“If I die in war zone
Box me up and send me home
Put my medals on my chest
Tell my mum I did my best”
Researching for some project at work today, I came across many moving and inspiring wartime stories of Indian Army. This 3rd largest force in the world has always humbled me with respect for their devotion and sacrifice for India.
Though war by extension is just politics at play, it is the soldiers that actually face the combat. The ‘Service before Self’ culture of the Indian Defence Services has kept us civilians safe from many invasions, terror attacks and intruders. Their daring cheek, gut and pure nerve in face of danger and death is unparalleled!
Here are some awe-inspiring and Savage responses and quotes from Indian Army:
1. Major Som Nath Sharma – 4th Battalion, Kumaon Regiment:
“The enemy are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to our last man and our last round.”
Major Somnath Sharma was the first recipient of the “Param Vir Chakra” (PVC), India’s highest military decoration. He served in Burma during the Arakan Campaign of World War II, for which he was mentioned in the Despatches. He later fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 in which he died on 3rd November 1947 while evicting Pakistani infiltrators from Srinagar Airport. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his valour and courage prior to his death.
2. Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey PVC, 1/11 Gurkha Rifles:
“If death strikes before I prove my blood, I swear I’ll kill Death”
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975 – 3 July 1999), was an Indian Army officer of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles. He was posthumously awarded with India’s highest military honour the “Param Vir Chakra” for his courage and leadership during adverse times. He died at the age of 24 during the attack on Jubar Top, Khalubar Hills in Batalik Sector, Kargil.
3. Capt. Vikram Batra PVC, 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles:
“Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolor, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure.”
Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra on 15 August 1999, the 52nd anniversary of India’s independence. He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare in Indian history during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
4. Lt. Arun Kehtarpal PVC, 17 Poona Horse:
“No Sir, I will not abandon my tank. My Main gun is still working and I will get these bastards.”
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, PVC born in Pune, Maharashtra, was an officer of the Indian Army and his stubborn refusal to abandon his tank during the crucial battle in the Shakargarh bulge put Indians in a stronger position and denied a vital breakthrough for the Pakistani forces. He died in the Battle of Basantar during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 where his actions earned him his honour.
5. Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ian Cardozo AVSM, SM, 1st Battalion 5th Gurkha Rifles:
“Now go and bury it somewhere!”
During the Indo-Pak war of 1971, Major General (Retd.) Ian Cardozo was battling in Sylhet. A mine blast beyond the enemy lines had completely shattered his left leg. A heavy artillery shelling had destroyed the medical aid of the Indian troops. With no morphine, anaesthesia or surgical instruments, the 34-year-old Major chopped off his own leg with his Regiment’s weapon, a khukri dagger, telling his batman, “Now go and bury it somewhere!” He was awarded Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), a military award given to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the armed forces and The Sena Medal (SM) “for such individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage as have special significance for the Army.”
6. Sam Manekshaw – Field Marshal:
“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”
The Gurkha Regiment mainly consists of the ethnic Nepali Gurkhas of Nepal and the ethnic Nepalis of India. They have a history of courage in face adversities and that is evident from the many gallantry awards and battle honours won by Gorkha soldiers. he 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force), has the unique distinction of producing one of the two Field Marshals of the Indian Army, Sam Manekshaw.
7. Ladakh Leh highway sign board:
“What is a lifetime adventure for you is a daily routine for us.”
8. Officers Training Academy, Chennai:
“We live by chance, we love by choice, we kill by profession.”
9. Anonymous Signboards:
“Trespassers will be Shot. Survivors will be Shot Again!”
10. Anonymous Signboards:
“To find us, you must be good, to catch us you must be fast, but to beat us…you must be kidding!”
The Indian soldier is a role model for the people of India. These Men in Uniforms are the ones who are guarding the country’s frontiers and putting themselves in the line of fire to protect us.
© Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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