Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The brave inhabitants of Border areas

Today I got an opportunity to meet this Sikh Guy, at Sonamarg who is part of the security at a Construction Site. We had a conversation and during the course of that conversation, he told me about the Villages which are situated near Indo-Pak Border. This urged me to pen down a story about the lives of the brave inhabitants of our Border areas.

His name is Harvinder Singh, s/o Sh. Mohan Singh, born in the year 1984, r/o Village-Lam, Tehsil- Qila Darhal, District Rajouri, J&K.

The distance of District Headquarters is 80 Kms from their village, via Bus. There are around one thousand houses, in which people belonging to all communities – Hindu, Muslims & Sikhs live together with brotherhood, peace and harmony.

He shared one of those life experiences of brotherhood with me. He talked about how his mother recently died at Chandigarh Hospital where she was being treated for her illness, and when their neighbours got informed of her demise, the members of the Hindu Community made arrangements for her funeral while he was coming back home, carrying the dead body of his mother. He also said that it was the members of the  Muslim Community who asked him if he needed Milk or Cheese, etc.

When I asked him whether he was terrified whenever the situation tense between India and Pakistan because while it is very easy to say let’s do war, the ill effects of wars are firstly faced by the ones living near the villages situated at LOC. He smiled and replied that during 1990- 1999 during his childhood days, he felt terrified whenever there was shelling and cross border-firing between India and Pakistan but now he had become habitual to it.

He narrated the tales of his childhood when his uncle with others senior residents of the village went to Temple and Gurudwara with their Guns (303 Rifle, provided by the Police to them) and guarded the Village against Infiltrators (Terrorist who crossed Border with the help of PAK Rangers during Cross- Firing). Meanwhile, the children remained at home with their mothers and sisters.

He also shared the story of a historic Gurudwara named ‘Shri Shaheed Garh.’ According to him, during partition in 1947, their ancestors fought with Pakistan. Even the women dressed as men and fought alongside them. They not only saved their lands but also occupied the land of Pakistan around 15 Kms and the village (Lam) in which Harvinder is living along with some of its adjoining villages like Pukharni, etc. Every year Brigadier and his team of 80 BGD of Indian Army celebrates Martyrs Day on 28-October at Gurudwara ‘Shri Shaheed Garh’ and gives Tribute to the Martyred.

He also shared the incident of 27th February of this year (Balakote Aerial Strike) and said that he was on duty at Sonamarg when around 11:00 in the morning, his wife called saying that they saw  5-6 Fighters Planes of Pakistan and one of India flying above their village. He said that they also saw a man ejecting from a parachute from his fighter plane which carried fire and hinted that he was Wg Cmdr. Abhinandan. His small daughters were crying in fear at the time and the rest of the villagers were also horrified.

When I asked him what he wanted from the government, he said that the Government is doing enough for them but the services aren’t them properly.

In the end, all he wanted was that “These Cross Firing and shelling should stop” because they have suffered a lot due to these disturbances. School get closed for months, which affects the education of the children living near the border and even their livelihood gets impacted.

This write-up is contributed by Abhishek Tagotra. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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