By: Lt Col JS Sodhi (Retired)
Theodore Roosevelt’s quote “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering” aptly summarises the tough life led by Pyara Chand of the Border Roads Organisation of the Indian Army who sacrificed his life for the nation.
Pyara Chand belonged to the Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh, India and since his childhood he had dreamt of being an uniformed soldier.
Pyara Chand joined the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) on February 02, 1991 and was posted to the 752 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) in Project Udayak on January 08, 2008. He was a dedicated and a sincere operator deployed for works at KM 465 on the Akajan-Jonal Road located in Dhemaji district of Assam in India which was highly infested with insurgents.
On the night of January 12, 2009 everyone in the camp went to sleep after dinner and the generator was put off at 9 pm. It was pitch dark in the camp thereafter. At about 9.05 pm three insurgents entered one of the barracks of this camp forcibly by breaking the doors of the barrack.
All the three insurgents were armed with highly sophisticated weapons and tried to find out about the cash pertaining to labour payment which had been brought that morning for the salary disbursement the next day. Bishan Das who was sleeping close to the door replied negatively to their enquiry. Immediately one of the insurgents hit the forehead of Bishan Dass with the butt of his weapon due to which he became unconscious.
Seeing the attack on one of his colleagues Pritam Chand and Pyara Chand shouted and jumped over the insurgents to overpower them showing braveness and without caring for the consequences. In the meantime, one of the insurgents open fire indiscriminately at Pyara Chand and Pritam Chand.
Pyara Chand despite suffering bullet injuries on the right side of his shoulder pounced on the insurgent in order to get a hold of him. The insurgent shook himself free and managed to flee. Seeing the raw courage exhibited by Pyara Chand, the other two insurgents too ran away from the camp.
This daring act of Pyara Chand not only saved the government money pertaining to labour payment but also the precious lives of the other colleagues who were sleeping inside the camp. Pyara Chand was bleeding profusely. Before he could be evacuated to the nearest Military Hospital, he breathed his last.
Pyara Chand displayed extreme devotion to duty, courage and made the supreme sacrifice of his life for India as per the rich and the glorious traditions of the Border Roads Organisation.
In recognition of the brave act and supreme sacrifice made, Pyara Chand was awarded Shaurya Chakra, which is India’s third highest gallantry award during peace time.
Our salute and respect to Pyara Chand, Shaurya Chakra. He is immortal as the Brave on the Border who sacrificed his life for the nation.
Joseph Rodman Drake words “And they who for their country die shall fill an honoured grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave” are a testament of the immortal sacrifice Pyara Chand did for India.
About the Author
Lt Col JS Sodhi retired from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army is an alumnus of NDA Khadakwasla and IIT Kanpur. He is a M.Tech in Structures and has also done MBA and LL.B and is a prolific writer and a public speaker. He features in the World Book of Records, London and the India Book of Records for his media contributions. He Tweets at @JassiSodhi24. The views expressed are personal.