There are many stories of bravery on the western as well as the eastern front during the 1971 war. All of them speak about extreme professionalism and exemplary courage shown by the Indian armed forces. Many brave soldiers didn’t care about anything else just that they have to do their job and there were senior soldiers who lead brilliantly from the front.
One of India’s heroes in the India-Pak war is Major General Ian Cardozo who was given the responsibility of capturing Atgam near Sylhet and was commanding the 5 Gorkha Rifles Battalion with 750 soldiers.
The Gorkhas were on acute shortage of artillery and food, the battalion not only completed its task on the given time but it also made two Pakistan army brigades with around 7,400 soldiers surrender. It was one of the biggest successes seen by Indian army but the feat was soon forgotten under glamorous showbiz.
Well, it may be a shock to everyone but this huge success was fuelled by BBC’s one mistake. Journalism at that time was reporting unbiased news to all. The BBC was covering the entire war and reported that an Indian Brigade (And not battalion) had landed at Sylhet. As expected, both the armies paid equal attention to this news reported by BBC. The Indian Gorkha battalion started to pretend that they were part of a brigade.
The Gorkha rifles took complete advantage of this misinformation and soon started getting small victories and they build on them to create a situation when the Pakistani troops offered to surrender on December 15, 1971.
Although Indian Army had an idea that a Pakistani brigade was around but it was only when they surrendered that the Indian army got to know that the Pakistani brigade was more than twice the strength of a general brigade.
Cardozo spoke to the media and said, “I do not like to use this platform to denigrate Pakistan. I think everybody knows what they are up to, what they have been up to and what they continue to do. I do not have to elaborate. But India believes in peace, people, progress, development, not in war. But if war is forced upon us, as it was in 1965, in 1971 and in Kargil, we were victors in every war.”
Major Gen Ian Cardozo stepped on a landmine and cut his own leg when it was called for. One of his junior disagreed to cut his leg so he cut it himself and then kept leading from the front, but there would be a different story to tell someday soon.
Gorkhas have served in the British Indian army, Indian army, british army and Nepalese army, their courage and bravery is known by all. Let us look at some photos of Gorkhas around the world with their Khukhris unleashed.
They are known for the Gorkha dance which they do every year for a majestic display of Khukri.
Gorkha Regiments has been there for 200 years now and they fought battles in World war I, world war II and Opium war.