Dhan Singh Island named after Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi named Dhan Singh Island after Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar, born to Nepali parents at Shimla.
Prime Minister Modi on January 23, named 21 unnamed Islands in Andaman and Nicobar after recipients of India’s highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra.
Of the 21 people who have received the Param Vir Chakra, 20 served in the Indian Army and one in the Indian Air Force.
The naming was done on the occasion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 126th birth anniversary, which is officially observed as Parakram Diwas (Day of Valor).
Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar was born on April 10, 1928, was a war hero who considered the country above everything else.
On August 28th, 1949, Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar was commissioned with the 8 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.
On 20th October 1962, the Chinese soldiers had launched an attack in the Sirijap valley, located to the north of the Pangong Lake in Ladakh. The area had a strategic importance and was considered vital from defense point of view of the Chushul airfield. To prevent any enemy infiltration in the area, the 1/8 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army had made several outposts. The Sirijap-1 outpost was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar.
The Chinese army had started bombarding the area with artillery and mortar. The whole area was set ablaze as a result of the mortar fire and shelling. The sudden assault by the army had destroyed the wireless system for communication. Undeterred by the assault, Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar and his men repulsed the attack with the utmost courage and grit. The battalion even inflicted several casualties on the Chinese side.
Sensing the huge number of Chinese soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar encouraged and inspired his men to attack them without fearing for their death. After the retreat, the Chinese launched yet another attack with increased strength, shelling the majority of Sirijap-1 post. The battalion of Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa fought back, forcing the Chinese soldiers to withdraw from the area. The 8 Gorkha Rifles again inflicted several casualties on the enemy side.
Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar prepared his men for any further assault, which mounted in a short while. The third Chinese attack was more powerful and intense. The Chinese soldiers had come with a large strength of infantry and war tanks. The platoon post, owing to the earlier attacks, was in a much-depleted strength. The regiment fought till their ammunitions lasted. Noticing the final overrun by the Chinese, Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa jumped out of his trench and killed many soldiers with his hands.
He was believed to be killed in the war but was later discovered to be taken away as a prisoner of war. After his release, he resumed his duty for the Indian Army. For the incredible bravery and indomitable courage, Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar was honored with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military wartime decoration. Lieutenant Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa Magar has engraved his name in the books of the Gorkha Regiment forever.
He died on 6 September 2005.