Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria Wiki, Age, Death, Family, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded

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Age: 26 Years

Marital Status: Unmarried

Date of Death: 05/12/1961

Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, Param Vir Chakra

Statue of Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria at National War Memorial, Delhi

Some lesser known facts about Gurbachan Singh Salaria

  • Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria was an officer in the Indian Army who was posthumously awarded India’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra, during the 1961 United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Captain Salaria led a charge against the enemy, even though he was outnumbered. Captain Salaria was martyred after being seriously injured by two bullets in the neck.
  • His family was originally from the Shakargarhi area of ​​Punjab (now in Pakistan). After partition they came to India and settled here.
  • Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s father, Chaudhary Munshi Ram Salaria served in the Dogra Squadron of Hodson Horse in the British Indian Army.
  • Gurbachan Singh Salaria was not good in studies in his childhood, but he always had a dream to become an officer in the army. During his first attempt to join King George’s Royal Indian Military College, he was rejected for not meeting the physical requirements.
  • He passed the medical examination in second appeal. After which he was admitted to the Bangalore branch of the institute. Later he was transferred to Jalandhar branch.
  • While in school, Gurbachan Singh Salaria once challenged his bully to a boxing match, who was bigger and stronger than him. Salaria defeated his bully in the match and the bully had to publicly apologize to Salaria.
  • After completing his schooling, Gurbachan passed the entrance examination and joined the National Defense Academy in 1953 and three years later he joined the Indian Military Academy.
  • In 1957, Gurbachan Singh Salaria was initially commissioned into the 2/3 Gorkha Rifles, and in March 1960, he was transferred to the 3/1 Gorkha Rifles.
  • When civil war broke out in the Congo, Gurbachan’s unit was under a United Nations charter to maintain peace in the Congo. The Ketangi rebels were planning to capture Elizabeth Airfield, which was very important in conducting peacekeeping operations in the Congo.
  • Captain Salaria and his Gurkhas were tasked with securing the airfield from the rebels. His unit, in particular, in an effort to capture him, was asked to dislodge the rebels who had surrounded the airfield.
  • Captain Salaria’s platoon was facing an enemy who was not only large but also had modern European armored cars.
  • Captain Salaria came up with a plan which aimed to send the enemy forces into a state of panic and confusion. Salaria knew that the enemies themselves were not expecting an attack because of their large numbers. Salaria devised a plan where he planned to get as close to the rebels as possible, without being seen and under cover of dense foliage, attacking and destroying enemy armored cars.
  • Arriving at a suitable distance, Salaria ordered his men to take out enemy vehicles using rockets. As the rockets were fired, there was a stir among the Ketangi rebels.
  • Captain Salaria knew it was time to strike the enemy because if the enemy regained consciousness and regrouped, his counterattack would result in the collapse of Elizabeth Airfield. Gurbachan Singh Salaria’s last words on his radio were,

    I am going ahead with the attack because I am sure I will win.

  • Taking his Khukri, Salaria and his men into enemy positions, shouting “Jai Maa Kali, Aao Gorkhali”. Captain Salaria and his Gurkhas attacked the enemy and forced the enemy to retreat. Hastily retreating, he left behind his dead and wounded on the battlefield. In the book, The Brave, author Rachna Bisht Rawat wrote,

    Salaria is the first to charge. He runs with his gun blazing, bare khukri sticking out of his mouth, glowing in the sunlight. Taking the first ditch, he shot the large gendarmerie on the left. From the corner of his eye, he accelerates to his right, turns around and, grabbing the khukri with his right hand, thrusts it through the air, biting the man’s frightened face.

  • During the entire operation Gurbachan Singh Salaria was seriously injured and was bleeding profusely. Nevertheless, he refused to vacate until the entire battlefield came under the control of the Gurkhas. Later, he died while being evacuated, due to injuries sustained in the fighting.
    Inverted rifle and helmet mark the spot where Captain Salaria fell

    Inverted rifle and helmet mark the spot where Captain Salaria fell while confronting Ketangi rebels in 1961

  • By the time the war ended, the Ketangi rebels had lost 40 of their own 150.
  • Captain Salaria was nicknamed ‘Khan Saheb’ by his first commanding officer because of his hair cut and twisted mustache.
  • Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria is not only the first soldier to receive the Param Vir Chakra while participating in UN missions, but he is also the first NDA alumnus to receive the award.
    Soldiers carrying a portrait of Captain Salaria on their way back from Congo

    Soldiers carrying a portrait of Captain Salaria on their way back from Congo

  • Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria also had a deep faith in palmistry. He once showed the palm of his right hand to his battalion adjutant and said,

    My stars will take me to greater heights; just wait and see.”

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