A Legendary Ghost Soldier
I want to tell you about a legendary ghost story about an Indian army ghost soldier Baba Harbhajan Singh. Baba Harbhajan Singh was a soldier in the Indian army and worked in the Dogra Regiment during 1962 China-India War. This soldier died near the Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim – India while on duty. Mr Harbhajan Singh got drowned in a glacier during the 1962 China-India War. He was searched for everywhere & he was found three days later and was cremated with full military honours.
Legend goes like this that Harbhajan Singh led the search party to his body, and later, through a dream, instructed one of his colleagues to build and maintain a Temple/Shrine after him. A shrine was built at his Samadhi in the hills. Soon reports of a man seen patrolling the area began filtering in. Soldiers deployed in the area would talk of a lone uniformed man on horse patrolling the region. Forces on the other side of the border confirmed these reports and claimed that they too had seen the ghost rider.
Over the years, soldiers in the area began seeing Harbhajan Singh in their dreams where he instructed them of loopholes and unprotected areas from where the Chinese could attack. His instructions generally proved to be accurate and the legend of Baba Harbhajan Singh grew. Meanwhile, the popularity of the shrine was also growing. It gained significance as a religious spot and people came with the faith of having their problems solved or their infirmities cured by the Baba who had come back from the dead.
Army folklore holds Baba is a stickler for discipline and is known to admonish those who do not tow this line. In the camp at Nathula Pass, a camp bed is kept for him and his boots are polished and uniform is kept ready every night. The sheets are reportedly crumpled every morning and boots muddy by evening. The Ghost soldier continues to draw a salary and takes his annual leave also.
Legend also has it that in the event of a war between India and China, Baba would warn the Indian and Chinese soldiers three days in advance. Chinese do also worship him & during the flag meetings between the two nations at Nathula Post, the Chinese soldiers have also set a chair aside for the saint. Every year on September 14, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri, where it is then sent by train to the village of Kuka, his hometown in Kapurthala district in Punjab. A small sum is also sent to the mother of this Ghost Soldier each month. Though it may look weird but it is true & Indian Army still honours this soldier like that.
After post death promotions, late soldier is treated as honorary captain. Ghost Soldier gets two months annual leave every year and a first class berth is booked in the train in his name and his portrait, uniform and other belongings are brought by army officials to his native village Kuka in Kapurthala district for availing of his leave. The family of the late soldier received the belongings at the railway station and later proceeded for their native village. On completion of the leave the same team of the army personnel will escort back the belongings to the NathuLa region.