In the Line of Duty: Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s Story

OV Digital Desk
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Gurbachan Singh Salaria

Gurbachan Singh Salaria (29 November 1935 – 5 December 1961) was a brave Indian Army officer and a recipient of the Param Vir Chakra.

Life and Career

Gurbachan Singh Salaria was born on November 29, 1935, in a small village called Jangla in Himachal Pradesh, India. He belonged to a modest family and was raised with strong values of patriotism and service to the nation. He completed his early education in Himachal Pradesh before joining the National Defence Academy (NDA) to pursue his dream of serving in the armed forces.

He was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion of the 1 Gorkha Rifles on June 9, 1957, Salaria began his military career with dedication and commitment. He later joined the 9th Battalion of the Brigade of the Guards, an elite regiment of the Indian Army. His exemplary service and leadership qualities were evident from the start, and he quickly rose through the ranks.

Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s actions leading to the award of the Param Vir Chakra took place during the Congo Crisis in 1961. He was a part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC), where India had deployed troops to restore peace. On December 5, 1961, near Elizabethville (now Lubumbashi), Salaria’s platoon was assigned the task of capturing a strategic objective.

During the assault, his platoon came under heavy fire from three sides. Despite being outnumbered and facing intense opposition, Salaria displayed extraordinary leadership and courage. He led his men with determination, and in the face of grave danger, he personally assaulted the enemy position, destroying it and inflicting heavy casualties on the opposing forces.

He passed away on 5 December 1961, in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Award and Legacy

Gurbachan Singh Salaria was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration for exceptional acts of valor in the face of the enemy. The Param Vir Chakra was conferred upon him for his courageous actions during the Congo Crisis in 1961, where he displayed extraordinary leadership and gallantry in the line of duty.

Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s legacy is one of courage, sacrifice, and inspiration. His exemplary leadership and gallantry have left an indelible mark on the Indian armed forces and continue to inspire generations of military personnel.

His legacy is commemorated annually on Army Day in India, a day dedicated to honoring the bravery and sacrifices of the armed forces. The nation remembers him with respect and gratitude, acknowledging the selfless commitment he exhibited in the face of adversity.

In addition to formal commemorations, Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s legacy lives on through the stories of his bravery, which are shared within the military fraternity and the wider Indian society. His life serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the armed forces to protect the nation’s sovereignty and uphold its values.

Various institutions, schools, and organizations may also bear his name or honor his memory, contributing to the enduring legacy of a true hero. The Param Vir Chakra, proudly displayed in his honor, stands as a symbol of the highest ideals of courage and sacrifice that he embodied.

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