Memories of valour and gallantry will take centre-stage on May 3 when an earthen pitcher with soil from the cemetery of son-of-soil war hero Risaldar Badlu Singh, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, reaches his native village in Haryana all the way from faraway Cairo in Egypt.
This nondescript Dhakla village in Haryana’s Jhajjar is gearing up to commemorate the courage of its valiant soldier. The event will take place 98-years after Badlu Singh’s death in the battlefield in Palestine during World War I.
A delegation of the Haryana government led by cabinet minister Om Prakash Dhankar, who is presently in Egypt as part of a summit on water conservation, took this initiative.
On Saturday, Dhankar along with the Indian ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharya and others, paid tributes at the Helipolis War Cemetery in Cairo in Egypt where the Indian soldier was laid to rest in 1918.
Dhankar said it was a deeply inspiring moment for him and he is ever more proud to be the one bringing the soil from Singh’s cemetery to his native place back home in Haryana.
Dhankar said a memorial at the village entrance is being planned as a tribute to the brave heart soldier. Interestingly, Badlu Singh’s great grandson Pankaj Kumar was martyred by enemy bullets during the Kargil war in 1999. A memorial in his memory already exists in the village.
But for the family, another memorial in memory of Badlu Singh in the village near to his great grandson’s memorial, will be a moment of great pride.
Badlu Singh died at the age of 42 in September, 1918. He was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in a war awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was a Risaldar in 14th Murray's Jat Lancers, British Indian Army, attached to 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse), during the First World War when he performed the deed at Khes Samariveh, Jordan River, Palestine for which he was posthumously awarded the VC.
His citation reads: Badlu Singh awarded VC for most conspicuous bravery and
It said that when his squadron charged a strong enemy position on the west bank of the River Jordan, Badlu Singh realised that the squadron was suffering casualties from a small hill on the left front occupied by machine guns and 200 infantry. Without hesitation, he collected six other ranks and with the greatest dash and an entire disregard of danger charged and captured the position.
He was mortally wounded on the very top of the hill when capturing one of the machine guns single-handed, but all the machine guns and infantry had surrendered to him before he died, according to the citation.