Nilesh Soni

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Nilesh Soni (16 July 1962 – 12 February 1987) [1] was an Indian Army officer in the Artillery Division. [2] As a Captain, he served in Operational/War area from 13 May 1985 to 15 June 1986 and was finally posted at the Siachen Glacier at a forward post at a height of 5753 m with 11 soldiers in December 1986. [3] He was killed by the Pakistan Army during Operation Meghdoot. Soni was conferred posthumously with the Saichen Glacier Medal [4] [5] and High Altitude Medal [6] by the Indian Army.

Early life and career

Nilesh Soni was born on 16 July 1962 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India [7] to Shri Harjivanbhai Chatrabhuj Soni (Adesara) [8] and Smt Kalavatiben Harjivanbhai Soni. [9] During October to December 1962, the Sino-Indian War war was taking place and that is when Shri Harjivanbhai had decided to send one of his three sons to join the army to serve the motherland. [10] Nilesh got admitted to the Sainik School in Balachadi, Jamnagar. [11] [12] Upon completion of schooling from Sainik School, Soni appeared for the examination to join the National Defence Academy and passed. [13] He was under training for three years at Khadakwasla, Pune. He chose to join the artillery department after his preliminary army training and underwent further training at the School of Artillery in Deolali, Maharashtra.

Soni eventually joined the Indian Army as Second Lieutenant [14] in the 62 Field Regiment [15] at Allahabad in June 1984. Soni got transferred to forward post at Siachen Glacier where the Indian Army was fighting the Pakistan Army in Operation Meghdoot. [16]

Last posting and death

Captain Soni along with 11 soldiers took charge at forward post at an altitude of 5753 m in December 1986. [17] Soni served at this active battlefield for 3 months in extreme cold weather (-45 to -55 degree temperature). On the morning of 12 February 1987, Soni and his troop were caught in an artillery duel. A cannon shot hit a nearby hill of snow resulting in an avalanche[18] that buried Soni and 11 of his men in their tent.[19] Soni's frozen body was recovered twelve days later.[19]

Awards

  • Siachen Glacier Medal
  • High Altitude Service Medal (Ucchh Tungta Medal)
  • Badge Of Sacrifice

Legacy

Memorial of Nilesh Soni, Ahmadebad

A memorial of Captain Nilesh Soni, Shahid Smarak [20] has been constructed on Anjali-Chandranagar BRTS road in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in the year 2009.[18]

A road nearby the residence of Soni, in the area of Bhattha, Paldi in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India has been named as “Shahid Captain Nilesh Soni Marg”.[18][19]

Also, at the Army school where Soni studied in Balachhadi, Jamnagar, Gujarat, a pillar called "Shaurya Stambh" was established in the year 2011, in memory of all students of Sainik School who laid down their life in defense of Motherland, bears the name of Shahid Vir Captain Nilesh Soni. A swimming pool is constructed at Sainik School, Balachhadi, Jamnagar has been named as MARTYR CAPTAIN NILESH SONI SWIMMING POOL which was inaugurated by Major Gen S K Bhanot, GOC 11 INF Division, Indian Army on 15 May 2015.

References

  1. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  2. Sandesh Gujarati Daily Newspaper of 23 April, 1987, Thursday
  3. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  4. The Times of India, No. 337 Vol. CL of December 9, 1987, Wednesday
  5. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ahmedabad-remembers-its-martyr-in-Siachen-29-years-ago/articleshow/50967153.cms
  6. Service Record of Captain Nilesh Soni Register No. 585 issued by Indian Army
  7. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  8. Sandesh Gujarati Daily Newspaper of 23 April, 1987, Thursday
  9. Divya Bhaskar Gujarati Daily Newspaper of February 13, 2011
  10. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/martyr-dies-for-whole-nation-not-a-state/articleshow/58634585.cms
  11. Sandesh Gujarati Daily Newspaper of 23 April, 1987, Thursday
  12. The Times of India, No. 337 Vol. CL of December 9, 1987, Wednesday
  13. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  14. Sandesh Gujarati Daily Newspaper of 23 April, 1987, Thursday
  15. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/ahmedabad-remembers-siachen-martyr-nilesh-soni/articleshow/57107699.cms
  16. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  17. Aa che Siachen, January 2017, Harshal Pushkarna, Uranus Books, ISBN 9788193238905, page 32
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Ahmedabad remembers Siachen martyr Nilesh Soni". Times of India. 12 February 2017. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/ahmedabad-remembers-siachen-martyr-nilesh-soni/articleshow/57107699.cms. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "30 years ago icy Siachen froze a valiant Amdavadi". DNA. 13 February 2016. http://dnasyndication.com/dna/dna_english_news_and_features/30-years-ago-icy-Siachen-froze-a-valiant-Amdavadi/DNAHM97188. 
  20. Sandesh Gujarati Daily Newspaper of 12 February 2011, Saturday