How we can inculcate this discipline among the general public?

Today's children are tomorrows generation. If you can influence their mind at the right age, you can make a better society. You can influence them only by your action. Just to show what will happen, they will be encouraged to follow the discipline.

In many of the countries, it is mandatory for its citizen to serve the Army for few years. The Agneepath scheme helps us a bit here. It’s a good opportunity for the youth to become a better citizen where it inculcates the core value in you. The corporates will be ready to accept them as they are ready to build a good nation.

Here in Kuwait, many NRI children often lost their connection with our nation. What is your advice to NRI children?

One is lack of awareness. Army is not just a job. It’s a way of life. It’s something which you carry throughout your life. But people are not totally aware about the changes army can bring in your life. Your entire life is taking care of army. Your entire family is taken care by army. In officer’s level, there are many good avenues even for engineers and medical professionals. At least they should aware that it is a career option for them and what are the plus and minus in this career. Its everyone’s duty to create this awareness.

What would you like to tell the Indians in Kuwait?

Your core value system is your quality – the one you are proud of. It’s not easy to bring this core value. The ups and downs in life will not bother you much if you follow your core value system in your life.

I truly believe, now India is in a path to become a super power in terms of knowledge. Even in many countries, Indians are reaching the top level. In next 10 to 15 year, India is ping to be one of the top country in terms of economy and knowledge power. is now on WhatsApp Channel    Follow Channel

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Express your comment on this article

Monday, December 5, 2022
An inspiring interview from IIK, very much appreciated.

For me the biggest takeaway is, how the Capt. has transformed himself from an injured war hero to a corporate leader, because of his resilience and self belief. He never blamed his fate or his country on what has happened to him in the war, he started from scratch and proved his value to the country again.

Jai Hind.

Markos Williams
Sunday, December 4, 2022
From the war front ….to the corporate board room is factually incorrect. Akhilesh Saxena is not a Board Member of Tata Group . He is only the Vice President -Global Service Delivery of Tata Communications which is one of the many Tata Companies. In our adulation of Captain Saxena as a Kargil hero let us not go overboard.

Sunday, December 4, 2022
great exprience...good luck

Sunday, December 4, 2022
Salutes to the heroes abd to this wonderful gentleman.

Proud of you sir and and all other Kargil heroes.

Hats off to IIK team for bringing up this interview.

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