Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya (he later retired as a colonel) was an officer in the Indian Army who participated in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War on the Western Sector in Shakargarh, Pakistan. Major Hoshiar Singh was awarded the prestigious Param Vir Chakra for displaying exemplary bravery in the face of the enemy and thus became one of the few surviving soldiers to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya was born on Wednesday, 5 May 1937.age 61 years; At the time of his death in 1998) Sisana Village, Sonipat District, Punjab (now in Haryana). After completing his schooling, Hoshiar Singh joined Jat College. After completing his first year of college, he decided to join the army. After completing his training, he was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadiers Regiment in June 1963.
family and caste
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya belonged to a Hindu Jat family from Haryana.
His father’s name was Chaudhary Hira Singh.
His mother’s name was Mathuri Devi.
wife and children
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya married Dhano Devi at a very young age. He was in seventh grade when he got married.
He has 3 sons in his family. Out of which 2 joined the army as officers and were commissioned into the Grenadier Regiment. One of the two sons joined his father’s unit, the third Grenadiers.
He lived at 42, Krishna Colony, Khati Pura Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan-302012, India
set foot in the army
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya initially joined the Jat Regiment’s 2nd Battalion as a constable before qualifying for the officer’s examination. After serving for some time as a constable, he was selected for the Army Cadet College (ACC) by displaying qualities like leadership and other officers. The ACC branch of the Indian Military Academy is responsible for the training and transformation of sepoys into military officers. After successfully completing his training in June of 1963, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Regiment.
Participation in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Lieutenant Dahiya was engaged in operations in the western sector of Rajasthan, for which his name was mentioned in several dispatches. In 1969, Lieutenant Dahiya was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Moved to the Western Front in 1971
Even though the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was being fought mainly in the eastern sector in East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh), Pakistan wondered if they opened another front along India’s western border. , then they would be able to divert India’s attention to the Western Front and the Pakistan Armed Forces would have an easy victory over the Indians in the East. But India had already taken into account the threat of a 2 front war with Pakistan and the armed forces were ready. As a result, Major Dahiya with his Unit 3 Grenadiers was assigned the task of capturing Jarpal in the Shakargarh Sector.
earn the prestigious Param Vir Chakra
Major Dahiya was the Company Commander of the Charlie Company of the 3rd Grenadiers. On 15 December 1971, his company was tasked with attacking and capturing Jarpal. The enemy was dug deep and consolidated their position as they were anticipating an attack from the Indian Army. As the attack began, the Charlie Company came under heavy and effective fire, causing heavy losses to the Company. Major Dahiya, relentlessly marched towards the enemy machine gun post and successfully neutralized the enemy in a face-off which forced him to retreat.
Pakistani counter-attack begins
On 16 December 1971, the Pakistani Army, backed by its heavy artillery and tanks, retaliated thrice on Indian positions. But the Indian troops foiled the attack by inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. On December 17, 1971, another massive counter-attack was launched by the Pakistani Army on Indian positions with the aid of artillery. Major Hoshiar Singh moved from trench to trench without any cover and organized the defense and pushed the soldiers to hold their ground. During the course of action, Major Hoshiar Singh was mortally wounded, but he refused to be vacated to be among his men on the battlefield and therefore maintained his position against a much larger enemy.
During heavy Pakistani artillery fire, the Indian contingent operating the medium machine gun was wounded, rendering the gun inoperable. Sensing the losses suffered by his troops, Major Dahiya, though himself mortally wounded, took control of the MMG and provided effective firepower to the Indian troops forcing the enemy to retreat. By the end of the attack, Pakistan had lost 85 people in the fighting, including its commanding officer and 3 other officers.
The words of his bravery as written by the army itself
The official citation of Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya, maintained by the Indian Army, states,
Though mortally wounded by enemy fire, Major Hoshiar Singh again went from trench to trench, roaming in the open for his personal safety, when an enemy shell landed near the MMG post, injuring the crew. Went in and disabled it. Major Hoshiar Singh, realizing the importance of machine-gun fire, immediately rushed to the machine-gun pit and, though seriously injuring himself, fired the gun, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Though grievously wounded, Major Hoshiar Singh refused to evacuate till the ceasefire. Throughout this operation, Major Hoshiar Singh displayed conspicuous gallantry, indomitable fighting spirit and leadership.
career post war
He continued to serve in the army even after the war. In 1981, Major Dahiya was posted as an instructor in the Indian Military Academy. Two years later, on 8 April 1983, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel while in the IMA. He was later promoted to the rank of colonel, after which he took command of his unit, the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Regiment. He retired from the army in May 1988.
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya was awarded India’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra, for his gallant actions in the line of duty and complete disregard for personal safety.
- The Indian Military Academy honored the brave soldier by unveiling his statue at the gymnasium, which was inaugurated by his wife.
- Jaipur’s famous Queen’s Road was renamed as Hoshiar Singh Marg in honor of the brave soldier.
Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya passed away due to a heart attack. He breathed his last on 6 December 1998.
Facts / Trivia
- After being commissioned as an officer in 1963, Major Hoshiar Singh Dahiya was posted to the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) to monitor the Chinese movement.
- He was a good sports player and was also selected to represent Punjab State in Volleyball.
- He was very good in studies and even stood first in his entire school during matriculation examination.
- When he was a soldier in the Jat regiment, his volleyball teammates often addressed him as “smart”.
- During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he was posted with his unit in the Bikaner sector, where during patrolling he collected a very valuable information about the enemy which obstructed the enemy’s advance.
- As a coach at IMA, his company, Sinhagad Company, will remain the overall champion for 6 consecutive times. This record has not been broken till date.