Major Somnath Sharma A Real Life Hero
Major Somnath Sharma, born on 31 January 1923 was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (India’s highest gallantry award). One Does Not Simply receives India’s highest military decoration, unless they deserve it. There’s no one who’s more deserving than Major Somnath Sharma, he is the bravest of the brave. So far only 21 people have been awarded this medal. Major Somnath Sharma was awarded this medal posthumously for his bravery and valour during the Pakistani invasion of Jammu & Kashmir, in November 1947. Today, is his 69th death anniversary.
Major Somnath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 at Dadh in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. His family had a long tradition of military service. Major General Amar Nath Sharma, who was also the first director general of India’s Armed Medical Services is his father. His uncle, Captain K D Vasudeva sacrificed his life defending a bridge in the Malayan Campaign in World War II. His two brothers too holds a respectable place in the military, they are, Lt Gen Surindar Nath Sharma and General Vishwa Nath Sharma. His sister Major Kamla Tewari was a Medical Doctor.
When the Pakistani invasion of Jammu and Kashmir began on October 22, 1947, Somnath Sharma was a Major in the Delta Company of 4th Kumaon regiment. His company was assigned to hold the valley of Kashmir from invaders, and to defend the newly independent state of India. He was injured at that time, he suffered a fracture while playing hockey due to which he had to place plaster cast in his hand. So, Somnath Sharma was asked to take rest and not to go with his company. But he insisted on being with his company in the battlefield and got permission.
On 3 November 1947, his company was a part of the patrol to Badgam village in the Kashmir Valley, where his company was fired upon from the houses in Badgam. But Somnath did not order his company to counter-fire, fearing that innocent people might get shot. All of a sudden, a tribal “lashkar” of 700 strong appeared and opened fire on Major Sharma’s company. Major Sharma’s company was outnumbered, but he didn’t give up. He didn’t give up even when his company was surrounded by enemies on three sides. Sharma immediately sent a request to Brigadier ‘Bogey’ Sen for reinforcements. And in his last message to the headquarters, he said. ‘The enemy are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round.’
And he stood as per his message, he led his men from the front and urged them to fight the enemy with great courage. He himself started filling machine gun magazines and handed them out to his men in the battlefield. He fought very bravely, while he was exposing himself to heavy enemy fire. His company sustained heavy casualties from the ensuing mortar bombardment. It was then, when a mortar shell exploded on the ammunition near him, killing him instantly.
His men were inspired by looking at him fight till his last breath to stem the tide of the enemy advance. Which made his men to keep on fighting for six long hours even after Major Sharma had been killed. This 6 hours sure means a lot. Because this 6 hours allowed Indian reinforcements to get into position at Hum Hom and hold the enemy.
His citation read: “His leadership, gallantry and tenacious defence were such that his men were inspired to fight the enemy outnumbering them. Major Sharma set an example of courage and qualities seldom equaled in the history of the Indian Army.”
On his 69th death anniversary, let’s salute him for his braveness and love toward’s his nation.