The Victory flame continues its journey and it was in Rajouri today!
By: M S Nazki
The ridge right in front of Rajouri has seen many heroic spectacles and wars and the fact is that there stand our troops guarding it keeping the enemy at bay!
The men who have guarded this massive ridge which has places like Rajouri, Pir Badesar,Keri, Lam, Naoshera, Jhangar, Beri Pattan and sunderbani have seen many battles right from 1947 when the marauding tribes men reached the main town Rajouri But each time they were made to bite the bucket with sheer skilful display of fighting and raw courage under fire.
It was nothing but a fire and fury display on the expansive locales of the areas mentioned above and the result had to be one way traffic. Therefore one thing is conclusive, nothing is given to man on earth, the struggle is built into the nature of life, and conflict is possible, the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen. In the battle fields of Rajouri there have been many who showed this and a few stood out for their virtuoso presentation of doughtiness and fearlessness without caring about their lives.
The heroes of Indian army proved one thing to the core, the prudent see only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise, the hero sees both; diminishes the former and makes the latter preponderate, and so conquers.
The wars here and subsequently the terrorism has changed the people of Rajouri inside and out, in the ways no one could have fathomed. It’s the Indian Army that they love and trust because they know that they are ones who will floor the enemy with a knockout punch That has been the story so far
The kids of today in district Rajouri are progressive and they know that the only way to move forward is compete in a healthy competition. They are not what their seniors were a decade back, dissolved in frustrations and helplessness not knowing what to do next. As the situation emerged where the bad elements were on the run they have sprung up and want to be shoulder to shoulder with men who rekindled hope and infused the enthusiasm to move ahead
Examples were many of the Indian soldiers who without caring of the blazing fire jumped into it and still came out victorious and smiling. That has been the story of Rajouri and rightly so the Victory Flame of the great victory of In Indian Army in 1971 was here further acting as a catalyst to ignite the feeling of Nationalism in the future of the Nation who stood watching. These young boys are destined to be gay cavaliers of the future as L/NK Malik Mohammed Iqbal Vir Chakra was (I will come to his heroics later in the script)
The wars are not won just like that, they are won by valiant warriors who fear none and they know that taking a step in the dark is braver than taking a leap in light. They have leapt in the dark and produced fantastic results which can befuddle anyone It is the basic instinct that matters and that develops from the never say die spirit which is inbuilt in these men in olive green and now add women too like a mesmerizing cocktail to either do or die. Here is one such story of a hero of Rajouri and the war was of 1971:
I Lance Naik Malik Mohammad Iqbal
He hailed from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir and was born on 31st May 1942. Son of Shri Malik Jafar, he joined the army on 31st May 1960 at the age of 18 Years.
He was recruited into First J&K Militia, an infantry Regiment known for its gallant soldiers with a long history of numerous battle exploits.
By the year 1971, he had put in around 11 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of Lance Naik. By then he had served in various field areas and gained substantial experience to be a battle-ready soldier.
During the 1971 war, L/Nk Malik Mohammad Iqbal’s battalion was deployed in Jammu & Kashmir. On 5th Dec 1971 his unit was ordered to raid a Pakistani Post which was located in the occupied territory of J&K. By the time L/Nk Mailk and his comrades reached the post, the enemy opened up the automatic weapons and 2 inch mortars.
They faced an attack by intense and accurate small arms and mortar fire from an enemy bunker. Realizing the gravity of the situation, L Nk Malik sensed that the enemy mortar had to be silenced at any cost to stop the casualties on our side.
In a daring leap in the dark as I mentioned above, L/Nk Malik immediately rushed forward and single-handedly charged at the enemy mortar. However while doing so, he got mortally wounded, but undeterred continued the charge.
Eventually he managed to silence the enemy mortar before collapsing on the battle-field. He showed exemplary valor and devotion to duty and made the supreme sacrifice. The man was a fearless and committed soldier who laid down his life at the age of 29 years in the line of his duty.
Lance Naik Malik Mohammad Iqbal was awarded the Nation’s third highest gallantry award, Vir Chakra for his exceptional bravery, indomitable spirit and supreme sacrifice.
Indian Army always prides itself on the fact that if gallantry, generosity disappeared from the world, they could be found in you or anyone else as a matter of fact But the situation should be as challenging as one which Iqbal face by getting on the mortar pit because It had to be silenced and it was!
II Victory flame in Rajouri:
On 01 Jun 2021, 25 Div commemorated the emphatic victory of 1971 war which led to liberation of Bangladesh. The event was celebrated to pay tributes and recognize the valor, gallantry, bravery and sacrifices made by our gallant officers and men.
The victory flame travelling across the mountainous countryside of Rajouri was received at Thannamandi with full military honors.
As a mark of respect, a solemn wreath laying ceremony was organized at Thannamandi war memorial. Veer Nari Smt Sardar Begum wife late L/Naik Malik Mohd Iqbal was felicitated.
Interaction with ex-servicemen and the youth was also carried out on this occasion. The Swarnim Vijay Mashal’s journey through the villages in and around Thannamandi left an indelible impact on the psyche of the youth.
The entire environment was filled with emotional fervor with celebrations of Swarnim Vijay Varsh.
The slogans of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Shaheed Lance Naik Malik Mohd Iqbal Ki Jai reverberated through the entire valley. The local populace including the veterans recorded the gratitude towards the Indian army to commemorate the victory of 1971 war.
Such events swell the heart of the youth and get them inclined towards a thinking that if they could do it then why not we. These episodes if replayed time and again imbibe the spirit of Nationalism in the young which is so necessary in the overall development of the generation. This flame will continue to ignite the future as well and the incoming generations too.
It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. The men who fought the 1971 war showed us what they were made up of, they also told us, courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen and keep adding on courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength. This was what the Indian Army showed the world in 1971! The legacy and tradition will keep carrying on to infinity!