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Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Soldier and A Horse

The tall and strapping young Sikh was posted at Aden during World War I, as a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army.

One day, he was ordered to deliver an urgent missive to a forward post. He was almost there, when the horse that he was riding suddenly stopped in its tracks, neighed and reared up. Simultaneously, a shot rang out and hit the middle of the animal's forehead. It died instantaneously and collapsed on to one of the soldier's legs, before he could get his feet out of the stirrups, thus causing a bone fracture. Despite the injury, he managed to extricate himself rather quickly and made his way to the post, while being under heavy enemy fire.

"Tum toh bach gayaa!" (You escaped!), exclaimed the British commander of the post, in broken Hindustani, when the Sikh reached there. The Englishman had been watching the action unfold, through a pair of binoculars.

Shortly thereafter, the reply was prepared and the JCO was provided with another horse, to carry it back to headquarters. Later, he received an award, which included the grant of a sizeable piece of agricultural land in the Rawalpindi district (Punjab, Pakistan), besides the decoration, for the gallantry which he displayed that day. He, along with other members of his family, cultivated the land up to 1947, when the partition of India forced him to return permanently to his native village in Ludhiana district (Punjab, India).

Until the very end of his days, however, he often recounted the story of the horse that sacrificed its own life to save that of its rider, to his children, one of whom was my maternal grandfather.

1 comment:

Sidhusaaheb said...

Thanks for sharing. I am quite surprised to read that he had to ride back with the broken leg. But then war and lack of resources could be the reason?
Mridula | Homepage | 10.12.09 – 7:06 am | #

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The answer probably lies within your question. :)
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 10.12.09 – 8:15 am | #

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So the heroic rider was your great-grandfather and his valiant steed?

Some amazing stories of courage and resilience are told from tales of war, many despite the odds being against someone’s survival.

It was sad about the horse, but good that your great-grandfather lived to tell this story, which I’m sure will be passed down through the generations :)
Fi | Homepage | 10.12.09 – 9:58 am | #

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Exactly!

He had passed away long before I was born, but his eldest son i.e. my grandfather told me about the incident, many years ago.

Animals’ instincts are far more developed than ours and they can sense danger much before us i.e. humans, it seems to me.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 10.12.09 – 10:41 am | #

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That’s very true! Humans apparently have a brain that is more developed, but I sometimes think we could be doing with developing our instincts more.

ps. and it’s instinctively tempting to be distracted by other stuff whilst looking at jobs online :D
Fi | Homepage | 10.12.09 – 12:13 pm | #

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Hello from Nouméa
Thanks for sharing
Lilas Conuts | Homepage | 10.17.09 – 7:28 pm | #

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wow.. u really do have a huge store of interesting stories to share from within ur family, and from ur own life, of course..
how do we know | Homepage | 10.20.09 – 12:11 am | #

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@Lilas Conuts: Hello there!

You’re always welcome! :)

@How Do We Know: We all do, I suppose. Some choose to tell, others don’t. :)

Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 10.20.09 – 8:09 am | #

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Thanks for Sharing,
So your grandfather had agriculture land in Rawalpindi, interesting.
Mohsen Ali | Homepage | 10.24.09 – 6:41 am | #

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Pretty cool, I love genealogy and horses, and that’s great to have a combination of the two. I’m amazed that in my genealogy research I don’t find more horse stories in the family stories since horses were such an everyday part of life back then. But then again, maybe that’s why….
Kerry | Homepage | 11.07.09 – 7:29 pm | #

 
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