Service No: IC-7990

Date of Birth : 28 Apr 1928

Birth Place: Shimla (HP)

Service: Army

Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Unit : 1/8 GR

Arm/Regt : 8 Gorkha Rifles

Operation: Op Leg Horn

Awards: Param Vir Chakra

Date of Demise : Sep 5, 2005

Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa PVC

Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa was born on 28 April 1928 in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh to Nepali parents. Son of Shri P.S. Thapa, Lt Col Thapa was commissioned into the 8th Gorkha Rifles on 28th August 1949. Like most Gorkhas, the soldiering came naturally to him and he did it very willingly and cheerfully. Besides being a deep-rooted soldier he was affable, humble and a good human being. He was a keen sportsman too and especially excelled in football. After serving for a few years, Maj Thapa got married to Ms. Shukla and the couple had two daughters Poornima & Poonam and a son Param Deep.

 

Indo-China: Oct 1962

 

During 1962, the Indian Army had established a number of posts in Ladakh as part of the forward policy to counter the Chinese who had been establishing various posts in Ladakh. Sirijap 1 was one such post being manned by soldiers of 1/8 GR. Situated north of the Pangong Lake in Ladakh, it was one of the vital posts for defending the Chushul airfield. Since the men of D company of 1/8 GR battalion had to be split among a number of posts only 28 soldiers were manning Sirijap 1 post under the command of Maj Dhan Singh Thapa.

 

In the wee hours of 20th October, the Chinese attacked the post with heavy artillery and mortar fire. The attack went on for more than two hours and by the end of the charge, the area had been set ablaze and communication lines had been damaged.  The Gorkha soldiers fought back fiercely under the leadership of Maj Thapa and the enemy suffered heavy casualties. But the shelling went on for a long time and Sirijap turned into an inferno with devastation all around. Maj Thapa painfully watched his soldiers dying, wounded, and not in a position to fight but he kept them inspired to fight back.

 

The soldiers of the D company fought like men possessed under the inspiring leadership of Maj Thapa and showed extraordinary valour in repulsing multiple attacks by Chinese soldiers. They picked up the rifles of their fallen comrades and retaliated with the Regimental war cry, “Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali”.  But the Chinese launched a third and final attack on the Indian troops backed by tanks. Maj Thapa’s post had already been weakened by the previous waves of attacks but they fought on till the last bit of their ammunition. However eventually Chinese managed to run over the post with their superior weapons and numerical superiority. Maj Thapa and his remaining soldiers were captured and taken as POW(Prisoner of War). However, Maj Thapa was believed to have been ‘killed in action’ and was awarded the nation’s highest gallantry award, “Param Vir Chakra” posthumously.

 

After being taken a prisoner, he was treated very badly against all established military conventions. He had to undergo a series of punishments for causing many casualties to Chinese forces and also not toeing the line of Chinese authorities in making statements against India. He was later released in May 1963 and resumed his duty and got promoted to the rank of Lt Col. He retired as Lt Col and passed away owing to natural causes at the age of 77 on 5th September 2005.

 

Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa is survived by his wife Smt Shukla Thapa, daughters Poornima & Poonam and son Param Deep Thapa named after his gallantry award, “Param Vir Chakra”.

The citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him reads:

 

Major Dhan Singh Thapa was in command of a forward post in Ladakh. On 20 October it was attacked by the Chinese in overwhelming strength after being subjected to intensive artillery and mortar bombardment. Under his gallant command, the greatly outnumbered post repulsed the attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the aggressors. The enemy attacked again in greater numbers after heavy shelling by artillery and mortar fire Under the leadership of Major Thapa, his men repulsed this attack also with heavy losses to the enemy.

 

The Chinese attacked for the third time, now with tanks to support the infantry. The post had already suffered large numbers of casualties in the earlier two attacks. Though considerably reduced in number it held out to the last. When it was finally overrun by overwhelming numbers of the enemy, Major Thapa got out of his trench and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand fighting before he was finally overpowered by Chinese soldiers.

 

Major Thapa’s cool courage, conspicuous fighting qualities, and leadership were in the highest traditions of our Army.

  • The Shipping Corporation of India honoured him by naming one of their ships as Major Dhan Singh Thapa PVC.
  • Lt Col Thapa features in a book, ‘The Brave’, authored by Delhi-based Rachna Bisht Rawat who has chronicled the heroism of 21 men awarded the Param Vir Chakra
  • “My father used to say every soldier who fights a war to defend his nation is a hero. In 1962, we lost the Indo-China war but it was a war against mighty odds. A soldier fights a war as his duty and his right, it is our duty to give him due recognition,” ….Poornima (Daughter of Lt Col Thapa).
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  • https://en.wikipedia.org
  • http://www.indiangorkhas.in/
  • http://indianexpress.com/
  • http://greatindianheroes.com/
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8 Comments
  • Surajit Mohapatra

    2017at10:13 pm Reply

    We salute Lt Col Thapa for his courage to fight Chinese army even when outnumbered by them. He has shown what Indian defense personal are made off. We must tell our kids these types of courageous acts of our true soldiers.

  • Glorie Mathew

    2017at12:14 pm Reply

    I salute your heroism and sacrifice. We shall forever remain indebted to you for your service to the nation. Jai Hind

  • Subodha Dhiman

    2018at10:36 am Reply

    You always staying in my heart.
    Respect

  • Rakesh Tokarkar

    2019at7:43 am Reply

    I salute your secrifice for the sake of nation. You are real hero and ideal for everyone in India.

  • Sanjay

    2020at1:41 am Reply

    Jab tak Suraj Chand rahega, Dhan Singh Thapa tera naam rahega…. My respect & 1000 salute to the brave son of mother India

  • Capt. Anupam K Choubey

    2020at9:42 am Reply

    An Honored Salute to you Col. Thapa . I wish I had my commission before 1980 to serve in your command. Even in 1983-84 you get the embedded bullets in trees in Twang
    eastern sector area posts.

  • Chandra Bahadur Gurung

    2021at4:56 am Reply

    In fighting with the Chinese troops, Captain Dhansing thapa finally missed from the battlefield. The CO of 1/8th Gorkha Rifles recommended that ‘he was died while fighting with the enemy. But reason was not so. The action was wrongly reported. On the recommendation of Indian Ministry of Defense Thapa was posthumously awarded PVC (Param Bir Chakra), the highest gallantry of India. His wife was awarded the award on 26 January 1963, on the occasion of as a widow from the hand of the then President Dr. Sarbapalli Radha Krishnan.

    However, when the POW (prisoners of war) were exchanged, Dhansing Thapa was seen alive. In the war to be POW is a crime. In the war one should do or die. It was fake news of the Indian Defense Ministry.

    But the Indian government did not correct their mistake and written the history glorifying heroism of Gorkha regiment of the Indian army.

    I would like to mention here a incident that happened in Kathmandu. On 5th. January 1994, I had arranged a program in honored of 13 Gurkha Victoria Cross recipient, the highest gallantry award of the British army. During the time there were still 7 VC recipient.

    In the occasion there were 6 VC recipient of the WW 2, namely Hav. Gaje Ghale, Naik Agansing Rai, Rifleman Ganju Lama, Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun, Rifleman Bhanubhakta Gurung, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung.

    Post world war 2, Lance Corporal Ram Bahadur Limbu, awarded VC in Sarwak operation.

    There was a huge pressure mounted on me from the Indian Embassy Kathmandu that Captain Dhansing Thapa also should have to include in the felicitation program. The VC Executive Committee decline the request on the ground that it was entirely VC felicitation program, so it would not fair to include Captain Dhansing’s name here. But in the same time we received the message that the Chief Guest for the program, the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koiral would not able to attend the program. Now the situation was that the schedule program would might cancel. So, on the Indian Embassy pressure we accepted.

    The main reason was that the Indian Embassy intended to show that while fighting with China, Thapa was awarded the PVC.

    Dhansing Thapa PVC attended the function. In the function I was the Master of Ceremony. In the huge crowd at Pragya Bhaban Kamaladi, I expressed him that ‘today Dhansing thapa as a person, we welcome him in this gathering. His wife posthumously awarded this award. A POW soldier cannot eligible for the award.

    After the program next day Dhansing Thapa left Kathmandu and the Indian Embassy him India. He did not took part in Pokhara program.

    This is a very simple example how Indian government plays role through embassy in Nepal.

    Thanks reading the Indian army highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra PVC.

  • Col JP Singh

    2022at7:29 am Reply

    How can I contact Param Deep Thapa S/O Lt Col Dhan Singh Thapa PVc
    Col( Dr) JP Singh

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