Rishi Kumar

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The Battle of Basantar was fought inside the Shakargarh Bulge that extended into Indian territory. Shakargarh was important strategically to both India and Pakistan. To India it was important because its capture would not only remove the threat to Jammu and Northern Punjab but would also enable India to pose a threat to the heartland of Pakistan. To Pakistan it was important because it facilitated an offensive against the Indian base at Pathankot, the capture of which would isolate Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the fiercest battles of the Western Front were fought in this area.

Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was commissioned into Poona Horse on 13 June 1971. He had just five months service when the war began. It was at the battle of Jarpal, in the vicinity of Basantar, that a savage battle was fought between Indian and Pakistani forces. It was at this battle that two Param Vir Chakras were awarded to Major Hoshiar Singh of 3 Grenadiers and Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal of Poona Horse.

This is the story of Arun Khetarpal who was killed in action when he was just 21 years old. He was at that time, India’s youngest person to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra – India’s highest award for courage in war.

Major General Ian Cardozo was born in Mumbai and studied at St Xavier’s School and College. In July 1954, he joined the Joint Services Wing which later became the National Defence Academy. Here he was the first cadet to win the gold medal for being the best all-round cadet, and the silver medal for being first in order of merit. He was commissioned at the Indian Military Academy into the 1st Battalion the Fifth Gorkha Rifles (FF) in 1958, and is one of the first officers to be awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry on a patrol in NEFA in 1959. Wounded in the battle of Sylhet in Bangladesh in 1971, he overcame the handicap of losing a leg and became the first war-disabled officer to be approved for command of an Infantry Battalion. He retired in 1993 from his appointment as Chief of Staff of a Corps in the East.

Author of Cartoos Saab, The Sinking of INS-Khukri: Survivor’s Stories, Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle, The Bravest of the Brave: Indian VCs of World War I and 1971: Stories of Grit and Glory, he has worked with the Spastics Society of Northern India and was chairman of the Rehabilitation Council of India for nine years. At present he is the Vice President of the War Wounded Foundation.

Rishi Kumar is a graduate from  Delhi College of Art in the Applied  Art course.  He has worked  as an illustrator with various advertising  and publishing  companies.  He is currently  working  as a freelance illustrator. Besides art he has interest in computer gaming. His name has been acknowledged in the Limca Book of National Records  2016  for his work.

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Published Date
30 / 05 / 2023

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