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The ‘Seven Legends’ of the 1971 war course: when fainted officers became martyrs in 9 months | India News

NEW DELHI: Exactly 50 years ago, on March 14, 1971, 338 newly recruited officers from the famous “1971 War Course” graduated from the Officer Training School (now OTA) in Madras. They were soon moved to the eastern and western borders to prepare for the impending war against Pakistan. Less than nine months later, seven of them gave their lives for the country.
On Sunday, several members of the 1971 group, led by Major General CD Sawant (retired), gathered to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the commissioning of the SS (NT) -10 and Tech-2 course officers in Delhi and paid tribute to the “Seven Legends” who sacrificed their lives in the war. Before laying a wreath at the National War Memorial, Major General Sawant said, addressing the families of the martyrs: “We were fortunate to fight in the 1971 war. It was the greatest victory of any nation in which A new nation was created, Bangladesh, and we captured 93,000 POWs (the largest surrender since World War II). ”According to one report, an estimated 3 lakh people lost their lives in the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
Of the remaining members of the 1971 lot, 222 went on to obtain a permanent commission. Six rose to the rank of Major General, 18 became Brigadiers and 60 Colonels. Many of them won various Army honors and medals for their bravery, exemplary bravery, and dynamic leadership. “When we passed out from the OTS in March 1971, we were admitted to short courses for officers. At the time, war with Pakistan seemed imminent. So in September, we received the instruction to leave the course and join the operational areas, ”Brig RS Parmar (Retd) told TOI.
Other members of the “Tenacious Tenners”, as the No. 10 group is popularly known, also paid tribute to the “seven comrades in arms” in Chandigarh, Aizawl, Pune, Secunderabad and at OTA Chennai. They also remembered 67 other batchmates who have since passed away.

The 'Seven Legends' of the 1971 war course: when fainted officers became martyrs in 9 months | India News

The “seven legends” were Second Lieutenant Bharat Singh Kasana (9 Dogra), Second Lieutenant Dharampal Yadava (14 Kumaon), Second Lieutenant SM Sabharwal (Artillery Regiment), Second Lieutenant Vikram Burn Appalswamy (164 Field Regiment) , 2nd Lieutenant SM Viney Kaul (165 Field Regiment), 2nd Lieutenant Girija Shankar Nair (13 Guards) and 2nd Lieutenant KM Mandanna (9th Engr Regiment). Some of them were blown up by enemy mine explosions and artillery fire, and their bodies were never recovered, while the whereabouts of some others were never known.
Second Lieutenant Sabharwal of 18 Punjab is said to have captured three Pakistani posts in the Kargil sector. The officer, his radio operator and 18 men from his battalion disappeared while attacking Point 4910. “My older brother, then 22 years old, captured a point in Kargil at night. But the next morning, Pakistan responded with great force. Sabharwal’s weapon is said to have jammed. He and his men were killed or made prisoners of war. There were some foreign reports of him languishing in a Pakistani jail. To date, we don’t know anything for sure, ”Sabharwal’s brother Satish, along with his brother Vinod, told TOI.
Second Lieutenant Dharampal destroyed several enemy bunkers on the eastern front. He was shot in the head while attacking an enemy bunker. “When my father Dharampal ji gave his life, I was four years old and my sister just two. We feel privileged that the government still remembers the sacrifices of my father and his colleagues and has invited us on this occasion. My sister Suvida Yadav, who is an ex-sarpanch and even went to Pakistan as a peace ambassador, and I always try to follow the right path that our father showed us, ”says Dharampal’s son, Devender Kumar.
Bharat Singh Kasana, who received the Vir Chakra (posthumously), launched an attack on a well entrenched enemy town in Suadih, then East Pakistan. They captured the terrain but Kasana and his men died in the fighting. “Viney Kaul was the best in his class and a silver gunner. A highly decorated officer. He made the supreme sacrifice in Jalalabad at such a young age of 21. It is a great feeling and we are very honored that his class, the Army and the nation still remember him, ”said his niece, who attended the event. His classmate, former army officer VK Sharma, said Viney and his radio operator were killed in enemy artillery barrage.
Lieutenant Colonel SJM Jafri (retired), who was injured while recovering antipersonnel mines laid by Pakistan, said: “The war lasted 13 days in December. But many lost their lives in operations before the war started and after the ceasefire was announced. When the ceasefire was declared on December 16, the Pakistanis handed over the captured lands to us, but they did not tell us the exact location of the mines they laid. Several of our jaws were later killed in mine reclamation operations. ”
While Major Gaonkar GR (retd) won a Seine medal for winning the Battle of Dhamdaha, his batch mate, Major Vishwambhar Singh (retd) participated in the Battle of Dera Baba Nanak in which several Pakistanis were killed.
The Indian Army even carried out various amphibious operations to capture Pakistani troops.
Colonel Dhirendra Gupta (retired), whose team captured Jessore, told TOI: “A Romeo task force was established with the help of the Indian Navy. Their objective was to capture the enemy fleeing Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong. We sailed on a civilian freighter called ‘Vishwa Vijay’ from Diamond Harbor in Calcutta to Chittagong in Bangladesh to block the fleeing Pakistani troops. We captured around 10,000 enemy troops and brought the POWs back to Calcutta in the same boat. ”

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