“Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs” is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by individuals who gave their lives for a cause they believed in. The summary captures the essence of honoring these heroes who have left an indelible mark on history. Through their courage and dedication, they have inspired generations to continue striving for justice, freedom, and positive change. The piece serves as a tribute to these martyrs, ensuring that their legacy and the lessons they imparted are never forgotten.
Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs Summary
Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs Summary in English:
This chapter describes the heroic deeds of some great martyrs who were honoured with Param Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry award in India. During the war, they inflicted heavy losses upon the enemy and thus changed the course of the war.
1. Major Som Nath Sharma
The very first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra was Major Som Nath Sharma. He was awarded this medal for his bravery during the Indo-Pak war of 1947-48 in Kashmir. He died while evicting Pakistani raiders from Srinagar Airport. Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 at Dadh in Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. His father, Major General Amar Nath Sharma, was also a military officer.
It was 31 Oct. 1947. Major Som Nath’s company was to be airlifted to Srinagar. At that time, Som Nath’s right hand was in plaster. A few days back, he had been injured in the hockey field. But Major Som Nath insisted on being with his company during the war. Finally, he was permitted to go to Srinagar with his company.
When Major Som Nath reached Srinagar with his company, they were ordered to go to the Badgam village in the Kashmir valley. A ‘Lashkar’ of about 700 raiders had entered the village. During the fight, the enemy surrounded Som Nath’s company from three sides and started mortar bombardment. Many of his soldiers were killed in this bombardment.
But even then the Major didn’t let his men lose their courage. Exposing himself to danger, he ran from post to post and urged his men to fight bravely. Despite his right hand being in plaster, he started filling magazines and issuing them to his soldiers.
Suddenly, a mortar shell exploded on the ammunition lying near him. Major Som Nath was killed in that explosion. However, his last message sent to the Brigade Headquarters turned the tables against the enemy. The Indian troops, at once, flew into Srinagar and blocked all the routes to Srinagar. Thus Major Som Nath Sharma saved Srinagar from falling into the hands of the enemy.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa :
Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa, PVC, was an Indian Army Major in Ist Battalion, 8th Gorkha Rifles Regiment. It was 20 Oct. 1962. Major Dhan Singh Thapa was posted in Ladakh at that time. The Chinese attacked Sirijap-1 post near the Chushul airport in Ladakh.
They kept shelling for about two hours and set the whole area ablaze. But Major Thapa and his men also inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and thus repulsed their attack. The Chinese made another attack in great numbers. This time too, Major Thapa failed their attack. Third time the Chinese attacked with tanks.
Though Major Thapa and his men were weakened by the casualties suffered in earlier attacks, they didn’t lose courage. They continued fighting till the ammunition was finished. When the Chinese overran the post, Major Thapa jumped out of his trench.
He killed many of the intruders in hand-to-hand fighting. Major Thapa was awarded the Param Vir Chakra. It was believed that Major Thapa was killed in that encounter. But, in fact, he was taken prisoner. When he was released from the POW camp, he resumed his military career. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel. He died in Sept. 2005.
3. Havildar Abdul Hamid
Havildar Abdul Hamid was a soldier in the 4th battalion of The Grenadiers of the Indian Army. He died in the Khem Karan Sector during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. He was posthumously honoured with the Param Vir Chakra award for his exemplary courage and bravery displayed during the war.
Abdul Hamid was born on July 1, 1933 at Dhamupur village in Ghazipur District of Uttar Pradesh. He was enrolled into The Grenadiers, infantry regiment in 1954. In the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Abdul Hamid was posted in the Khem Karan-Bhikhiwind Sector in Punjab.
It was 10 September 1965. Pakistani forces with a regiment of Patton tanks attacked a vital area near Khem Karan Sector. There was intense artillery shelling. The enemy tanks had penetrated the forward position in an hour only.
Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid realised the gravity of the situation. And he moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep. There was intense enemy shelling and tank fire. But brave Hamid didn’t care and taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank.
Then quickly changing his position, he knocked out another enemy tank. Just then, the enemy tanks spotted him and started firing at him. However, an undeterred Hamid still kept on firing on another enemy tank. He was badly wounded by a highly explosive shell.
Abdul Hamid’s brave action inspired his comrades to beat back the heavy tank assault by the enemy. His complete disregard for his own safety and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of constant enemy fire presented a marvellous example before the whole world.
4. Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon who was an officer of the Indian Air Force was born on 17 July 1943. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for defending Srinagar Air Base from a Pakistani air raid during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
During that war, he was assigned to the No. 18 Squadron, “The Flying Bullets’, flying the Folland Gnat fighter aircraft based at Srinagar. It was 14 December 1971. Six Pakistani Air Force F-86 Sabre jets attacked Srinagar airfield. Sekhon was on readiness duty at that time. The enemy aircraft dropped bombs on the ground targets.
Under heavy fire, Sekhon somehow was able to take off in his Gnat and fight with the Sabres. He scored a direct hit on one Sabre and set another Sabre ablaze. After a long fight with the remaining four Sabres, Sekhon’s aircraft was hit and he was killed. The remaining Pakistani aircraft returned to Pakistan without pressing the attack.
5. Captain Vikram Batra Captain Vikram
Batra was born on 9 Sept. 1974 in Ghuggar village near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. He was an officer of the Indian Army. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his heroic deeds during the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan.
In 1996, he was commissioned in the Indian Army as a Lieutenant of the 13 JAK Rifles at Sopore in Jammu & Kashmir. He soon rose to the rank of Captain. In June 1999, his unit proceeded to Kargil sector on getting the news of a warlike situation in Kargil, Drass and Batalik sub-sectors.
Captain Vikram along with his company was sent on the first strategic and daring operation in Kargil. He was given the task of recapturing the first peak of utmost importance Point 5140, which was at an altitude of 17000 feet. Captain Vikram who was nicknamed Sher Shah for his courage decided to lead from the rear and thus shock the enemy.
He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff. But as they reached near the top, the enemy started firing at them with their heavy machine guns. Captain Batra and his men didn’t bother about the heavy firing and climbed up the cliff. After reaching the top, they hurled two grenades at the machine-gun post.
Captain Vikram alone killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. Though he was seriously injured, he insisted on continuing the mission. Inspired by his courage, his men charged the enemy position and recaptured Point 5140.
The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak, Three Pimples, Point 4750 and Point 4875. On 7 July, 1999, Captain Vikram Batra was killed when he tried to save an injured officer while recapturing Point 4875. His last words were Jai Mata Di’.
Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs Translation in English:
Param Vir Chakra is the highest gallantry award instituted by the government of India to be conferred on those soldiers who display exemplary courage and bravery in their fight for the honour, dignity and the protection of their motherland.
We can sleep in peace only because of the alert presence of these sentinels? at the borders of our country. The excerpts below describe the heroics of some of the recipients of this great honour. They laid down their lives but changed the course of the war through their great display of courage by inflicting heavy losses upon the foe.
Major Som Nath Sharma (1923-1947) was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest Indian gallantry award. He was awarded the medal posthumously for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947. He died while evicting Pakistani infiltrators and raiders from Srinagar Airport during the Indo-Pak War of 1947 – 48 in Kashmir. He belonged to the Kumaon Regiment.
Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 at Dadh, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India. He came from a well-known military family. His father, Major General Amar Nath Sharma, was also a military officer. His company was airlifted8 to Srinagar on 31 October 1947. His right hand was in a plaster cast as a result of injuries sustained in the hockey field previously but he insisted on being with his company in combat and was given permission to go.
On 3 November, 1947, Major Som Nath Sharma’s company was ordered on a fighting patrol10 to Badgam village in the Kashmir Valley. A tribal ‘lashkar of 700 raiders approached Badgam from the direction of Gulmarg.
The company was soon surrounded by the enemy from three sides and sustained heavy casualties from the ensuing17 mortar bombardment. Under heavy fire and outnumbered seven to one, Som Nath urged17 his company to fight bravely, often exposing himself to14 danger as he ran from post to post. When heavy causalties adversely affected the firing power of his company, Major Sharma, with his right hand in plaster, took upon himself the task of filling the magazines and issuing them to men, operating light machine guns.
While he was busy fighting the enemy, a mortar shell exploded on the ammunition near him. His last message to Brigade HQ before he was killed was “The enemies are only 50 yards from us. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to our last man and our last round.”
By the time the relief company of 1st Battalion Kumaon Regiment reached Badgam, the position had been overrun. However, the 200 casualties suffered by the enemy made them lose their impetus to advance. The Indian troops in the meantime flew in to Srinagar airfield and blocked all routes to Srinagar. In this manner, Som Nath Sharma prevented the fall of Srinagar.
Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa PVC was an Indian Army Major in 1st Battalion, 8 01 Gorkha Rifles Regiment. He was commissioned on 28 August, 1949. At 06.00 on 20 October 1962, the Chinese opened a barrage of artillery and mortar fire over Sirijap-1 post near the Chushul Airport in Ladakh.
The shelling continued till 08.30 and the whole area was set ablaze. Some shells fell on the command post and damaged the wireless set. This put the post out of communication. The Chinese then attacked in overwhelming numbers. Major Thapa and his men repulsed the attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The Chinese mounted another attack in greater numbers after shelling the area with artillery and mortar fire.
Major Thapa once again repulsed the attack, inflicting heavy losses on the Chinese. A short while later, a third Chinese attack included tanks in support of the infantry. The defenders were weakened by the casualties suffered in earlier attacks, but held out while the ammunition lasted. When the Chinese finally overran the post, Major Thapa jumped out of his trench and killed many intruders in hand-to-hand fighting.
Summary Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs
He was eventually overpowered and captured. Major Thapa who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, was believed to have been killed in this engagement. But he was later discovered to have been taken prisoner.
After his release from the POW camp he resumed his military career. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel and died in September 2005. Major Thapa’s cool courage, conspicuous6 fighting qualities and leadership were in the highest traditions of our Army.
Havildar Abdul Hamid was a soldier in the 4th battalion, The Grenadiers7 of the Indian Army, who died in the Khem Karan Sector during the Indo-Pak War of 1.965. He was the posthumous recipient of the Republic of India’s highest military decoration8, the Param Vir Chakra.
Abdul Hamid was born in a poor Darzi family at Dhamupur village of Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh on July 1, 1933. Abdul Hamid was enrolled into The Grenadiers, infantry regiment in 1954. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Hamid’s battalion was a part of infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier John Dalvi. It participated9 in the battle of Namka Chu against the Chinese. In 1965 Indo-Pak War, Abdul Hamid was posted in the Karan.
Bhikhiwind Sector in Punjab. Successful actions by Indian armoury artillery and infantry anti-tank actions, such as those of Abdul Hamid, tarnished the reputation of the M48 Patton tanks. At 0800 hours on 10 September 1965 Pakistani forces launched an attack with a regiment of Patton tanks on a vital area ahead of village Cheema on the Bhikhiwind road in the Khem Karan Sector. Intense artillery shelling preceded the attack. The enemy tanks penetrated4 the forward position by 0900 hours.
Realising the grave situation, Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid who was commander of an RCL gun detachment moved out to a flanking position with his gun mounted on a jeep, under intense enemy shelling and tank fire. Taking an advantageous position, he knocked out the leading enemy tank and then swiftly changing his position, he sent another tank up in flames.
By this time the enemy tanks in the area spotted him and brought his jeep under concentrated machine gun and high explosivefire. Undeterred Havildar Abdul Hamid kept on firing on yet another enemy tank with his recoilless gun. While doing so, he was mortally wounded by an enemy high explosive shell.
Havildar Abdul Hamid’s brave action inspired his comrades to put up a gallant fight and to beat back the heavy tank assault by the enemy. His complete disregard for his personal safety during the operation and his sustained acts of bravery in the face of constant enemy fire were a shining example not only to his unit but also to the whole division and were in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC (17 July 1943-14 December 1971) was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar airbase against a Pakistani air raid during the Indo-Pak War of 1971.
During the Indo-Pak War of 1971, he was assigned to No. 18 Squadron, ‘The Flying Bullets’, flying the Folland Gnat fighter aircraft based at Srinagar. On 14 December 1971, Srinagar Airfield was attacked by six Pakistan Air Force F-86 jets. Flying Officer Sekhon was on readiness duty at that time. Soon the enemy aircraft attacked the airfield, strafing ground targets. Under heavy fire, he was able to take off6 in his Gnat and engage the Sabres.
In the ensuing air battle, Sekhon scored a direct hit on one Sabre8 and set another ablaze. The latter was seen heading away towards Rajauri, trailing smoke. The four remaining Sabres pressed the attack, and after a lengthy dog-fight at tree-top level, Sekhon’s aircraft was hit, and he was killed. The remaining Pakistani aircraft returned to Pakistan without pressing the attack.
The bravery, flying skill and determination10 displayed by Flying Officer Sekhon earned him India’s highest wartime medal for gallantry, the Param Vir Chakra. His skill was later praised in an article by Salim Baig Mirza, the pilot who shot him down.
Let’s Not Forget the Martyrs short Summary
Captain Vikram Batra PVC (9 September 1974-7 July 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army, posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Vikram Batra was born on 9 September 1974 in Ghuggar village near Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. He was selected to join the Indian Military Academy in Dehradunt in 1996 in Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion, and was commissioned in the Indian Army as a Lieutenant of the 13 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles at Sopore, in Jammu and Kashmir. He rose to the rank of Captain.
On 1 June 1999, his unit proceeded to the Kargil .Sector on the eruption of a warlike situation in Kargil, Drass and Batalik sub-sectors. He was sent along with his company on the first strategic and daring operation to recapture the first peak of utmost importance Point 5140, which was at an altitude-1 of 17,000 feet.
Captain Vikram Batra was given the task of recapturing Point 5140. Nicknamed Sher Shah (‘Lion King’) in Hindi for his courage, he decided to lead the rear, as an element of : surprise would help stupefy the enemy. He and his men ascended the sheer rock-cliff, but as the group neared the top, the enemy pinned them on the face of the bare cliff with machine-gun fire.
Captain Batra, along with five of his men, climbed up regardless of the heavy firing and after reaching the top, hurled two grenades at the machine-gun post. He single-handedly killed three enemy soldiers in close combat. He was seriously injured during this, but insisted on
regrouping his men to continue with the mission. Inspired by the courage displayed by Captain Batra, the other soldiers of 13 JAK Rifles charged the enemy position and captured Point 5140 at 3:30 a.m. on 20 June 1999. His company is credited with killing at least eight Pakistani soldiers and recovering a heavy machine gun.
The capture of Point 5140 set in motion a string of successes, such as Point 5100, Point 4700, Juction Peak and Three Pimples. Along with fellow Captain Anuj Nayyar, Batra led his men to victory with the recapture of Point 4750 and Point 4875.
He attained martyrdom when he tried to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counter attack against Point 4875 in the early morning hours of 7 July 1999. His last words were, “Jai Mata Di.” (Which means “Victory to the Mother Durga !”).
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