IN THE LATE 1990s, Gaurav Sawant became an overnight star. The offspring of a retired brigadier of the Indian army, Sawant joined the Indian Express in 1994, and was soon paradropped into the defence beat.
The Kargil War, which Sawant reported from the battlefront in 1999, was crucial to his success. In his 2000 book about Kargil, the journalist Sankarshan Thakur recalled the “daily whoops” of Sawant from the time: “Guys, guys, I’m so thrilled it’s my thirty-third front page byline in a row, I have never had it so good.”
That same year, Sawant too wrote a celebrated book called Dateline Kargil about his nine-week stay in the conflict zone. “Sawant succinctly details the Kargil operation, sensitively portraying the human side of the conflict, its intensity and the formidable odds ranged against the surprised army,” an India Today review said.