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Naik Jadunath Singh, PVC (21 November 1916 – 6 February 1948) was an Indian Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration for his actions in an engagement during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
Singh was enlisted in the British Indian Army in 1941 and served in the Second World War, fighting against the Japanese in Burma. He later took part in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 as a member of the Indian Army. For an action on 6 February 1948 at Tain Dhar, to the north of Naushahra, Naik Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
Singh commanded a nine-man forward section post. Though heavily outnumbered by advancing Pakistani forces, Singh led his men in defending against three attempts to overtake the post. He was wounded during the second assault. Armed with a Sten gun, he single-handedly charged the third assault with such determination as to cause the attackers to withdraw. In doing so, he was killed. A sports stadium in Shahjahanpur and a crude oil tanker were named after Singh.
Jadunath Singh, a Rathore Rajput, was born on 21 November 1916 in the village of Khajuri, near the town of Shahjahanpur in the current Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. He was the son of Birbal Singh Rathore, a farmer, and Jamuna Kanwar. He was the third of eight children, with six brothers and a sister.
Though Singh studied up to fourth year standard in a local school in his village, he could not continue his education further due to his family’s economic situation. He spent most of his childhood helping out his family with agricultural work around the farm. For recreation, he wrestled and eventually became the wrestling champion of his village. For his character and well-being, he was nicknamed “Hanuman BhagBal Brahmachari”. This was after Hanuman, a Hindu god who was unmarried for life. Singh never married.
During the Second World War, Singh enlisted in the 7th Rajput Regiment of the British Indian Army, on 21 November 1941 at Fatehgarh Regimental Centre. On completing his training, Singh was posted to the regiment’s 1st Battalion. During late 1942, the battalion was deployed to the Arakan Province during the Burma campaign, where they fought against the Japanese. The battalion was part of the 47th Indian Infantry Brigade, assigned to the 14th Indian Infantry Division. It fought actions around the Mayu Range in late 1942 and early 1943, advancing up the Mayu Peninsula towards Donbaik as part of an operation to recapture Akyab Island. Although the Rajputs were held up around the cluster of villages called Kondan in December 1942, the advance slowly continued towards Donbaik. It was there, where the brigade’s attack ground to a halt and they were subsequently relieved by the 55th Indian Infantry Brigade in early February 1943. In early April, the Japanese counterattacked. The 47th Brigade became cut off around Indian and eventually split off into small groups to fight their way back to Allied lines. The surviving members of the brigade returned to India. In 1945, Singh’s battalion was assigned to the 2nd Indian Infantry Brigade and took over the defense of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The islands had been partially occupied by the Japanese forces, which surrendered on 7 October 1945.After returning to India, Singh was promoted to the rank of Naik (corporal). After the partition, the 7th Rajput Regiment was assigned to the Indian Army. Singh remained with the newly raised Indian regiment, continuing to serve in its 1st Battalion.