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Indomitable Spirit: The Tale of Colonel Hoshiar Singh Dahiya

A number of the heroic and brave acts of mankind are unsung, mainly those of our fearless and dauntless Indian Army soldiers. Colonel (retd) Hoshiar Singh Dahiya is a valiant soldier born to a family in Haryana on 5 May 1936. The Indian Army boasts of several soldiers hailing from the district of Sonipat, where Colonel Hoshiar Singh was born. He was married at a tender age when he was in class 7th. After completing school, he joined the Indian Army to serve the nation.

Colonel (retd) Hoshiar Singh was a part of the third battalion of the Grenadiers Regiment during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Grenadiers regiment spearheaded the Shakargarh area. The regiment was under the valiant leadership of Lieutenant Colonel V.P.Airy. On 15 December 1971, a military unit of the Grenadiers regiment was tasked to establish a bridge across the river Basantar in the Shakargarh sector. The task was extremely dangerous as minefields were on both sides of the river. The enemy could easily notice any infiltration in the area. Major Hoshiar Singh, the commander of Troop C, and his men mounted an intense attack in the Jarpal area. Major Hoshiar Singh and his men attacked the minefield; as a result, the troop came under heavy attack, shelling and firing from the enemy. The intense crossfire from heavy machine guns resulted in several casualties between the two sides.

The Grenadiers’ regiment did not stop momentarily and fought with utmost courage. They carried on with their strikes and assaults and achieved their mission. After ferocious fighting, the hostile enemy bunkers were cleared. The Pakistani soldiers, sensing the loss of Jarpal, launched a sudden attack on the Grenadiers’ regiment on 16 December 1971. The unanticipated shelling and firing from the enemy did not unnerve Major Hoshiar Singh and his troops. Instead, he inspired and encouraged them to tear the enemy to pieces. Motivated by the indomitable courage of their commander, his battalion fought bravely and forced the enemy to retreat. The troop also inflicted a considerable number of casualties.

Frustrated with the losses, the enemy launched yet another attack with more troops, bunkers, heavy machine guns and artilleries. As a result of the crossfire, Major Hoshiar Singh was seriously wounded. Undeterred by his wound and shelling, Major Hoshiar Singh moved alone from trench to trench with his machine gun, firing ferociously at the enemy. The grave wound did not stop him; he inflicted several casualties on the enemy.

The Pakistani soldiers had to make a sudden and quick retreat leaving behind their dead officer in command and another hundred dead soldiers. The steadfast determination and stupendous acts of bravery forced the enemy to surrender. The gutsy spirit he instilled amongst his men shook the enemy and defeated them every time they mounted an attack.

Colonel (retd) Hoshiar Singh’s participation in the Indo-Pakistani War war of 1971 and the Battle of Basantar has been etched in the Hall of Fame for Indian Army soldiers. He was honored with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military gallantry medal, for his brave show and impregnable guts and grit.

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