Major Som Nath Sharma, PVC (1923–1947) was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest Indian gallantry award. He was awarded the medal posthumously for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947. He died while evicting Pakistani infiltrators and raiders from Srinagar Airport during the Indo-Pak war of 1947-48 in Kashmir. He belonged to the 4th Kumaon Regiment.
Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 in a Brahmin family at Dadh, Kangra Himachal Pradesh India. He came from a well-known military family, his father, Major General Amar Nath Sharma, was also a military officer (retired as Director, Medical Services (Army)) as were his brothers Lt. General Surindar Nath Sharma (retired as Engineer-in-chief) and General Vishwa Nath Sharma (retired as Chief of Army Staff, 1988–1990), and his sister Major Kamla Tewari (Medical Doctor). He did his schooling at Sherwood College, Nainital, before enrolling at the Prince of Wales Royal Military College in Dehra Dun and later joined the Royal Military Academy. He was commissioned into the 8th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment (later 4th Battalion, Kumaon Regiment):148 of the Indian Army (then British Indian Army) on 22 February 1942. He also saw combat during the second World War in the Arakan Operations. Incidentally, he is the eldest brother of the son-in-law (Lt. Gen. Surindra Nath Sharma, P.V.S.M, A.V.S.M) of Savitri Khanolkar, who designed the medal.
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