Army Day 2023: 5 Legendary Indian Soldiers and Their Heroic Stories

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Army Day 2023: Far from home and loved ones, these heroes sacrifice their own lives so the entire nation can sleep in peace. The stories of their courage and passion are larger than life.

Read on and be inspired by such army heroes – they are legends whose tales will not just make your chests swell with pride, but whose sacrifices will leave your eyes a little moist.

They are men of steel, standing tall in the harshest of conditions. They disregard cold temperatures and scorching heat to always remain brave, awake, and devoted to us. 

But there are a few whose stories have become the stuff of legends, stories that deserve to be shared and told over and over again:

1. Captain Vikram Batra

Captain Vikram Batra

 

Born in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, Captain Vikram Batra of 13 J&K Rifles, is known as the hero of the Kargil war. He led one of the toughest war operations in Kashmir and also called Sher Shah (in the intercepted messages of the Pakistani army).

He was instrumental in recapturing Peak 5140, which is located at an altitude of 17,000 feet. During this mission, Batra seriously injured but still managed to kill three enemy soldiers in close combat. After capturing Peak 5140, he went on yet another difficult mission to recapture Peak 4875 on July 7, 1999. Batra made a call to his father before he left and told him about the crucial mission. Hardly did he know that this would be his last call home.

It was one of the most difficult missions the Indian army attempted because the Pakistani forces were sitting above the peak at 16,000 feet and the climb gradient was 80 degrees. On their way up, one of Batra’s fellow officers was severely injured. Batra set out to save him. When a subedar tried to help him save the officer, Batra pushed him aside, saying, “You have children, step aside.” He saved his fellow soldier but was killed while clearing enemy positions. Batra’s last words were “Jai Mata Di.”

A famous quote by Batra is: “Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolor (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure.” He honored with the Param Vir Chakra.

2. Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav

Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav

This brave soldier has the high honor of being the youngest recipient of the Param Vir Chakra. He received this award at the age of 19 for his actions on July 4, 1999, during the Kargil war. Born in 1980 in Aurangabad Ahir village, Uttar Pradesh, Yadav showed immense courage during the war in 1999. He volunteered for the task of capturing three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill, which situated at the top of a vertical, snow-covered, 16,500 feet high cliff face.

He was climbing the high cliff with the help of a rope when the enemy bunker started rocket fire. Yadav was hit by three bullets in his groin and shoulder. Despite being severely injured, Yadav kept climbing and finished the remaining 60 feet to reach the top of the cliff. Though in immense pain, Yadav crawled to the first enemy bunker and lobbed a grenade, which killed four Pakistani soldiers and set back the enemy fire. This allowed the rest of the Indian platoon to climb up the cliff face.

3. Major Somnath Sharma

Major Somnath Sharma

This brave soldier of the Kumaon regiment sacrificed his life at the young age of 24. With his hand already in plaster from an injury sustained in a hockey game, Sharma insisted on being with his company in combat when they airlifted to Srinagar on October 30, 1947, to fight Pakistani invaders.

On November 3, when Sharma’s company was on a patrol of Badgam village, it was approached by a tribal Lashkar of 700 raiders from the direction of Gulmarg. The company was soon surrounded from three sides and endured heavy casualties from the ensuing heavy mortar bombardment. Realizing that Srinagar and the airport would be vulnerable if they abandoned the battle at this point, Sharma ran from post to post, encouraging his men to fight in the face of an enemy that outnumbered them seven to one.

When heavy casualties adversely affected their firing power, Sharma, with his left hand in plaster, took to filling the magazines for the men operating light machine guns. While he was busy fighting, a mortar shell exploded on the ammunition near him, killing him instantly.

His last message to Brigade HQ, received a few moments before he killed, “The enemy is only 50 yards from us. We 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. The citation on the award says, “His leadership, gallantry, and tenacious defense were such that his men inspired to fight the enemy by seven to one, six hours after this gallant officer had killed.”

4. Subedar Karam Singh

Subedar Karam Singh

Born in Sehna village in the Sangrur District of Punjab, Karam Singh was the first non-posthumous Param Vir Chakra awardee. Singh retired from the Indian Army as Honorary Captain in 1948 and died in 1993 at the age of 77. He is also the only Indian to win the highest medals of both the British and Indian governments.

Among his several brave acts, Karam Singh best known for his courage on 13 October 1948, when Pakistan decided to launch a brigade attack to retake Richhmar Gali in Kashmir. The firing was so furious that it destroyed almost all the bunkers in the Indian platoon. The communication with the commander also cut off and Singh could not update his situation or ask for reinforcements.

He left with just one choice – to fight the enemy with whatever little army and weapons he had. The attacks had left Karam Singh severely injured but nothing could deter his spirit. He refused to evacuate the post even when the enemy got very close. When enemy soldiers came even closer, Karam Singh jumped out of his trench and stabbed two intruders to death. His brave act demoralized the enemy so much that they broke off the attack.

5. Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran

Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran

Born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Parameswaran is yet another braveheart who died at the age of 41 in 1987, in India’s Sri Lanka operations. He awarded the Param Vir Chakra, posthumously.

late at night when Parameswaran returning from search operations in Sri Lanka when his column  suddenly attacked by a group of militants. He did not panic and showed great presence of mind by encircling the enemy from the rear and surprising them with an unexpected attack. During the hand-to-hand combat, a militant shot him in the chest. Undaunted, Major Parameswaran snatched the rifle from the militant and shot him dead.

Barely able to stand now, he continued giving orders to his men and inspired them to fight till his last breath. The Indians managed to kill five militants and recovered three rifles and two rocket launchers from the militants.


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