Brigadier Kuldip Singh was awarded the secong highest gallantry award in India, the Maha Vir Chakra for shocasing excellent leadership skills in the Battle of Longewala.
He was born in 1940 to a Gurjar family in India’s undivided Punjab. He then moved to his family home in Balachaur. He graduated from Hoshiarpur’s Government college where he was an active NCC Cadet.
The next step was obvious. He joined the Indian Army in 1962 and was posted in the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment which is the oldest and most reputed battalion of the Indian Army in 1963. Mr. Singh was a part of the 1965 war and then worked for a year in the United Nations Emergency Post (UNEF) in Egypt.
During the early phases of the Indo-Pak War of 1971, Mr. Singh led his soldiers to defend his Longewala post in Rajasthan against the attack of the Pakistan Army. There were only 120 soldiers of the Alfa Company of the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment manning Longewala under Major Singh’s command.
The soldiers fought huge odds. They sustained and fought against Pakistan’s four infantry battalions and the 22nd Armoured Regiment. The attack had come in the middle of night and lasted the entire night until help arrived in the morning from the Indian Air Force. The 23rd Battalion was heavily outnumbered but under Mr. Singh’s command they held their post for hours until the Air Force came and destroyed 26 tanks and a large number of the enemy’s Armoured Regiment Carriers.
Major Singh showed exceptional courage and inspired his fellow soldiers by moving from bunker to bunker and encouraging them to hold on till the reinforcements arrive. For showing conspicuous gallantry, inspiring leadership and exceptional devotion to his duty Major Kuldip Singh was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.