Company Havildar Major Piru Singh Shekhawat was born in a village in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on 20th May 1918 into a great Military family whose members served in the Army for generations. Following the family tradition, he joined the British Army in 1936. Till 1945, he served as an instructor in North-East frontier before being deployed to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force where he served till 1947. After the partition of India, he became a part of 6th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles.
Soon after partition, the tension between newly-independent countries of India and Pakistan started rising. It wasn’t long before the military of both nations found each other on the battlefield. Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 – 48 which is also referred as the First Kashmir War was the first war between India and Pakistan. It was about control over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
How it all began?
Pakistan launched offensive strikes in the Tithwal sector of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948. The Indian troops stationed across Kishanganga River were forced to retreat after the Pakistani forces captured a ring contour.
To take control of the situation, Singh’s Battalion was instructed to go to Tithwal from Uri. The troops took their position on Tithwal Bridge and started their attack. Even after continuing for 4 days the reports were grim as Pakistanis were still commanding a strategically important position. It was essential to take back this position before further advancement.
‘D’ Company of 6th Rajputana Rifles along with ‘C’ Company were assigned with the operation of taking back the captured position. When ‘D’ Company launched its attack they met with heavy fire from the enemy that caused about 51 recorded casualties within just first 30 minutes.
The path that leads to the position captured by Pakistanis was just 1 meter wide along with deep ravines on both sides. The narrow path hid the Pakistani bunkers that showered heavy shelling on Indian Army soldiers.
Singh who was a part of ‘D’ Company lost most of the men in his section. Their strength got reduced to half with the heavy casualty. This is when Singh took up the responsibility of clearing the enemy for his motherland.
Tale of bravery
Piru Singh was leading the front sector and he took a charge towards the enemy despite their heavy firing. It’s said he inspired his men to push forward crying, “Raja Ramchandra Ki Jai.” He rushed toward Pakistani medium machine gun post (MMG) with the intention of destroying the same. This post was causing the most casualty.
Despite being wounded from enemy grenade splinters, he kept on moving forward and bayoneted the crew of the enemy MMG. After occupying that post, he pushed ahead to take out the second MMG post. By that time, most of his body parts were injured with blood running from his eyes, still, he took over the second post killing to Pakistani soldiers. By that time he was alone as most men in his section were injured or dead.
This brave son of India was planning to go further when he was struck down by a bullet in the head. While succumbing to his wounds, this hero hurled a grenade at a nearby Pakistani trench. He is one among those who bravely and selflessly completed their mission for their Motherland.
This lion-heart of India was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his profound bravery. It is India’s highest military decoration. His extreme devotion to his motherland and self-sacrifice should inspire millions. On his birth anniversary, we remember this unsung hero of India for whose bravery we are still grateful.