The 21 Paramveers of India
PARAM VEER CHAKRA
“Most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy"
The Param Veer Chakra (PVC) is India's highest military decoration, awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime. Param Veer Chakra translates as the "Greatest of the Ultimate Brave", and the award is granted for "Most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy".
Only 21 military personnel have received this award to date. Of the 21 awardees, 20 have been from the Indian Army, and one has been from the Indian Air Force. A number of central and state governments and ministries of India provide allowances and rewards to recipients of the PVC (or their family members in case of the recipient's death).
Major Somnath Sharma:
Major Somnath Sharma, PVC (31 January 1923 – 3 November 1947), of the Indian Army, was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India's highest military decoration. Sharma was commissioned into the 8th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment, in 1942. He served in Burma during the Arakan Campaign of World War II, for which he was mentioned in despatches. Fighting in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, Somnath Sharma was martyred on 3 November 1947 while repulsing Pakistani infiltrators near Srinagar Airport . For his gallantry and sacrifice in this battle of Badgam, he was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Naik Jadunath Singh:
Jadunath Singh, PVC (21 November 1916 – 6 February 1948) was an Indian Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration for his actions in an engagement during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
Singh was enlisted in the British Indian Army in 1941 and served in the Second World War, fighting against the Japanese in Burma. He later took part in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 as a member of the Indian Army. For an action on 6 February 1948 at Tain Dhar, to the north of Naushahra, Naik Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Singh commanded a nine-man forward section post. Though heavily outnumbered by advancing Pakistani forces, Singh led his men in defending against three attempts to overtake the post. He was wounded during the second assault. Armed with a Sten gun, he single-handedly charged the third assault with such determination as to cause the attackers to withdraw. In doing so, he was killed. A sports stadium in Shahjahanpur and a crude oil tanker were named after Singh.
Second Lieutenant Rama Raghoba Rane:
Major Rama Raghoba Rane, PVC (26 June 1918 – 11 July 1994) was an officer in the Indian Army. He was the first living recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration.
Born in 1918, Rane served in the British Indian Army during the Second World War. He remained in the military during the post-war period and was commissioned in the Bombay Sappers Regiment of the Indian Army's Corps of Engineers on 15 December 1947. In April 1948, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Rane played a key role in the capture of Rajauri by Indian forces by being instrumental in clearing several roadblocks and minefields. His actions helped clear the way for advancing Indian tanks. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra on 8 April 1948 for his gallantry. He retired as a major from the Indian Army in 1968. During his 28 years' service with the army, he was mentioned in despatches five times. He died in 1994 at the age of 76.
Company Havildar Major Piru Singh:
Company Havildar Major Piru Singh Shekhawat (20 May 1918 – 18 July 1948) was an Indian Army non-commissioned officer, awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India's highest military decoration 3245.
Singh enrolled in the British Indian Army on 20 May 1936, and was assigned to the 1st Punjab Regiment. Between 1940 and 1945, he served on the North-West Frontier and as an instructor, before deploying to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. After independence, he took part in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, serving with the Indian Army's 6th Rajputana Rifles. During the battle, Singh was part of the leading section of a company that was assigned to capture a Pakistani post at Tithwal, in Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after their attack was launched, the company suffered heavy casualties. In time, Singh successfully occupied a Pakistani medium machine-gun post. But, by that time, the entire company lay dead or wounded. Singh was left alone to achieve the objective. He moved out and lobbed grenades at the next enemy post. Before moving to another trench, he received a mortal bullet wound to the head.
Lance Naik Karam Singh:
Subedar and Honorary Captain Karam Singh PVC, MM (15 September 1915 – 20 January 1993), an Indian soldier, was a recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India's highest award for gallantry. Singh joined the army in 1941, and took part in the Burma Campaign of World War II, receiving the Military Medal for his actions during the Battle of the Admin Box in 1944. He also fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, and was awarded the PVC for his role in saving a forward post at Richhmar Gali, south of Tithwal. He was also one of the five soldiers chosen to raise the Indian flag for the first time after independence in 1947. Singh later rose to the rank of subedar, and was conferred the rank of honorary captain before his retirement in September 1969.
Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria:
Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, PVC (29 November 1935 – 5 December 1961) was an Indian Army officer and member of a United Nations peacekeeping force. Singh was an alumnus of King George's Royal Indian Military College and the National Defence Academy. He was the first NDA alumnus and is the only UN Peacekeeper to be awarded a Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India's highest wartime military decoration.
In December 1961, Salaria was among the Indian troops deployed to the Republic of the Congo as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo. On 5 December, Salaria's battalion was tasked to clear a roadblock of two armoured cars manned by 150 gendarmes of the secessionist State of Katanga on the way to the Elizabethville Airport. The plan was that Salaria and his men were to block their retreat. His rocket launcher team attacked and destroyed the Katangese armoured cars. This unforeseen move confused the gendarmerie, and Salaria felt it would be best to attack before they reorganised. Though his troops were badly outnumbered, they charged towards the Katangese and killed 40 men in a kukri assault. During the attack, Salaria was shot twice in the neck and eventually succumbed to his injuries. The remaining gendarmes fled in utter confusion leaving their dead and wounded behind. This helped the main battalion to easily overrun the Katangese and clear the roadblock. For his duty and courage, and disregard for his own safety during the battle, Salaria was awarded the PVC.
Major Dhan Singh Thapa:
Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa, PVC (10 April 1928 – 5 September 2005) was an Indian Army officer, and recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration. Thapa was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, 8 Gorkha Rifles in 1949.
The Sino-Indian War began in October 1962; on 21 October, the Chinese advanced to north of Pangong Lake with the objective of capturing Sirijap and Yula. Srijap 1 was a post established on the northern bank of Pangong Lake by the 1st Battalion of 8 Gorkha Rifles and commanded by Major Dhan Singh Thapa. Soon the post was surrounded by better armed Chinese forces. Major Thapa and his men held the post and repelled three attacks before eventually being overrun. The survivors, including Thapa, were taken as prisoners of war. For his gallant actions and his efforts to motivate his men under fire he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Thapa was released from captivity after the war ended. Following retirement from the Army, he worked for a brief period with Sahara Airlines. He died on 5 September 2005.
Subedar Joginder Singh:
Subedar Joginder Singh Sahnan, PVC (28 September 1921 – 23 October 1962), was an Indian Army soldier who posthumously received India's highest military gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra. Singh joined the British Indian Army in 1936, and served in the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment. During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, he was commanding a platoon at the Bum La Pass in the North-East Frontier Agency. Though heavily outnumbered, he led his troops against a Chinese assault and defended his post until he was wounded and captured. Singh died from his injuries while in Chinese custody. He single-handedly killed more than 50 Chinese soldiers and create a history in Indian Army.
Major Shaitan Singh:
Major Shaitan Singh Bhati, PVC (1 December 1924 – 18 November 1962) was an Indian Army officer and recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration. Singh was born in Rajasthan. On completing his graduation, Singh joined the Jodhpur State Forces. He was transferred to the Kumaon Regiment after the princely state of Jodhpur was merged into India. He took part in operations in the Naga Hills and also in the 1961 Indian annexation of Goa.
During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, 13th Battalion of Kumaon Regiment was stationed in the Chushul sector. C Company, under the command of Singh, was holding a position at Rezang La. In the morning hours of 18 November 1962, the Chinese attacked. After several unsuccessful attacks from the front, the Chinese attacked from the rear. The Indians fought until their last rounds, before eventually being overpowered by the Chinese. During the battle, Singh continuously moved from post to post reorganizing the defences and boosting the morale of his men. As he moved between the posts without any cover, he was seriously wounded, and later succumbed to his injuries. For his actions on 18 November 1962, Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid:
Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, PVC (1 July 1933 – 10 September 1965), was an Indian Army soldier who posthumously received India's highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra, for his actions during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
Hamid joined the army in December 1954, and was posted to the 4th Battalion of the Grenadiers regiment. During the Sino-Indian War, his battalion participated in the battle of Namka Chu against the People's Liberation Army. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the 4 Grenadiers battalion was entrusted with a vital position before the village of Chima on the Khem Karan–Bhikhiwind line. At the Battle of Asal Uttar on 9–10 September 1965, Hamid destroyed six Pakistani tanks and was killed during an engagement with a seventh.
Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Tarapore:
Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore, PVC (19 August 1923 – 16 September 1965), was an officer in the Indian Army and a recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest award for bravery. After completing his schooling in Pune, Tarapore joined the Hyderabad Army, and was commissioned in January 1942. Initially he joined the infantry, but was later transferred to an armoured regiment, the 1st Hyderabad Imperial Service Lancers. During World War II Tarapore saw action in the Middle East.
After Hyderabad State was annexed by India in 1948, Tarapore was selected to join the Indian Army. He was commissioned again in April 1951, and was posted to the Poona Horse regiment, 17th Battalion. Later he attended a training course in the United Kingdom on the Centurion tank. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, 17 Horse saw action in the Sialkot sector. Tarapore led the regiment in several tank battles between 11 and 16 September, and was killed in one such battle at Butur-Dograndi on 16 September. Under his leadership the regiment destroyed sixty Pakistani tanks, while the Indians suffered the loss of nine.
Lance Naik Albert Ekka:
Lance Naik Albert Ekka, PVC (27 December 1942 – 3 December 1971) was a soldier in the Indian Army. He was killed in action in the Battle of Hilli, during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest award for valour in the face of the enemy.
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon:
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC (17 July 1943 – 14 December 1971) was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration during war time, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against a PAF air raid during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He is the only member of the Indian Air Force to be honoured with the PVC.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal:
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, PVC (14 October 1950 – 16 December 1971) born in Pune, Maharashtra, was an officer of the Indian Army and a posthumous recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration for valour in face of the enemy. He was martyred in action in the Battle of Basantar in the Battlefield of Shakargarh during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 where his actions earned him his honour.
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya:
Colonel Hoshiar Singh Dahiya, PVC (5 May 1937 – 6 December 1998) was an officer of the Indian Army who was awarded India's highest military honour, the Param Vir Chakra during Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.
Naib Subedar Bana Singh:
Bana Singh PVC (born 6 January 1949) is a retired Indian soldier and a recipient of the nation's highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra.As a Naib Subedar in the Indian Army, he led the team that wrested control of the highest peak on the Siachen Glacier in Kashmir from Pakistani forces as part of Operation Rajiv. Following his success, India renamed the peak (previously designated as Quaid Post by the Pakistanis) to Bana Post in his honour
Major Ramaswamy Parameshwaran:
Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran, PVC (13 September 1946, Mumbai – 25 November 1987, Sri Lanka) was an Officer of the Indian Army who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, for his bravery.
Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey:
Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975 – 3 July 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army who was posthumously awarded India's highest military honour, the Param Vir Chakra, for his audacious courage and leadership during the Kargil War in 1999. An officer of the 1st battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles (1/11 GR), he gave his supreme sacrifice during the attack on Jubar Top of the Khalubar Hills in Batalik Sector of Kargil.
Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav:
Subedar Major and Honorary Lieutenant Yogendra Singh Yadav PVC is an officer in the Indian Army, who was awarded the highest Indian military honour decoration, the Param Vir Chakra, for his action during the Kargil War. Aged 19 when he received the decoration, he is the youngest person to be awarded the medal.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar:
Subedar Sanjay Kumar, PVC (born 3 March 1976) is a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army, and recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar volunteered to be the leading scout of the attacking column tasked to capture area Flat Top of Point 4875 in the Mushkoh Valley on 4 July 1999. During the attack when enemy automatic fire from one of the sangars posed stiff opposition and stalled the column, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar realizing the gravity of the situation and with utter disregard to his personal safety, charged at the enemy. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he killed three of the intruders and was himself seriously injured. Despite his injuries, he charged onto the second sangar. Taken totally by surprise, the enemy left behind a Universal Machine Gun and started running.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar picked up the UMG and killed the fleeing enemy. Although bleeding profusely, he refused to be evacuated. The brave action on his part motivated his comrades and they took no notice of the treacherous terrain and charged onto the enemy and wrested the area Flat Top from the hands of the enemy.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar displayed most conspicuous gallantry, cool courage and devotion to duty of an exceptionally high order in the face of the enemy.
Captain Vikram Batra:
Captain Vikram Batra, PVC (9 September 1974 – 7 July 1999) was an officer of the Indian Army, awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War.
During ‘Operation Vijay’, on 20 June 1999, Captain Vikram Batra, Commander Delta Company was tasked to attack Point 5140. Captain Batra with his company skirted around the feature from the East and maintaining surprise reached within assaulting distance of the enemy. Captain Batra reorganised his column and motivated his men to physically assault the enemy positions. Leading from the front, he in a daredevil assault, pounced on the enemy and killed four of them in a hand-to hand fight. On 7 July 1999, in another operation in the area Pt 4875, his company was tasked to clear a narrow feature with sharp cuttings on either side and heavily fortified enemy defences that covered the only approach to it. For speedy operation, Captain Batra assaulted the enemy position along a narrow ridge and engaged the enemy in a fierce hand –to-hand fight and killed five enemy soldiers at point blank range. Despite sustaining grave injuries, he crawled towards the enemy and hurled grenades clearing the position with utter disregard to his personal safety, leading from the front, he rallied his men and pressed on the attack and achieved a near impossible military task in the face of heavy enemy fire. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries. Inspired by his daredevil act, his troops fell upon the enemy with vengeance, annihilated them and captured Point 4875.
Captain Vikram Batra, thus, displayed the most conspicuous personal bravery and leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
Never forget our Param Veer Chakra Awardees because of people like them, that we are able to sleep soundly at night. Huge Respect and salute to their valour.
“Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolor, or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure.”