As part of the "decade of veterans", the army honoured Lt Col Kartar Singh (retd) on his 100th birthday at a "super" veteran felicitation function organised at the Khetarpal Officers' Institute (KOI) in Chandimandir Cantonment on Monday.
Lt Col Kartar was also declared as the first citizen of the Indian Army and super veteran of the Western Command during the felicitation ceremony, which was attended by Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, GOC-in-C, Western Command, and Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan, GOC-in-C, South Western Command and Colonel of the Mahar Regiment.
Lt Col Kartar was commissioned into Licters British Infantry Unit in 1937 and was nominated for foreign mission service in Egypt and Sudan in 1940 during World War-II. He was the first Indian Commanding Officer of 1 Mahar Regiment (a machine gun battalion) from 1947 to 1951. He commanded the battalion during the 1947-48 Indo-Pak operations in Jammu and Kashmir, and under his stewardship, the battalion not only played a pivotal role in the J&K operations but also earned the first Maha Vir Chakra of Independent India. He later commanded 6 Mahar (Borders) from 1956 to 1958. After his retirement, he continued to lead an active life as vice-president of the Zila Sainik Board and sarpanch of his village, Salempur, near Jalandhar Cantonment for 25 long years from 1958 to 1983.
He is staying with his younger daughter Rupinder at Sector 65, SAS Nagar. His other two daughters, Amrit Kaur and Harinder Kaur, are settled in the USA.
The function was attended by nearly 250 serving and retired officers and their families. Lt Col Kartar was emotionally surcharged and felt extremely honoured by the felicitations conferred upon him.
A large number of Mahar Regimental officers and their wives were present on the occasion to greet the revered centenarian.
"Lt Col Kartar had contributed a lot as sarpanch of the village in terms of basic amenities. Interestingly, he had always been elected unanimously all those years," said Rupinder.
The family also conducted a cake-cutting ceremony at home on his 100th birthday.