Mahant Rohit Shastri
Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31st Jan. 1923 in Kangra,Himachal Pradesh in a Brahmin family. He came from well known military family.
He did his schooling at Sherwood College Nanital. He joined Prince of Wales Royal Military College, Dehra Dun and Royal Military Academy and was commissioned into 4th Kumaon Regiment of British Indian Army on 22nd Feb. 1942. He participated in the World War-II in Arakan Operation. On 22nd Oct. 1947, Pakistan launched Tribal invasion of Kashmir and intention was to grab the Kashmir Valley by force. As the State became part of the Union of India on Oct. 26th, her protection became the responsibility of India. To save Valley from invasion, India dispatched troops to Srinagar. The D Company of 4 Kumaon led by Major Som Nath Sharma was air lifted to Srinagar on Oct. 31st. When his company was asked to move Srinagar, Major Sharma was under plaster due to a fracture and he was advised rest till the plaster was removed. But he insisted on being with
his company at this crucial hour and was allowed to go.
On 3rd Nov, a strong fighting patrol comprising of three companies was dispatched to Budgam area to look for raiders approaching Srinagar from north direction. By 0930 hrs the troops had established firm base at Budgam.
As no enemy was seen during patrolling two companies moved back to Srinagar by 1400 hrs.D coy led Major Sharma was however asked to stay on in the area till1500 hrs. At about 1435 hrs, D coy was subjected to firing from houses of Budgam village, but the coy did not return fire for fear of killing innocent people of village. As a result, the devastating fire of enemy inflicted heavy causality on D company.
Major Sharma understood the gravity of situation and imminent threat to both Srinagar town and airfield was looming large before his eyes. He rushed across open ground to his sections exposing himself to the enemy fire. The coy held on for six hours against heavy odds .
When heavy casualities adversely affected the firing power of the coy, Major Sharma with his right hand in plaster took upon himself the task of filling magazines and issuing them to men operating light machine guns. While he was busy in fighting with enemy, a mortar exploded on the ammunition near him resulting in explosion that killed him. His last message to Brigade Headquarter received a few moments before he was killed was: “The enemy are only 50 yards from us, we are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to our last man and our last round.”
He was awarded with highest gallantry award first “Param Vir Chakra ” on 26th Jan., 1950 posthumously. Major Sharma set an example of courage and leadership.
The Indian Army Military has established Som Garh Military Station at Rangrate Srinagar after his name. It requested to J&K Govt that Jammu Air Port should also be named after Major Som Nath Sharma.
Mahant Rohit Shastri