It was sheer grit and determination displayed by Havildar Hangpan Dada , who killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir, that won him the Ashok Chakra.
He was honoured posthumously, with the government announcing the highest award to an army man during peace-time operations on Sunday on the eve of the Independence Day.
36-year-old Dada, who laid down his life for the country on May 27 this year, valiantly fought in the treacherous Shamsabari range in North Kashmir eliminating four heavily-armed terrorists who had infiltrated into North Kashmirfrom Pak-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
Apart from him, eight Army men from the Northern Command got Shaurya Chakra, the third highest award for gallantry during peacetime. Five of them got this gallantry award posthumously, a defence ministry spokesperson Colonel S D Goswami said, adding that the list also include award of Sena Medal (Gallantry) and Mention-in-Despatches for Operation Rakshak and Operation Meghdoot.
Dada’s personality had many shades. Out of the many adjectives often attributed with his name, fearlessness and righteousness encompassed almost the entire spectrum of his personality. During testing times, when threat of the militants would loom large, Dada would silently slip into the role of scout and lead the entire patrol safely back to the base. Few can forget the incident when Dada was evacuated in helicopter after bitten not once but twice by a snake while playing with him.
Dada always used to present a cheerful demeanor. His mere presence was a morale booster. He had that unique ability to raise up and perform when the chips were down. As the ad-hoc pastor of his outpost, his Sunday sermons were heavily subscribed. He feared God and was the voice of wisdom among his folks. He showed the way in travelling an extra mile to help his mates. Few can forget how well he took care of his ailing cousin while the unit was deployed in Lucknow and yet discharged all his duties with perfection. He was an epitome of a Humane Soldier, we often talk about.
Dada lived whole life on his terms. Whether it was getting recruited in Special Forces or volunteering out for a tenure in Rashtriya Rifles, he lived with his head held high. In death as in life he stood for the righteous path, leading his comrades on his terms. This supreme sacrifice by Dada, is yet another example of the unflinching love and dedication that people of North East possess for their motherland.
Source :TOI, INDIAN EXPRESSShare on Facebook