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Shaheed Major Shaitan Singh

Shaheed Major Shaitan Singh
  • Major Shaitan Singh (1 December 1924 – 18 November 1962) was an Indian Army officer and recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration. Singh was born in Rajasthan.
  • During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, 13th Battalion of Kumaon Regiment was stationed in the Chushul sector. C Company, under the command of Singh, was holding a position at Rezang La.
  • In the morning hours of 18 November 1962, the Chinese attacked. After several unsuccessful attacks from the front, the Chinese attacked from the rear. The Indians fought until their last rounds, before eventually being overpowered by the Chinese. For his actions on 18 November 1962, Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra
  • Shaitan Singh was born on 1 December 1924 in Banasar village, Jodhpur district, Rajasthan. His father was Lieutenant Colonel Hem Singh. Lt. Col. Singh served in France with the Indian Army during World War I.
  • Singh studied in the Rajput High School in Jodhpur up to his matriculation. At school, he was known for his skills as a football player. After completing his schooling in 1943, Singh went to Jaswant College and completed his graduation in 1947. On 1 August 1949, he joined the Jodhpur State Forces as an officer
  • After the princely state of Jodhpur was merged into India, Singh was transferred to the Kumaon Regiment. He took part in operations in Naga Hills and also in 1961 Indian annexation of Goa. On 11 June 1962, he was promoted to the rank of major.
  • There had long been disagreement between India and China over borders in the Himalaya region. To counter the increasing Chinese intrusions into disputed territory, then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru asked for strategies for dealing with them.
  • During the war, the 13th Battalion of Kumaon Regiment was positioned in Chusul sector. At a height of 5,000 meters (16,000 ft) above sea level, the C Company under the command of Singh was holding a position at Rezang La, and the area was defended by five platoon posts.
  • In the morning hours of 18 November 1962, the Chinese attacked. At 5:00 am, as platoons got a better sight of the Chinese, they started firing with light machine guns, rifles, mortar, and grenades, killing many Chinese soldiers.
  • At 5:40 am, the Indians were fired upon by artillery and mortar. Again, around three hundred and fifty Chinese soldiers started to advance through nullahs.
  • The Indians countered with 3-inch (76 mm) mortar shells and killed many Chinese soldiers. As the last twenty survivors charged towards the post, the Indians jumped out of their trenches and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the Chinese soldiers.
  • However, the Platoon was soon encircled with the arrival of Chinese reinforcements. Eventually, No. 7 & 8 platoons were left with no survivors.
  • During the battle, Singh continuously moved from post to post reorganizing the defenses and boosting the morale of his men. As he moved between the posts without any cover, he was seriously wounded.
  • In the battle, the Indian side suffered 114 casualties out of 123. After the war, Singh’s body was found at the same boulder. It was brought to Jodhpur and cremated with military honors.
  • For his actions at the Battle of Rezang La, on 18 November 1962, Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
  • In the 1980s, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a Government of India enterprise under the aegis of the Ministry of Shipping, named fifteen of its crude oil tankers in honor of the PVC recipients. The tanker MT Major Shaitan Singh, PVC was delivered to SCI in 1985 and served for 25 years before being phased out.