It was on this day 50 years ago that Major Sat Parkash Varma laid down his life while fighting in the India-Pakistan war of 1965 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Varma, who was just 23-yearold at that time, was awarded Vir Chakra for his heroic act. “I was just 15-year-old when the telegram came. The wording of the telegram is still stored in my brain… Only his ashes were delivered to us. He was cremated by his unit,” said Sudhir Varma, brother of Maj Varma.
In his memory, the Haryana government in 1970 named a 5-km stretch of road from Rai towards Sonepat passing through his native village Jatheri.
“But about 10-15 years ago, during the widening of the road, the stone bearing his name was removed. When I complained to the deputy commissioner, he explained his helplessness and replied that records pertaining to naming of the road got burnt in the Mandal agitation,” said Sudhir Varma, who retired as executive director of the Haryana Finance Corporation.
A memorial in Major Varma’s memory got started in 2013 but it was left in midway. “It was conceptualised that his name and citation would be inscribed on the memorial. But sadly, it has become a notice board for pasting posters. There is no railing encircling it and the work on it was left midway. Dogs are now sleeping there,” said Sudhir Varma.
Contribution of Maj Varma
Maj Varma was son of Dip Chand Varma (retired IAS officer), who was former vicechancellor of Kurukshetra University (KU).
He studied from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Chandigarh, and from Post Graduate Government College, Sector 1, Chandigarh.
On the intervening night of September 3 and September 4, Major Varma, who was company commander, launched an attack on Sunjoi in Teethwal sector in Jammu and Kashmir. His approach was met with a stone wall.
“When his assault was temporarily halted by the enemy, he directed the fire of his rocket launchers and managed to cause a breach in the stone wall and enemy bunkers.”
“Subsequently, he overran the enemy’s forward positions. Despite heavy enemy fire, he led his men resolutely and silenced the enemy bunkers one by one. When two Pakistani soldiers came out and attacked him, he killed both of them with his Khukri. He was, however, hit in the stomach by two bursts of enemy MMG. Even then, he continued to encourage his men and ultimately the objective was captured. Later, however, he succumbed to his wounds,” reads the citation of his Vir Chakra award.
The attack assumed significance as infiltrators were taking shelter in such posts.
Sudhir Varma said, “Despite being injured, he refused help from a junior officer and ordered him to go and finish the job. I am being told that when the entire job got done, only then he breathed his last.”