PERSPECTIVE
WINNER OF VICTORIA CROSS AND MAHA VIR CHAKRA
70 years on, most decorated soldier of India remains unsung
- YASHVEER GOYAL
70 years on, most decorated soldier of India remains unsung



Barring few things done in his name by the successive governments and authorities concerned, Naib Subedar Nand Singh, the "highest ever decorated soldier of India", who having earned prestigious twin war medals, Victoria Cross (VC)-the highest military gallantry award of United Kingdom (UK) and Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)- second highest Indian award for battlefield graciousness "remained unsung even 70 years" after he attained 'heroic martyrdom' in Jammu and Kashmir hills during Indo-Pakistan 'Kashmir war' on December 12, 1947.

The dare devil deeds performed by Naib Subedar Nand Singh, who was recruited in First Battalion of Sikh Regiment in 1931, during World War-2 in 1944 and during Kashmir War, not only played undisputed and unquestionable role in drawing the contours of geophysical and geopolitical maps of British Empire and Independent India respectively but also earned Victoria Cross-the highest gallantry award of United Kingdom (UK)-from the Queen Victoria  and Maha Vir Chakra-the second highest gallantry award of India- for his kitty and thus made him highest ever decorated soldier of Commonwealth Countries.

The acts, which were full of valour and were done with heroic tempers and undying spirit for UK war with Japan and later for 'Mother Land' in Kashmir War and the way he conducted himself during these two intense Wars, when put together, if do not make his sacrifice equal to 'martyrdom of a prophet', then there is also no reason for anyone to gauge the same (martyrdom) on lesser scales. His story is such that everyone in the world must know the same.

Sadly and unfortunately, the central and state governments and other official agencies involved in the glorification of country's martyrs seem to have no respect for the 'Real Heroes' and instead have been hurling 'insult' repeatedly on martyr Nand Singh as they have failed to erect a befitting memorial of this international Hero in the past seven decades.
---------------
The promises made by successive rulers of Punjab to immortalise his valourous deeds are yet to be fulfilled. 
---------------
Any function to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of Nand Singh, who was born in Bahadurpur village of Mansa district in 1914, joined the army at the age of seventeen or eighteen years of age and attained martyrdom on December 12, 1947 in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, is rarely organised by the authorities concerned.

Not only this, the official agencies concerned have been adding insult to the injuries of the family members of the martyr by keeping themselves absent from any function organised by his kin in the past. Besides, the promises made by successive rulers of Punjab to immortalise his valourous deeds are yet to be fulfilled.

Another fact, which could prove that scant respect is also given to the family members of Nand Singh, is that no monetary help was extended to his widow Joginder Kaur, who once fell ill and found it difficult to gather enough money to get treatment. Moved by her plight, the then Punjab Governor, J.F.R. Jacob sanctioned relief of Rs 10,000 for her treatment.

Naib Subedar Nand Singh, who attained martyrdom at the age of 33 years after securing Srinagar valley-paradise on earth-for mother nation, was picked up for Victoria Cross-highest bravery award of British Empire for his exemplary action during World War-2 in 1944 against Japan.
 

The citation, which was published in the London Gazette of 2nd June 1944 after Jamedar Nand Singh was picked up for United Kingdom's highest gallantry award-Victoria Cross- for his bravest deeds during World War 2, reads, "In Burma on the night of the 11th/12th March, 1944, a Japanese platoon about 40 strong with Medium and Light Machine-Guns and a Grenade Dis-charger infiltrated into the Battalion position covering the main Maungdaw7Buthidaung road and occupied a dominating position where they dug foxholes and underground trenches on the precipitous sides of the hill. Naik Nand Singh commanded the leading section of the platoon which was ordered to recapture the position at all costs. He led his section up a very steep knife-edged ridge under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. Although wounded in the thigh he rushed ahead of his section and took the first enemy trench with the bayonet by himself. He then crawled forward alone under heavy fire and though wounded again in the face and shoulder by a grenade which burst one yard in front of him, took the second trench at the point of the bayonet. A short time later when all his section had been either killed or wounded, Naik Nand Singh dragged himself out of the trench and captured a third trench, killing all the occupants with his bayonet. Due to the capture of these three trenches the remainder of the platoon were able to seize the top of the hill and deal with the enemy. Naik Nand Singh personally killed seven of the enemy and owing to his determination, outstanding dash and magnificent courage; the important position was won back from the enemy."

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Victoria Cross (V C) to Sepoy number 13068 (Acting Naik) Nand Singh, 11th Sikh Regiment, Indian Army."
---------------
Colonel F.T. Birdwood, author of book titled 'Sikh Regiment in the Second World War' has remarked, "Naik Nand Singh’s part in this brilliant little action, his splendid resolution and utter disregard for his own life were fittingly recognized by the award of the Victoria Cross.” 
---------------
The prestigious Victoria Cross was pinned to his chest, filled with proud, by Lord Mountbatten, who later became Viceroy of India, at an impressive function organised at Red Fort at Delhi in connection with the investiture ceremony.

Colonel F.T. Birdwood, author of book titled 'Sikh Regiment in the Second World War' has remarked, "Naik Nand Singh’s part in this brilliant little action, his splendid resolution and utter disregard for his own life were fittingly recognized by the award of the Victoria Cross.”

The acquiring of highest gallantry award of Commonwealth Nations could not 'satiate' the unending zeal of Nand Singh to do something for Mother Land after India attained independence from British occupation.

Barely two years after the Victoria Cross was pinned on his chest, the time came for him to load his rifle once again and after some refitting, rest and training he went to action again in 1947 to flush out the Pakistan's army regulars and tribal infiltrators (who had intruded into Jammu and Kashmir to cut the valley from the rest of land of India) and to wrest the control of valley.

In December 1947, this passionate soldier again showed exemplary courage when he came under sudden attack of enemies while leading a fighting patrol in the Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir and immediately started fighting valiantly, killing about odd five Pakistani soldiers and recapturing an occupied bunker.

Putting his life into extreme danger, the brave son of soil faced a burst from Light Machine Gun (LMG) fire on December 12, 1947 when he was advancing his movements with boundless grit and courage to occupy other positions of enemies. He got killed immediately.

He was bestowed upon Maha Vir Chakra posthumously on first republic day of country in 1950. 

The citation for Maha Vir Chakra reads, "Jamadar Nand Singh during a routine patrol suddenly came across enemy who were more in number, undaunted they led and encouraged the men to fight against the enemy. Subedar Bishan Singh and Jamadar Nand Singh displayed conspicuous gallantry, exemplary leadership, determination and devotion to duty of the highest order in keeping with the best traditions of the Army and were posthumously awarded Mahavir Chakra." 

Interestingly, Major-General Frank Messervy, who commanded one of the army divisions during World War 2 and was closely associated with Nand Singh in military action against Japan Army became the first Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, in whose attack Nand Singh attained martyrdom. Major General Messervy has also made a written record regarding the "Heroic Deeds" of Naik Nand Singh in two wars.
---------------
 Also in the past 70 years the successive governments of Punjab have miserably failed to erect a befitting memorial of Nand Singh in his native village for which his family members, kin and other villagers have been fighting relentlessly.
---------------
On May 30, 1944, Major-General Messervy recorded that on the main Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road, Arakan (Burma), on 11/12 March 1944. Japanese troops having infiltrated the battalion position at night, and dug in on a spur commanding the vital road, Nand Singh commanded the leading section of the platoon ordered to retake the position. This was achieved without fire support, yet under heavy enemy rifle and machine-gun fire and grenades. Every man in his section was killed or wounded, and Singh took three trenches single-handed at the point of the bayonet. Although he was wounded in the thigh, and peppered with grenade fragments, he returned to his unit six weeks later.

Nand Singh's medal is displayed at the Sikh Regiment Centre, Ramgarh (Jharkhand).

Huge respect was showered on Nand Singh as Simon Edmund Vincent Paul Elwes, who as lieutenant colonel in British Army fought battles of Benghazi, Mersa, Matruh and Knightsbridge and then got employment as British War artist and society portrait painter made portraits of the Maharaja of Patiala, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and various Indian Army soldiers including Naik Nand Singh.

An appreciation of highest order was recorded in the service book of Nand Singh as it reads as  "….a handsome, brave and obedient soldier who has the distinction of being the highest decorated and celebrated soldier of commonwealth countries. He was awarded Victoria Cross, the highest bravery award of British Empire, on 12th March, 1944 for his chivalry and courage shown in the hills of Arakan, during Burma campaign in the World War II. In spite of being badly injured six times by bullets and hand grenades, he alone himself killed seven enemy soldiers and captured three trenches one by one. All his company's soldiers were either killed or injured but no power on earth could stop him and he emerged as the bravest person on the earth.

After independence again he stood as rock in the way of enemy on 12 Dec.1947 in Jammu and Kashmir to save the motherland. Around 6000 Pakistani raiders infiltrated into the Uri sector posing a great threat to Indian garrisons and road leading to Srinagar and Poonch. A platoon of 'D' company led by Jamadar Nand Singh attacked the enemy. Jamadar, who belonged to village Bahadurpur Distt. Mansa, with his small detachment charged this large group of Pakistani tribesmen. He captured number of bunkers and his daring assault saved the battalion…."

Unfortunately, his body could not be recovered and as it was carried away by the enemies. He was treated brutally by the Pakistani army after his death. The Pakistani army identified Nand Sing for his Victoria Cross ribbon. They managed to lay hands on his dead body and took it to Muzaffarabad town. There Pakistan army men tied him in a face down position on a truck and paraded in the entire area with a loudspeaker declaring that this would be the destiny of every Indian VC winner. After that they threw his body into a garbage junkyard.

Perhaps precariously little efforts were made at diplomatic and other levels by the then government of India to recover the mortal remains of pious and brave soul to do the proper funeral and to perform last rites as per social and religious tenets.
---------------
'Blatant disrespect' has been shown to this legendry Sikh warrior, whose heroic acts have gained place of prominence and respect in the war books written by historians of world so far, by using his statue, erected in Bathinda town, to tie ropes and projecting him in different manner in Punjabi movie in the past. 
---------------
Also in the past 70 years the successive governments of Punjab have miserably failed to erect a befitting memorial of Nand Singh in his native village for which his family members, kin and other villagers have been fighting relentlessly. A memorial of Nand Singh has been cut out of hills in Uri by the army personnel.

So far a narrow road linking his village Bahadurpur to nearby Bareta town is named as Shaheed Jamadar Nand Singh Marg in 1991 and Bus Stand of Bareta town is named as Shaheed Nand Singh Bus Stand. Unfortunately, Shaheed Jamedar Nand Singh Marg has almost of disappeared due to poor upkeep by authorities concerned. 

A college, which has been built up by Punjab government in Bahadurpur village last year, has not been named as Shaheed Jamedar Nand Singh despite the fact that successive 'Rulers' promised this thing to villagers and kin to martyr time and again.

No statue of the martyr has been installed in his village so far despite the residents have been demanding the same for the past more than half century.

On the other hand, 'blatant disrespect' has been shown to this legendry Sikh warrior, whose heroic acts have gained place of prominence and respect in the war books written by historians of world so far, by using his statue, erected in Bathinda town, to tie ropes and projecting him in different manner in Punjabi movie in the past.

Now every nationalist is asking the governments concerned that whether 70th anniversary of martyrdom of Commonwealth countries' highest decorated Sikh Soldier would be observed in befitting manner and would Capt. Amarinder Singh, Punjab's chief minister, who once strongly condemned previous chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for poor upkeep of statue of Naib Subedar Nand Singh installed in Bathinda town, would do something to immortalize feats of valour and gallantry of brave son of soil for posterity.

Interestingly, Captain Singh in his book ‘Lest We Forget’ has highlighted the valour and courageous deeds of martyr Nand Singh.
 
{70th death anniversary of Nand Singh falls on December 12, 2017.}
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________
Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

ELECTION IN PUNJAB: Here's How Congress, SAD, AAP have framed issues  


 PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA: They are publishing a new book, so please go read an old one

 

TO SUKHBIR SINGH BADAL: Speaking truth to power, and asking some tough questions    

 

DECONSTRUCTING NAVJOT SINGH SIDHUThis is a duel -- pistols drawn, hands on hip, 20 steps across, aim taken


CHAI PAR SUICIDE? - Meet Mankar. Sorry, he’s dead. Modi met him, though - for Chai Pe Charcha

 

JAANE KYA DIKH JAAYE! – Rajasthan, where they write poems hailing Shambu Lal Regar 

 

Angry public embarrasses Akali Dal leader Gulzar Ranikeforces him to lift blockade

 

'If not Vande Mataram, then will you salute Afzal Guru?' asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu 

 

LAHORE NU SALAAM – LAHORE CHODD AAYA - Prof. Randhir Singh

 

THE LOOT THAT RAJASTHAN COMMITTED – An insult bigger than Bollywood’s Padmawati! 

 

Tribune's Harish Khare shatters the editorial silence over Caravan reportage  


THE DANGER OF RENAMING A COLLEGE 

 

ARNAB GOSWAMI WATCHES PADMAWATI, KARNI SENA IS HAPPIEST


DESH CHORR DO – VANDE MATARAM MAN TELLS SIKH LEADER TO LEAVE COUNTRY

 

DYAL SINGH COLLEGE TO VANDE MATARAM MAHAVIDYALAYA - A DESIGN NEFARIOUS?

 

HONESTY CERTIFICATE TO MAJITHIA TRIGGERS CRISIS IN TRIBUNE 


THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

 

WAS IT MEANT FOR TRUMP? OR US?  – Bush, Obama said this on Diwali

CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN – CM Amarinder Singh & Parkash Singh Badal Jee

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

ELECTION COMMISSION - YOU FAILED TO CONVINCE. TRY AGAIN.

THIS IS WHY ELECTION COMMISSION DID NOT ANNOUNCE GUJARAT POLL DATES – Decoding the mystery 

BJP TO EDUCATE FARMERS ABOUT AGRI & RELIGION LINK – Will tell them Modi did so much 

AYE BHAI, BINA DEKHE CHALO –  Walking with the blind in Chandigarh

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

OPEN SALE AT GNDU – Have Rs 25,000? Get your compartment cleared. Rs 50,000 for two subjects

SUCHA SINGH LANGAH : KAMAAL JAARI HAI... Sucha Singh Langah wins, even in his darkest moments

ABEY TU BAHAR NIKAL, CHOWK MEIN AA   The 10-yard-radius protest

PATIALA, VIA PANCHKULA. SOON REACHING YOUR CITY. HAIL DEMOCRACY! Halaat kharaab nahi hone chahiye!

PEHLU KHAN CASE   Will Govt Now Compensate The Magnificent Six? The Nation Needs to Know

MR HOME MINISTER, WILL YOU BE VISITING FAROOQ AHMAD DAR'S HOUSE? Deconstructing Modi's narrative

THE RYAN DEBATE: HOW INDIA MISSED THE GREAT CCTV ANGLE?  Not covered by cctv, so not covered by tv either

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF EXTENSION IN AGE OF RETIREMENT  What’s wrong with retirement age policy?

THE GORAKHPUR DEAD SPEAK TO PUNJAB  From Patiala to Gorakhpur, the tale of the dead

WE WILL KILL 40-50  Haryana BJP, Govt calculated death toll before firing first bullet

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS  Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

LET'S KILL PAASH  Dr Sumail Singh Sidhu on the importance of Paash

A DOKLAM IN EVERY FIELD: Farmers not only produce food. They produce peace.

SURGICAL STRIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT: Indian jawans killed everyone at this forward post of Pakistan

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

 _______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT

 






Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER