When a landmine tore through his leg in the LTTE-infested Alampil jungles in Sri Lanka, army doctors weren’t even sure if Jagmail Singh would ever walk again. But 20 years later, the paratrooper is all set to show the world that it only takes grit and guts to bounce back from a traumatic experience.
Naib Subedar Jagmail Singh (44), is preparing to undertake an arduous eight-day mountaineering expedition that will test his resilience and character.
Adjusting his prosthetic limb, Jagmail Singh told HT: "The doctors amputated my leg, not my spirit. I swear my able-bodied colleagues will have to slog hard to keep pace with me." The amputee soldier volunteered to be part of the expedition being launched by the 1st Army Headquarters Signal Regiment to Garhwal Himalayas. Lieutenant General S.P. Sree Kumar, Signal Officer-in-Chief, will flag off the expedition from India Gate on September 3.
Singh was part of a crack commando unit of the Indian Army, 9 Para (Special Forces), for over a decade. His brush with death on a minefield in Alampil came on the day of Raksha Bandhan: August 27, 1988.
Singh said, “I believe adventure can alleviate the burden of a mundane existence. Given a chance, I would like to go for more such expeditions.” His commanding officer Colonel V. Dogra, who is also a part of the expedition, said Singh was offered a sheltered appointment in the signal regiment but he was always looking for something challenging.
Singh was part of a mountaineering expedition to the 6,700-metre high Brahma-2 peak in August 1993. His nerve fetched him the army chief’s commendation card. Dogra, a qualified mountaineer and deep-sea diver, said Singh would not be a liability but would inspire other members. “Singh is the benchmark against which all of team members will be judged,” he said.