It is in the nature of history writing to bury deep within itself, individual acts of bravery that hardly get the kind of recognition they deserve. One such story is that of Naib Subedar Gurnam Singh of the Bombay Sappers. On this day, forty six years back his one act of utmost courage had resulted in a number of lives being saved.
While he was in the midst of a mine clearing exercise with his team, a mine accidentally got activated. Considering the safety of those under his command as being top most priority, Gurnam Singh immediately asked them to run for safety. Having dispersed off all his men, he went down to deactivate the mine all by himself, with no regard for his personal safety. Even though he saved the lives of his subordinates, he could not succeed in saving himself. A huge explosion resulted in his body tearing apart into bits and pieces.
As a mark of recognition for his bravery and sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra.
Naib Subedar Gurnam Singh was born on August 18th, 1935 at a village called Bhullar near Amritsar in Punjab. He joined the Bombay Sappers in 1955. Having belonged to a family of army personnel, it was his dream to become a soldier, which he did fulfill with extreme sincerity.