When you think about hardcore Indian men of the mid-twentieth century, one iconic name comes to most Western peoples' minds - Mahatma Gandhi. And yes, I will in no way contest the assertion that Gandhi was a badass dude - he was a skinny, seemingly-innocuous old guy who probably couldn't have bench-pressed a deep dish pizza yet he somehow engineered a non-violent revolution that liberated the second most populous country in the world from the most powerful empire on Earth - but thoughts of bespectacled old pacifists starving themselves into oblivion doesn't exactly equate to the sort of insane, head-smashing, motorcycle-texting asskickers you generally see routinely hero-worshipped here on this website. For that sort of thing, you need to look to guys like Fazal Din, a man whose story is so ridiculous that it sounds like something out of a half-demented import anime about sword guns, robo-boobs and humorless guys in long ponytails spray-painting the sides of skyscrapers with mountainous towering blood geysers.
Fazal Din was born in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, a province on the border between present-day India and Pakistan, and served in World War II as part of the 10th Baluch Regiment of the Indian Army. The twenty-three year old Naik (Corporal) had fought bravely throughout the Burma campaign, when the Japanese attempted to drive through Southeast Asia and launch an invasion of British India. The Imperial forces had been defeated and turned back, and by March 1945 the Allies were finally preparing to launch a decisive counter-attack designed to kick the Japanese in the junk so forcefully that it would send Hirohito's legions sailing through the stratosphere until such time as they descend crotch-first onto an active volcano located somewhere in the Ring of Fire region of the Pacific Ocean. So, on 2 March 1945, on the brutal battleground outside the Burmese city of Meiktila, Fazal Din was ordered to lead his squad on a full-speed charge up a hill and attack two heavily-fortified bunkers loaded up with pissed off soldiers just looking for one reason to use automatic weapons to groin-kick the nutsacks off of anyone who thought it was a good idea to step to them.
A WWII Japanese bunker like the ones Fazal Din led his men against.
Picture this, only with more machine guns.
Of course, Fazal Din and the men of the 10th Baluch Regiment weren't about to start crying into their hookahs just because an entire company of battle-hardened Japanese soldiers with heavy machine guns were spraying a few billion bullets in their faces, and he jumped up, grabbed his rifle, and ran ahead of his men screaming blood-curdlingly obscene death threats in whatever language it is that people speak in India. He and his squad charged up, didn't get shot to death, and leapt into the bunker with their rifles and bayonets at the ready. Thanks to Fazal Din's ability to use high-explosive grenades and large-caliber bolt-action rifles with surgical precision (well, the sort of surgical precision you'd expect from an insane, questionably-ethical back alley chop doc with an MD he obtained from an online university in some obscure third-world country), the entire crew of the Japanese bunker was pretty much detonated like a giant red paintball almost immediately.
But Fazal's work wasn't done yet - the dude dusted himself off and immediately went rushing towards the second bunker. Well the defenders there decided they weren't going to stick around and suffer a similarly-gruesome fate as that of their associates, so as Fazal was running across the open field, eager to frag the dicks off of some n00bs, he was suddenly greeted by the sight of six equally-pissed-off Japanese troops charging straight towards him with bayonets fixed and at the ready. As if it wasn't bad enough that this guy was about to go gun-jousting with a full squad of desperate Japanese infantrymen with nothing left to lose, two of the dudes were Imperial Japanese officers - badass face-stabbers who usually carried huge, gleaming samurai swords as part of their standard-issue wargear.
Protip: You really want to try to avoid being on the receiving end of something like this.
Fazal Din gritted his teeth and charged in, not realizing that the rest of his squad had fallen back behind cover (they were understandably intimidated by the copious pointiness to the point where they were unwilling to continue the attack). So this guy, on his own, now found himself facing down a bunch of psychos with goddamned longswords and rifles and a bunch of other ridiculous shit all over the place. Fazal ran in, fired the round that was in the chamber of his Lee-Enfield, and swung wildly with the butt of his rifle. The Japanese commanding officer, an expert fighter well-trained from birth in the art of classical swordfighting and kenjutsu, met Fazal Din's powerful blow, parried the rifle swing, side-stepped over like something out of a Soulcalibur game, and impaled the Indian soldier on his bloodthirsty katana blade.
For a moment, the air was still. Both men stood motionless, their eyes locked in defiant surprise, the sword pressed in to the hilt, sticking out the back of the mortally-wounded Allied soldier. The Imperial officer allowed a slight smirk of satisfaction to cross his lips before withdrawing the blade with one fluid movement.
But Fazal Din wasn't done yet.
This insane, kill-hungry warrior wasn't going to let this motherfucker get away with dealing him a fatal blow and then waltzing off feeling smug and satisfied with himself. Through sheer force of will alone, Fazal Din snapped his eyes open, reached out with his bloody hands, grabbed the hilt of the officer's katana, and, with one powerful stroke fueled by sheer adrenaline and anger alone, wrenched the weapon from the hands of its startled owner. The Allied berserker then lifted the sword above his head, and struck his nemesis down with one earth-shattering blow.
Now it was fucking on. Fazal Din, horrifically wounded and presumably bleeding profusely from a vicious chest wound, flipped the hell out and started going nuts on everyone in his general vicinity. The second officer attacked with his sword, but Fazal countered this attack by impaling the guy in the face. Then the crazy blood-raging face-smasher charged over, hacked his way through a couple other dudes, and cleaved another Japanese soldier in half from neck to groin.
The surviving members of the Japanese assault team, almost all of whom had been wounded in the span of just a few seconds by a seemingly-invincible sword-swinging crazy person with a giant sucking chest wound, had seen enough. They broke ranks and ran for it, leaving Fazal Din standing triumphantly among a large pile of blood and severed appendages. The probably-terrifying-looking warrior turned back to the rest of his team, held the captured sword above his head, and screamed for his soldiers to press the fucking attack. His squad got totally pumped up, charged out, and won the battle. Fazal Din stumbled back to Allied lines, dutifully filed an after-action report with his superior officer, and then promptly collapsed and died. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross - Great Britain's highest honor for valor in combat.
|When I punched "Bollywood Swordfight" into a Google Image Search all I got was this and a bunch of pictures of really hot Indian women. I don't feel like the pic fully articulates the badassitude of this story, but I'm using it anyways because I find the incongruity strangely hilarious.
Smith, Melvin Charles. Awarded for Valour. Macmillan, 2008.
Young, Edward M. Meiktila 1945. Osprey, 2004