New Delhi: India has seen many wars in the past century. Indian soldiers were part of World War 1 & 2 before Independence. India has fought wars with Pakistan 4 times since the partition and once with China and during these wars we lost a lot of good men. The achievements of some soldiers deserve a special mention.
One such solider was Major Som Nath Sharma who was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest Indian gallantry award.
Coincidently, he was the son in law of Savitri Khanolkar, who designed this medal for Indian Army which is equivalent to the Victoria Cross of Britain.
Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 in a Brahmin family at Dadh, Kangra Himachal Pradesh India.
He came from a well-known military family, his father, Major General Amar Nath Sharma, was also a military officer (retired as Director, Medical Services (Army) as were his brothers Lt. General Surindar Nath Sharma (retired as Engineer-in-chief) and General Vishwa Nath Sharma (retired as Chief of Army Staff, 1988–1990), and his sister Major Kamla Tewari (Medical Doctor).
He was commissioned into the 8th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment (later 4th Battalion, Kumaon Regiment) of the Indian Army (then British Indian Army) on 22 February 1942.
He also saw combat during the second World War in the Arakan Operations. Som Nath Sharma’s company was airlifted to Srinagar on 31 October 1947.
His right hand was in a plaster cast as a result of injuries sustained in the hockey field previously but he insisted on being with his company in combat and was given permission to go.
During this operation Major Som Nath Sharma’s D company of 4th battalion (Kumaon regiment) was ordered to go on a fighting patrol to Badgam village in Kashmir valley.
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