Piru Singh Shekhawat was a soldier in the Indian Army who gallantly fought the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947 in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. CHM Piru Singh Shekhawat was posthumously awarded India’s highest gallantry award, The Param Vir Chakra (PVC), for singlehandedly taking on a large group of fortified enemy defensive positions and neutralizing the threat. He was killed in action on 18 July 1948 after being shot and wounded as he was clearing out the enemy positions.
Piru Singh Shekhawat was born on Monday, 20 May 1918 (age 30 years; at the time of death) in the Rampura Beri village, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Piru Singh hated school as he felt severely restricted in the strict environment of the school. Once he quarrelled with one of his classmates in school after which he was reprimanded and scolded by his teacher, this infuriated the young Piru Singh, who marched out of the class stomping and never to return to school again. At home, he used to help his parents in doing farm-related chores. He is also said to have loved to play a local sport known as Shikar. As a child, he always wanted to join the army as he belonged to a family with rich military history.
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
His father, Subedar Bhana Singh Shekhawat, was also in the army, who served in the 4th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles of the British Indian Army. Piru Singh’s mother’s name was Tarawati Kanwar Tarawati Kanwar, she was also known as Jarav Devi. His grandfather, Naib Subedar Chhelu Singh Shekhawat, also served in the army. He was in the 125th Napier’s Rifles.
Early unsuccessful attempts
Piru Singh failed twice to join the army as a soldier. Finally, in his 3rd attempt, he succeeded in joining the army on 20 May 1936 at the age of 18.
After completing his training in 1937, he was posted to the 10th Battalion of the 1st Punjab Regiment, an infantry battalion that has proven its mettle at different campaigns, from where he was once again moved to the 5th Battalion of the 1st Punjab Regiment. Piru Singh passed his promotional exam known as the Indian Army Class Certification of Education after which he was promoted to the rank of Lance Naik on 7 August 1940. He was actively involved with his regiment along the North-Western fronts. He was performing his duties so well that he was sent as an instructor in the Punjab Regimental Center at Jhelum, where he got promoted to the rank of a Naik. In 1945, he was promoted to the rank of Company Havildar Major (CHM) and was sent to the Eastern Front to fight the Japanese as a combined effort of the Allied Forces in the Pacific Region during World War II.
Transition from the British Indian Army to the Indian Army
In September 1947, after returning as a part of British occupation forces from Japan, CHM Piru Singh Shekhawat was moved from the Punjab Regiment to the 6th Battalion of The Rajputana Rifles where he gave his full-fledged support to India’s determination of securing Jammu and Kashmir from the aggressors.
Preparations before the Battle of Tithwal
Piru Singh was the Company Havildar Major of the Delta company of the 6th battalion of the Rajputana Rifles, which was moved to the Tithwal village of Kashmir as the Pakistani invaders, comprising of regular army personnel, tribal lashkars and deserted Jammu & Kashmir’s state forces personnel, had occupied the village. Piru Singh and his company were tasked to secure the village. The campaign to take the village back from the Pakistani invaders was started on 11 July 1948, and it lasted till 15 July 1948. Even after repeated attempts and strikes by the Indian Army to recapture certain enemy positions, the positions were still not under Indian control. Two companies, Charlie and Delta, were allotted the task of capturing several important enemy positions south of the village.
Ascending upon the enemy with a bayonet
On 18 July 1948, CHM Piru Singh led his Delta Company to capture the enemy positions, but Piru Singh and his men had to cross a narrow ravine pass, which was overlooked by Pakistani machine gun positions. As the Indian troops moved forward they were subjected to heavy firing and bombardment as a result of which Delta company lost 51 troops. Sensing the danger, Piru Singh scaled the steep slopes and reached the MMG bunkers of the enemy while saying his battle cry “Bolo Raja Ram Chandra Ki Jai”, which means “Hail Lord Rama”. As he advanced towards the bunker, the enemy threw hand grenades at him, and the shrapnel from the grenades severely injured Piru Singh, ripping off his clothes. Despite his injuries, he managed to clear out the enemy’s defences one by one in close-quarter combat using his bayonet to fight the enemy as the ammunition of his weapon had run out.
Awards – Param Vir Chakra
CHM Piru Singh Shekhawat was awarded India’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra which was awarded India’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra, on 26 January 1950. The award was presented by the President to his mother.
A fraction of the letter written by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to CHM Piru Singh’s mother read,
He paid with his life for his singularity brave act, but he left for the rest of his comrades a unique example of single-handed bravery and determined cold courage. The country is grateful, for this sacrifice made in the service of the Motherland, and it is our prayer that this may give you some peace and solace.”
The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) named one of its crude oil tankers after Piru Singh as MT Company Havildar Major Piru Singh, PVC on 12 October 1984.
The Rajasthan government has named a roundabout in his hometown, Jhunjhunu, as Shahid Piru Singh Shekhawat Circle to honour the brave soldier.
At Yol in Himachal Pradesh, an intersection has been named after CHM Piru Singh Shekhawat.
During the battle of Tithwal, as Piru Singh moved forward through the hail of machine-gun fire along with his company, he realized that his entire company was either killed or the troops were severely wounded, and now, the responsibility was on his shoulders to clear out the enemy from the well-fortified bunkers. As he cleared the first enemy bunker, he moved towards the second bunker; however, a grenade from the second bunker hit Piru Singh, blasting half of his face and partially blinding him. Ignoring his injuries, Piru Singh moved to the second bunker and used his bayonet to neutralize two enemies as he had run out of ammunition. As he was emerging out of the second entrenchment, a bullet struck him in the head. Even though he was severely wounded and was bleeding profusely, Piru Singh managed to lob a grenade into the third bunker, neutralizing it for good; however, by this time, Piru Singh had become severely injured, and he succumbed to his injuries while he was trying to destroy the third bunker.
- Piru Singh was good at sports. He represented his regiment and played sports at various inter-regimental and national level championships.
- CHM Piru Singh brought the Rajputana Rifles Regiment their very first Param Vir Chakra.
- Every year on 23 May, the Indian Army celebrates Tithwal Day to commemorate the liberation of the village by the soldiers of the army from Pakistani occupation in 1948.
- At the Regimental Center of Rajputana Rifles, Delhi, a company has been named after him as Piru Company by the Indian Army to honour the brave and heroic deeds of the martyr.
राज रिफ के वीर हम, काल के भी काल हैं
कूदते हैं युद्ध में, तो करते भूमी लाल हैं।
I am at Piru Company, at the Rajputana Rifles Center. As I stand in front of the red stone barracks, I feel the presence of the legend of CHM Piru Singh Shekhawat, PVC. #Patriot pic.twitter.com/MxaI9v7UkS
— Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) (@majorgauravarya) October 17, 2018
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings