Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 02 April 2018
A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. A soldier always fights. Despite being war wounded and still having an enemy bullet in his spine, that is what proven by India’s first paralympic gold medalist Murlidhar Petkar. He was denied Arjuna Award multiple times just because he did not know how to write an application. But 44 years later Mr Petkar got the Government recognition when on 20 March President of India conferred him the much coveted Padamshri award.
Mr Petkar’s exhibited excellent sportsmanship in wrestling, hockey and athletics as soon as he was enrolled in the Boys Battalion of the Indian Army in Pune. In 1964 he was chosen to represent Indian Army in Boxing at the International Services Sports Meet to be held at Tokyo in Japan.
On returning, he was transferred to Secunderabad where he started training to be an armorer along with preparing himself for the Nationals. Mr Petkar volunteered to go to Kashmir when all of a sudden 1965 Indo-Pak war broke out. In the war, Petkar suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was run over by a car, he lost his memory and a bullet is still lodged in his spine. However, he showed extraordinary courage and in next two years, he made significant recovery.
In 1972 Summer Olympics in Heidelberg in Germany, Mr Petkar won the gold in 50 meter freestyle swimming with a world record timing of 37.33 seconds
For 44 Years, this great soldier kept fighting for the recognition he deserved for the laurels he brought to India. Mr Petkar is thankful to Modi Government to recognize his contribution to the country.
Your story is indeed very inspiring Mr Petkar. Despite being war wounded and disabled you kept fighting for India. We all salute you. Thank you and Jaihind!