Honorary Captain Bana Singh
At 21,153 feet, India had its 16th PARAM VIR CHAKRA AWARDEE – Country’s highest wartime gallantry award. Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Bana Singh is one of the three living Param Vir Chakra awardees.
He was born on 6 January 1949 in Ranbir Singh Pora tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir in a Sikh family.
Bana Singh joined the 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) when he was 19 years old.
In the year 1987, Pakistani Special Service Group (SSG) launched a successful raid to occupy a key peak in Indian territory and named it Quaid Post after Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
OPERATION RAJIV was launched on 25 June 1987 to avenge the loss of JAK LI soldiers in this peak and to capture Quaid post.
The enemies had the advantage of sitting at a height and the SSG commandos could watch Indian soldiers from an overhang.
Initially, Bana Singh was not selected in the team of 60 to complete this task but Col Rai handpicked him for the task.
The weather was beyond imagination, the temperature dropped to near -50 degrees Celsius, winds were blowing at 50 km/hr making things much tougher for the men.
Due to the treacherous crevasses, chest trouble and frostbite, only Bana Singh and two others managed to reach Quaid post. Three more men joined the attacking team in due time.
The soldiers sat huddled together in an igloo-like shelter that they had cut in the snow so that they can attack the next day. the shelter was just 15 m away from the enemy post. They spent that night in the snow.
Nb Sub Bana Singh led his men along the extremely dangerous route, climbing the heights in near darkness. He inspired the soldiers with his indomitable courage and leadership.
On 26 June. Despite the bad weather and the screaming winds the six brave men reached the post and stormed it.
Grenades were flung into the enemy bunker and the brave soldiers charged at their enemies. Bana Singh reached for a grenade and flung it inside a bunker, latching the door from outside, taking them completely into surprise.
Enemy soldiers ran down the slope into the Pakistani side, some were killed, others injured. Bana Singh directed the fire at enemy soldiers who were trying to climb back.
After they realized their post were captured, they even started shelling it. Thus the mission was accomplished.
On 27 June 1987, Brigade Commander Brigadier C. S. Nugyal climbed up to the post. In a rare emotional moment, he hugged fiercely the dirty and war-ravaged Bana Singh and his men. He declared that the post would thereafter be called Bana Top/ Bana Post.
Then Naib Subedar Bana Singh was awarded the PVC for conspicuous bravery and leadership under the most adverse conditions.
On 16 March 2008, Two decades after Bana Singh performed an act of unmatched heroism on the freezing heights of Siachen, his 18-year-old son joined 8 JAK LI, the same regiment that Bana started his career.
The JAK LI Regimental centre parade ground is named as Bana Singh Parade Ground.
Bana Singh is a great inspiration for the youngsters of this great nation.
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