This was one more friendly genie unleashed by the Indian Army as they showed the power of power and electricity to the people!
‘These people were the ones who were staying close to the Line of Control and for the last twenty five years had been deprived of the light in the filament of the bulb on the ceiling. This was in no way an easy affair in the dangerous environment that prevails on the LOC but the same was to be done and it was on a war footing obviously with majestic ease all the way’!
Tarkundi and Datote are the villages on the slopes that go down the mountains and converge onto a streamlet and on its arises another massive one which is POK and top of the ridges sit the Pak soldiers. 25 years ago one could see the houses across were all lit up with loud speakers blaring some incendiary vocabulary, basically to lure the people here to cross over and rush to the refugee camps in Nakial with all sorts of promises that later on proved to be as hollow as Pakistan itself. Unfortunately many got influenced and crossed over. A few did stay back from the two villages who began give despairing, desolate and haunting look but soon things began changing for the better and now are buzzing and that is courtesy Gambhir Battalion that has done some exceptional and once upon a time an impossible which quarter of a century back looked improbable because the situation that had been created in those times’!
-‘But now with the power and electricity arriving here to the last of the houses on LOC things will now look only upwards because suddenly the people are finding themselves in an extraordinary comfort zone. From dawn to twilight it was all fine but the darkness in the night was the most detestable thing and seeing at the lights across the LOC the darkness looked even more darker. It would definitely not be the case now and therefore the new hopes and new horizons scenario has erupted much to the joy and the mirth of the people’!
-‘Roshan Mustaqbil was an idea conceived a long time back because generations after generations had not seen the greatest ever invention of the scientific world here. At least two generations I know all too well and prior to that we all know what it was like. This could not have remained so for the infinite zones of times to come. Something had to be done for the coming generations and it was. The 120 Brigade that is stationed at BG has always come up with brilliant innovative ideas for the people on LOC especially so for Tarkundi and Datote in Balakote in Mendhar Sub Division. But this one was really a thudding and shatteringly path breaking one as it changed the complete dimensions of living as far as the people in these villages were concerned! More so for the children because they already have their feet on the saddles of the steed called education. In the past they were the night riders trying to study with limited resources such as lanterns, firepots and candles but now they could become the knights of the glowing lights. In the educational impetus that the Indian Army has given to these regions this massive exercise undertaken was a necessity’!
-‘These two villages by the way are peaceful now (not so the case earlier when the bunkers from across used to ejaculate fear and fire amongst the people. We used to await orders to show that we could pay back the same. But more could have been done in two dozen and add a year back as time passed on the baton to the next year and the legacy carried on. It still does but with. Anyway the same was being done till the silence of the guns came to the forefront and new precedents came into focus. But this was the best that ever happened. It could not have happened in a better way than this!
Suddenly from a happening place in Dehradun to Gambhir, half way between Poonch and Rajouri the change was new but not so the boys grew big who knew as to where they were heading towards. One of them happened to be me. One of the points in the heights happens to be Point 497 a lovely place to sit and park yourself for a night or could be a couple more as one sends his eyes groping across the mountains both on this and that side of the LOC. The scenic expanse is not different, so are the people and the children but some oddities are there and one of them is there across in the pill boxes sit men with not so good intents (though seemingly tending to mend their ways now) and on this side in similar box spaces men with large and human hearts who till date have never fired the first round (but if the necessity arises they have every attribute to do so but country and people matter a lot to them. Self is a consideration but for that moment when madness on the enemy takes over, not at all important! It can never be!
A small little story could be called an anecdote also, I will relate here that a kid’s father told me once. That was the first day at Point. 497 as we arrived and I wanted to go to the post nearest to the LOC but dominated by a menace known as the Pir post of the enemy, invariably a place the fire came from there as I was told but we had up the slope one just opposite. If it was a game of exchange of fire I was prepared. I took it at Company Commander’s discretion. But that was another part of the story but this one was different! We descended down to a school which I was told was a Tarkundi school once upon a 3time. No one was there as no one could have been. But a kid and his father met him. Kid was clinging on to father’s thigh and scared to bits but I could see a glimmer of hope in that kids eyes and in father’s a determination to stay here though many had lost that in that ferocious blizzard of absurd dialect unleashed from sulphur smelling mouth pieces from across! That evening, father Mohammed Siraj (the man who met me with his two sons (Shehzaad and Majeed) told me a lot about stories from Tarkundi right from the 1930’s onwards and the worst of times in 1947. Like a chronicler I kept maintaining them in my diary but this one is of recent times! That night, up in the skies were the stars all shining twinkling and blinking and across the Line of Control were the lights wavering in the cool breeze. If it was full of fragrance there it was here too because the two kids were smiling and I did tell them at times it may be too big of a words from a small fry like me ‘You will also get it one day’! Today I’m writing like that with my heart full of bubbles of the same energy and not with that smile on my face. I imitated watching so many kids (now grown up) but could not match which was as natural as theirs. Perhaps God’s own. The ‘Roshan Mustaqbil scheme of things has got to this and future generation of kids here in these twin villages separated by a ridge line but both beautiful.
Anyway that was past and this is present as 120 Brigade and Gambhir Battalion took off another gigantic stride into the future of the people here!
Datote was a peaceful remote village in District Poonch , located very near to LOC with no roads and electricity. Mission Roshan Mustaqbil was initiated by Indian Army and civil administration with the aim to provide roads and electricity to this beautiful village.
This mission was launched in the year 2020, and road construction was begun in the right earnest and by the end of the same year despite constant Pakistan initiated ceasefire violations, terrorist threats, difficulties of rocky and mountain terrain prone to landslides and the vagaries of weather all houses of the village were connected by the road. This was a fabulous achievement all the way.
Apart from MNREGA funds provided, Indian Army Dozers and soldiers made the road through hard rock and along sheer cliffs sometimes working by both day and night. Constant patrolling along the Line of Control negated terrorist actions all along. This was a double impact story of protecting the borders of the Nation as well as getting the people on to a platform where they do not feel deprived of anything that is required to move ahead in life just for the Nation. If others could do that then why not them!
Electrification was started in 2021 facilitated by the Ceasefire Agreement. Electric poles, electric wires and transformers etc were installed. Here again apart from assistance from JPDCL (Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited) Indian Army soldiers helped villagers in laying the cables and provided technical expertise in installation. Electrification has been completed in the month of September.
The 4th September 2021 shall be remembered by all villagers as a historic day as electricity returned to the village after 25 years. Young and old alike, all villagers of Datote were delirious with joy and conveyed their gratitude to the Indian Army and civil administration for the same.
Thus Mission Roshan Mustaqbil was accomplished with both its objectives showing love and power and power of electricity and shall pursue other development goals now.
All I can say is one thing about the men in Olive Greens of the men from 120 Brigade and Gambhir Battalion as they tell the people, ‘when you’re down and feeling dark, blue and hopeless, just close your eyes and wish, and we will be there with you, Oh! Those heartaches, here comes heartache for the good, we are strangers by night and would be strangers tomorrow because we were there with you for a cause, deep in the night but be rest assured the tomorrow it will be all light the next morning! We are there and it is just for you all today and night! Because we were strangers of the night to make your mornings full of light! We are still strangers of the night and lovers of a great tomorrow for the country and the people! We always called for a great ‘Roshan Mustaqbil’. It is happening that way! With love from strangers of the night always in operations!