Lieutenant Hawa Singh – Despite Being Seriously Wounded, Courageously Cleared Five Enemy Bunkers and Killed Number of Enemy Personnel

Second Lieutenant Hawa Singh hailed from Mirzapur village in Hissar district of Haryana. Son of Mr Sheokaran Singh and Mrs Chand Kaur, 2nd Lt Hawa Singh followed his childhood dream and joined the Army after completing his studies. He was commissioned into 4/5 GR of 5 Gorkha Rifles, a regiment known for its valiant soldiers and numerous battle honours.

During 1971, 2nd Lt Hawa Singh’s unit 4/5 GR, got deployed in the Eastern sector and took part in one of biggest assaults on enemy forces before the 1971 war. The battle of Atgram complex, fought on 21 Nov, 1971 between the 5 Gorkha Rifles and the 31 Punjab of Pakistani Army, was one of the first engagements between the two opposing forces that preceded the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and also one of the first large scale assaults launched by the Indian army against East Pakistani forces before the 1971 war. The battle was fought on the border village Atgram, in the Sylhet district of then East Pakistan, approximately 35 Kms from Sylhet town. The village lay across the Surma river, which served as a de-facto border, separating East Pakistan from the Cachar district of Assam. The target of the Indian operation was the Atgram complex. Situated two kms inside the International Border across the River Surma, Atgram served as a major road communication centre , connecting it with Zakiganj to the south opposite the Indian Border town of Karimganj.

As per the attack plan 4/5 GR was tasked to capture the Atgram Salient by first light 21 November 1971 and advance further towards Charkhai and secure Sarkar Bazar, which lay approximately 4 Kms west of Atgram. The plans for the attack, drawn up by the CO, Lt Col  A B Harolikar, was aimed to surprise the enemy forces by infiltrating, and establishing road blocks to prevent reinforcements from Sarkar Bazar from the west Zakiganj to the south. This meant that to reach the Atgram, 4/5 GR troops had to cross the River Surma, infiltrating between Pakistani defences of Raigram and Amalsid, proceeding through four kms of marshes and launching the assault on Atgram complex from the rear. The force was then to proceed and clear the Border Outposts. The C Company and an Adhoc Force, was tasked to setup the road blocks and hold the approaches, while the main attack on Atgram was to be carried out by A and D Companies. To achieve maximum possible surprise, as well as a psychological factor, the main attack was planned with Khukris. 2nd Lt Hawa Singh was the  commander of one platoon of A company.

As planned 4/5 GR crossed River Surma in the earlier part of the night of 20 November 1971. C Company and Commanding Officers Group were first to cross with the help of pneumatic boats, established firm base across the river for battalion to pass through and move in between Pakistani BOP’s. The assaulting troops {A and D Company} including the platoon of 2nd Lt Hawa Singh neared the objective in the later part of the night. At about 0430 Hours on 21 Nov 1971, when A and D Company, led by their commanders, with CO in the centre, launched fierce Khukri assault and as the dawn broke captured Atgram. Pakistanis were caught by surprise and met their end with raw courage of Indian soldiers. The assaulting platoons led by 2nd Lt Hawa Singh and Capt Praveen Johri fought with gallantry and sheer dare devilry. However during the fierce fighting, 2nd Lt Hawa Singh got seriously injured and was martyred.

2nd Lt Hawa Singh was given the nation’s third highest gallantry award, “Vir Chakra” for his outstanding courage, unyielding fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice during the operation.

The citation of the Award reads:

“A Battalion of the Gorkha Rifles was given the task of capturing an enemy position in an area in the Eastern Sector. The enemy was holding a well fortified position supported by Medium Machine Guns.  During the assault Second Lieutenant Hawa Sigh was seriously wounded by enemy fire. Undeterred and regardless of his personal safety, he pressed his charge and cleared five enemy bunkers and killed a number of enemy personnel.  His daring example inspired his Company to capture the objective.  Later he succumbed to his injuries. In this action, Second Lieutenant Hawa Singh displayed commendable courage, initiative and determination.”

The inauguration of a War memorial to honour Lt Hawa Singh was held at his village Mirzapur, Hisar on 21 Nov 2019. A bust of the martyr was also unveiled.

Swaraj Parkash – As A Head Commander of INS Vikrant Ghosted Every Pakistani Ship Proving it to be a Game-changer for India in 1971 War

Swaraj Parkash was born on 3 September 1923 in Jullundur Punjab of British India. He was commissioned into the Royal Indian Navy in December 1942 as a Midshipman. He was posted as an acting Sub-Lieutenant on 3 September 1943. Swaraj also attended the Naval College of UK for the Ling Navigation and Direction Course. He got promoted to the rank of Lt. Commander in 1952 after which he attended the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in 1955.

Lt. Com. Parkash commanded the INS Krisna, INS Khukri, INS Betwa and many more world-class ships of the Indian Navy. Co. Swaraj Parkash also attended the Naval War College at Newport in the US.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Parkash was the head commander of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (R11). They were tasked to create havoc in Pakistani harbours by eliminating threats of Pakistani ships and tons of cargo being shifted from West Pakistan to East Pakistan. Parkash devised a strong plan for a frontal attack on Pakistani warships and thus, the Alize and Hawker Sea Hawk fighter jets from the INS Vikrant launched multiple bombings on Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar. The constant airstrikes under the command of Lt. Co. Parkash resulted in the sinking of 11 Pakistani ships and destroying a huge amount of merchant cargo in Eastern waters. The new submarine of Pakistan, PNS Ghazi was also unsuccessful in defeating INS Vikrant despite multiple attempts. Commander Parkash beautifully played in the Indian waters causing a major loss to Pakistan and thus, protecting our coastline from possible dangers. INS Vikrant under Parkash’s strategic warfare strategies ghosted every Pakistani ship proving it to be a game-changer for India. The Bangladesh coast was dead scared of Indian troops due to battle skills shown by the Vikrant. For his exemplary bravery, meticulous planning and outstanding warfare leadership, Lt. Commander Swaraj Parkash was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.

The citation read: “Captain Swaraj Parkash Commanded INS VIKRANT which was the nucleus of the Naval interdiction and strike force operating against the enemy in the Bay of Bengal. Throughout the period of those operations, the ship was operating in most hazardous waters and was the principal target both for the enemy Submarines and Aircraft. With indomitable spirit, he launched ceaseless offensive operations against the enemy. The successful air strikes from the VIKRANT had devastating effect on Ports all along the Bangladesh coast and completely denied the enemy the use of sea and island waterways. The complete supremacy of our Naval force symbolized by the VIKRANT paralyzed the enemy, shattered his morale and considerably expedited the enemy’s capitulation in the Eastern Theatre. Captain Swaraj Parkash displayed conspicuous gallantry inspiring leadership, professional skill and devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Navy.” After the war, Parkash was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1973 thus, presiding as the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. He also assumed command of the entire Western Fleet of Indian Navy and became the Flag Officer. On 2 April 1976, Parkash rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral and took over the Eastern Command. In 1978, he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for his service. The Indian Coast Guard term came into action in 1978 and on 1 April 1980, Vice-Admiral Parkash became the Director-General of the ICG succeeding Vice-Admiral V A Kamath. He served there for two years finally retiring on 31 March 1982.

Don’t compare E.V. Ramasamy (a) Periyar with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Venkatesan

Today, there is a false propaganda that the views of E.V. Ramasamy (a) Periyar and Babasaheb Ambedkar are one and the same which is not only being spread in Tamil Nadu but all over India. They are trying to portray   Periyar as Ambedkar  of the North and Ambedkar as the Periyar of the South among  the people. In universities and colleges, Periyar – Ambedkar study circles are being set up trying to give the common attributes to both of them.

Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar is in no way comparable to E.V.R. The two were at odds over any field of study, be it education, social thought, national unity, foreign policy, or economic policy. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a scholar and intellectual genius who had learnt many texts. When you read his book it contains footnotes, sources, quotes from various scholars, everything sufficiently. But E.V.R was not a scholar. He was not a person who had read too many texts. From time to time, he spread the thoughts whatever came to his mind. He changed it too and changed it to suit the situation.

E.V.R has been involved in prostitution in prostitute homes for 40 years. He had not cared about the society until then. But Ambedkar was involved in education throughout his youth and filed petitions for his community. Just as it is unacceptable to compare the mountain and the pond together, it would be injustice that we do to Ambedkar if we compare both – E.V.R and Ambedkar.

The Theory of Racism: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

There is no alternative to E.V.R Periyar being a racist and one who accepted the racist ideology. He spread Aryan-Dravidian racism throughout Tamil Nadu. He was a staunch proponent of racist ideology to cause division among the people. He campaigned that Aryans were foreigners and they were those who invaded the country and destroyed the indigenous people. Thereby he used his campaign of hate to destroy solidarity. E.V.R sought to divide the Indian people through racist ideology. But Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar was the one who completely rejected the Aryan racist doctrine. Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar rejected the theory that Aryan racism should go to the trash. He never accepted the doctrine of racism since he was a humanist who loved human beings.

Dalits: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R encouraged all Dalits and backward classes to convert. In the process, he proposed Islam for conversion. He continued to propagate that Islam was the antidote to conversion and that all people should convert to Islam. It is not that Periyar had said this after serious studies and research. In contrast, Babasaheb Ambedkar proposed Buddhism for their conversion. According to him, Islam will never give equality; Ambedkar is confident that it will not give fraternity either. This belief did not occur casually. He came to this conclusion after an in-depth study of Islam and other religions. He was the one who rejected the call to give crores of rupees and college on conversion to Islam. He said nationalism would change if religion was converted to Islam and Christianity. Ambedkar urged all, including the Dalits, to accept Buddhism, believing that only Buddhism could bring equality. E.V.R, who told everyone to convert, remained a Hindu until the end. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism as he had preached.

E.V.R always excluded the Dalits. He unequivocally declared that he was fighting for the Sudras. E.V.R never waged a struggle for the rights of the Dalits in Tamil Nadu. E.V.R never led any struggle in Tamil Nadu for Dalits to walk on the road, walk on the street or fetch water from a pond or to enter the temple. But Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar was the one who led the struggle to get water in the Mahat pool and to enter the Kalaram temple.

E.V.R opposes the integration of Dalits with other caste Hindus:

E.V.Ramasamy Nayakar said, “Does the elimination of untouchability involve just the entry to the temple and the inclusion of the Sudra to the Parayans? If the lower caste of Parayan is not changed then should the Sudra be added to Parayan for that? The Sudras, who had hitherto had been the middle caste, have now been made the lower caste which we should not allow”. (Thread: History of Vaikkam struggle – Veeramani)

E.V.R has always been against the Dalits. Despite the Muthukulathur riots and the Kizhvenmani massacre, E.V.R acted against the Dalits. When 44 Dalits were burnt to death in Kizhvenmani, the report by E.V.R says:

“The Communist comrades are trying to cause unrest and revolution in the country without telling you how the workers should live in the economy available to them, and today they are trying to overthrow this regime, right-wing, left-wing and far-right communists. I ask that the comrades of agriculture and other working friends should not give place to it. The Communist Party instigated the riot in Nagai taluka. 42 people died due to it. The government did not stop at saying that the Communist Party was the party that cooperated with us. Government is taking the necessary action.  (Vidudhalai 20-1-1969)

E.V.R says there is no need for a wage struggle. Employers do not have the intention to raise wages despite their rising profits. E.V.R pierces the spear into the burn without even realizing by saying that that it has to be obtained through protest. E.V.R supports the assassination, saying that it would be rebellion if it fought for higher wages. He did not stand on the side of the affected Dalits but expressed his views in support of those involved in the riots. On the contrary Ambedkar brought various laws not only for the Dalits but for all the backward people. He continued to fight for their rights.

We can also learn from his speech how vile E.V.R thinks about people of the scheduled community. E.V.R says:-

“Ambedkar is a little bit emotional. He asked me. ‘What do you do for your people?’ I gave him a lot of details. He started talking about. The Brahmins immediately paid the price for him. That is, where he  [Ambedkar] asked for 10 out of 100 his people to get the educational facility, and job facility, he [Brahmins] said ‘take it as 15’! He [Brahmins] knew that even if he [lower caste] was given 25 seats, not even three or four of them would come. He [Ambedkar] signed the law written by the Brahmins. He doesn’t care about the company of others.  (Vidudhalai 11.11.1957)

Dalits in Pakistan: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

Dalits were persecuted in Pakistan during the partition of Pakistan. Thousands were massacred. Without rendering any feelings for the situation, E.V.R supported Pakistan and Muslims without condemning the massacre. But Babasaheb Ambedkar sent the Makar Regiment to save the oppressed Dalits in Pakistan. He issued a statement saying that Dalits in Pakistan should not convert to Islam. Similarly, Ambedkar gave full cooperation to the annexation of the Indian princely states. Ambedkar issued a public statement saying that none of the lower caste there should support the Hyderabad Nizam who refuses to connect with India.

Indian Independence: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R Periyar was against Indian independence. A resolution was brought with the blessings of E.V.R at the Dravidar League Conference held at Salem on 27-08-44. In the resolution,

“The conference concludes that the main policy of the Dravidar League is to include the name Dravida Nadu as the first policy of our Chennai Province to be divided into a separate (state) country which is not dominated by the Central Government administration and is directly under the administration of the British Secretary of State.”

Not only this, E.V.R also declared Independence Day as a day of mourning. He continued to spread the demand that Whites should rule here. But Ambedkar never took any action against national liberation. No statement was issued in support of the White government by Ambedkar. He has strongly documented the demand for India’s independence at the London Round Table Conference and beyond. He once said that I am more patriotic than the other Congress leaders.

E.V.R was at the forefront of disrupting Indian unity. Part of India was demanded by E.V.R as a separate Dravidastan. He also waged various struggles to separate the Dravidian country from India. Similarly, the leader of the Muslim League, Jinnah, asked Pakistan. The British government and many others demanded that Ambedkar should ask for a separate Dalitistan for the Dalits. But Ambedkar never heeded to it. He did not agree with the Dalitistanisation of India. So he cut the request at the very start and threw it away. If not, the Dalits would have split from India just as Pakistan did.

Hindi and Sanskrit: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R had a lasting anti-Hindi and anti-Sanskrit attitude. He held anti-Hindi and anti-Sanskrit conferences and protests. He incited linguistic hatred and disrupted Indian unity. But Ambedkar said they needed Hindi for national unity. He spoke in Parliament that Sanskrit should be the national official language. Yet Ambedkar never provoked language fanaticism.

Communism: E.V.R vs Ambedkar

E.V.R had a deep attachment to so-called communism. After his visit to Russia, he actively spread the policy of common wealth in Tamil Nadu. But Babasaheb Ambedkar was against communism throughout his life. He said that communism was based on violence and if ever he considered someone as his enemy, it was communism. Ambedkar did not even have an electoral relationship with the Communists. He proposed Buddhism as an alternative to communism for the Dalit people.

It is the firm opinion of Ambedkar that India should not have relations with China and Russia even in foreign policy. He prophesised that China would one day invade us, that is, India. That happened in 1962.

Religion: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

According to E.V.R, humans do not need religion. E.V.R view was that religion fools man. But Ambedkar says religion is a necessity for man. He says that the good qualities he possesses are due to religion. Ambedkar opposed the statement that religion is an opium and explained why religion is important to man.

Only country: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R said there is no such thing as one country called India. He said that India is a mixture of several national races. He also campaigned that India has never been a single country. But Ambedkar clearly wrote that India has been a single country for thousands of years in terms of its spiritual culture.

Indian Unity: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R was not interested in Indian unity. E.V.R wanted India to secede. But Ambedkar had an unconditional love for Indian unity. He was also clear that India should not be enslaved again. His speech in the Constituent Assembly will make us aware of this.

Ambedkar speaks:

” What worried me the most is that India has lost its that India has lost its independence many times due to the betrayal and treachery of the Indian people. When Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, the army commanders of King Tagir of Sindh refused to fight for their king with the help of Muhammad bin Qasim’s henchmen. Jayachandran invited Mohammad Gori to invade India and to fight against Prithviraj. He promised to help him and the Solanki kings. While Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of the Hindus, other Maratha leaders and Rajput kings sided with the Mughals and fought against him.

When the British fought against the Sikh kings, the commander-in-chief of the Sikhs was inactive. He did not help to defend the Sikh state. During the freedom struggle against the British in 1857, the Sikhs were having fun doing nothing. Will history repeat …?

It is even more worrying that a number of parties with different and opposing policies are now emerging with old hostile forces such as castes and religions.The people of India must carefully monitor the parties who are striving for the interest of their party rather than the interest of the country. If not, the independence of the country will be in jeopardy for the second time. It may become irreversible. We should ensure that our freedom is upheld until the last drop of blood.”

Ambedkar was responding to a third round of debate on the Constitution on November 25, 1949. This call of Ambedkar is a call for Indian nationalism. We need to understand that the call is driven by a sense of nationalism – a passion that the Indian nation should never be distorted again.

E.V.R and Ambedkar were at odds over whichever field we take and study. They have been campaigning for the comparison of Ambedkar and E.V.R in order to draw the people, mainly the Dalits, to their side. This is great injustice to Ambedkar.

About the Writer:

Author is Member of BJP National Council, Chennai and served as State President, BJP SC Morcha, Tamilnadu. He wrote a book named ‘Hindutva Ambedkar’. He can be contacted at venkiambeth@gmail.com

Sandhu’s Family – The Only Family in the Country to be Awarded Four Shaurya Chakras

Tarn Taran was among the worst-hit districts during militancy in Punjab. The family of Balwinder Singh Sandhu fought against terrorism in the state for decades, facing at least 16 terror attacks during height of Khalistani militancy in Punjab and subsequently 28 other terror attacks but had been able to repudiate them all while fighting militants along with his brother and their wives. Inspired by Sandhu and his family, many people followed him and defended themselves from terror attacks.

Balwinder Singh Sandhu, his wife Jagadish Kaur Sandhu, his older brother Ranjit Singh Sandhu and his wife Balraj Kaur Sandhu were awarded Shaurya Chakra for their bravery by the President in 1993.  His is the only family in the country that has been awarded four Shaurya Chakras for showing unique courage and valour. Documentaries have also been made on their anti-terror feats.

The citation for the Shaurya Chakra Award to the above four mentions, “Balwinder Singh Sandhu and his brother Ranjit Singh Sandhu are opposed to the activities of terrorists. They were on the hit lists of terrorists. The terrorists so far have made 16 attempts to wipe out the Sandhu’s family within in about 11 months.

The terrorists attacked them in groups of 10 to 200, but every time Sandhu brothers with the help of their brave wives Jagdish Kaur Sandhu and Balraj Kaur Sandhu have successfully failed the attempts of militants to kill them. Militants had attacked the family on January 31, 1990 for the first time.

The family had faced the deadliest attack on September 30, 1990 when around 200 terrorists surrounded their house from all sides and attacked them continuously for five hours with deadly weapons including rocket launchers. In this well-planned attack by terrorists, the approach road of the house was blocked by spreading underground mines so that no help from police could reach them.

Undaunted, Sandhu brothers and their wives fought terrorists with pistols and sten-guns provided by the government. The resistance shown by Sandhu brothers and their family members forced the terrorists to retreat. All these persons have displayed courage and bravery of a high order in facing the attack of the terrorists and failing their repeated murderous attempts.”

Unfortunately, in October 2020, Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu was shot dead by unknown assailants in Tarn Taran, months after the government withdrew his security cover. The motorcycle-borne men pumped four bullets into 62-year-old Sandhu when he was at his office adjoining his home in Bhikhiwind near Tarn Taran and escaped. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

As per his wife, who stood by him to fight against terrorism, over 40 FIRs have been registered in attacks on their family. The previous one was in December 2018 when unknown persons fired at their house. Balwinder is survived by wife, two sons, Gagandeep Singh and Arshdeep Singh, and a daughter. They have expressed suspicion that Balwinder’s killing is a terror attack. “We don’t have any kind of personal enmity. This is a clear-cut attack by terrorists. I have fought against terrorism. Now, when he has been martyred, I will give a tougher fight to get the justice,” said Kaur, his wife.

Colonel DPK Pillay – The Unique Saga of a Soldier Who Manipur Loves

In an emotional reunion, an Army officer who nearly died in an encounter 16 years ago returned to the Manipur village where the fire fight took place and met a girl whose life he saved as well as the militant who shot him thrice. The officer, Colonel Dr. Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay (D P K Pillay), who was then a young Captain, made the journey back to the remote Longdi Pabram village in Manipur in March 2020 as part of an Army goodwill gesture.  The village had not forgotten his act of kindness and, in gratitude, the entire village gathered around him. He was inducted as an important member of the local community and was felicitated in a big way.

His last visit to the village was in January 1994 when he was leading a patrol to the remote village on the trail of dreaded NSCN militants, at a time when insurgency was at its height in the state. Tracking down the militants and finding them cornered in a locked room, Col Pillay broke open the door, only to be welcomed with a burst of bullets from AK-47s. The first bullet hit him in his shoulder and was followed by three more, with one hitting him in his chest. A grenade was hurled at him at that very moment too.

“I don’t know how I saw the grenade in the darkness but instantly, I kicked the grenade and the grenade blew on my leg, taking a portion of my leg away,” he says. In the ensuing crossfire, Col Pillay noticed two children who were severely injured. Despite having taken four bullets, when the helicopter arrived to evacuate him, he refused to be moved and insisted that the young children be taken to safety first. A fatally wounded Col Pillay had the option to either evacuate himself at the earliest or save the two children who had been hit in the crossfire. He chose the latter and hung on for two hours, waiting for the next evacuation.

“The nearest hospital was about 6 hours away. There’s no way the children would have survived. I think I knew that I had 5 minutes of life left in me and I can hang on for a little bit. So I told the pilot not to worry about me,” he says.

While Pillay did recover from his wounds and went back to join the Army after a gap of one year, his life hung in the balance for almost two hours that the chopper took to come back and evacuate him. At a young age of 24, Colonel Pillay was decorated with the Shaurya Chakra – India’s highest peacetime gallantry award.

However, the bigger surprise was that Pillay got to meet the militants who had fired at him 16 years ago. While one militant was killed in the encounter, the other three surrendered and have since reformed. They now work as farmers and came for the reunion after hearing that Pillay would be present. Perhaps the most touching moment for him was the gift he received when he was about to return to the capital —- a bagful of oranges that Kaine Bon presented to him, fruits that he had grown as a farmer after shunning guns 16 years ago.

Today, Colonel Pillay overseas livelihood programmers for the village and is instrumental in bringing a motor-able road to the village. He organizes developmental activities in the region. Prompted by Pillay’s initiatives, the BRTF has started the groundwork to construct a new 28-km road connecting the village with Tamenglong district headquarters. No wonder he has aptly earned himself the title ‘Hero of Manipur’ and ‘Savior of Longdipabram.’ D P K Pillay (Retd.) has seen action in several disturbed areas of the country. Col. Pillay has held several assignments in his 29-year career in the Indian Army. Besides several field assignments, he was selected by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to serve at the Military School, Bangalore to inspire cadets to join the Armed Forces. In 2003, he was selected for Project Beta which delivered a handheld PDA for use by the Infantry in counter insurgency operations. This was a very unique military-funded IT enterprise. For his contribution to the project, he was awarded the COAS Commendation Card in 2005. Currently, Col. Pillay is pursuing research on violent extremism at Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis as well as a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) project on Action Plan to Counter Radicalisation of Indian Youth.