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Sikh Military Genius Puts Pakistan To Shame

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 4, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
It was 1965,after continual refusal to concede to a Punjabi speaking state Sant Fateh Singh sat down to fast and self immolation on the 25th day ....but war broke out with Pakistan, who attacked 16 Indian airfields with such ligthening strikes....unmatched, that it was apparent Pakistan would decimate the Indians, Pakistanis world over were in glee.....while Delhi was shaken up...

The government was talking to Sikh leaders in Delhi about the Sant ji's fast when the strikes jolted them ... channels were sought to end the fast in this hour of national danger ....

Sant Channan Singh along with a few other Sikh leaders,returned to Amritsar from Delhi, by the night train and conveyed to Sant Fateh Singh on the morning of September 9 the message they had brought. Sant Fateh Singh accepted the advice and made a public statement postponing the fast. Simultaneously, he appealed to his countrymen, especially Sikhs, to muster all their resources to resist the onslaught from across the frontier.Swa Laakh Se Ek laroun was about to be recreated once again ....by the Sikhs to a man!
In the border districts, the hardy and sturdy Sikh population rose to a boy and man, women and girl.. to meet the crisis. They stood solidly behind the combatant Indian army and assisted the army in many different ways to face the relentless drive by the enemy ...
The people of Punjab, provided guides to the newly inducted troops and offered free labour and vehicles, country carts, tractors and trucks to transport war supplies to the forward-most trenches.

Instead of evacuating in panic to safer places,unlike their other country men in rajasthan or gujerat, Sikhs right up to the frontier stuck fearlessly to their homes, plying their ploughs and tending their cattle. Along the main approach routes to the front, they set up booths serving refreshments to the soldiers.
Their most spectacular feat was the way they swooped down upon the parachutist troops dropped by Pakistanis behind the Indian lines. On seeing the parachutes open up in the skies, the Sikh villagers would rush out gleefully with whatever they had in their hands lathis, axes or swords, and seize the bewildered Pakistani paratroopers before they knew where they were.More than a few were beaten to death on the spot and the rest were handed over to the army, after good going over, if they resisted.
A South Indian pilot belonging to the Air Force, who had made an emergency leap from his crashing aircraft, had a hard time explaining to his rugged, but prompt, captor Sikhs that he was an Indian national, and their country man and not a Pakistani spy.
Besides a vast number of Sikh troops fighting all along the borders from Kutch to Baltistan and Ladakh, almost all senior commanders in the Western and Punjab sector were Sikhs. Lieut-General Harbakhsh Singh, with his chief of staff, Major-General Joginder Singh, commanded the entire Western zone and was, as such, the principal architect of India's victory.He was the man of the day, a proud Sikh standing at over 6 '2.
The disgraced Lt general niranjan parsaad asked to withdraw the army from many fronts in Punjab, in the face of a determined enemy on slaught.But LT GENERAL Harbakhsh Singh going against that, commented if an inch of the land of the Gurus falls to the enemy, the psychological impact on the nation would be so great that ...Delhi will be the only next stop for the advancing Pakistanis!Therefore not a single inch of the land would be allowed to be taken in the Punjab!With such intact Sikh mind, the Sikh generals turned the tide on the enemy within days!
Involved with planning at the army headquarters was another Sikh officer, Major-General Narinder Singh. Lieut-General Joginder Singh Dhillon, a brilliant tactician, with his Brigadier General Staff, Brigadier Parkash Singh Grewal, and artillery commander, Brigadier S.S. Kalha, commanded the troops operating in the Punjab and parts of Rajasthan.There were vast numbers of Sikh troops that showed heroism unmatched ever by any other Indian.
A great battle was fought in Rajasthan under the command of Major Kuldeep Singh Sansarpoori and his handlful Sikhs- merely a company strength held back not only thousands of pakistani troops but a whole armoured battalion of tanks for well over 24 hours until help came ....in the form of the Indian airforce, among whom many Sikh pilots led daring sky fights and raids into pakistan, with their smaller moth fighters against the larger more modern american sabres given to pakistan.A film BORDER symbolises this epic battle.
Major-General Niranjan Prasad was replaced mid-battle by Major-General Mohindar Singh, a tough and shrewd soldier, as division commander in the Amritsar sector, the other division commander, in the Khem Karan sector, being Major-General Gurbakhsh Singh. The two divisions not only secured their first objective, the Ichogil Canal, where more than 4000 men Pakistani brigade fled in the midst of the night ,after about 100 Sikh commando forces landed on the Pakistani side, and bellowed the cries of Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal ...it has been recorded that many pakistanis in the darkness of the night cried out the Sat Sri Akal to escape and not be fired upon by their adversaries.... but at other certain points the Sikh commanders outstripped the targets,and soon held Lahore within artillery range.The aspisrations of the Sikh commanders- to capture Lahore were thwarted by Delhi.
Five miles from Lahore at Burki, the victorious Sikh soldiers flew the Nishan sahib over an Old Gurduara, and politely helped aged pakistanis left behind and fed them.
North of the Ravi, Major-General Rajinder Singh 'Sparrow', commanding an armoured division, recorded a marvellous feat in the history of tank warfare by a lightning push towards Sialkot and Narowal miles into Pakistan his Centurion tanks humbling Pakistan's prestigious American gifted Pattons and Chaffees.
The Khem Karan sector, too, was turned into what came to be known as the GRAVEYARD of the Pakistani Patton tanks, where not only Indian tanks routed the pakistani tanks, but Sikh soldiers armed with dynamites and hand grenades jumped on to pakistani tanks and lobbed them into the tanks.
South of the Sutlej, Brigadier Bant Singh, commanding an independent Sikh Brigade Group, defended stoutly an extensive border covering the entire Ferozepore and Ganganagar districts.

To the North in Kashmir many more episodes of heroism of Sikhs troops came to light.One Major Ranjit Singh Dayal,later became Lt General - led his troops up the inpenetrable Haji Pir Pass and captured it , infliciting a devastating blow on the enemy control in the area.
Both at Hussainiwala and Fazilka, Sikh battalion commanders held fast to their positions despite intensely heavy shelling by Pakistan artillery. The Indian Air Force,with many heroic Sikh pilots under the command of the Sikh Air Chief Marshal, Arjan Singh, made devastating strikes and surprised military experts the world over by decisively outpacing a far superior, i.e. better equipped,pakistani Air force. Indian Moth and Gnat fighter planes had routed Pakistani Hawks.
Within 21 days, Pakistan was brought to heel, by this marvelous feat displayed by Sikh Commanders and their troops. The pakistanis literally begged and accepted a ceasefire about on September 22. Legendary stories were already in circulation about the patriotic fervour and bravery Sikhs had displayed during the war.How Sikhs farmers took on trained pakistani paratroops, and how down to a single child the residents of Amritsar and other cities would come up to the roof tops of their houses to cheer their countrymen in air dogfights in the skies. Clearly, their moment of fullfilment had arrived.
The pakistani glee soon was turned into mourning, I recall with fondness the moment when one pakistani man, Mullah Bakshs in my hometown , with tears in his eyes saying to a group of Sikhs gathered....in the Gurduara '...oye ..yaaro nah tusin lende ho ...nah sanu len detaa, sada bhattha betha deta tuhade gernellan ne.....' it was commonly said by pakistanis "...ager na hota Punjab me Sikhon ka killa, hum shaam ko delhi me foot ball khedte .."

If analysed, this war in 1965 was wholly a war fought by Sikh Generals against the pakistanis .....Swa laakh se ek ladaun trully was to be seen .....

On September 6, 1965, the Union Home Minister, Gulzari Lal Nanda, made a statement in the Lok Sabha saying that "the whole question of formation of Punjabi-speaking state could be examined afresh with an open mind."
That was another part of history long comming to the desh bhagat sikhs yet again.Trials and tribulatuions continued.
But far more sadly neither has the SGPC or any Sikh organisation done anything about such unforgetable Sikh heros, who can be an exemplary role models for the Sikh youth.

Gurcharan Singh Kulim


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