When you do your research on war heroes, it may or may not be advisable to have it after Muay Thai class. Reeling from MT last night, I found myself searching for heroes whose only end was death itself. Your shins hurt from all the kicking, thighs are sore from the splits, the core exercises have burnt a hole through your torso and circuit training had made sure that no other portion of your body was exempt from some form of pain–everything hurts, but in the battlefield, that’s ordinary.
When Datu Paubari fought against those three gods, he wasn’t thinking about his aching muscles. Which is why I’ve come to choose Piru Singh, generally, the man is:
- Unheard of…
- Also, quite dead…
- And… remembered for that epic death.
We use the word ‘epic’ very loosely these days, but Piru Singh had lived an epic life (and death) long before it degenerated into an internet meme.
Born on May 20, 1918 in Rajasthan, India, he enrolled in the 6 Rajputana Rifles on May 20, 1936. His actions during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947 earned him the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military award in India.
He was the Company Havilday Major and during that battle, his company was under heavy fire for half an hour, killing 51 soldiers. CHM Singh was in the company’s frontline. At that time, half the soldiers in the frontline had been killed by gunfire. He had to employ some desperate maneuvers or they were as good as dead.
He ran towards the medium machine gun post.
As he did so, shrapnel from enemy grenades ripped through his clothes and wounded him severely. Things didn’t move in slow motion, there was no dramatic background music. He advanced towards the enemy, shouting, “Raja Ramchandra Ki Jai” (Victory to Raja Ramchandra). In his onslaught he bayoneted the MMG operator with his sten gun and took over the post. By this time the rest of his company were either dead or wounded.
He was left to deal with the rest of the enemy troops. Soaked in his own blood, he advanced to attack the second MMG post. As he ran forward, an enemy grenade had destroyed half of his face. The blood dripping from the gaping hole that had been part of his face, almost blinded his one good eye. He’d spent his sten gun ammunition. Then, he began to use his grenades and hurled them at the next enemy post. CHM Singh then infiltrated another trench, killing two soldiers with a bayonet. As he, jumped out of the second trench to continue his rampage on the third, a bullet hit him in the head and he dropped to the edge of the trench.
There was an explosion inside the third outpost, which meant the man had successfully planted the grenade before he’d been killed by the bullet.
CHM Singh, we, at the MT gym take off our hats (gloves and hand-wraps, too) to you. No amount of hardship in training could come close to your valiant acts. No achievement in “I wanna be the guy” could come close to what you’d accomplished.
“He paid with his life for his singularity brave act, but he left for the rest of his comrades a unique example of single-handed bravery and determined cold courage. The country is grateful,” -Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru