Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta is a retired Indian Army officer who participated in the tank battle during the Battle of Garibpur (1971) in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He came into the limelight in 2022 with the war film Pippa, which was based on Mehta’s book The Burning Chaffees (2016).After completing his schooling, Balram joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in January 1962. After completing his training at the NDA, he joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in June 1965. On 15 June 1966, after completing his military training at the IMA, Balram Singh Mehta joined the Indian Army’s Armoured Corps’ 45th Cavalry Regiment as a Second Lieutenant.During the Battle of Garibpur, which took place on 20-21 November 1971, Balram Singh Mehta, who had become a Captain by then, served as the Second in Command (2IC) in the C squadron of the 45th Cavalry under the command of Major Daljit Singh Narang.After Major Narang’s death during the tank battle at Garibpur, Balram Singh Mehta took over the command of the C squadron and led the squadron towards victory by defeating the Pakistani tanks and capturing the town of Garibpur in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). During the tank battle, the Indian Army lost only two tanks, whereas Pakistan Army lost eight tanks. For his leadership and courage, the Indian Army mentioned Balram Singh Mehta’s name in despatches. During an interview, while talking about the tank battle, Balram said, I was then the second-in- command of the 45th Cavalry Squadron. We had Russian PT-76 tanks in our fleet. Together with the 14th Punjab Battalion, on the night of 20th November, we crossed the Kabadak river and entered the border of Garibpur… after dawn on the 21st, the Pakistani tank fleet started fighting with our tanks. They had 14 American Chaffee tanks with them. Major Daljit Singh Narang, the commander of our squadron, lost his life in the Pakistani shelling almost at the beginning of the war. As a result, the responsibility of conducting the war fell on me. Just then my tank started malfunctioning. Meanwhile, three Pakistani tanks surrounded us. Almost miraculously we managed to bring down all three tanks. When their gunner was coming out of a Pakistani tank, I stopped the gunner in my tank from firing at him. Later, when we took him as a prisoner of war and gave him tea and biscuits, he was still giving thanks. If the government had given us the permission on that day (the day the Battle of Garibpur was won), we would have driven up till Jessore (Bangladesh) and brought the war to an early end.” A photograph of 45 Cavalry taken after the end of the Battle of Garibpur.After getting promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Balram Singh Mehta raised the 13th Armoured Regiment on 21 December 1984.The 13th Armoured Regiment, under Balram Singh Mehta’s command, took part in Operation Brasstacks, which was a military exercise conducted by India on a large scale in Rajasthan from November 1986 to January 1987.Balram Singh Mehta was posted to the Army War College in Mhow, where he attended the 1990 batch of the Higher Command course.Balram Singh Mehta held several key positions at different formations of the Indian Army like the Strike Corps, Mountain Divisions, and Infantry Divisions.Later, he was deputed to the Cabinet Secretariat.In 1998, Balram Singh Mehta voluntarily retired from the Indian Army as a Brigadier after which he worked with the Government of Gujarat till 2001.