The 1971 India-Pakistan War’s hero Bhairon Singh Rathore was cremated with full state honours on Tuesday in his native village Solankia Tala in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur.
Rathore had distinguished himself in the Battle of Longewala. He was posted as part of the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached to the Indian Army.
Hundreds of people from across Rajasthan thronged to Solankia Tala on Tuesday to pay tribute to Rathore. He breathed his last on Monday.
The family and friends of Rathore said he left a lasting impression on the youngsters in the area and inspired them to join the military and paramilitary forces.
“He inspired many youngsters from our village to join the Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF). They had his margdarshan (guidance). We all grew up listening to stories of his valour at the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 War,” said Vijay Kumar, whose wife Puro Devi is the Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Bapu Nagar under which Solankia Tala comes.
In the Battle of Longewala, Rathore was posted with the 14 th battalion of the BSF and was attached to the Indian Army’s 23 Punjab Regiment.
Bhairon Singh Rathore, a forever guide
Relatives and villagers say Rathore would always guide young Indian Army aspirants from the area.
“He would personally help Indian Army aspirants like us and give us advice about clocking the running time in the Army recruitment test and would also tell us about the various rules of the security forces. He loved to talk about his heroics in the Battle of Longewala. He inspired an entire generation,” said 19-year-old Bhupat Singh, who is presently preparing to join the Indian Army.
Singh said over 100 youngsters from Solankia Tala are currently preparing for the Army recruitment and have been inspired by Rathore.
Rathore was also portrayed in the 1997 film Border. Actor Suniel Shetty, who played the character in the movie, also tweeted to offer his condolences on Rathore’s death.
Rest in Power Naik Bhairon Singh Ji. Heartfelt condolences to the family 🙏 https://t.co/5A531HeouG— Suniel Shetty (@SunielVShetty) December 19, 2022
Last rites with full state honours
The last rites of Rathore were held on Tuesday in his village with full state honours.
The BSF said, “Mortal remains of 1971 War hero Naik (Retired) Bhairon Singh, Sena Medal, 14 Battalion BSF. Laid to rest with full force honours at his native village Solankiya Tala, District Jodhpur (Rajasthan) amid presence of large gathering, senior BSF officers, police and local administration.”
Mortal remains of 1971 War hero Naik (Retd) Bhairon Singh, Sena Medal, 14 Bn @BSF_India laid to rest with full force honours at his native village Solankiya Tala, Distt Jodhpur (Raj) amid presence of large gathering, senior BSF officers, Police & local administration.#JaiHind pic.twitter.com/R13bBmc4yf— BSF (@BSF_India) December 20, 2022
Several political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit shah, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and several others tweeted on his condolence. Former CM Vasundhara Raje also visited BSF headquarters in Jodhpur where she paid her respects to Rathore.