Radhe Shyam Tiwari fought three wars for India, winning seven bravery awards, but died in poverty with his family scrounging around and appealing to friends for money to perform the last rites of the 75-year-old war hero.
Tiwari received seven bravery awards including the Mention-in-Dispatch award from the President of India died in Madya Pradesh's Mandsour on Friday.
All the bravery and service to the nation, however, failed to get him any dignity, not even in death.
He could be cremated only after friends, relatives and well wishers donated money.
Post his retirement, Tiwari lived, and died in penury.
By the time he retired, he had fought three wars for India, sustained injuries in the 1971 war against Pakistan and was decorated with seven bravery awards.
"He fought for the country but was given nothing in return, People usurped his land and he was left to fend for himself. No one came to his rescue when he needed help against those who had occupied the land given by the government," a relative BL Tiwari.
Tiwary was given 12 bigha land by the government, but most of it was illegally occupied even before it was allocated to him.
In his last years, cancer killed his wife, before turning to Tiwari himself. But this was one war the veteran couldn't win.
"My father was a fighter. He fought for the country; he never got the land that he was allocated, mother died from cancer. The medals that he got ultimately were of no use," his son Ajay Tiwary said.
The Indian state by conferring a Mention-in-Dispatch Award in 1974 ensured that his name was mentioned in a gazette notification but could do little else.
Neither his medals, nor the government helped him in his battle for survival. Even his last journey was made on borrowed money.