This is an inspiring story about Subedar Karam Singh.
A few days after India gained its independence from British colonization, a new official flag of India was revealed to the Indian public. Under that flag stood five of India’s most prominent and brave soldiers. One of those was Subedar Karam Singh. Subedar Karam Singh witnessed the birth of a new India and vowed to protect it at all costs. A few months later he got the opportunity he was seeking. And then showing top-notch leadership skills pulled off one of India’s best defences against foreign invasion.
Subedar Karam Singh joined the army in 1941. He served the British Indian army in Burma during the second world war. His actions in the ‘Battle of Admin Box’ against the Japanese troops earned him a military medal. His battle experience made him a valuable asset for independent India and he was chosen as one of five soldiers to unveil the new flag of India.
Subedar Karam Singh and his Sikh regiment were positioned in a valley named ‘Richmar Gali’. The valley was positioned between two strategically important peaks and losing them would cost India a lot. Karam Singh received intel on an attack being planned on their position. A few days later was the day of the festival ‘Eid’. Karam expected the Muslim enemy raiders would not plan to attack on such an auspicious day. And would rather celebrate the holy day of ‘Eid’.
But he was proven wrong.
The enemy raiders chose the night of eid to attack the Richmar Gali. The enemy brigade outnumbered Karam Singh’s men in ten folds. Still, they were able to fend off the first wave of attack. The main company of the Indian army was located on the top of the ridge. They refrained from shooting in the darkness to avoid shooting their own men. But as the morning came they rained bullets from the top. Karma Singh had no choice but to integrate his men with the main company and make a united defence.
Pakistani army supported the raiders by constantly shelling the roads leading to ‘Richmar Valley’. Hence the backup for Subedar Karam Singh’s men was not to come in near future. For more than one month these men defended the ridge against a neverending wave of enemy soldiers. During one such action, two Indian soldiers were injured and rolled off the ridge. Subedar Karam Singh and a fellow soldier used smoke bombs and cover fires to bring both the soldiers back. He carried the injured soldier uphill amidst constant firing from the enemy.
The enemy was frustrated and after a month of failed attempts decided to give its all. During this attack, the enemy soldiers started climbing the mountain. Some of them were able to reach the ridge as well. Karam Singh jumped out from his cover and fought two such enemy soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. With the bayonet of his rifle, he killed two of them. These were discouraging scenes for the enemy. And soon they understood that they have hit a wall with their mission. And after a month of trying and failing, they finally gave up and retreated.
Karam Singh was awarded Mahavir Chakra, India’s second highest medal for his bravery. In Karam Singh, India saw the benefits of producing highly educated military soldiers, who despite not being a senior officer can quickly adapt to leadership roles. Since its independence, the Indian army kept focusing on upgrading military training institutions.