I heard about Major DP Singh during the One Rank One Pension (OROP) media coverage. The OROP scheme is a long-standing demand of the armed forces for a uniform pension to all defence personnel, who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Major DP Singh is part of the committee that aims to resolve the issues related to OROP.
From fighting as a soldier during the Kargil war, to battling death, and becoming India's first amputee marathon runner, he also works to inspire many others.
I spotted Major Singh on 26 July 2015, the day India proudly marks as Kargil Vijay Diwas. He was undertaking an 11-km run in Delhi to support the larger cause of OROP, representing many faceless soldiers who live and die fighting for the nation. Now, lots of people run, walk, paint, sketch or sing for a cause, so what's so inspiring about Major DP Singh? There's plenty.
For one, he is a Kargil war survivor, India's first amputee marathon runner and a Limca record holder. This is his awe- inspiring story.
India was at war with Pakistan in Kargil in 1999. A 25-year-old Singh was hit by a mortar that ripped his vital organs and tissues. Lying on the battle ground in a pool of blood he was taken to the field hospital where he was declared dead by the doctors. A fighter in true spirit and soul, Singh overpowered death. Months in the artificial limb centre of the military hospital, Singh was told by the doctors that his leg would have to be amputated. But this didn't deter him. He was alive and that was what was important to him.
Running can be tough for many of us, but it can be downright excruciating for someone with a prosthetic limb. Major Singh's first marathon was marked with pain and bleeding, but he has come a long way since then. After falling a million times, he has picked himself up, and as of today has more than 20 marathons to his credit. No wonder he has rightfully earned himself the title of the "Indian blade runner" apart from earning an entry into the Limca Book of Records.
Image courtesy: Facebook
Major Singh's story does not end here. From fighting as a soldier during the Kargil war, to battling death, and becoming India's first amputee marathon runner, he also works to inspire many others. Apart from supporting the OROP cause, he runs an NGO called The Challenging Ones. The organization guides many other physically challenged individuals. Singh personally meets them, their families and friends and provides them with the hope to go ahead in life.
What is awe-inspiring in Major Singh is that he hasn't stopped at just "himself". He has gotten up to stand for the welfare of many others. Most of us don't really attempt to do it. Major DP Singh is an inspiration to every one of us. Yes, it has taken him 14 years to start running, but his never-say-die spirit and raring-to-go attitude has got him back on his feet.
His attitude is summed up in a Facebook post he wrote last year:
"It is very easy to QUIT... majority does so... I, however would like to TRY till last breath, even if I fail. I know it is hard but then I am chosen by God himself for these challenges so why should I bother. Let HIM only worry about result.Jai Hind."
He now wishes to represent India at the Olympics. Way to go Major!