A hero is someone who, even when confronted with gravest dangers, places safety of others over their own. What is it that makes them different from ordinary people? They are lightning fast in making decisions and are surprisingly selfless even in the most dire situations. They do what they think is right, fair, and just.
This is a story of a national hero who singlehandedly eliminated three terrorist before laying down his life. Havildar Hangpan Dada was no ordinary soldier, he was exceptional.
Hangpan Dada was born in 1979 in District Tirap of Arunachal Pradesh. He was always known as a soft spoken, god-fearing gentleman with resolute will, daring courage, and sharp soldierly skills, fondly called dada by his comrades.
At the night of May 26, 2016, Dada, with his contingent, spotted some movement of hiding terrorists at 13,000 feet in Naugam, Jammu and Kashmir. In no time, a fierce encounter began and went on for over 24 hours. Taking the enemy head-on, he charged at the spot where terrorists were holed up.
In an extreme act of courage, Havildar Dada killed two terrorists on the spot. But as he engaged the third terrorist, the fourth hidden terrorist opened fire at him. Bleeding profusely yet undeterred, he challenged the fourth intruder, wounding him before he died.
Dada was badly injured in the encounter as the terrorists who crossed over from PoK had an advantage of sight. Dada’s bravery and presence of mind saved the lives of his comrades. He displayed raw courage as he overlooked the fact that he was bleeding profusely, and still discharged his duties. This man made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
For his conspicuous act of bravery, he was awarded Ashok Chakra, posthumously, the highest gallantry award of India. Driven by his deep sense of calling for adventure and a challenging life, he joined the Assam Regiment of the Indian Army, in 1997. Later, he requested a transfer to an RR battalion engaged in J&K operations. He was posted to 35 Rashtriya Rifles, in May 2016.
Somhang Lamra, a childhood friend whom Dada had once saved from drowning, says, “I am alive today because of Hangpan Dada, he was a born hero.” According to Pastor Pradeep of Don Bosco Church of Borduria, “Dada would kneel and pray at the church in the morning. He once told me that if the country demands his life, he will readily embrace death.” Senwang, Dada’s seven-year-old son, wants to step into his father’s shoes and wishes to become an Army officer.
“There are not enough words to describe Dada’s bravery. You will run out of ink,” says Laphang, Dada’s elder brother.
Indeed, I have run out of words describing his heroics…
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