By: M S Nazki/ANN NEWS
This indeed was the new beginning as far as the Poonch Link Up days goes! Yet another glorious chapter of the voluminous compendium that was to be written by the various authors of the Indian Army!
-‘Live life so well that, even if you die, the empty seats behind you will tell the story that, yea, this soul did what God sent him/her to do. Give life and hope into your family, village, community, country, continent and the world at large. You can do it!’ This is what the great men who laid their lives for Rajouri and Poonch said in 1947. Some lived to tell the stories who were taken away by the lady death as if she needed them more to guard her’!
– ‘It was Brigadier Pritam Singh, Brigadier Usmaan, Brigadier Yadunath Singh who started the first chapter of chivalry, courage and bravery and subsequently down the seventy five years paragragraphs and chapters kept adding on and in the year 2021 it was Brigadier Puneet Doval who added yet another grat edition which had several great anecdotes but the greatest one perhaps was the massive participation of the people and more importantly the enthusiasm that was brimming all over the vast expanses of Poonch and Rajouri. The fitting finale had to be at the Natu stadium, indeed it was!’
-‘’For the people of Districts Poonch and Rajouri, time has moved on at scintillating rapid pace but the events that took place were a huge bag of both volatility, sorrows, frustrations and of lost hope as the tide of affairs though under control were not with them. But now it is changing for the good as many great men from all over the nation decked in olive greens and camouflages entered to guard the frontiers and helped the populace to come out of the cauldron of disappointments, distress and despair with one message clearly written, ‘folks you cannot discover new oceans unless he have the courage to lose sight of the shore’! In the beginning it was difficult as it was in 1947, 1965, 1971 and then the last thirty years. But now the winds are flowing the other way round. That could be felt on the sports field, at the Pritam stadium, at Ajote memorial and today at the Natu stadium!’
-‘The pace set has been hectic and roaring. The new generation of kids in both the districts have arrived and the bugles of unbounded competitive spirit have been blown and the youth both boys and girls are prepared to say that yes we the kids of Pri Panjals can do as well as anyone else (in some cases better than others) in any competitive field. The reason I do not want to spell out but still would, ‘they have the massive big hand of the Indian Army at their back’! They know that these angels would never let them down. The ever smiling men in Olives greens have vowed never to do so!’
-‘Poonch Link Up Day celebrations this year were unique in all respects. The canvas was huge, the events were well planned and the participation was massive. The ceremonies at war memorials were solemn, silent as the men with undaunted spirit who guarded Poonch were paid great tributes and homage with the thematic undercurrent being, surely, of all the wonders of the world, fighting and giving the supreme sacrifice for the nation and its people is the ultimate horizon of one’s ability and capability and hence it is the greatest of achievements’!
-‘The names which exist on the Ajote war memorial are not mere names. They are the names of the knights of destiny who came, saw, conquered and then vanished smilingly saying to the people and the generations to come that ‘life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all. They all were part of the great high risk adventure in 1947 which was explosive but these men knew how to wade through the explosions and they did it with panache! Some lived to tell the tales of those whom the lady death took along with them with love as if she needed them more!’ That was what this mammoth elaborate ceremony was all about! A complete package of joy, exultation and somberness! Perhaps one of the biggest shows in District Poonch ever innovated and created!
-‘This is the story of the distance that was kept, the lines that were crossed, but the mission had to be completed, it was in a glorious way, some fell for the pious cause of the people and some marched on to aise the Nations flag all over in district Poonch!’
Natu Auditorium was the place where the final event of the fortnight long celebrations where a colorful cultural program, Jaz n Brass Band display enthralled the dignitaries with their subtle performances . Brigadier Puneet Doval gave a brief of the event that occurred in 1947 on the same day that was 22 November. In 1948, during the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir between Indian Army and Pakistani forces, Poonch endured a siege by the Pakistanis from November 1947 till relieved by an Indian Offensive, Operation Easy which commenced on November 20, 1948. The besieged garrison, then commanded by Brig Pritam Singh, was maintained by air supply. The day marks the historic link up carried out by Brig Pritam Singh’s forces with Brigadier Yadunath’s forces from Rajouri at Danna Ka Pir on November 21, 1948. The White Knight Corps and the Awaam of Poonch thus celebrate the historic Poonch Link Up Day with gaiety and fervour every year. There is a silent difference for one another, a distance that is kept, and lines that aren’t crossed, but in their sharing, they each try to pay tribute to the bond in their own way. As often as possible, they open up a little and give what they can.’
ADC Dr Basharat Hussain represented the civil Adm of the event. On behalf of DDC Inderjeet whereas ASP Liyakat Ali graced the show from police Department , Chief Judicial Majistrate Madan Lal represented Judiciary on the occasion of 73 rd poonch link up day. Prominent citizens, youth and school children in large numbers participated in the program. Prize distribution ceremony was also held to encourage the young artists who participated in singing and photographic competitions. The show was presented by Pradeep Khanna the All India Radio specialist and a real master of the ceremonies and immaculate presenter!
In the end the message delivered to the people by the Indian Army was, change your opinions, keep to your principles, change your leaves, keep intact your roots and march on as this is what the heroes of 1947 told while they fought and busted the raiders apart! So finally we would say, they went with songs to the battle, they were young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, they fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.’!