We exist because nation exists: Decorated Siachen hero

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A former Indian Army officer, decorated with the highest wartime gallantry medal Param Vir Chakra for capturing a Siachen Glacier post, Capt (retired) Bana Singh, on Monday said the nation is supreme. “We exist because our nation exists and there is no price too big in the line of duty to our nation.”

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the new academic session of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here as the chief guest, he said a soldier ‘is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die’, aptly exemplifying the immortal lines of Alferd Lord Tennyson.

He motivated the newly inducted doctors in an extremely impassioned tone as he said, “All of us have been assigned some duty. Being a soldier, I just did my duty as was mandated. Being doctors, your duty is to serve the patients. So just do your duty with utmost devotion, unwavering commitment, without any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and only keeping the bigger picture in mind.

“We have to prove true to the trust reposed in us by our institute. Good work will surely be acknowledged.”

The decorated officer said, “We don’t succeed alone. It’s the team, the synergy, the coordination that enable us accomplish exceptional feats,” while narrating how his team wrested control of the highest peak on the Siachen Glacier in Kashmir from Pakistani forces as part of Operation Rajiv.

Following his success, India renamed the peak (previously designated as Quaid Post by the Pakistanis) to ‘Bana Post’ in his honour.

Singh gave a valuable life lesson to the new resident doctors as he aptly concluded, “Whatever you wish to do, do it with patience and fortitude. Success is bound to follow.”

Earlier, Prof Surjit Singh, PGIMER Director, while introducing the chief guest, recounted the deeds of valour and bravery of the braveheart.

He detailed how Bana Singh had led his men at a height of 21,000 feet by displaying the most conspicuous gallantry and leadership under the most adverse conditions.

The director urged the residents “to emulate Capt (retired) Bana Singh’s example of exceptional courage, selfless devotion to duty and to maintain the honour and integrity of the country.”

This was followed by an engaging presentation by Dr (Major) Guru Prasad, who has the distinction of having served at Siachin for six months.

He acquainted the audience with the hostile conditions that exist at Siachen Glacier as he said “the highest and coldest combat theatre in the history of the world where temperatures dip to minus 52 degrees Celsius, this landscape is an unforgiving battleground where the armies of India and Pakistan have faced off each other for years.”

Prasad is now pursuing his residency in Department of Hospital Administration at the PGIMER.

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