Saga of gallantry: Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami, Ashok Chakra (Posthumous)

Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami of 9 Para (SF) was martyred on the night of 2nd-3rd September, 2015 in J&K fighting terrorists during heavy rain inside a dense forest. Till the last moments of his life, he fought the terrorists and saved his injured comrades. Know the true story of this great soldier who was awarded Ashok Chakra posthumously on 26th January, 2016.

India has the fourth-largest armed force of the world. As a result, no country dares to attack India. Even our reckless neighbours think many times before adopting the role of aggressor, unlike they used to do earlier till 1998 (Kargil episode). But some of our neighbours have now adopted the policy of undeclared war with active support to the hardcore trained terrorists. So, our borders are always very dangerous.

As there is no formal war, nowadays no armed forces personnel are awarded wartime gallantry awards (Param Vir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra or Vir Chakra). However, every year many soldiers are awarded (Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra). This proves the level of the danger which the soldiers face in the border.
The value of the peacetime gallantry awards is not less than wartime awards, but often more significant considering the difficulties which the soldiers face during military operations during peacetime.

In this article and in some subsequent articles, we will mention some great soldiers who have fought for the country and have been awarded the peacetime gallantry awards. Some of them have made supreme sacrifice for this great country. One of these great soldiers is Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami, ex-9 Para (SF). Let us know about this great soldier, who was known as 'Jadugar' (his call-sign) among his colleagues.

Early life and military service

Mohan Nath Goswami was born at Lalkuan village in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. His father also served the Indian Army. Since his childhood, Goswami dreamt to join the Army and he successfully fulfilled his dream. Not only that, he was selected to join prestigious Parachute Regiment and after completion of a terribly tough training, he was assigned 9 Para (SF) in 2002. Since the time he joined 9 Para (SF), he had been taking part in many dare-devil operations.

Pinnacle of glory: August-September, 2015

Those who have an idea of the terrorist activities in Kashmir valley, know that the infiltration of terrorists increases during summers and this infiltration bids are maximum just before snowfall, i.e., in August and early September. So, the anti-insurgency operations also remain at peak during this period.

During August-September, 2015, Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami took part in three anti-terror operations within eleven days. He played very significant roles in all these three operations eliminating almost all terrorists and capturing one terrorist alive. But, in the last operation, he was martyred.

First Operation: Operation Khurmur

On 21st August, 2015, the intelligence sources informed 9 Para Headquarter that a group of three foreign terrorists would be linking up with six terrorists entering India at Khurmur village in Handwara district. Capt Dipesh Mehra was leading the 9 Para team. On 22nd August, 2015 night the team located the terrorists who opened fire on the Army team. Capt. Mehra was injured. A reserve team was sent from 9 Para Headquarter which included Lance Naik Goswami (who joined voluntarily). He extricated injured Captain Mehra and the operation was continued the next day. All the infiltrators were eliminated. Operation Khurmur was hugely successful and Lance Naik Goswami played an invaluable role in the operation.

Second Operation: Operation Lidder Panzal

Intelligence was received that five terrorists entered India on 26th August, 2015 at a remote ridgeline on the Shamshabari range in Uri sector. A team of 35 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was deployed. The 35 RR team managed to kill one terrorist and others escaped. Then a team of 9 Para which included Lance Naik Goswami joined the search. The help of a drone was also taken to locate the escaped terrorists. Lance Naik Goswami brilliantly tracked the fleeing terrorists and killed three terrorists with the help of his comrades. The remaining one was captured alive who provided valuable information. Operation Lidder Panzal was successful and again Lance Naik Goswami played a very significant role.

Third Operation: Sutsalyar Forest, Kupwara

On 2nd September, 2015, six teams of 36 soldiers were deployed at Sutsalyar forest, which is incidentally the densest jungle of J&K. At 8.30 p.m., Lance Naik Goswami's squad traced six terrorists, who opened fire on the soldiers. The visibility inside the forest was very low and it was raining. Lance Naik Goswami fired at one terrorist, who was injured but not killed. At midnight, the terrorists fired grenades from grenade launchers and two soldiers of the team of Goswami were injured. Havildar Mahendra Singh, the buddy of Lance Naik Goswami, tried to bring back the soldiers to the safety zone, but he was also badly injured in the process. Lance Naik Goswami came out from the cover and fired at two advancing terrorists killing both. But he himself was mortally injured. Till the last moments of his life, he gave covering fire to his comrades who ultimately eliminated the terrorists.

The courage and valour shown by Lance Naik Goswami in these three operations were exemplary even among the bravest of the brave. For his conspicuous gallantry, Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami of 9 Para (SF) was posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award, on the Republic Day of 2016.

Final few words

The tracking technique, accuracy of fire, courage and gallantry of Lance Naik Goswami inspire his comrades of 9 Para (SF) even after three years. This simple soldier is truly a legend of the Indian Army. He left behind his old mother, wife and a daughter. His body was cremated with full military honour in his native village. A village road in his native village has been named after this great soldier.

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Author: Umesh18 Nov 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

The author has nicely brought out the story of our great army soldier L/Nk Goswami who fought with brevity and sacrificed his life while fighting with the terrorists in the jungles of J&K.

These brave people are the real heroes of our country and we salute them and pay respect and homage to their soul.

It is good that the Govt has recognized the contribution of such soldiers and given them the requisite honor posthumously.

Author: Neeru Bhatt19 Nov 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

I am moved by this patriotic narration by the author. Late L/Nk M. N. Goswami very well deserves the Ashoka Chakra posthumously for his act of gallantry and brevity.

Our army jawans are the real fighters and are protecting our country from enemies and terrorists alike. They are deployed in far-flung border areas and serving their motherland in the extremes of climates and tough weather conditions. The life in such difficult terrains is always on the edge and we do not know what will happen in the next moment.

I salute these warriors who are on their duty day and night on our borders.

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