But that day was the raising day of BSF and 5th Bn in Mendhar was in top form ! It was fun, frolic and joy all the way!
-‘A special day that was celebrated in a special way as a raising say of an institution is very-very special all the way!
-‘Raising day is like a birthday party where troops dance, officers recount the glorious deeds of the past, locals enjoy the big bash, memories are lived and the future enshrined with a word that nothing less than glory filled tomorrow is acceptable. The same was to be seen on that day!’
=‘Ask a man from the Border Security force as to how you feel on the borders, trust me the reply would be. ‘the only true borders lie between day and night, between life and death, between hope and loss, finally between love and love lost’!
-‘When I was once upon a time posted in Rajouri and in those days the LOC was not that visible and the kids had a tendency to cross over to play with each other. My young Platoon Commander at a post called as Barood was always a young perturbed lad. I told him not to worry let the kids play so what? That evening I saw them playing. It was sort of a competition, obviously a childish one , skipping over lines with a flat stone to be kicked into the next square! The kid from across the Loc just could not do it and the kid from our side repeatedly told her, ‘you will not be able to do it! Finally the little kid did it and it was joy as she got to the final win. I think the kids name was Mariam and the one from our side was Inayat. It was later I came to know both were sisters and the barrier was the LOC. Obviously all of them got a bagful of toffees and lollipops but one thing I realized was that they perhaps said. Once a friend, always a friend. Why should borders stop that?’ Who better than the men and women from BSF know that? If I saw it many times they see it almost all the time as they guard the borders! The game the kids were playing was Stapu!
-‘I will tell you another story of the past of a household. One brother suggested to the other, I’m exploring the possibility of building a wall to stem the rot that has set up in our house. The eldest of the three entered the fray and butted in with a callous but effective remark, ‘don’t be ridiculous, only idiots build walls! The men in Pakistan, especially from the group called Rangers should understand that!’
-‘India never made walls but it was Pakistan that always tried to hurt us! But every time they did so the guards of the frontiers gave them a bloodied nose. Still a suggestion that Imran Khan will not agree to but one good line he listens to would be ‘destroy the wall that has been created by Pak Armed Forces because they are heading nowhere as history is a testimony to that!
-‘The Border Security Force (BSF) is India’s border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India, and was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, “for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with’!
-‘It has various active roles during an outbreak of war. It is the only CAPF to have a full-fledged Water Wing, Air Wing and even an Artillery Regiment of its own. It comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service. The BSF has grown exponentially from 25 battalions in 1965, to 192 battalions with a sanctioned strength of 270,363 personnel including an expanding Air wing, Marine wing, An artillery regiment, and specialized units. It currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force. BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defense of Indian Territories.’
-‘Since independence, the protection of India’s international boundaries has been the responsibility of local police belonging to each border state, with little inter-state coordination. However, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistan attacked Sardar Post, Chhar Bet, and Beria Bet on 9 April 1965 in Kutch. This attack exposed the inadequacy of the State Armed Police to cope with armed aggression. So after the end of the war, the government created the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India’s international boundaries. This act brought greater cohesion in border security. K F Rustamji, from the Indian Police Service, was the first Director General of BSF. Since it was a new force, the officers had to be deputed or inducted from outside to fill the various vacancies at various levels until the force’s own cadre matures sufficiently. Keeping in mind the above, emergency commissioned officers and SS officers of the Indian Army were inducted in large numbers in the force along with IPS officers who were deputed to the force for high level appointments.’
The BSF’s capabilities were used in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 against Pakistani forces in areas where the Regular -‘Forces were thinly spread; BSF troops took part in several operations including the famous Battle of Longewala. In fact, for the BSF the war on eastern front had started well before the war actually broke out in December 1971. BSF had trained, supported and formed part of Mukti Bahini and had entered erstwhile East Pakistan before the actual hostilities broke out. BSF had played a very important role in the Liberation of Bangladesh which Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman had also acknowledged.’
‘If you get a chance then see what happens at Wagah border and trust me it will prompt you to say, ‘through its creative power, art may trigger approximation, reconciliation and harmonization between individuals and peoples. Through art, beings can meet and exchange their points of view, as it rules out alienation, and arouses chemistry and understanding. By definition, art is universal and helps to cross borders and barriers without prejudice.’ The show is spectacular and drill immaculate but that is that as the gates close for the night because next morning they have to be opened up for a routine’!
Any way some duties have to be done and some joys have to be shares and they were on the BSF raising say!They were with all the grace and charm in Mendhar:
On the occasion, Commandant 5 BSF Uchhad Ajay Kumar Sharma, other officers, Jawans and locals including Teachers, Doctors, Media Persons, Sarpanches, Panches, Children and other respected citizens of the areas participated in 57th BSF Raising Day celebrations.
Commanding Officer of the BSF unit addressed the occasion remembering the supreme sacrifices made by BSF in the past 57 years and applauded the role played by BSF in the 1971 war.
* He also said BSF is always at the forefront to help the People and to ensure security.
During the celebrations a colorful culture program /Bara Khana/Group dance and singing program was organised, the local youth also showed their performances and skills on the occasion. NOK’s of brave BSF Martyrs also participated in the show.
The event was also attended by retired personnel of the BSF of the area. The commanding officer at the event made sure that the retired personnel were part of the BSF family with an assurance, anywhere, anytime and at anyplace we are with you! This is what the men from BSF are all about!
The commanding officer also said,’ we stand with them as well as with the local population shoulder to shoulder.
It is pertinent to mention here that the local people have expressed thankfulness to the BSF for inviting them on Raising Day and also thanked them for providing medical facilities to the people in far flung areas besides conducting civic action programs and also providing job opportunities to the local residents.
I have always said that the people in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch love small joys. It is always a grand occasion when the soldiers give them bigger joY! For sure on the BSF raising day they got a huge packet of joy a perfect prelude to the New years day as 2022 approaches with lots of hopes and happiness!
Finally I will again get back to the game that kids were playing, in local parlance ‘stapu’. I heart to heart knew as to what those two kids separated by LOC would be telling each other after they parted, one went this side and other that perhaps something like this at that time, ‘we are not sheep or cows. God didn’t create fences for us or boundaries to contain our nationalities. Man did. God didn’t draw up religious barriers to separate us from each other. Man did. And on top of that, no father would like to see his children fighting or killing each other. The Creator favors the man who spreads love over the man who spreads hate.’ A man/woman in BSF sees this every day! Those two kids must be in mid thirties and perhaps would have forgotten about me but I know they would not have because a smiling man with a rifle in hand cannot be forgotten, I was with the pouch full of chocolates for the kids!