Wednesday, November 4, 2009

|| Satyameva Jayate || - Saluting our Heroes: Maj Somnath Sharma, PVC

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    Maj Somnath Sharma
    • A tribute to Major Somnath Sharma, Indian’s first “Param Veer” who sacrificed his life on this date, 62 years ago.
    • 22nd October 1947: Armed tribals cross the border near Muzaffarabad, burn the twon  and overrun Uri. They also manage to capture the power station that supplies eletcricity to Srinagar, plunging the city into darkness. Reports suggest that the armed groups include regulars from the Paksitani Army “in mufti”.
    • One day, Sharma’s orderly Bahadur was badly wounded in action and was unable to return to the camp. Sharma lifted Bahadur on his shoulders and began walking. When Thimmayya found his officer lagging behind under the weight of his orderly, he ordered him — ‘Leave this man, Som and rush back to the camp.’

      Somnath retorted, ‘Sir, it is my own orderly that I am carrying; he is badly wounded and bleeding, l will not leave him behind.’ He eventually managed to carry Bahadur back, saving his life. He was awarded a ‘Mention in Dispatch’ for this act of bravery.

    • Back in New Delhi, as news of developments in Jammu & Kashmir trickled in, Major Sharma’s regiment was asked to move to Srinagar. Although technically ‘unfit for active duty in war’ (with a broken arm and a plaster from wrist to the elbow), Major Sharma insisted that he had to lead his company. He took charge of his new assignment at Srinagar airport on 1st Nov.
    • Three days later, Major Sharma’s body was recovered. Though mutilated beyond recognition, a few pages of the Gita that he always kept in his breast pocket and the empty leather holster of Tewari’s pistol helped to identify the body. The pistol was gone.
    • In the battle of Bagdam, Major Sharma, one JCO and 20 other ranks were killed. But their sacrifices did not go in vain. He and his men stemmed the tide of the enemy advance on Srinagar and the airfield for some very crucial hours. He has set an example of courage and qualities, seldom equaled in the history of the Indian Army. Major General Amarnath Sharma received India ’s first and highest wartime gallantry medal, Param Vir Chakra, on behalf of his brave son.
    • As I read this, I had tears in my eyes…As you go about your day today, please spare a moment to remember these heroes.