Monday 27 December 2021

Swaraj Amrit Mahotsav : Lance Naik Albert Ekka

Lance Naik Albert Ekka, was born on 27 December 1942 in Zari Village in Gumla district of  Bihar (now Jharkhand). Son of Sri Julius Ekka and Smt Mariam Ekka, he was adventurous by nature and always nursed the idea of joining the Indian Army. His dream turned into reality when he joined the army on 27th Dec 1962 at the age of 2o years. He was recruited into 14th Battalion of Brigade of the Guards, a mechanized infantry regiment known for its fearless soldiers and various battle exploits.  He was a keen sportsman and excelled in various games, especially hockey.

By 1971, Lance Naik Albert Ekka had put in about 9 years of service and had served in numerous counter insurgency operations in the North East region. When the 1971 Indo-Pak war broke out, Lance Naik Albert Ekka's unit got involved in the battle of Gangasagar, which was very crucial in paving the way for the advance of Indian Armed Forces towards their target in Bangladesh.

Indo Pak War: 03 Dec 1971

During the Indo-Pak War in 1971, the 14 Guards was dispatched to capture a Pakistani position at Gangasagar about 6 Kms west of Agartala in Brahmanbarhia district of what was then East Pakistan. It was located on a major railway link to Dhaka and owing to its strategic position was well-fortified position and was heavily mined too. But this position was critical to the Indian Army for the capture of Akhaura on the way to Dhaka.

So 14 Guards launched an attack on enemy positions at on the night of 03 December 1971. Lance Naik Albert Ekka went with the left forward company of the battalion in the attack. The Indian troops were subjected to intense shelling and small arms fire by the enemy. Lance Naik Ekka spotted an enemy light machine gun firing from a bunker causing heavy casualties. Unmindful of personal safety, he charged at the bunker, bayoneted two soldiers and captured the bunker post. He was seriously injured in the exchange, but that did not stop him. Epitomizing the motto of his regiment, the Brigade of the Guards, "Pahla Hamesha Pahla" meaning ,"First Always First", he continued his advance with his company, securing bunker after bunker.

Soon, they reached the northern end of their objective. An enemy medium machine gun opened fire on them, inflicting heavy casualties and once again, Lance Naik Ekka rose to the occasion and threw a grenade into the bunker and bayoneted the remaining enemies, and silenced the weapon. Although grievously injured in these close encounters Lance Naik Albert Ekka continued to pursue the objectives of his company relentlessly. His daring action helped his company in successfully driving the enemy away from Gangasagar. The fall of Gangasagar forced the enemy to vacate Akhaura and consequently the Indian troops soon were on their victorious march towards Dhaka.

Lance Naik Albert Ekka was martyred and his heroic action in the battle of Gangasagar changed the course of the war in India's favour. Lance Naik Albert Ekka was given the nation's highest gallantry award, "Param Vir Chakra" for his cold courage, unyielding fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice. He is survived by his wife Balamdina Ekka and son Vincent.

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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