Profiles in Heroism: Archive

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kancha
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby kancha » 31 Oct 2011 22:58

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This piece on the Battle of Walong appeared in the Indian Express (Pune) Sunday Mag on Nov 7 1999, came across it on the 'chehra kitab'. Gives out excellent nuggets & incidents that may not be available anywhere else. Worth a read.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2011 13:45

http://parsikhabar.net/about/shaurya-ch ... ogal/3745/
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Shaurya Chakra Awarded to Lieutenant Commander Firdaus Darabshah Mogal
December 4, 2011
By arzan sam wadia

Indian Navys Lieutenant Commander Firdaus Darabshah Mogal from Mumbai was awarded the Shaurya Chakra ( posthumous) on Monday for his gallant deed of attending to the call of duty at the cost of his own life on August 30, last. " For an unmatched show of fearless valour in the face of death that saved the lives of six men onboard, Lieutenant Commander Firdaus Darabshah Mogal is awarded ‘Shaurya Chakra’, posthumously", reads the citation of the award.

Firdaus MogalLt Cdr Mogal had assumed the duties of the Executive Officer of a naval submarine on May 26, last year. On August 29, whilst the submarine was enroute for a deployment, a defect was observed.

The authorities decided to surface the submarine in the exercise area post sunrise to attempt external repairs on the starboard flap since this was the only option that could enable it to continue her mission. At that time, the submarine was experiencing heavy seas and rough weather.

At around 6.55 am on August 30, when a team comprising three sailors, led by the Engineer Officer, was on the casing for defect rectification, a strong wave swept two of them and the Engineer Officer overboard. The third sailor was badly injured; Mogal immediately realised the gravity of the situation. Since the injured sailor hanging from the aft casing was required to be rescued, he himself proceeded for the job.

On reaching him, Mogal realised that the sailor was completely immobilized due to his leg injury. Displaying an unparalleled feat of heroism and fearlessness and with complete disregard for personal safety, the officer carried the sailor from aft casing to the bridge. Only a man of his strength and fortitude could have thought of even attempting such a task in the prevailing weather condition. He fought the nature in her elements and braved strong waves, heavy rainfall and severe rolling/ pitching that threatened to wash him and the injured sailor overboard. After about 20 minutes of frightening struggle, the officer reached the ladder on the fin that had to be climbed for handing over the injured sailor to bridge. The waves were such that even this ladder was getting submerged.

However, Mogal was not the one to give up. Once again a seemingly impossible task of climbing a narrow ladder with no strong foothold and a man on his shoulder was demonstrated by him. He handed over the injured sailor to bridge and then turned around to assist the divers in the recovery of the overboard men.

The recovery of the first casualty infused hope in the overboard men to hang on and they looked at their Executive Officer for their rescue.

The officer once again displaying an act of supreme bravery joined to assist the divers. He managed to pull overboard men close to the submarine. However, as he and the divers were assisting them to climb onboard a huge wave submerged them completely.

When the wave broke all six personnel, including the Executive Officer, were overboard.

In such circumstances, the officer maintained his cool and gathered all overboard men in one huddle. He then signalled bridge that he would get this huddle to climb onboard. Led by him, the huddle closed the submarines casing. He started helping others in the huddle to climb onboard.

He swam tirelessly and even made others stand on his shoulders so that they could climb onboard. His concern for his men in such dire circumstances was so much that he ordered all men to climb onboard before him.

Once all were onboard, the officer attempted to climb up and as he was about to reach, another unfateful wave washed him overboard.

It appeared that he had sustained head injuries due to this wave. He now seemed to be exhausted and realizing this, the Anti Submarine Warfare Officer ( ASWO) of the submarine proceeded to his rescue. Simultaneously, assistance of a Search And Rescue ( SAR) helicopter was called for from Mumbai. Lt Cdr Mogal, after saving the lives of six shipmates, seemed to be unconscious.

The ASWO held him till the SAR helicopter arrived around 30 minutes later. Lt Cdr Mogal was rescued by the copter and transferred to INHS Asvini.

However, the nations true son had succumbed to the injury and made the supreme sacrifice.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Gaur » 11 Dec 2011 16:12

^^
The narrative was so heartwrenching and inspiring at the same time. Nearly had tears in my eyes towards the end. RIP Lt Cdr Mogal. I will remember your name.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Manish_P » 13 Dec 2011 21:36

The Flying Hero of the 1971 War

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

- taken from 'Ode of Remembrance' by Laurence Binyon

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby A Sharma » 17 Dec 2011 20:57


Suresh S
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Suresh S » 17 Dec 2011 22:10

Lieutenant Mogal- may his soul rest in peace. A true hero

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby putnanja » 13 Oct 2012 02:02

Brigadier Virendar Singh, Siachen hero, valued friend, passes away - by Ajai Shukla

...
After a massive barrage of artillery fire, Virendar closed onto the post with his 8-man assault party. Simultaneously, another small team outflanked Quaid from below and cut the ropes that the Pakistanis used. Subedar Mohammad knew the game was up. Four defenders jumped off the post, preferring instant death in the abyss below to being shot or bayoneted in combat. The two who remaining were quickly killed. By 3 p.m. the Indian assault party staggered onto Quaid.

“We had no strength to celebrate. At 21,000 feet, nobody does the bhangra, yells war cries, or hoists the tricolour. Ultimately, sheer doggedness wins. If we had once hesitated, Quaid would still be with Pakistan,” recounts Virendar. An admiring army awarded a Param Vir Chakra to Naib Subedar Bana Singh of the assault party and renamed Quaid post Bana Top; and a Maha Vir Chakra and 7 Vir Chakras to other bravehearts of 12 JAK LI. Virendar, who was severely wounded by an artillery shell after Quaid post was captured, won a Vir Chakra, as did Lieutenant Pande.
...


Deserves to be read in full!

Brig. Virendar Singh(retd), may you RIP! You have reached veer swarg! Thank you for your service to our nation!

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shishir » 24 Oct 2012 00:44

I recently came across this article on Inspector Shaheeda Parveen (Now DSP) who is profiled earlier in this thread.


"You hesitate before firing that first bullet-n then it doesn’t matter"
An exclusive interview n photo-shoot with daring super-cop Shaheeda Parveen

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She can make your heart flutter with her charming smile n stop the same heart beating with her steely gaze- if she chooses to do so!

At the age of 25 she vowed to wipe off every militant operating on the soils of J&K –in the process herself becoming one of the prime targets for the militant groups. But Shaheeda Parveen has lived an extra-ordinary life between bombs n bullets and is no average woman.

I asked her casually upon my chance meeting with her, how Mumbai should have handled the terror attacks..?

“Terrorist plays with your fear- which is within you- take out that fear factor, and he is just a common thug who can be beaten to death! They fired all over the city and we let them escape- if we had only grouped together and pounced upon them-there would have been much lesser causalities! itne saare log milkar un terrorists kee boti boti noch dalte ( so many people together could have physically torn their limbs apart)”

To understand this statement you will have to know a little more about the woman whose name became synonymous with courage n ‘encounters’ in the militancy infected state of Jammu & Kashmir,-the bold & beautiful super cop Shaheeda Parveen- the only police woman so far from Jammu & Kashmir police cadre to have been awarded the prestigious President Police medal for gallantry in year 2002.

Between 1997 n 2002-she was responsible for wiping off a number of dreaded militants( the number would go as high as 80 plus); she was under extreme threat from militant groups, a lot of her body guards n informer s were killed – and she was one of the prime targets for Lashkar-e-Toiba…but then that never fazed her. How could I ever miss the opportunity of looking at her through my lens! This was no actress playing a character but courage personified

I first met her on my trip to Nagaland where I was the guest of the Corps Commander 3 Corps Lt. Gen. R K Loomba AVSM (all thanks to my dear friend Rahul). It wasn’t difficult to single out that graceful woman in that party hosted in honor of the General… I was introduced to her as a fashion photographer from Mumbai and I could not resist complimenting her on the way she carried herself and the gorgeous woman that she was. She had sparkling charm and an easy smile n when Mrs. Loomba told me she was capable of killing a terrorist with equal ease- I almost choked on my smile.
Her charismatic demeanor contradicted the fact that she had in the past, with equal ease, fired an Ak-47 into the body of a terrorist. But the moment you speak to her about the killings of the innocent, her pupils dilate with rage , the obvious fiery resolve making her eyes look like that of a tigress on the hunt.

And the change in her eye color makes you take a hasty step back.

This was before the Mumbai terror attacks. I never forgot her. So when she recently paid a visit to Mumbai, I decided to do a story on her extra-ordinary life.

In a family of six siblings, Shaheeda was the youngest. Born and brought up at Poonch, she graduated and decided to do something meaningful with her life and not just some regular job. During her interview for a teaching job, everybody prayed they get the job and she prayed that she did not! Teaching as a profession wasn’t meant for her! She had lived a tough life- her father having expired when she was just 4 yrs old. By the time she finished her M.Sc., she was clear in her head she wanted to join police force. Militancy was then at its peak and she had seen many a beautiful lives n families being destroyed as a result of the mindless killings in the name of Jehaad. Her decision to join the force didn’t go well with her orthodox n conservative family who even put up an advertisement in the paper-saying they had nothing to do with her. But Shaheeda ensured she cleared all her tests and in April 1995 she joined the J&K police as Sub-Inspector….eventually completing her basic training at Udhampur Police Academy and then three months advanced Weapon Tactics Course under CRPF.

She was one of the first woman commandoes to be a part of the elite Special Operations Group (SOG), the Jammu and Kashmir police's commando wing.

She was now ready to take on the militants head on. Armed with her strong Intelligence network and an Ak-47 on the side, she meticulously planned search n destroy operations-that made her a much feared name for the terrorists in the valley.

How did she prepare herself mentally for such a tough job, where blood flowed easier than water and even when you got to sleep, your silences are filled with innocent screams n sounds of bullets?

It all started when the horrific sight of slain bodies of an innocent family of eight people including an old woman & children shook her completely ,scarring her soul forever. Her eyes had filled with tears as she lifted the body of the dead child in her arms, but she hid them as she had to quickly learn to deal with such ground realities and also earn the respect of the force she would eventually be leading in operations. She would never again let a tear fuzzy her vision. And over next seven years, that sight gave her the strength to chase militants in rough terrain and 10 ft high grasslands holding grenades n firing bullets from her AK-47.

“I had heard brutal stories, I had read about them, but picking up dead bodies with your own hands was a devastating experience’ she told me quietly–her mind having wandered back to the year 1997 when she had her first real encounter with death n violence,”...and these people who butchered innocents knew nothing of Allah, using His name to carry such ghastly acts”

How did her first operation go?

Intel confirmed there were 11 dreaded terrorists grouped to execute another hit. I was super excited as it was my first operation, we cordoned off the area with a team of 20-25 boys armed with LMG (Light Machine Gun), Grenades n AK-47,but my boys got over enthusiastic opening fire before we should have. Then began the chase lasting hours…5 km over the hills… There were hundreds of rounds exchanged but we somehow lost them. I was seething with frustration as I was in charge of the SOG, but then that mistake changed the way I would plan my future operations. My seniors were still very happy at the initiative I had taken. After that I ensured with my team that there always was full proof planning. When your life is at stake you can’t afford too many mistakes”- she spoke as a matter of fact.

It’s not cinema, it’s much more real n lethal, when you execute an operation. You are risking your life n responsible for the lives n safety of your team members as well. On one such occasion her regular informer Saleema Begum (who was later on eliminated by the terrorists) provided information of some terrorists hiding in a house. It was the 9th of July 2001.

“It was confirmed Intel n we decided to act upon it. We took a civil truck, covering it with goods…but even as we approached the house, militants managed to disappear in to the vast fields of high maze. We combed the house but couldn’t find anyone. The residents of the house were scared n kept denying there was anyone present –they wanted us to leave n that further confirmed their presence. I wasn’t going to let them run away,’ she paused, her eyes turning steely again,” I walked with my team into the fields- in such places you can’t even see a feet away from where you are….

…I sensed a sudden movement about twenty feet away n then out of nowhere I was suddenly staring at that cold metal staring back at me, ready to fire in a second. But I was quicker than the hands holding that gun n shot him back,” she laughed, her face turning soft again.

She was rewarded with out of turn promotion, made into an Inspector and then later on awarded with President Police Medal for Gallantry

How does it feel to be in an operation? What are the thoughts going through your head? It surely can’t be easy…!!!

She looked at me calmly as if weighing my question, ’you think a lot before you fire that’s first bullet, and then it doesn’t matter! ‘ she continued with a smile,’ I have walked ten km under extremely demanding situations and fired for hours…and I have never been tired and always walked five steps ahead of the group…people used to be surprised how we can take only a small unit n go for ‘search n destroy’ operations! But my success was mostly due to my vast intelligence network, and my dedicated team. They fought for me, trusting me hundred percent and I ensured they get their dues, whether it was out of turn promotions, job incentives or whatever I could provide for them or get them from the department .”
She is currently posted at the Joint Interrogation Centre at Jammu, after having spent two years on deputation at Nagaland with her husband, who is a serving Colonel in Indian Army- whom she calls the ‘pillar of strength ‘in her life!

I wondered if she regretted not being in field operations anymore- she laughs,’ well not actually!’ I have done my bit- my job was to generate intelligence, co-ordinate with army formations for joint operations- and during my period of active field service, we conducted thousands of operations which resulted in wiping off a number of dreaded militants (notorious ones like Panj Sher Khan- the then district commander RO Pak) n recovering huge amount of arms n ammunitions….”

“…..I have served my country well, and will continue to do so wherever I am posted. I have been always blessed with able superiors who always encouraged n stood by me- n a dedicated team who never questioned my judgment. My job as a police officer has given me a lot, satisfaction, recognition and even I owe my marriage to it- as I met the man I would eventually marry during one such operation,” and on that note she laughed out heartily…and I couldn’t help smiling either.

Does she ever regret having killed any one of those militants?

It’s not about the number of militants I have killed or been responsible for, but the number of innocent lives that we have saved in the process.

Terrorists are wasted human beings- they have been brain washed into it- reason being of lack of jobs, un-employment, those who don’t know Islam ka alaf, they are fighting for Islam. It’s sad. Allah unko kabhi maaf nahin karega! Sixteen year olds who should be studying in schools and playing cricket are trained to handle sophisticated weapons n brain washed to kill other humans ruthlessly.”

What about a movie on her life?

All this while I had been taking her pics and throwing these odd questions at her.

‘I don’t wish to be a star – I am just a simple woman who got my country at my heart; I am a police woman who is just doing her job, and Allah would give me what I deserve”

And I thought in my head, well you surely are no ordinary woman Shaheeda, as I have met quite a few in my life! …and I truly hope she gets her due recognition in life!

She changed the way a woman would be looked up on by militants in Jammu & Kashmir. She changed the way I would look at a beautiful woman in my life!

A few awards for her could be just the right beginning….!

Link

Reminded me of some of the early women officers of the JKP SOG who made a mark for themselves. An old article archived on my HD.

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Ms Rajni Sharma of J&K Special Task Force

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DSP Ranu Kundal of J&K Special Task Force

The cops who rewrote the rules
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service


Ludhiana, December 4
They are the personification of grit and courage, though unlike supercop Kiran Bedi they have been unsung heroines. In fact, they are the real life daredevils, who have smilingly performed their duties, overcoming difficulties of the tough profession that policing is, especially in a strife-torn state like Jammu and Kashmir.

Whether a constable or an IPS officer, they have a tale of valour to narrate. They have come all the way from Jammu and Kashmir to share their experiences at a regional conference on the topic, “Forging a new future for women in the police” underway at the Punjab Police Academy in Phillaur.

Ms Ranu Kundal, a DSP who served for five years in the Special Police Task force in Srinagar, the hotbed of terrorism, has become a ‘most wanted’ police officer for terrorist organisations. The reason: She has never been afraid of terrorists and has always led from the front to chase and shoot them down. She has had many a bloody fight with them and one or two close shaves. Her extraordinary courage and pluck to interrogate them made her a most-feared police officers among militant ranks. She received information that human bombs had been pressed into operation by terrorist outfits to finish her. But such threats have not affected her official and other routine in any manner. What has stunned terrorists is the guts exhibited by Ms Kundal. Their bravado is punchtured and they feel humilated when a ‘woman’ cop shoots down their dreaded accomplices.

The sense of determination and fearlessness which is writ large on her face, is enough to make one understand how she hunts down terrorists in encounters, even at a time when her male counterparts fled from the spot, leaving her alone.

She is the first woman cop to volunteer to join the Special Task Force, Srinagar, in 1997 and conferred the Gallantry award by the Union Government acknowledging her mettle and an example for other women to follow. Recently, she was shifted to Jammu as part of a special security arrangement.

She got married recently to a colleague posted in the valley. “Being a police woman is no problem in private life if you have the determination and grit to fight against all odds,” says she.

Similar were the views voiced by Ms Rajni Sharma from J&K, who also worked with the Special Task Force at Kupwara for three years. She asserts that life goes one’s way, if one has the willpower to achieve the impossible. Having a recommendation certificate from the Chief of the Army and having got two promotions out-of-turn as a reward for acts of bravery, Rajni was visibly upset at her being transferred from the STF.

“I had pulled away a DSP from the hail of bullets. I also participated in many special operations. But this is what they have done to reward me. They have transferred me to some insignificant place (not disclosed for security reasons). It has hurt me”, says the brave woman who considers it as an act of discrimination against women.

There are five women police officers in the Special Task Force in J and K. Two of them are in Phillaur.

The story of the first woman SHO, Ms Bindu Bala, of North India is no less exciting. Ms Bala, an SHO in Patiala, had to face discrimination at the hands of her male colleagues. Although, she says, officials were good to her, but her male counterparts used to treat her as a weakling. “Even the public used to think that I won’t be able to handle complicated cases. I saw many persons coming to my police station with a complaint but after looking at me, I heard many of them asking my male colleagues to handle their cases”, says Bindu.

“But not any more. My work has now induced confidence among the public about me and my colleagues, who think I can work equally well,’’ asserts a confident Bindu. Now she goes for her duty on various nakas even during the night and has nabbed many criminals, including those involved in drug trafficking.

“I have changed the scene at my police station. Nobody is allowed to use foul language or torture anybody. I tell my subordinates that if only interrogation can help get the information, what is the need to torture anybody?”, says the professional.

A mother of two kids and married to a police officer, Bindu remembers the day when she had gone to her husband crying. “I was sick of the surrounding and the discrimination being meted out to me. But he made me understand that only with endurance could prove my worth to all those who had doubted my capacity to work as a police officer. And today I understand how true he was. It is very necessary to have a understanding and cooperative family,” said Bindu.

Talking about the discrimination prevalent in their department, Ms Satwant Atwal, SP, Commandant, Shimla, has this to say, “We are required to behave as men. Why don’t they understand that we are not men or women, but cops. We have our own way of doing work. Be it sympathetically or rudely, it a way typical of a person, irrespective of the gender. Then why are we supposed to get converted into men?”, a pertinent question you would agree.


Link

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Surya » 24 Oct 2012 01:47

thanks Shishir

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Shrinivasan » 24 Oct 2012 13:07

^^^ Very interesting, now we have some pig huntress too...

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby shiv » 27 Jan 2015 20:24

This is so sad
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NEWS/news ... wsid=21620
Army officer who won bravery award on R-Day killed fighting terrorists in J&K

RINAGAR: Two security personnel, including an Army officer, who was awarded a gallantry medal on the occasion of Republic Day, were on Tuesday killed in a fierce gunbattle which also left two Hizbul Mujahideen militants dead in Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir.

Colonel M M Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and a policeman were killed in the gunbattle at Mindora village of Tral, 36km from here, an Army spokesman said.

He said two militants, both locals, were also killed in the operation which left a soldier seriously injured.

Col Rai was among the gallantry medal awardees announced on the eve of Republic Day. He was awarded Yudh Seva medal for his role in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir last year, the spokesman said.

The encounter broke out on Tuesday when the police assisted by Rashtriya Rifles of the army launched an operation after getting a tip off that a local Hizbul militant along with another accomplices had come home.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Sid » 27 Jan 2015 20:35

shiv wrote:This is so sad
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NEWS/news ... wsid=21620
Army officer who won bravery award on R-Day killed fighting terrorists in J&K

RINAGAR: Two security personnel, including an Army officer, who was awarded a gallantry medal on the occasion of Republic Day, were on Tuesday killed in a fierce gunbattle which also left two Hizbul Mujahideen militants dead in Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir.

Colonel M M Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and a policeman were killed in the gunbattle at Mindora village of Tral, 36km from here, an Army spokesman said.

He said two militants, both locals, were also killed in the operation which left a soldier seriously injured.

Col Rai was among the gallantry medal awardees announced on the eve of Republic Day. He was awarded Yudh Seva medal for his role in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir last year, the spokesman said.

The encounter broke out on Tuesday when the police assisted by Rashtriya Rifles of the army launched an operation after getting a tip off that a local Hizbul militant along with another accomplices had come home.



RIP brave soul. Really ironical.

As per Aroor's tweet he was the CO of RR unit. Do CO's lead the front these days?

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby deejay » 27 Jan 2015 20:52

All the Martyrs today - Salute!

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Rahul M » 27 Jan 2015 21:42

bravery & dedication beyond words.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby wig » 02 Jul 2015 08:06

Col. Rinchen remembered

On the 18th death anniversary of Late Col Chhewang Rinchen, a wreath laying ceremony was held at War Memorial, Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre.
Col Rinchen is always remembered for his exceptional bravery and courageous acts.
Born on November 11, 1931, at Sumur in Nubra valley, Col Rinchen joined the Nubra Guards at the tender age of 17. During 1947-48 operations, he alongwith his band of 28 volunteers successfully blocked the advancement of Pak raiders to Leh for approx two months. For his heroic actions, he was awarded Maha Vir Chakra, the yougest recipient of the award in Indian Army.
Col Rinchen was awarded Sena Medal for his brave deeds against the Chinese in 1962 Operatins in the Daulat Beg Oldi Sector. In 1971, he led his ‘Dhal Force’ against the Pakistanis in Baltistan. His unorthodox techinique based on guerilla warfare resulted in the recapturing of a significant area in Turtuk sector. He was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for the second time and the Ladakh Scouts won the Battle Honour of Turtuk-1971.
The wreaths were laid by several military and civil dignitaries including Station Commander Leh Garrison, Commandant Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre and relatives of Late Col Chhewang Rinchen.


http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/col-rinchen-remembered/

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby shiv » 02 Jul 2015 16:12

idrw.org/why-the-indian-soldiers-of-ww1-were-forgotten/#more-67653

Code: Select all

Approximately 1.3 million Indian soldiers served in World War One, and over 74,000 of them lost their lives. But history has mostly forgotten these sacrifices, which were rewarded with broken promises of Indian independence from the British government, writes Shashi Tharoor.

Exactly 100 years after the “guns of August” boomed across the European continent, the world has been extensively commemorating that seminal event. The Great War, as it was called then, was described at the time as “the war to end all wars”. Ironically, the eruption of an even more destructive conflict 20 years after the end of this one meant that it is now known as the First World War. Those who fought and died in the First World War would have had little idea that there would so soon be a Second.

But while the war took the flower of Europe’s youth to its premature grave, snuffing out the lives of a generation of talented poets, artists, cricketers and others whose genius bled into the trenches, it also involved soldiers from faraway lands that had little to do with Europe’s bitter traditional hatreds.

The role and sacrifices of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and South Africans have been celebrated for some time in books and novels, and even rendered immortal on celluloid in award-winning films like Gallipoli. Of the 1.3 million Indian troops who served in the conflict, however, you hear very little.

As many as 74,187 Indian soldiers died during the war and a comparable number were wounded. Their stories, and their heroism, have long been omitted from popular histories of the war, or relegated to the footnotes.

India contributed a number of divisions and brigades to the European, Mediterranean, Mesopotamian, North African and East African theatres of war. In Europe, Indian soldiers were among the first victims who suffered the horrors of the trenches. They were killed in droves before the war was into its second year and bore the brunt of many a German offensive.

It was Indian jawans (junior soldiers) who stopped the German advance at Ypres in the autumn of 1914, soon after the war broke out, while the British were still recruiting and training their own forces. Hundreds were killed in a gallant but futile engagement at Neuve Chappelle. More than 1,000 of them died at Gallipoli, thanks to Churchill’s folly. Nearly 700,000 Indian sepoys (infantry privates) fought in Mesopotamia against the Ottoman Empire, Germany’s ally, many of them Indian Muslims taking up arms against their co-religionists in defence of the British Empire.

The most painful experiences were those of soldiers fighting in the trenches of Europe. Letters sent by Indian soldiers in France and Belgium to their family members in their villages back home speak an evocative language of cultural dislocation and tragedy. “The shells are pouring like rain in the monsoon,” declared one. “The corpses cover the country, like sheaves of harvested corn,” wrote another.

These men were undoubtedly heroes – pitchforked into battle in unfamiliar lands, in harsh and cold climatic conditions they were neither used to nor prepared for, fighting an enemy of whom they had no knowledge, risking their lives every day for little more than pride. Yet they were destined to remain largely unknown once the war was over: neglected by the British, for whom they fought, and ignored by their own country, from which they came.

Part of the reason is that they were not fighting for their own country. None of the soldiers was a conscript – soldiering was their profession. They served the very British Empire that was oppressing their own people back home.

The British raised men and money from India, as well as large supplies of food, cash and ammunition, collected both by British taxation of Indians and from the nominally autonomous princely states. In return, the British had insincerely promised to deliver progressive self-rule to India at the end of the war. Perhaps, had they kept that pledge, the sacrifices of India’s First World War soldiers might have been seen in their homeland as a contribution to India’s freedom.

But the British broke their word. Mahatma Gandhi, who returned to his homeland for good from South Africa in January 1915, supported the war, as he had supported the British in the Boer War. The great Nobel Prize-winning poet, Rabindranath Tagore, was somewhat more sardonic about nationalism. “We, the famished, ragged ragamuffins of the East are to win freedom for all humanity!” he wrote during the war. “We have no word for ‘nation’ in our language.”

India was wracked by high taxation to support the war and the high inflation accompanying it, while the disruption of trade caused by the conflict led to widespread economic losses – all this while the country was also reeling from a raging influenza epidemic that took many lives. But nationalists widely understood from British statements that at the end of the war India would receive the Dominion Status hitherto reserved for the “White Commonwealth”.

It was not to be. When the war ended in triumph for Britain, India was denied its promised reward. Instead of self-government, the British imposed the repressive Rowlatt Act, which vested the Viceroy’s government with extraordinary powers to quell “sedition” against the Empire by silencing and censoring the press, detaining political activists without trial, and arresting without a warrant any individuals suspected of treason against the Empire. Public protests against this draconian legislation were quelled ruthlessly. The worst incident was the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre of April 1919, when Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire without warning on 15,000 unarmed and non-violent men, women and children demonstrating peacefully in an enclosed garden in Amritsar, killing as many as 1,499 and wounding up to 1,137.

The fact that Dyer was hailed as a hero by the British, who raised a handsome purse to reward him for his deed, marked the final rupture between British imperialism and its Indian subjects. Sir Rabindranath Tagore returned his knighthood to the British in protest against “the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India”. He did not want a “badge of honour” in “the incongruous context of humiliation”.

With British perfidy providing such a sour ending to the narrative of a war in which India had given its all and been spurned in return, Indian nationalists felt that the country had nothing to thank its soldiers for. They had merely gone abroad to serve their foreign masters. Losing your life or limb in a foreign war fought at the behest of your colonial rulers was an occupational hazard – it did not qualify to be hailed as a form of national service.

Or so most Indian nationalists thought, and they allowed the heroism of their compatriots to be forgotten. When the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of the First World War in 1964, there was scarcely a mention of India’s soldiers anywhere, least of all in India.

India’s absence from the commemorations, and its failure to honour the dead, were not a major surprise. Nor was the lack of First World War memorials in the country: the general feeling was that India, then freshly freed from the imperial yoke, was ashamed of its soldiers’ participation in a colonial war and saw nothing to celebrate.

The British, however, went ahead and commemorated the war by constructing the triumphal arch known as India Gate in New Delhi. India Gate, built in 1931, is a popular monument, visited by hundreds daily who have no idea that it commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War One.

In the absence of a national war memorial, many Indians like myself see it as the only venue to pay homage to those who have lost their lives in more recent conflicts. I have stood there many times, on the anniversaries of wars with China and Pakistan, and bowed my head without a thought for the men who died in foreign fields a century ago.

As a member of parliament, I twice raised the demand for a national war memorial (after a visit to the hugely impressive Australian one in Canberra) and was told there were no plans to construct one here. It was therefore personally satisfying to me, and to many of my compatriots, when the government of India announced in its budget for 2014-15 its intention finally to create a national war memorial. We are not a terribly militaristic society, but for a nation that has fought many wars and shed the blood of many heroes, and whose resolve may yet be tested in conflicts to come, it seems odd that there is no memorial to commemorate, honour and preserve the memories of those who have fought for India.

The centenary is finally forcing a rethink. Remarkable photographs have been unearthed of Indian soldiers in Europe and the Middle East, and these are enjoying a new lease of life online. Looking at them, I find it impossible not to be moved – these young men, visibly so alien to their surroundings, some about to head off for battle, others nursing terrible wounds. My favourite picture is of a bearded and turbaned Indian soldier on horseback in Mesopotamia in 1918, leaning over in his saddle to give his rations to a starving local peasant girl. This spirit of compassion has been repeatedly expressed by Indian peacekeeping units in United Nations operations since, from helping Lebanese civilians in the Indian battalion’s field hospital to treating the camels of Somali nomads during the UN operation there. It embodies the ethos the Indian solider brings to soldiering, whether at home or abroad.

For many Indians, curiosity has overcome the fading colonial-era resentments of British exploitation. We are beginning to see the soldiers of World War One as human beings, who took the spirit of their country to battlefields abroad. The Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research in Delhi is painstakingly working to retrieve memorabilia of that era and reconstruct the forgotten story of the 1.3 million Indian soldiers who served in the First World War. Some of the letters are unbearably poignant, especially those urging relatives back home not to commit the folly of enlisting in this futile cause. Others hint at delights officialdom frowned upon – some Indian soldiers’ appreciative comments about the receptivity of Frenchwomen to their attentions, for instance.

Astonishingly, almost no fiction has emerged from or about the perspective of the Indian troops. An exception is Mulk Raj Anand’s Across the Black Waters, the tale of a sepoy, Lalu, dispossessed from his land, fighting in a war he cannot understand, only to return to his village to find he has lost everything and everyone who mattered to him. The only other novel I have read about Indians in the war, John Masters’ The Ravi Lancers, inevitably is a Briton’s account, culminating in an Indian unit deciding to fight on in Europe “because we gave our word to serve”.

But Indian literature touched the war experience in one tragic tale. When the great British poet Wilfred Owen (author of the greatest anti-war poem in the English language, Dulce et Decorum Est) was to return to the front to give his life in the futile First World War, he recited Tagore’s Parting Words to his mother as his last goodbye. When he was so tragically and pointlessly killed, Owen’s mother found Tagore’s poem copied out in her son’s hand in his diary:

When I go from hence

let this be my parting word,

that what I have seen is unsurpassable.

I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus

that expands on the ocean of light,

and thus am I blessed

—let this be my parting word.

In this playhouse of infinite forms

I have had my play

and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.

My whole body and my limbs

have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch;

and if the end comes here, let it come

– let this be my parting word.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains war cemeteries in India, mostly commemorating the Second World War rather than the First. The most famous epitaph of them all is inscribed at the Kohima War Cemetery in North-East India. It reads, “When you go home, tell them of us and say/ For your tomorrow, we gave our today”.

The Indian soldiers who died in the First World War could make no such claim. They gave their “todays” for someone else’s “yesterdays”. They left behind orphans, but history has orphaned them as well. As Imperialism has bitten the dust, it is recalled increasingly for its repression and racism, and its soldiers, when not reviled, are largely regarded as having served an unworthy cause.

But they were men who did their duty, as they saw it. And they were Indians. It is a matter of quiet satisfaction that their overdue rehabilitation has now begun.

Abhijit
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Abhijit » 02 Jul 2015 21:14

-- it was a duplicate apparently -- Sorry for the trouble.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Hobbes » 03 Jul 2015 06:30

shiv wrote:idrw.org/why-the-indian-soldiers-of-ww1-were-forgotten/#more-67653
....


The IDRW article is a copy/ paste of the original BBC article, at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33317368?post_id=10153472836501468_10153472836491468#_=_. This link has the photographs that the article refers to, unlike the IDRW version.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby shiv » 03 Jul 2015 07:54

Hobbes wrote:
shiv wrote:idrw.org/why-the-indian-soldiers-of-ww1-were-forgotten/#more-67653
....


The IDRW article is a copy/ paste of the original BBC article, at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33317368?post_id=10153472836501468_10153472836491468#_=_. This link has the photographs that the article refers to, unlike the IDRW version.

Thanks and sorry for this OT post. Most IDRW articles are from other sites - but how do you locate the original? Googal or is there an link from IDRW

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby wig » 22 Oct 2016 21:15

http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/sal ... 42456.html

On this day 120 brave jawans fought till the last man against Chinese to save Ladakh in 1962
This battle of the Indian Armed Forces against the Chinese Army is considered one of the greatest last stands in world history The battleground was Ladakh when 120 jawans of the Indian armed forces stopped the Chinese Army from annexing our territory some five decades ago.
The jawans were from the Charlie company of 13 Kumaon regiment tasked with protecting a vital airfield in Chushul “if India had to hold on to Ladakh”.
Early on Nov 18, 1962, on snow clad mountains of Chushul in Ladakh, 6,000 soldiers of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attacked the airfield.
“And to make matters worse, a crest behind the ridge prevented Indian artillery from lending support, leaving the Jawans to fight for themselves,
However the jawans, led by commander Major Shaitan Singh, fought valiantly till the last man, last round and last breath.

Legend says that the brave 120 killed close to 1,300 enemy soldiers. Only 6 of the 120 member company survived the war, were taken as Prisoners of War (POW) by Chinese, but all miraculously escaped.
Of these six heroes, only four are alive today, says the report.
The attack began at 3:30 am and soon Chushul got enveloped by heavy firing from Chinese. But the Indian soldier didn’t give up and kept retaliating. Major Singh led the jawans with valour knowing fully well that they were fighting a lost battle. The company was awarded five Vir Chakras, and four Sena medals apart from the PVC awarded to the commander.

Captain Ramchander Yadav who was one of the six who battled with death and survived recalls how Naik Ram Singh who was a wrestler single-handedly killed many Chinese. He didn’t stop till he was shot in the head by the enemy, says the report.


The Jawans hailed from the Gurgaon, Rewari, Narnaul and Mahendragarh districts of Haryana. They fought till the last round and when their ammunition got over, they fought with bare hands.

Yadav believes that he survived only to tell the story of 120 brave men who saved Ladakh from the Chinese.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby wig » 04 Mar 2017 14:44

Lt.Col Upender Singh Gill Took IED Blast To Save His Men,

http://www.ssbcrack.com/2017/03/meet-lt ... e-men.html

wig
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby wig » 15 Aug 2018 19:43

INS Khukri and its Brave Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ind ... 412495.cms

a very good read
Last edited by wig on 16 Aug 2018 06:45, edited 1 time in total.

Suresh S
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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby Suresh S » 15 Aug 2018 20:54

Over the last few days I have been thinking and reading about the life of 10th Guru Govind singhji Maharaj. I feel on this forum our history should be highlighted which has been altered to suit the agendas of the robbers and thieves that took over parts of our country since the advent of islam and after independence by their indian traitors. We had many traitors amongst us indians but Wahe gurujis life absolutely is so inspiring that it brings tears in my eyes and anger in my heart just to write about him.

Wahe Gurujis four sons sacrifice and murder of the two youngest sons by Mujis is so disgusting that we Indians as a group must be told about it in detail before we are teenagers, it is so important.

Wahe guru da khalsa wahe guru ke fatah.

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Re: Profiles in Heroism: Archive

Postby wig » 02 Sep 2018 12:52

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/spect ... 45860.html

The one who refused to retreat - Brig Hoshiar Singh’s is a story of courage and grit. The war hero died fighting in the 1962 War even when he had a chance to escape


Maniki Deep

On October 20, 1962 at 5.00 am, China’s People’s Liberation Army invaded India at Aksai Chin area in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). India was unprepared and was shocked at the turn of events. This was the first major war in the subcontinent since World War II.

When the situation worsened, a decorated war veteran, 46-year-old Brig Hoshiar Singh Rathee IOM, IDSM, Croix De Guerre, of Rajputana Rifles, was called at a short notice to defend the country on October 28. He was at that time the Deputy Commandant of the National Defence Academy in Khadakvasla (near Pune). Before leaving, he addressed the cadets of NDA in full battle dress and said that he was going to where he belonged — the battlefield.

At Se La, he commanded the 62 Infantry brigade comprising soldiers of battalions of various regiments, including 1 Sikh, 2 Sikh Light Infantry (LI), 4 Sikh LI and soldiers from Garhwal Rifles. Under his leadership, the enemy advance into Se La was halted for several days.

However, contradictory orders from the Army Headquarters and Lt-Gen BM Kaul, directing the operation from his sick bed in Delhi, added to the confusion. The Army had no maps, appropriate clothes or boots to tread the snow-clad battleground. A group of Chinese soldiers captured the road between Se La and Bomdi La through a circuitous route. All this while, Brig Hoshiar Singh stood firm at Se La pass.


The Chinese troops cut off the communication lines between Se La and Bomdi La. At Se La, there were no plans for withdrawal in view of the onslaught by Chinese army. By November 16, Se La defences were stocked for 12 days. The Army was ready to fight the Chinese invaders. But, panic set in on November 17, when the 4th Division GOC Maj-Gen AS Pathania, lost his nerve and decided to withdraw the troops from Se La and shift to his own headquarters behind Bomdi La. He put in a request for the same to his seniors.

According to unofficial information, arrangements were made to evacuate Brig Hoshiar Singh. He refused and said that he would prefer to fight and die with his soldiers. While Maj-Gen Pathania abandoned Dirang in the forenoon of November 18 and was evacuated by Gen Kaul in a helicopter, Brig Hoshiar Singh argued that he was adequately equipped and ready to take on the Chinese. He was forced to withdraw with the warning that he would be court-martialed.

He was killed in an ambush by Chinese troops.

Brig C Sawant, who has also researched on Brig Hoshiar Singh once wrote, “I shall be failing in my duty if I do not pay tribute to those who fought till the last round and breath. Among them stands tall Brig Hoshiar Singh, Commander of the Se La Brigade, who gave a bloody nose to the Chinese even after being cut off from his division headquarters at Bomdi La. He made the supreme sacrifice in the battleground.” His calm and confident conduct was outstanding and he was an inspiration to all those who knew him.

According to the decision of Krishna Menon, Air Force was not deployed in the operations. The war was fought only by the Indian Army.

While the political leadership failed, the war was all about the heroism of our jawans and officers. Sacrifice of Brig Hoshiar Singh and soldiers like him should always be held in high regard. Tales of their heroism have become folklore for the people of Arunachal Pradesh. These have passed through generations. After his martyrdom, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Partap Singh Kairon, Chief Minister of Punjab, went to Sankhol village to pay homage to the martyr. There is a stadium in Bahadurgarh in his name. Unfortunately, he was not awarded any bravery award posthumously.

Encompassed in this narrative is the story of a brave soldier, the much decorated Brig Hoshiar Singh. His induction into the war theatre and later insistence on remaining with his troops in the battlefield and making the supreme sacrifice in action will always be remembered.

He will serve as an inspiration for our youth for a long time. For the present generations, he remains an unsung hero. His story should not remain a forgotten one!


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