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Politics & War

Politics & War

Dhan Singh Thapa

Dhan Singh Thapa

 

PVC
  • The Param Veer Chakra (PVC) is India’s highest military decoration, awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime.

  • Only 21 soldiers have received this award. INDO – CHINA WAR – 1962 WAR
  • A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a Forward Policy in which it placed outposts along the border.
  • The Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang La in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre.
  • The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal to its claimed ‘line of actual control’.
EARLY LIFE
  • Dhan Singh Thapa was born to P. S. Thapa on 10 April 1928, in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, 8 Gorkha Rifles on 28 August 1949.
  • During the Indo-China war of 1962, an outpost was established by Indian Army at Srijap which was at the Northern bank of the Pangong Lake. This post was strategically important to save the Chushul Airfield.
 PARAMVIR
  • On 21 October, they advanced to north of Pangong Lake, with the objective of capturing Sirijap and Yula.
  • The post Srijap 1 was established on the northern bank of Pangong lake by the 1st Battalion, 8 Gorkha Rifles. It was part of the series of posts created to the implement the “Forward Policy”. The post was strategically important for the defence of Chusul airfield.
PARAMVIR
  • The D company under the leadership of Major Dhan Singh Thapa and with 28 men was tasked to safeguard an area spread over 48 square kilometers.
  • The Chinese launched their first attack with artillery and mortar fire at 4:30 am on 20 October.
  • By the time shelling ended, around 600 Chinese troops had closed to within 150 yards (140 m) of the rear of the post.
 PARAMVIR
  • The Chinese artillery caused many casualties on the Indian side. It also destroyed the communications of D Company with the rest of the battalion.
  • Major Thapa, with his second-in-command, Subedar Min Bahadur Gurung, continuously moved from place to place adjusting the defences and boosting the soldiers’ morale.
  • The post only had seven men left, with Major Thapa still holding the command. By that time, after a third Chinese attack, by tanks, the post was left with only three men.
PARAMVIR
  • Though ammunition was exhausted, Thapa jumped into the trenches and killed many intruders in hand-to-hand combat before he was overpowered and taken prisoner.
  • Major Thapa was treated poorly as a prisoner of war. Against military convention he was forced to undergo a series of punishment. He was released after the war ended in November 1962. PARAMVIR • For his gallantry actions on 20 October 1962, Major Thapa was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
  • Thapa retired as a lieutenant colonel. Postretirement, he settled down in Lucknow. On 5
  • September 2005, Thapa died. He was survived by his wife, Shukla Thapa, and three children.