50 YEARS OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA GALLANTRY AWARD WINNERS
The Indian Armed Forces, had an entirely different role to play, after India attained Independence. They now had the sacred purpose of defending the Motherland from aggression. Immediately after independence, they were called upon to safeguard India's frontiers against the Pakistani invaders in Jammu and Kashmir. The jawans took up the challenge and performed remarkable deeds of valour, courage, endurance and self-sacrifice in repelling and defeating the invaders. In recognition of the supreme sacrifices made by the armed forces personnel, the Government of India instituted new Gallantry Awards for them, the highest being Param Vir Chakra.
The Golden Jubilee of the Indian Republic provides the appropriate occasion to pay a grateful nation's proud homage to the courageous soldiers who have won these awards through their outstanding deeds. On this occasion, the Department of Posts issues a set of 5 stamps to pay tribute to Gallantry Award winners, of the Indian Armed Forces.
Subedar and Honorary Captain Karam Singh PVC
was conferred the 'Param Vir Chakra' for his exemplary acts of courage and endurance during the 1948 operations of the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir. Karam Singh (then Lance Naik) was commanding a section in Richhmar Gali which the enemy was trying to recapture through heavy artillery shelling. No bunker was left unscathed in the attack and the Lance Naik moved from bunker to bunker, giving succour to the wounded and urging the men to fight. The enemy achieved a major break through when they obtained a foothold in the platoon locality. The wounded Lance Naik immediately launched a counter attack with a few men and after a grim hand to hand fight evicted the enemy, thus neutralising the crucial advantage gained by them earlier and frustrating their efforts to recapture the strategic Tithwal. His fiercely proud spirit was largely responsible for the gallant stand at Tithwal.
Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid PVC
was posted in the 4th Battalion of the Grenadiers which was sent to the Khem Karan Sector when hostilities broke out between India and Pakistan in 1965, CQMH Hamid performed deeds of super human daring during the war, facing a Pakistani attack comprising of a Regiment of Patton tanks. Commanding a recoilless gun detachment with his gun mounted on a jeep, he knoked out the leading enemy tank and then swiftly changing his position, he sent another enemy tank up in flames. But the enemy shelling and tank fire were so intense that he had to lay down his life in an uneven fight. Havildar Hamid's brave action inspired his comrades who put up a gallant fight and beat back the heavy .tank assault by the enemy. He was posthumously awarded the 'Param Vir Chakra' in 1966.
Lance Naik Albert Ekka PVC
was in the 14th Batallion of the Brigade of the guards during their attack on the enemy defence at Gangasagar on the Eastern Front during the war for the liberation of Bangladesh. The assaulting troops were subjected to intense shelling and heavy small arms fire from the highly fortified enemy position, but they charged on to the objective and were locked in bitter hand to hand combat. Lance Naik Ekka achieved glory in this combat by charging enemy bunkers with total disregard for his personal safety and silencing some of the most effective enemy machine guns. He succeeded in minimising casualties to his company and ensuring that the objective was captured. However, he succumbed to his injuries later. For displaying the most conspicuous valour and determination in the best traditions of the armed forces, he was awarded the 'Param Vir Chakra' posthumously.
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon PVC
is remembered for the determination and valour with which he, along with his colleagues, fought off successive waves of Pakistani air attacks in December 1971. On the 14th of December, when the enemy surprised our airfield defences and aggressively attacked, the flying officer successfully attempted a daring take -off on a runway under attack. Fully knowing the suicidal odds, he engaged the enemy in combat at tree-top level, six to one. Though he succeeded in shooting down two enemy air crafts, the sheer weight of numbers was beyond any mortal and his air craft finally crashed, killing him. He was posthumously awarded the 'Param Vir Chakra' in 1972.
Capt. (IN) Mahendra Nath Mulla MVC
was in command of the anti submarine frigate INS Khukri which was on a hunter killer mission in the Arabian Sea in the 1971 war. In the night of 8/9 December about 40 miles off Diu, the ship was attacked by a salvo of three torpedoes fired by an enemy submarine and was fatally struck. The Captain of the ship was quick to realise the extent of damage and gave orders to abandon ship. With total disregard for his personal safety, he supervised the safe escape of his officers and men, gifting even his personal safety gear to another sailor. The ship sank in a matter of five minutes, the tragedy accounting for the supreme sacrifice of Captain Mulla along with his officers and 176 sailors. For this .supreme sacrifice he was awarded posthumously, the award of the 'Maha Vir Chakra'.
Date of Issue: 28.1.2000