“It is very easy to QUIT… majority does so… I, however, would like to TRY till last breath, even if I fail. I know it is hard but then I am chosen by God himself for these challenges so why should I bother? Let HIM only worry about the result. Jai Hind.”
Major DP Singh is a name that resonates with heroism and resilience. A Kargil War Veteran, India’s Blade Runner, Asia’s only disabled solo Skydiver, Asia’s only disabled to fly an Aircraft and a powerful Motivational speaker, his story can give goosebumps to any.
Major DP Singh was only 25 years old when during Operation Vijay 1999, he got hit by mortar fire during the heavy fire from the Pakistani military. He got severely injured by shrapnel. The shrapnel pierced several parts of his body. The soldier was taken to the Army Hospital. On arrival, the surgeon declared him dead but a senior anesthesiologist, Col Rajinder Singh, intervened and revived him. Due to excessive bleeding and infection, his right leg had to be amputated. However, the soldier refused to let his disability dictate the course of his life. Major DP shares, “It took me 24 years to hunt Col Rajinder Singh and thank him personally. I finally did so just about a month ago.”
It took him 10 years to conquer himself when in 2009, he ran his 1st half marathon on a walking prosthetic. In 2011, he received his first running prosthetic leg called ‘Blade’ from the Indian Army, and from that point onward, he earned the title of the “Indian Blade Runner.”
“I follow a three-point success mantra- Accept the reality, learn & master how to control your mind and increase your capacity to achieve what you dream of,” says DP Singh.
Major DP Singh has run 26 half-marathons, including three half-marathons in extreme conditions at altitudes of 12,000 feet. Due to his exemplary work, he has been featured five times in the Limca Book of Records, the latest under the title ‘First differently abled Skydiver in Asia’. He was also honoured by the Canadian government and awarded the prestigious REX Karamveer Global Fellowship.
Apart from shining as India’s first Blade Runner, Major DP Singh is an internationally acclaimed motivational & TEDx speaker as well. He is also Asia’s only disabled solo skydiver, endorsing the spirit of adventure for all disabled soldiers who suffer injuries while fighting for the nation. On 28 March 2019, he attempted a Solo Skydiving from Advance Landing Heptr at 9000 ft and landed safely.
In July 2022, he was diagnosed with early signs of Parkinson but as he says “Every time life tries to hit me down, in turn, it helps me to bounce back even higher,” Major DP Singh reignited his spirit again after a year and successfully flew an aircraft, becoming Asia’s only disabled to fly an Aircraft.
He has also co-authored “GRIT: The Major Story”, a book that shares a perspective on life and how one can enjoy life better and make the best out of whatever is left to cherish success.
Journey From 1999 to 2009
From 1999 to 2009, DP Singh was exposed to the following realities:
- Challenges faced by amputees
- The state of artificial limbs
- The unfavourable attitudes of prosthetic limb manufacturers toward amputees
- People’s mindset regarding people with disabilities
- Miserable lives of amputees
“I had pledged to myself during the amputation surgery that I would never compromise the quality of my life, so I could learn to conquer myself and lead a high-quality life,” shares the veteran.
He soon realised how difficult it would be for an average Indian amputee to improve their overall condition. After successfully completing 4 half marathons, he decided to take the action. Thus, he began a support group for amputees, The Challenging Ones (TCO) to encourage and motivate people like him to come forward and rise above their disability through sports.
“TCO members are called the ‘Challengers’ and not ‘Challenged’. Therefore, the group of Challengers is called ‘The Challenging Ones’,” mentions the Major with pride.
Achievements To His Name
Apart from earning the title of Kargil War Veteran and India’s first blade runner, Major DP Singh has many achievements to his name.
- Limca Record for ‘First Differently Abled Skydiver in Asia’ in 2020
- ‘CavinKare Ability Mastery Award’ in 2019
- ‘National Award’ for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in 2018, presented by the Government of India in the Role Model Category for multiple disabilities
- ‘Limca People of the Year’ Award in 2016
- Part of the historic committee established by Mr Manohar Parrikar, the then Defence Minister, to address litigation and grievances of all Ministry of Defence employees in 2014
- Indian Brand Ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, a global social initiative by Red Bull, focused on cancer awareness
- Recipient of the REX Karamveer Global Fellowship for 2014-15
- Limca Record for being the first Blade runner to run at high altitudes in 2014
- Limca Record for being the first Blade Runner of India in 2011
- Limca Record for being the first amputee in India to start running half marathons (21KMs) in 2009
- DNA Exemplar Award presented by ICICI Bank
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