Jalandhar, 3 November (STN): Major Somnath Sharma’s name is prominent among the heroes who have the credit for winning the part of Kashmir that is in Indian territory today. Somnath Sharma was born on January 31, 1922 in the house of Major General Amarnath Sharma in village Dadh (District Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh). The famous pilgrimage site Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham is at some distance from his village. Being born in a military family, Somnath Sharma grew up hearing stories of bravery and sacrifice. The patriotism was present in every drop of his blood.
His primary education was in Nainital. After this he took military training from Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun. On 22 February 1942, he was appointed as Second Lieutenant in the fourth battalion of the Kumaon Regiment. In the same year, he was made Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General and sent to the Burma front. There he led his troop with great courage and skill.
As soon as India became independent on August 15, 1947, the tragic partition of the country also took place. King Hari Singh of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was in a dilemma. They wanted to keep their state independent. Two months passed in this dilemma. Taking advantage of this, Pakistani soldiers in the guise of tribals set out to capture Kashmir.
Sheikh Abdullah, active there, wanted to keep Kashmir under his rule. The Indian government could not do anything without the legal merger of the princely state into India. When King Hari Singh saw Jammu and Kashmir becoming Pakistan’s territory, he signed the Instrument of Accession with India.
With this, the army became active on the orders of the Government of India. Major Somnath Sharma’s company was given the responsibility of protecting Budgam airport near Srinagar. He stood there with his team of only 100 soldiers. On the other side, more than seven hundred Pakistani soldiers were gathered. They also had more weapons; But Major Somnath Sharma, rich in courage, did not lose courage. His confidence was unwavering. He sent a message to his brigade headquarters that as long as I have a single drop of blood in my body and a single soldier left with me, I will keep fighting.
There was continuous shelling from both sides. Despite having fewer soldiers and ammunition, the Major’s force was overwhelming the attackers. On November 3, 1947, while facing the enemies, a hand grenade fell near Major Somnath. His whole body was shattered. Blood started flowing from his body. Even after this the Major gave a message to his soldiers – Don’t worry about me at this time. Protect the airport. Enemies should not move forward. Major Somnath Sharma sacrificed his life while giving this message.
His sacrifice made the soldiers more fierce and aggressive. They then attacked and killed the enemies swiftly. If that airport had been lost, the entire Kashmir would have been under the control of Pakistan today. Major Somnath Sharma was posthumously awarded ‘Paramvir Chakra’. He is the first winner of this decoration for bravery and bravery in independent India. Retired Army Chief General Vishwanath Sharma is his younger brother.