Colonel Manpreet Singh: From Army Jawan’s Son to Officer in the Same Unit, a Hero’s Journey

In a rare and poignant tale, Colonel Manpreet Singh’s life journey took him from being the son of an Army jawan to becoming an officer in the very same unit his father once served. This extraordinary achievement, often only seen in movies, became a reality when he was commissioned in the 12th Battalion of The Sikh Light Infantry in June 2005.

Tragically, Colonel Manpreet’s life was cut short during a gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on a fateful Wednesday morning.

The somber atmosphere hung heavy over his residence in Bharaunjian village, nestled within the Mullanpur Garibdas township of Mohali district. While the village had transformed into a bustling urban center, Colonel Manpreet’s modest home remained a testament to his humble beginnings.

Colonel Manpreet’s father, the late Lakhmir Singh, had served as a Naik in the 12 Sikh Light Infantry. He had the privilege of witnessing his son rise through the ranks to become an officer in the same battalion where he had once been a jawan.

Colonel Manpreet’s brother, Sandeep Singh, and sister, Sandeep Kaur, displayed stoic composure amidst the grief that enveloped them. Their mother, Manjeet Kaur, sat quietly in a room, surrounded by mourning relatives. A large photograph on the wall captured happier times when the entire family smiled together.

“He was passionate about photography, carrying his camera wherever he went. He even captured moments during his stint with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Africa,” reminisced Shivani, a friend and former colleague of Manpreet when they worked as interns at a Chartered Accountant’s firm in Chandigarh in the early 2000s.

Manpreet completed his schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya Mullanpur before pursuing a B.Com degree at SD College Chandigarh. He passed the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination, joined the Indian Military Academy in 2004, and graduated in June 2015. Subsequently, he joined the 12 Sikh LI.

Colonel Manpreet’s distinguished career saw him command the same battalion, 19 RR, responsible for eliminating Burhan Wani in 2017 in Kashmir. In 2021, he was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry after killing two terrorists in a gunfight.

His sister, Sandeep Kaur, revealed that Colonel Manpreet had come on leave in June, and the family had plans to visit him in Jammu and Kashmir in October, anticipating his upcoming posting.

“He served as a Lieutenant Colonel with the 19 RR and was later appointed as the Commanding Officer after his promotion to Colonel,” recalled his sister, who fondly remembered their last conversation on Rakshabandhan.

Colonel Manpreet Singh’s body is expected to arrive in Chandigarh late on Thursday, with the family planning to hold the cremation in the village on Friday afternoon. He leaves behind his wife, Jagmeet Grewal, and two young children, six-year-old Kabir Singh and two-year-old Bani Kaur.

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