Param Vir Chakra (PVC ) Major Som Nath Sharma

Major Som Nath Sharma son of Major General Amar Nath Sharma was born on 31st January 1923. He was the very first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra ; the highest gallantry award that was awarded to him posthumously for his eminent bravery acts in the Kashmir Operation November 1947. He was just at the age of 24 year when he died on November 3rd 1947 while battling from the Pakistani intruders and raiders during the Indo-Pak war in Kashmir during 1947-48. He was commissioned under the 4th Kumaon Regiment. His spectacular leadership qualities helped him in setting the highest order of bravery for other soldiers in the Indian Army. He kept his spirit high and did not let other crew members to let down their morale. It was only his never-say-die spirit that inspired his men to fight constantly for hours and made his bravery memorable for all.

Life Glances

Major Som Nath Sharma was born in a Brahmin family at Dadh, Kangra Himachal Pradesh India. He did his schooling from Sherwood College, Nanital and later on got admission in the Prince of Wales Royal Military College in Dehra Dun. Finally he got his aspirations fulfilled in the Royal Military Academy. He actually belonged to a family of great country men; his father was a military officer who retired as the Director of Medical Services in the Indian Army, then his eldest brother; Lt. General Surinder Nath Sharma was also the Chief of Army Staff and got retired as the Engineer-in-chief. Surinder Nath Sharma was coincidentally the son-in-law of Savitri Khanolkar who designed the Param Vir Chakra. His sister Major Kamla Tewari was also a Medical Doctor in the Army. Major Som Nath Sharma was initially accredited to the 8th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment and later on in the 4th Battalion, Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army and then also in the British Indian Army on 22nd February 1942. This brave man also witnessed and fought the combat during the Second World War in the Arakan Operations.

The Last Battle of Badgam

It could only be Major Som Nath Sharma who so courageously decided to combat the enemy even with his injured right hand. His right hand was incidentally injured and got plastered when he was willingly insisting to join his company (D Company of 4 Kumaon) that was flying to Srinagar on 31st October 1947 on a fighting patrol to Badgam Village in the Kashmir Valley. He eventually got the permission. It was informed that a tribal crew of around 700 intruders had approached from the direction of Gulmarg and had threatened the Badagam village. Som Nath Sharma’s company was soon trapped by the enemy, there were immense causalities due to heavy artilleries and bombardments. But Som Nath did not panic and he rather motivated his men to fight till the last moment he showed great courage in front of his company. Huge causalities impacted the potential and firing power of the company and that was the moment when Som Nath took a wise decision to fill up the magazines on his own and issue them to his men. He was doing this whole with his injured right hand, what a brave man he was! Though he had realized it much earlier that how much tough it was for them to continue to combat with having so many causalities but he was a man with high spirit and contained tremendous love for his motherland.

A howitzer shell got exploded near by him that made him and his other men badly injured. The combat ended with heavy causalities of 200 in numbers but still the Indian troops succeeded in preventing the access to Srinagar airfield by the intruders. Meanwhile, the relief company of 1st Battalion Kumaon Regiment also reached Badgam. Som Nath Sharma was dead but his leadership and bravery became immortal. The Brigade HQ received Som Nath’s last message before he was dead, in which he was narrating the ferocious condition on the combat they were facing; “The enemies are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to our last man and our last round.” Salute to his heroic and daring spirit that made him a Param Veer!

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