“I don’t stop when I am tired, I stop when I am done”
This quote summarizes valour of our Jawans.
Innumerous tales of bravery and sacrifice to be told. Innumerous stories to be inspired from.
The movie ‘Border’ till today is considered a cult classic. The fan base is still intact for that movie. ‘The battle of Longewala’ is what inspired the movie, the protagonist was inspired by the life of Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri.
Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was born on 22 November 1940 in Montgomery, Punjab, British India (now in Punjab, Pakistan).
His family then moved to their native village, Chandpur Rurki, in Balachaur. He was an active member of the NCC and cleared the NCC examination when he graduated from the Government College, Hoshiarpur in 1962.
Chandpuri was the third generation in his family who have served in the Indian Army as officers. Both his uncles were flying officers in the Indian Air Force. He was the only child of his parents.
In 1963 Chandpuri was commissioned from the Officers Training Academy, Chennai into the 23rd battalion, Punjab Regiment (23 Punjab), which is one of the oldest and most highly decorated regiments of the Indian Army.
He took part in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
After the war, he served in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Gaza for a year. He had also served twice as an instructor at the prestigious Infantry School in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
Battle of Longewala:
Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was then a major in 23 Punjab when the Pakistan Army attacked the Longewala post in Rajasthan, India, early in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
He had held his post through the night in the famous battle of Longewala in Rajasthan with just 120 men against a full-fledged attack by advancing Pakistani Patton tanks and over 2000-3000 strong assault force of the Pakistani 51st Infantry Brigade, backed by the 22nd Armored Regiment.
Chandpuri and his company held the Pakistanis at bay for a full night until the Indian Air Force arrived to provide air support in the morning.
Chandpuri inspired his men, moving from bunker to bunker, encouraging them to beat back the enemy until reinforcements arrived.
Chandpuri and his men had inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and forced them to retreat, leaving behind twelve tanks.
For his conspicuous gallantry and leadership, Chandpuri was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) by the government of India.
His MVC citation read:
“Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was commanding a company of the Punjab Regiment occupying a defended locality in the Rajasthan Sector. On the 5th December 1971, in the early hours of the morning the enemy launched a massive attack on this locality with infantry and tanks. Major Chandpuri exhibited dynamic leadership in holding his command intact and steadfast.”
“Showing exceptional courage and determination, he inspired his men moving from bunker to bunker, encouraging them in beating back the enemy till reinforcements arrived. In this heroic defence, he inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and forced them to retreat leaving behind twelve tanks.”
“In this action, Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri displayed conspicuous gallantry, inspiring leadership and exceptional devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army,” the citation said.
Chandpuri retired from the army as a brigadier.
He was a soft-spoken but firm man, even after retiring from the Indian Army,he had remained active socially.
The famous photograph of his soldiers dancing atop vanquished Pakistani tanks after the battle of Longewala was won, adorned the wall in a big frame in the living room of his house.
Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was nominated as a Councillor in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, where he served actively (2006-2011) — raising issues of civic amenities, sports and other local matters.
November 17,2018 this decorated war hero left to his heavenly abode. He was fighting a battle with Cancer, and like a true soldier he did not surrender but fought bravely till his last breath.
Battle of Longewala, presented only two chance to the soldiers of Indian Army, to fight with handful men against enemy force or to clear their post and fall back. But like in any other battle our army kept their stand and fought to win the battle. And Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri had played a key role in the victory.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth