Heroic Stories

Col. Bishan Singh whose heroics inspired J. P. Dutta’s Paltan

Written by Asif Ullah Khan

Living a retired life in Jaipur and devoting his time on writing books on spirituality, Col (rtd) Bishan Singh of 2Grenadiers had never thought that a film will be made on the heroic battle he fought as a young major during the Nathu La military clashes of 1967 that took place along the Sikkim border.

Col. Bishan Singh with wife Jatan Kanwar, sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren

 But one  fine day his wife Jatan Kanwar got a call from filmmaker JP Dutta  (of Border and LOC:Kargil fame), who wanted to talk to Col  Singh as he was making Paltan on the Nathu La battle as the final part of his war trilogy.

Talking to Col. Singh was important for Dutta as Sonu Sood plays the role of Major Bishan Singh,’Tiger’ of Nathu La (company commander) in the film.  After that Dutta came to Jaipur and had many sessions with Col Singh to know the facts of the battle. Col Singh, who himself was seriously injured and lost his second-in-command Capt D. S. Dagar in the battle,  feels happy that at last someone is bringing to light the bravery of the Indian soldiers.

Apart from details of the battle, what Dutta found fascinating was events happening in the life of the young major. When as a young major Singh was sent to Nathu La, his wife Jatan Kanwar (the role played by Sonal Chauhan in the film), was expecting their first child. Coincidentally, her younger brother Rameshwar fell and was admitted to same hospital.

Col. Bishan Singh with J.P. Dutta

“Rameshwar had brought a transistor with him and I heard about the battle in the news I started having labour pains and gave birth to my son,” recalls Jatan Kanwar.

Col Singh, who was seriously injured in the battle and had to be evacuated to the Siliguri hospital, got this news when he was also lying on a hospital bed.

 “My senior came to see and asked me how was I? When I said I am Ok, he said congratulations for a good job done nine months ago. You have been blessed with a baby boy,” recalls Col Singh.

 Another interesting incident that happened in his life was that his father-in-law, a great devotee of  Shri Ramdev ji maharaj, was going on foot to Ramdevra near Pokhran from Bikaner.

Sonal Chauhan who plays the role of Jatan Kanwar

On 11th September (when the real battle took place) around 5am, en-route to the temple he was sleeping at a place when he had a dream that his son-in-law was seriously injured in the firing on the border between the Indian and the Chinese troops. He woke up and called aloud “O Lord save my son-in-law”. People around him tried to calm him down but he was restless and wanted to reach a place where a radio or transistor was available. When he reached next place around 9am, he heard in the news about the incident.

These on-and-off the battlefield events in Col Singh’s impressed Dutta so much that a major portion of the film will be devoted to it.

Sonu Sood portrays Major Bishan Singh in the film.

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Asif Ullah Khan

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