Saluting our heroes: “havaldar gyan bahadur tamang – 1/11 gorkha rifles”
Field Marshal Manekshaw once said, “When a man says that he is not scared of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.”
A Heroic tale of Havaldar Gyan Bahadur
Tamang, SM – ‘1/11 Gorkha Rifles’
“Armed with just a Khukri and grit he killed 7 Pakistani Soldiers in the Kargil war “!
Havaldar Gyan Bahadur Tamang was part of the CO’s column of attack on the night during Operation Vijay in 1999. The hair-raising story of his exploits during the attack is exemplary.
Gyan Bahadur Tamang was ordered to move behind an enemy position to cut them off from their reinforcements . The enemy spotted the movement and in the fire-fight that ensued, Havaldar Gyan Bahadur and his buddy were separated from others. In the exchange of fire, both were hit. While his colleague made the supreme sacrifice, Gyan Bahadur Tamang fell backwards and rolled downhill some twenty metres before he passed out with blood oozing from his neck. A light drizzle revived him the next morning and he came to his senses with the sound of automatic weapons and artillery shells landing all around him. He was soon spotted and eight Pakistani soldiers began to fire on him with their AK-47 assault rifles while he dashed around from one boulder to another. Displaying remarkable shooting skills under extreme pressure and with utmost fire discipline, Gyan Bahadur Tamang shot dead three Pakistanis.
Soon dense fog enveloped the area. Taking advantage of poor visibility, Gyan Bahadur Tamang made good his escape to rejoin the battalion. Bleeding profusely, low on ammunition, his rifle severely damaged, thirsty and hungry, he tore his vest and tied it around his neck to reduce the loss of blood. He wandered around in the fog till he fell asleep exhausted. The next morning, he woke up with a start startling two Pakistani soldiers who quickly turned on him and asked him to surrender at gunpoint. Displaying remarkable presence of mind, he employed the oldest ruse in the world by yelling and waving at an imaginary point behind the Pakistanis. As they turned around, he pulled out his khukri and slit their throat with two deft swishes.
However, the commotion brought out more Pakistanis and Hav Gyan Bahadur was fired upon for over half an hour from several directions. He dived into a small depression and waited with baited breath for the firing to end. After some time, two Pakistanis including a JCO cautiously approached him. Pretending to be dead, Gyan Bahadur Tamang lay absolutely still, his khukri hidden under his body. As one of the Pakistanis kicked him to see if he was dead, he sprang at them with ‘Jai Mahakali Ayo Gorkhali’ and, before the petrified Pakistanis could react, he hacked them to death, ran, rolled, jumped and rolled downhill as bullets whizzed around him. At night, he crept under a bush, chewed its tender leaves for energy before he fell asleep, completely exhausted.
Suffering from acute loss of blood, dehydration, high fever and complete exhaustion, Hav Gyan Bahadur woke up the next morning unsure of his bearings. Lacking the strength to make another attempt to rejoin his battalion on Khalubar, he half walked, half stumbled downhill. He spotted two burly Pakistanis walking towards him carrying grenades and ammunition and chatting. There was nowhere to run. He hid behind a boulder close to the track and, with a superhuman effort, once again shouting the battlecry pounced on them with his ever-ready khukri. Startled, the Pakistanis dropped their loads and ran . Tired and on the verge of despair, Havaldar Gyan Bahadur Tamang continued his rather eventful journey downhill till he finally stumbled into the battalion’s rear near Yaldor village.
The soldiers of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles while mopping up, found the bodies of all the seven Pakistani soldiers who fell to Gyan Bahadur ‘s khukri.
Havaldar Gyan Bhadur tamang was awarded Sena Medal (Gallantry) for displaying exemplary bravery & courage during Kargil War.