In December,1971,during the Indo-Pak war Major Basdev Singh Mankhotia commanded the outpost of Ranian Screen that guarded the approach to Amritsar. On 3rd December, Pakistan launched the first of its attempts to capture Ranjan. Supported by heavy artillery fire, the Pakistanis advanced rapidly. When they were mearly 50 meters away, the shrewd major directed the full force of his mortar and artillery fire on the enemy, who taken by surprise, beat a hasty retreat.
The second attack was also repulsed. Even as they advanced a third time, the major led a fierce counter attack to repulse them, but sustained severe injuries. Refusing evacuation he persisted till the enemy had been driven back.
Over the next few nights, the Indians were subjected to Pakistani artillery and air attacks, but the major stood firm, fooling all these attempts to capture Ranjan.
For his heroic defence of Ranjan, Major Mankhotia was awarded the Mahavir Chakra.