Quirks of Army

The Meghdoot Force

After regaining Independence in 1947, India was restructuring its armed forces, of course we had to give certain number of our armed force to Pakistan as well. So in the end we were left with only one Parachute brigade. During the Indo-Pak 1965 war India was facing huge losses due to the Pakistani infiltrators and Indian army was pondering over this problem; how to tackle the infiltration.

Lt Col Megh Singh was serving in headquarter western command, Shimla in 1965 as a staff officer. Before this posting he was commanding a battalion as a Lt Col, but due to some disciplinary issues he was court martialed and was demoted to the rank of Maj. His command was also taken away from him. He was about to put up his papers for retirement due to this issue, when he heard about the infiltration problems faced by India. He sought Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh’s interview and described his own dare devil escapades in the past and volunteered to raise and lead a small task force to attack targets, carry out raids in the enemy lines. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh appreciated this idea and took permissions from higher offices. Soon Maj Megh Singh selected some hardy, dare devil soldiers from various battalions and gave them intensive training. He named this force as the Meghdoot Force. The Meghdoot force being very small in size, took advantage and launched surprise attacks on various Pak installations, ammunition dumps, bridges, fuel dumps, creating chaos and unknown fear amongst the Pak military leaders.

              On 4th September 1965, Maj Megh Singh was awarded with Vir Chakra and as promised by Lt Gen. Harbaksh Singh the rank of Lt Col was ones again pinned on the wounded Maj.Megh’s shoulder. He had been hit by a bullet on his thigh, as he had just returned after successfully completing a covert operation beyond Indian borders.

    The Meghdoot force was then formalized as 9 Para SF. The 9 para is one of world’s most daring, sophisticated and dreaded battalion of Indian Army. Till date they have undertaken numerous covert operations against the enemy and they have almost hundred percent success rate. They go to any length to complete an operation successfully. Each soldier of the battalion equals ten enemy soldiers. They are known by many names due to their unusual, no bars hold operating style. During the Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka the LTTE militants used to call them Pagal Papa, like wise they have earned some other names as well, like pirates,  ghost operators etc.

All the para troopers of this battalion or any of the other nine battalions of the Indian parachute battalions are volunteers. The selection procedure is extremely rigorous. The applicant is exposed to a very long and tough training which would expose him to sleep deprivation, humiliation, mental and physical torture and much more. Sometimes it culminates into death of an applicant as well. The attrition rate is very high and selection never goes beyond 10 percent.

After passing these tests, they are not inducted straight away, they are still kept on probation, which completes after six months and after one successful raid in hostile area which is called ‘Balidan Padh’.

So, I hope you have got your ‘SUPER HEROES’ today.

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