“As part of Operation Vijay during the Kargil War, I was leading the 7 Dogra unit at Akhnoor sector. The weather was hot and the war had started…for 40 hours there was not a single fire from the adversary. Even as I was thinking whether it was the proverbial lull before the storm, a mortar dropped near me. I ducked but the bomb exploded and splinters pierced my body. I was almost taken for dead. Though I lost my right foot, I have run nine marathons and am motivating the physically challenged to become challengers,” said Kargil war hero and blade-runner Major (Retd.) D. P. Singh during an interaction here on Saturday.
Maj. Singh has faced quite a few rejections but never lost the determination to fight back.
“I was devoid of my parents’ love during my early childhood. Due to financial compulsions, I was sent to stay with my grandparents. My grandparents were strict but they taught me about Sikhism. Martyrdom and sacrifice were instilled in my character,” said Maj. Singh, while delivering a motivational talk on ‘Rejection: The Catalyst of My Life’.
While growing up, he was seen as worthless by his neighbours. As for academics, he flunked his Class XI exam but took the result positively.
“While roaming in the mangrove forest near my school, I learnt that a girl had been attacked by bees. The bees were all over her. I quickly took out my sweater, put it over her and rushed her to hospital. Later, I was told that a few minutes’ delay would have proved fatal for her. I realised that had I not flunked, I would not have been in the forest and managed to save the girl. Despite all my effort, I did not even receive a pat on my back.”
Later on, he got a job with a bank but left it and joined the armed forces. Post-retirement, he is back with the same bank.
Narrating his year-long stay in an Army hospital, Maj. Singh said three days after the attack his right leg had to be amputated.
“ The blood running in my veins belongs to citizens of our country. I don’t know how many people donated blood. I never thought I would die. I would listen to dialogues from Sholay and Gabbar Singh’s famous dialogue ‘Jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya’ (he who is afraid is dead) boosted my morale.”
He survived, but two years after getting married his wife divorced him. He was injured “physically as well as emotionally”.
So far he has run nine marathons and has formed a club of 325 amputees.
His ambition is to get insurance cover for the general public in the country. “In foreign countries, insurance policies cover amputation. Limbs are provided in case a person meets with an accident but not in our country.”
Maj. Singh seeks better quality prosthesis for Indians.