Naushera Sub Division spreads to many places and from all over the young boys have adorned the olive green uniform and have given the display of their fighting acumen!
As the victory flame moves we the writers also get the requisite adrenaline pump to keep pressing the keys of the keep pads to come out with something new, imaginative and creative keeping the main text in mind.
On June 20, 1947, the Bengal legislative assembly voted overwhelmingly to break away from India. A referendum on July 7 in Sylhet decided in favour of Pakistan, and on August 15, 1947, East Pakistan was a reality.
Salman Rushdie put it in a way that only he can, more than half of Pakistan’s population lived in its eastern wing, separated from its western wing by 1,300 miles of Indian territory, but united by a common faith. That fantastic bird of a place, two wings without a body, sundered by the landmass of its greatest foe, joined by nothing but God.
It was late November, India was ready for a military offensive. When the Pakistan Air Force launched pre-emptive strikes on airfields in Western India on December 3, 1971, India responded by formally declaring war in the wee hours of December 4.
The speed and scale of victory was due to leadership, logistics, strategy but also chance and contingency. The instrument of surrender was signed by Lt Gen A A K Niazi with Lt Gen J S Aurora watching, at Dhaka at 4.55 pm on December 16, 1971. That remains the abiding image of the 1971 War.
It was a stunner for the world, a new country had come on to the map of the world and Pakistan now had only the Western part. In fact the entire myth regarding the world ‘Pakistan’ had been splattered apart.
The war was won decisively and Pakistan was made to eat a humble pie. The officers and the soldiers did the job with immaculate precision.
But in this entire gamut of affairs it was the top military leadership led by one and the only one Field Marshall Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw.
Wholesome preparations, stupendous mobility and breathtaking battle winning skills knitted in a string ensured that the war was won.
This was a thrilling pyrotechnic display which not only rattled Pakistan but ensured that their army suffered a defeat in detail. It had to be that way.
Since this is the march of the victory flame to every nook and corner of the nation we too decided to do something special. To let the readers know how everything developed and in the climax Pakistan got its one wing dismembered. So here is a racy story as to what went on those high profile meeting:
In July 1971, Kissinger had a stop-over in India on his secret visit to China. At that time mass fleeing from East Pakistan and terror by the Pakistan Army were creating havoc in West Bengal and the rest of the country. Mrs Gandhi was obviously under a big strain. She, therefore, invited Kissinger for a private breakfast to be able to discuss the matter urgently.
However, on the previous evening Mrs Indira Gandhi telephoned General Manekshaw, Indian Army Chief, and told him that she would like him to come and meet her at breakfast the next morning. She did not disclose as to who her other guests were. She further told the General that when he comes for breakfast, he should come in Army uniform. Naturally, the General felt surprised and asked whether he had heard her rightly that she wanted him to come in the uniform at the breakfast, because it was obviously a very strange suggestion. Mrs Gandhi was straightforward and told him: yes, she wanted him to come for breakfast but in uniform. So, General Manekshaw went for breakfast in full uniform and soon they were joined by Kissinger.
At that meeting Mrs Indira Gandhi was persistent in asking Kissinger to plead with Nixon that he should try to restrain Pakistan from what was being done in East Pakistan because the conditions there were becoming intolerable and it was almost becoming impossible for India to remain silent. Kissinger, however, went on prevaricating and would not really give a straight answer. Rather, he tried to underplay the situation. Mrs Gandhi, however, still insisted, but to no avail. Kissinger would not give any assurance that Nixon would do something about it.
Obviously rattled, Mrs Gandhi said if that was the position she may have to do something herself which she was reluctant to do. At this, Kissinger again expressed his inability on his and Nixon’s behalf to do anything and asked her rather ironically as to what she intended to do. At that time she stood up and pointed towards the General (who was in full military uniform) told Kissinger that ‘if the US government and US President cannot control the situation then I am going to ask him (meaning the General) to do the same. This was a stunner, for a minute it was complete silence and the sharp message was conveyed to Kissinger in a very stark manner. As a matter of fact, the General was himself surprised and suddenly understood the purpose as to why he had been asked to come in uniform rather than in civilian clothes at apparently a harmless meeting at breakfast. Obviously, Nixon and Kissinger had their egos deflated and were not going to forgive Mrs Gandhi for such an attitude.
It was Pakistan that opened up with the airstrikes but thereafter it was all one way ticket and it ended in a massive surrender of Pak army in Bangladesh. Indian armed forces were supreme in all the three categories land, air and water. Pakistan simply had no answer to the fighting processes of the Indian officers and soldiers who left the enemy staggering and finally rolling over. For celebrating the great victory the victory flame is moving on and it landed up in Kalal and here is all that happened there.
To commemorate the 50th year of this emphatic military victory, the Honorable Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi lit up the ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Mashal’ or ‘Victory Flame’ at the National War Memorial in Delhi and started a year long celebration in an effort to recognise the valor, bravery and sacrifices made by gallant soldiers of Indian Army soldiers.
The celebrations shall culminate on Vijay Diwas on 16 Dec 2020.
Today in the early hours of the day the ‘Victory Flame’ made its journey from Reasi to Kalal village and was taken to Kalal battalion of Indian Army.
Later the Victory Flame was placed at the historical Dogra Memorial, Gagrote for public display.
The Officers and troops of Indian Army paid homage to the brave soldiers of 1971 War at Dogra War Memorial by laying wreaths in memory of our brave soldiers.
It was followed by a felicitation ceremony of Veterans of 1971 War. The event was attended by 18 war heroes of 1971.
Due to the ongoing pandemic the participation was limited to a selected few. However, the local populace expressed their joy, enthusiasm and gratitude when the flame made its journey in the remote border villages of Naushera Sub Division.
Mist the target in thickest fog, rock the branches in a howling storm and yet our bullets stay true to heart, for we are the victors of the legendary war. For us there is no mist; neither is there wind, nor is a desert storm, it is just the victory we chase and keep chasing till we are the declared winners. 1971 proved this since it was all about granite will, steely determination and the urge of the band of the tigers!