Tale of India’s Most Decorated General & War Time Hero Lt. General Zorawar Chand Bakshi
Lt. General Zorawar Chand Bakshi was considered by many veteran army men in our country as the fiercest and the most decorated general ever to step foot in the Indian Army. He was much famous for his exploits during the India Pakistan War of 1965 where he laid waste to enemy troops in the Operation Ablaze thereby earning the distinction of being the most aggressive commander in the Army. By his fellow army men, he is lovingly referred as Zoru.
His father, Bahadur Bakshi Lal Chand Lau was also one of the decorated soldiers in the British Indian Army and was awarded The Order of British India which is an award given by the East India Company for his long and faithful service in the Army. Zorawar Bakshi has been a part of the Arakan Campaign during the World War II where he had commanded the Pathan troops and earned a Mention in Despatches.
India Pakistan War 1947-48 (Vir Chakra)
After the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, he became a part of the 5th Gorkha rifles (also known as The Frontier Force), an infantry regiment in the Indian Army. He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his exploits in the India Pakistan War in 1947-48. As a Brigade Major during the war, disguising himself as a traveller he undertook a trekking campaign of close to 400 miles across Tibet to obtain intelligence for the country, he won the Macgregor Medal for the same in 1949.
India Pakistan war 1965 (Maha Vir Chakra)
In the India-Pakistan war of 1965, Lt. Gen. Bakshi had played a very vital in capturing the Haji Pir Pass from the clutches of the Pakistani forces. The Operation which was codenamed OP BAKSHI was carried out by him and Major Ranjit Singh Dayal who pressed on to the enemy lines and put up a gallant fight which literally ousted the Pakistanis from that territory. Both Lt. Gen Bakshi and Major Dayal were awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest military honour for the same.
India Pakistan war 1971 (Param Vishisht Seva Medal)
He was also a part of the India Pakistan war of 1971, where Lt. Gen. Bakshi is well known for his capture of the Akhnoor Dagger (also referred to as The Chicken’s Neck), a small island between Chenab and one of its channels called Chander Bagha. It was actually a name given by Lt. Gen. Bakshi on account of its appearance. Even though his battalion received formidable resistance from the opposing Pakistani forces, he was able to counter the enemy with his offensive effort and it’s still considered an army folktale as to how he was able to do it. Gen. Bakshi said to his troops before the assault that, “It’s a chicken’s neck and I’m going to wring it” and he did just that. He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for his exploits there.
In his personal Gen. Bakshi was calm, charming yet fierce in his nature. He is a legend among his fellow army men even today; his tales of exploits are something worth mentioning and should definitely be recorded in the history books. He was a true patriot and a professional in every aspect of his career as a military man and in his personal life. He passed away on 24th May, 2018 at the ripe old age of 97, a man who inspired a generation and became a legend. India salutes this hero…..Jai Hind!!