Next Man who ran back from the deadIndia’s first blade runner on the life lessons he learnt two decades ago from the Kargil conflict.advertisement Aasheesh Sharma New DelhiJuly 26, 2019UPDATED: July 26, 2019 03:21 IST After losing his leg in a mortar blast, Major DP Singh refused to give up and went on to run marathons on an artificial leg.Twenty years ago, dawn was about to break at Pallanwalla in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor sector.In the early hours of July 15, 1999, a young Army major was busy commanding a post built on the bed of the River Manawar Tawi, close to the Line of Control. After a long lull in firing from the enemy post located 80 metres away, Major Devender Pal Singh had feelings of unease.”A 48-hour lull at the height of the Kargil conflict without a single bullet being fired was unusual for a combat zone. When the conflict scene is hot and nothing happens, you have a feeling something bad is about to happen,” recalls Singh, who was just 25 then.A few minutes later, Singh heard a whizzing sound and realised the Pakistan Army had used a parabolic weapon to send in a mortar shell that exploded just 1.5 metres away from him “I instinctively dived to the ground. A mortar has a killing area of eight metres. Looking back, I can say the bomb had my name written on it.” Singh lost consciousness and was almost declared dead.A specialist at an Army hospital revived him, but three days later gangrene set in. Multiple surgeries and an amputation later, Singh refused to give up and went on to become India’s first blade runner, running on an artificial leg and forming a support group for amputee runners called The Challenging Ones.In an exclusive interview with MAIL TODAY, Singh says the Kargil conflict of 1999 was a “positive” turning point in his life.advertisementHow did you stay motivated after losing a limb in the line of fire? I derived strength from the tradition of putting service before self that is the bedrock of the values of both the Indian Army and the teachings of Sikh gurus. The way the gurus sacrificed their families for the sake of their country without shedding a tear, and then making the best of whichever situation they have been put into, inspired me.That’s something I can relate to. I cannot get back the part of my body that I have lost. The sooner I accept it the lesser time I waste on repenting or sulking.What are the physical challenges of a blade runner? Difficulty of a physical nature is all in the mind. Out of the 50 shrapnel I carry in my body, 20 are in the stump. When I did my first run, part of the skin came off my stump because of the continuous rubbing of the socket with my skin. But I was better prepared the second time round. We always have choices. I purposefully made the choice of running since I wanted to come out of the injury. This choice made me innovate on the socket. It took me five half marathons after the first run to become totally injury free.Why do you call the amputation a ‘positive’ turning point?Lying in a hospital while my colleagues fought it out with Pakistan was not easy. My stomach had been operated upon twice, I was suffering partial deafness and doctors were struggling to extract the shrapnel embedded in my body.The world almost gave up on me. But I made a new beginning that day. I promised myself I’ll never compromise with my quality of life despite my disability. I made the best of whatever I had.That is what I’d done even in my childhood when my parents left me with my grandparents in Roorkee and that’s how I’ve dealt with other setbacks in my life.You didn’t give up after flunking exams in school, the NDA or the CDS till you reached your goal of joining the Army as an officer. Why is it important not to give up in the darkest phases of your life? Because that is how you will progress. Challenges come to you for your own benefit. It is only after undergoing these challenging situations is how you internally become strong. Unless you keep improving, you will become stagnant after some time.How do you motivate fellow amputees in your group? I don’t lecture anybody. The best way of motivating is by example. When I started running in 2009, there was not even a single person thinking about running on an artificial leg, or even telling people that they were wearing an artificial limb.That was the mind-set that amputees had, because of the stigma created by society. Every individual basically is a positive person. This hidden positivity can be brought out, only by making people do things on the ground. Physical activity isn’t everybody’s cup of tea including the so-called able-bodied.advertisementToday every one of the 2,000 amputees across India is setting an example in sports, adventure and Paralympic events.How about the 50 shrapnel lodged in your body? I’ve made peace with them. Anyone who does an X-ray of my body will still find bomb particles with the marking ‘Made in Pakistan’ (laughs) 20 years later.There are a few that give me more trouble: one in my elbow, one in the centre of ribs, one under my patella, one in the groin area. These are areas that are mobile, so the shrapnel keep shifting. But if I undergo surgery, I will be adding one more traumatic condition to my already dented body.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow Indian ArmyFollow Major Devender Pal SinghFollow Kargil conflictFollow Kargil warFollow Blade Runner
Nova Scotians will see more job opportunities in aircraftmanufacturing and related industries following the signing of anagreement today, Oct. 22, between the province and the Aerospaceand Defence Industries Association of Nova Scotia (ADIANS). The agreement will ensure a co-ordinated approach to improveemployability, recruiting, training and retention of a skilledworkforce within industries such as aircraft manufacturing andmaintenance, and the industrial and electrical trades. “The aerospace and defence industry, like other industries, isworking to narrow the skills gap and address workforce challengesincluding an aging population and rapidly advancingtechnologies,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “As part ofSkills Nova Scotia, the government is working with many partners,like ADIANS, to educate and train more people to work right hereat home, to create a prouder, stronger Nova Scotia.” The Department of Education and Nova Scotia Economic Developmenthave provided $25,000 to ADIANS to develop an implementationplan, governance model and business plan, needed to establish thenew partnership. “A skilled, productive workforce is vital for the competitivenessof the aerospace industry, while the industry, in turn, is avital part of Nova Scotia’s advanced manufacturing sector, whichproduces good jobs, high wages and spinoff employment,” saidEconomic Development Minister Ernest Fage. He said his department is proud to work with industry to helpNova Scotia companies make the most of aerospace opportunitiessuch as the Maritime Helicopter Program. There are currently 5,200 aerospace and defence workers in NovaScotia. The Department of National Defence (DND) employs another2,000 civilians in similar fields. It is estimated that withinthe next two years about 30 per cent of these jobs will bevacant, due to a shortage of skilled workers. Hal Davies, chair of the ADIANS human resources council, saidaerospace and defence sector participants in a spring workforcestrategy forum saw the value to the industry of a much closercollaborative effort by the private, public and educationsectors. One of the recommendations included in a forum reportwas that a human resources partnership be developed. “Improved competitiveness, an expanded market share, and betteremployment prospects will result from the enthusiastic desire ofindustry, government, college and university educators, workersand students to work more closely together,” said Mr. Davies. He said skills shortages, demographic change and improvingeconomic prospects are impacting the industry. “The partnershipwill provide the synergistic and collaborative framework toenable us to optimize the talent of our people and meet thechallenges of today and thereby enhance the prosperity of allNova Scotians.” Stuart Gourley, senior executive director of the skills andlearning branch, Department of Education, signed the document onbehalf of the department. Carl Kumpic, vice president of ADIANSsigned on behalf of the association and Jim Stanley signed onbehalf of Nova Scotia Economic Development. A copy of the ADIANS Workforce Strategy Report is available onthe ADIANS Web site at www.adians.ca . Skills Nova Scotia is the province’s co-ordinating strategy fordeveloping a skilled and competitive workforce. It involvesworking with partners to upgrade people’s skills from basicliteracy to the use of the most advanced technologies to furthersuccess in education and in the workplace. Copies of the SkillsNova Scotia 2002-2003 Action Plan, and the 2002-2003 Skills NovaScotia Progress Report are available on the Department ofEducation’s Web site at www.ednet.ns.ca .