IC-16409 Major H.D. Manjrekar was commissioned in 8 GUARDS, one of the finest and most battle hardened units of the India Army. A Mumbai lad, he was the ‘A’ Company Commander when his unit was deployed for operations in the Eastern Sector for the Liberation of Bangladesh, where it took part in the famous battle of Hilli. Pakistan had deployed 4 Frontier Force Regiment of the Pakistan Army along with other elements for the defence of Hilli and when battle was joined, 8 GUARDS was part of the attack on the Hilli feature.
As part of the overall attack plan for Hilli, ‘A’ company under Major Manjrekar wastasked to capture Morapara. On the night of 23/24 November, Major Manjrekar stealthily led his company towards the assigned target. The area was slush with mud, and at places the troops had to wade through waist deep water. The objective was also defended with wire obstacles and mines. While wading through the water, the enemy suddenly opened up a murderous barrage of machine gun fire on the advancing column. The fire from eight machine guns was supplemented by other weapon systems, but that did not stop Major Manjrekar from pressing forward towards the target.
Despite the heavy volume of fire, the troops advanced foot by bloody foot, till they were in sight of the objective. Sheer grit, determination and raw courage, was in ample display on this cold winter night, when the brave officer, was hit by a volley of machine gun fire. Severe injuries were however not going to stop Major Manjrekar and he pressed forward relentlessly. Approaching the enemy machine gun post, he crawled forward and lobbed a grenade inside, silencing the gun. Then he was hit by another hail of bullets and fell bleeding at the objective. But in one last supreme effort, he shouted over the radio his units battle cry“Bharat Mata ki Jai” and then lay still for ever.
By the sheer momentum of his determination, the company secured a tenuous foothold on the objective forcing the enemy to withdraw from their position. The remarkable leadership and courage of the officer is even today remembered by his colleagues with deep honour and respect. He had set an example in the finest tradition of the Indian Army that will long remain a source of motivation for the future generations of the Indian Army.
We all salute Shaheed Major H.D. Manjrekar.
Lt. Col. (Retd.) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir Bir Protik is a veteran from the Bangladesh Army. Recipient of highest national honour of Bangladesh ‘Swadhinata Padak’, he is a researcher on the Liberation War. In 1971, he defected from the Pakistan Army, crossed over to India and fought with 2 Field Battery in Sylhet, for which he was awarded Bir Protik for gallantry in battle. He was the Project Director of Bangladesh Army. He regularly addresses seminars in Bangladesh and abroad. He has authored 48 books.