How Shantaram Post Got His Name
The mention of â€œShantaram Post â€œ opens a floodgate of memories of a fateful day, 11th December, 1971 , a day that has become immortal in the history of the Chindits. On this day 4/9 Gorkha Rifles was called upon to vindicate its past glory
The Battalion was split into two groups, which were deployed separately .Less C and D Companies, it was moved out and deployed on the brigade ground of tactical importance in Kalsian SUB Sector . The C and D Companies were holding the Lam Sub Sector defences, directly under the Brigade, and were being commanded by the Lam Task Force Commander (LTFC). Before the outbreak of hostilities, the LTFC had already prepared a plan for the reduction of enemy post Sukhanaban that effectively dominated the valley on the Battalionâ€™s Side of the Line of Control like a sore thumb .The operation was code named â€œOperation Birpurâ€ , after the Regimental Centre, which was then located at Birpur in Dehra Dun . However, before the operation proper could be launched, a preliminary one to eliminate the enemyâ€™s two bunkers of automatic weapons located outside the post and dominating our axis of attack had to be undertaken.
2/LT.Shantaram , freshly back from YO Course where he had won the â€œSilverSpoonâ€was itching to go., and volunteered to undertake a raid. He picked up his own team for task, and on a dark and cloudy night, crept close to the enemy bunkers and successfully destroyed them by assault. Later, before the attack, when he was told to go back to his own post which was located three Kilometres in depth, the young brave soldier had this to say, â€˜Sir, I know I do not belong to the C and D Company but having destroyed the two enemy bunkers successfully, I have this very strong feeling that the reduction of Sukhanban post is destined to be done by me. Please allow me to lead the forward platoon into attack. I shall not fail you.â€
Reluctantly, his demand was acceded to. Destiny however, had more in store for this brave young lad.
Came the night of 11/12 December and all was set for the historic occasion .In the dark of the night, the assaulting companies, after taking the blessings of Goddess Durga , went down to the FUP.Code word Khukri was issued on the radio set and the assaulting troops led by 2/LT.Shantaram crossed the start line.
The attack was to be launched in section echelons through a â€˜Density â€“3â€ anti-personal minefield. The enemyâ€™s artillery and small arms had started raining lead around. Suddenly, through the din and the fog of the battle, the loud voice of Shantaram howling, â€œAyo Gurkhali. Chargeâ€ rang out clearly and was soon taken up by the rest of theâ€ Shindigsâ€ .The attack was a success and the strong enemy post fell.
Later, while we were retrieving our dead and the wounded from the battlefield we found the body of 2LT.Shantaram lying next to an enemy MM. bunker. His foot blown up by a mine and his body riddled by burst of MM. bullets, yet he charged. He was finally felled by a piece of shrapnel that cloved through his head. Along with him 23 other braveâ€ Chindits â€œ made the supreme sacrifice that fateful night , so that the honour and the glory of Paltan could reign supreme and untarnished. The post was then rechristened â€œShantaramâ€ after the capture. A memorial was constructed by the Paltan to immortalise all her brave sons.
Sukhanban now belongs to Shantaram forever.