Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

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I. V. Chalapati Rao



I.V. Chalapati Rao

Writing about India’s earlier conflict and war with Pakistan, John Grigg (formerly Lord Altrincham) a well-known political commentator of Great Britain, said that India’s victory would represent the triumph of secularism over theocracy.  He said “it would decide the fate of free institutions in Asia……… If India loses, the light of freedom will be extinguished in Asia”.

It is encouraging to note that in India which is a multi-religious state, the minorities remained loyal to the nation in critical times.  It is interesting to recollect concrete examples and specific instances. Several members of the Indian minorities rose like one man and resisted the aggression.  When Pakistan invaded Baramula and other parts of Kashmir in 1947, hundreds of Muslims defended the territory and laid down their lives for the country.  Cases like the heroic death of Brigadier Osman and the shining example of Maqbool Sherwani, to quote only a couple of instances, are recorded in history.

Under the leadership of Sheik Abdulla, the Lion of Kashmir, the Muslims of Kashmir had opted for the secular ideal and chose to remain in India.  Sheik Abdulla’s idealism and Jawaharlal Nehru’s statesman like vision, fully supported by the people of Kashmir made it possible.

In the subsequent armed conflict with Pakistan, the same zeal was displayed in resisting the aggression.  Basically Kashmiris were a peace-loving people. Let us examine a few cases reported in the newspapers.  Mohammed Din was the first man who spotted the entry of the Pakistani armed infiltrators at a place called Dhanatwas and he promptly reported to the authorities.  800 men entered the place and their leader offered Din a bribe of Rs. 400 if he co-operated with them in proceeding to Gulmarg.  Although Din was a poor peasant, he did not yield to the temptation.  He passed on the information to Constable Khatana. On the 5th of August 1965 Wazir Mohammad, another Kashmiri Muslim saw a group of infiltrators and immediately alerted the Border Security Forces who killed the Pakistanis and captured their machine guns and ammunition. He too rejected the money offered to him by the invaders.

The Indian Newspapers exhibited a photograph on 9.9.1965 showing the beaming faces of Police Inspector Mohammad Sharif, Dy. S.P. Abdul Aziz, D.I.G. of Police Kwaja Ghulam Rasool and S.P. Syed Wali Shaw, who valiantly resisted the Pakistani invaders at Gangabug Village. This heroic fight was regarded as a major event for the defence of Srinagar.  The local people supported the State Government and together they foiled the attempt of the infiltrators.

In Jalila, a border village in Chotan Tehsil of Barmer district of Rajasthan, it was again a Muslim who proudly sacrificed his life for India.   The name of this great patriot was Shafi Mohammad.  When he was on patrol duty with his colleague Bannu, he was surrounded and over powered by Pakistani infiltrators who threatened to kill him if he did not show them the way to the vital installations.  When he refused to be a traitor they shot him dead.  As he fell down bleeding, his last words to his comrades were “My work is done, but I would ask you also to prefer death to the dishonour of helping the enemy”.

Jammu – Sialkot sector witnessed some of the fiercest battles where the Pakistanis fought from their pill-boxes (concrete enclosures) with eight-inch guns and 500 pound shells.  Our Jawans including Sikhs and Muslims fought pitched battles gallantly and silenced them with artillery fire.  A band of young men who fought bravely in this sector were Muslims hailing from the various states.  They took a heavy toll of the enemy equipment including Chaffee tanks. Another column of Jawans, all Muslims from U.P. and Rajasthan played a key role in the Uri-Poonch link up, seizing large quantities of the enemy equipment and ammunition.  They also gave a tough battle near the Kahata Bridge at an altitude of 7000 feet.

Lt. Col. Salim Caleb was awarded the distinguished Mahavir Chakra for destroying 15 Patton Tanks and capturing nine Tanks (America’s gift to Pakistan). Major M.A.R. Shaik who laid down his life for the country was a former Muslim Prince of Mongrol.  The Gujarat Government honoured this martyr posthumously and granted a gift of 30 acres of land to his widow.

Flight Lieutenant Hussain of the Indian Air Force was piloting Mysters in air battle over Western Pakistan.  When his aircraft was attacked With Sabre Jets and badly damaged, he managed to bring it safely across the Indian skies, successfully bailed out and was prepared to go on another sortie.  The Keeler brothers also distinguished themselves in a similar way.  Squadron Leader Trevor Keeler piloted the Bangalore – built Gnat (a small fighter plane) and shot down the first Sabre Jet in the Chamb–Sector. His brother  D. Keeler brought down an F-86 Sabre Jet in the Sialkot Sector.

India’s highest decoration for valour and most conspicuous bravery Param Vir Chakra was posthumously awarded to Havildar Abdul Hamid, the company Quarter Master.  He fought valiantly, destroyed two Patton Tanks and crippled the third one. Before he died from a direct hit from the enemy his last words were: “Advance, Advance”. Harindranath Chattopadhyay wrote a beautiful poem on him in ‘Blitz’. Among the gunners who gave a good account of themselves mention must be made of Gunner Ayub Khan who destroyed a Chaffee Tank in a bloody battle in the Sialkot Sector on 11.9.1965.

Major Mohammad Ahmed Zaki of the Maratha Light Infantry, who belonged to Hyderabad, was awarded Vir Chakra for attacking the enemy and capturing substantial quantities of arms, vehicles and ammunition.  He sustained severe wounds in the battle but refused to be evacuated till the operation was successfully completed.
The newspaper dated September 28 reported the case of a Muslim mother who did not inform her son about the death of her husband!  Her only son was in the army in Jammu. Her husband died in the battle fighting for India. It was a case of a mother’s unprecedented bravery and patriotism.

Likewise, several Sikhs sacrificed their lives for the country by fighting in the Indo-Pakistan war and the Police Action which resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh. Naik Mohinder Singh climbed over the enemy Tank in the face of gun fire, opened the hatch and dropped a hand grenade into the cockpit, unmindful of severe injury to his hand.  Gurbax Singh who piloted a war plane was critically wounded in a sortie over the Sialkot Sector.  He managed to bring the aircraft across the enemy territory and dropped dead as he reached the base.

Constable Poornam Singh of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary killed a dozen Pakistani Rangers at the border of Bhuttonwala and wounded several of them.  Notwithstanding the fact that his men were outnumbered by the Pakistanis and all the ammunition was spent, he came out twice in the thick of the fighting to collect cartridges! Any other man in his position would have surrendered to the enemy. Even after he received a direct hit with a hand grenade, he killed three more people before he died.

A brave pilot whose name was perhaps Mohinder Singh made a reckless suicidal attack against the Radar equipment of the enemy at Sargodhra Air Base in Pakistan and destroyed the instrument by diving into it.

These are some of the incidents that took place in the earlier conflicts before the Kargil war which prove that India stands for national integration.

During the Victory in Europe (VE) Day Commemoration ceremonies at Hyde Park, London the Prime Minister in waiting of the Labour Party, paid our Indian Subedar Umarao Singh (of Victoria Cross) the highest respect, when he alighted from his car. The Prime Minister saluted Umarao Singh and gave him the right of way, saying “How can I drive my car ahead of a V.C.?” Such was the respect shown to the soldier!

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