He took voluntary retirement He has always been a peace-loving man. He abhors violence. He is soft-spoken, always has a smile on his face and loves nature. But he is a Gurkha from Parbat district of Nepal. Like many other men from his district, he joined Indian Army and rose to the position of Naik in 7/8 Gurkha Rifles.
But this peace-loving, simple man did not continue in the Army for a long time. Despite persuasion from his friends, relatives and comrades, this young man, Naik Bishnu Shrestha, put down his papers. He took voluntary retirement from Indian Army in the year 2010. At that time, he was only 35.
After completing a fairly uneventful Army career, Bishnu Shrestha packed his luggage, collected his dues and enjoyed drinks with his comrades of the Regiment. Then his comrades bid him farewell. Bishnu boarded Gorakhpur-bound Maurya Express at Ranchi. From Gorakhpur, he planned to cross the Nepal border and reach Pokhara, where his family was settled.
The eventful train journeyBut this train journey changed Shrestha's life forever. He settled in the reserved compartment all alone. He mulled over his decision of retirement, thought about his ex-colleagues and enjoyed the natural beauty of Jharkhand and West Bengal. He fell asleep. The train crossed Chittaranjan. It was 2nd September, 2010.
Shrestha suddenly woke up hearing a commotion. He noticed that around forty armed robbers had entered the compartments with sharp weapons and some fire-arms (local pistols and revolvers). They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers.
They came to Shrestha and demanded the valuables from him. This young man carried out the order of the bandits without a murmur of protest. He handed over his wrist-watch, ring and a considerable amount of cash to them. He remained subdued and continued watching the activities of the robbers.
Fight started-The Khukri came out Suddenly Bishnu became very alert. He heard a shrill cry from a young girl seeking help. The robbers now turned their attention to an 18-year old girl. They first looted the family and then started molesting her. Three or four of them tried to forcibly carry the girl. The young Gurkha got up from his seat.
His fellow-passengers saw that the man took out a sharp weapon and started muttering something. Very few of them realized that this Gurkha ex-soldier brought out a traditional Khukri and was muttering Gurkha war-cry: ''Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali''. The passengers didn't know that when the Khukri comes out of its sheath, it is only satisfied with blood.
The Khukri saw bloodWith a blood-curdling war-cry, the Gurkha jumped on the robbers. At first, they were astonished and could not retaliate. During those seconds, the Khukri came into contact with three of the attackers. The Khukri saw blood flowing-the three molesters left the world. Bishnu grabbed the fourth molester and used him as a human shield to protect himself from the retaliation of other robbers. The fight between forty armed robbers and a Khukri-wilding Gurkha continued for twenty minutes.
The police were waiting at the next station. Bishnu was grievously injured but he continued fighting till the robbers fell down or fled. The police personnel took him to the hospital. Within a very few days, the police and RPF recovered valuables worth Rs. 4 lakh in cash, gold jewelry, cell phones, laptops and other valuables.
Bishnu recuperated in the Army Hospital for two months. When the girl's family offered a reward to him, he declined by saying ''Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier. Taking on the thugs on the train was my duty as a human being.''
Awards and recognition But Indian Army didn't fail to recognize the bravery of the retired soldier. Naik Bishnu Shrestha (Retd.), ex-7/8 Gurkha Rifles, was awarded Sena Medal for bravery and Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak for his gallant conduct. In addition, he got a silver-plated Khukri, Rs. 50,000/- cash bonus and the reward previously announced on the heads of some of the robbers.
The tradition of gallantry continuesThis peace-loving retired soldier who was awarded Sena Medal after his retirement, proved that a Gurkha always remains a Gurkha-even after retirement from the Army. The tradition of Gurkha gallantry continues.