Amid patriotic slogans and ceremonial gunshots, the soil from the grave of Risaldar Badlu Singh was brought home to Jhajjar in Haryana 98 years after his death in Palestine.
Badlu Singh was a brave soldier of the 14th Lancers in the service of the British Empire, which was attached to the 29th Lancers during World War I.
On September 23, 1918, Badlu Singh was fighting the Ottomans at Khes Samariveh along the Jordan River in Palestine as part of the British-led Sinai and Palestine Campaign.
River Jordan is a 251-km-long river that runs along the borders of Palestine, Israel, Jordan and West Bank.
The British troops were being gunned down by enemy gunfire from a machinegun post situated on a hill. Without concern for his own safety, Singh led a charge with a small number of soldiers on the hill and captured the enemy position.
A 1915 photo of Indian soldiers from Mysore Lancers, Bengal Lancers and Bikaner Camel Corps. Wikimedia Commons
It significantly changed the course of the battle but Singh lost his life in the process.
The British recognized Singh’s raw courage and on November 27, 1918, Singh was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross – Britain’s highest military decoration.
Risaldar Badlu Singh of 29th Lancers. British Indian Army. Wikimedia Commons
Singh’s body was never brought back home. He was commemorated along with 4000 other Indian soldiers who died in battle at the Heliopolis War Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt.
The British constructed the Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial at the site.
Names of the Indian soldiers who died in the war are engraved at the memorial. cwgc
It was during his visit to the memorial that Haryana Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Om Prakash Dhankar noted Risaldar Badlu Singh’s connection to his home state.
Minister Om Prakash Dhankar carrying the soil from the memorial. Tribune Photo
Upon learning that, the minister decided that at least the soil from Badlu Singh’s memorial can be brought back home. The minister himself led the procession carrying the soil to Badlu Singh’s native village Dhakla. There the minister laid the foundation stone of the Badlu Ram Memorial.