2nd Lt Arun Khetrapal
The Indo Pak war broke out in December 1971. It was another day when young Arun who was commanding a tank, received orders to assist at Shakargarh and he mobilized his team and they neared the Basantar river. As they approached the mine laden battle field, they came under heavy attack from the howitzers and a large posse of tanks. Though outnumbered, Arun in his tank called
position and continued to face the onslaught. Famagusta
It was the proverbial, ‘cannons to the left of him, cannons to the right of him and cannons in front of him, which volleyed and thundered’! It was the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ in real.
He tore through the battle lines and single handed destroyed four tanks before being hit. He was asked to retreat as his tank was on fire! Unconcerned, of personal safety he fought till he was fatally hit by enemy fire! They had held the ground and the enemy forces were forced to retreat!
Arun Khetrapal was born on 24 Oct 1950. His father was serving in the Indian Army and the family had a long tradition of producing soldiers! He too was fired with zeal to join the Army and after completing his schooling at
Lawrence School at Sanawar joined the prestigious
at Pune in 1967. On completion of his basic training, he went to the National Defense Academy and passed out in
June 1971 and was commissioned into the 17 Poona Horse regiment. Barely six
months later, the increasing hostilities between the two nations escalated into
a full blown war. Arun bid farewell to his mother who told him to fight like a
lion and not return like a coward. Indian Military
At a young age of 21 years the valiant soldier had shown the world ‘The Power of One’! He was awarded the highest honor the Param Vir Chakra for the exceptional courage! Mrs Indira Gandhi told his mother ‘Aap Dhaniya Hai’ ( You are truly blessed) with moist eyes! The two premier institutes, The National Defense Academy and
have named the parade ground, auditorium and main gate after the hero. Indian
"The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time." This is known as the "Chetwode Motto" and is the motto of the officers passing out from the IMA. 2nd/ Lt Arun Khetrapal lived this till his last breath
PS- Image Kind courtesy Google. This story is dedicated to a war hero on the Republic Day!