Gajendra Singh Bisht went home to his Uttarakhand village on August 15, driving through roads emblazoned on Independence Day with the Indian flag. His father had died. Ten days of mourning lay ahead.
When he next went home two and a half months later, he was in a coffin, having died fighting an attack on the same flag – and wrapped in one.
Gajendra Bisht, a 36-year-old havildar with the National Security Guards (NSG), was killed in gunfire by terrorists who had seized the Nariman House building during the Nov. 26 siege at Mumbai on 2008.
He belonged to the 51 Special Action Group, a unit that slithered down ropes from a navy helicopter onto the roof of the building to kill the terrorists holed up there, holding its residents hostage.
Sixteen hundred kilometres to the north in Ganeshpur village, villagers watched the operation on television. A new hero was born – in a village of military martyrs 20 kilometres west of Dehradun.
The village is inhabited mostly by Garhwali people, who cultivate wheat, green vegetables, sugarcane and other cash crops.
He joined Garhwal Rifles In 1991 which was later followed by opting to be a part of the 10 Para SF (Special Force) before becoming an NSG Commando.
He was chasing a dream: he wanted to become an officer in NSG, which handpicked him from the army. So he was learning the English language alongside to prepare for his dream.
His brother, Birendra Singh Bisht who is an official in the Uttarakhand Police said, “He had always wanted to be in the forces and had always wanted to die like a hero. And that is precisely what happened.”
Havaldar Gajendra was residing in Delhi when he had to leave for this Mumbai Operation. On the night of November 26th, Singh received an emergency call about an alert and left immediately saying he would be back in a while. Ganjendra carried his bare essentials only to have his family informed hours later that he has been sent to Mumbai then and there.
Operation Black Tornado:
Singh was part of the National Security Guard’s 51 Special Action Group and the unit of NSG Commandos who were sent to take on the terrorists inside Nariman House. The terrorists were holding a minimum of six hostages in the building and the units of commandos were fast-roped on the roof to neutralize them.
The team led by Singh got involved into the intense cross firing with the terrorists, as per Jyoti Krishna Dutt, Director General of the NSG. Instead of retreating with his commandos, Singh decided to continue moving ahead even when they were started to get hurled with grenades.
The continuous shots of bullets did not stop him from giving cover to his fellow commandos to move forward but he ultimately succumbed to his multiple injuries. However, his act of bravery did manage to provide an upper hand to his team during the encounter.
Terrorists Were Getting Live Feed Of The Operation.
“TV broadcast our commandos landing from a helicopter on the roof over Nariman House. By the time our men landed and started taking positions, the terrorists were already waiting for them and opened fire,”
Some media houses really jeopardised national security that day.
Gajendra Bisht is survived by wis wife Vinita, and two children – 13 year old Gaurav and 10 year old Preeti.
Bisht’s father, who died on August 15, was a farmer. Until he was recruited into the army in 1991, Bisht regularly tilled his family’s fields as well after returning from high school.
His brother Virendra, working with the Uttarakhand police, says he wanted his brother to join the police force as well.
“But he had his eyes set on the army,” Virendra recalled. “He said he wanted to be in the army to serve at the country’s borders, and be in the thick of action.”
Dr Sindhu Prashanth