Ek Diwali Balidaan ki – the saga of Jauhar in 20th Century

Bloodshed, massacre, firing, killing was the scenario on 11th of November 1947 in Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir. When India was celebrating Diwali and Independence, Nationalist in Rajouri were defending there motherland without fearing there lives. With numb eyes and heavy heart Sat Pal Gupta a local of Rajouri somehow gathered courage to recount the bloody massacre which he witnessed when he was just 12 year old. He quoted “MY father was killed in front of my eyes. My mother preferred to die by poisoning herself rather then getting into the tainted hands of Pakistani raiders and Local Muslims. Like my mother  thousand of women happily preferred to die over dishonour by invaders. Women gathered and consumed poision as parshad and some jumped into well”. On their martyrdom stands a Memorial called Balidan Bhavan which is regularly visited by families of Marty’s .

Some of the readers may find themselves in distress, disquiet and nail biting. To understand the real story we need to look in to the Past and answer some serious questions such as what happened on 11th of November 1947 in Rajouri ? Why women of Rajouri consumed poison as Parshad ? Why Hindus of Rajouri didn’t celebrated Diwali for years? Lastly, Is there sacrifice has been honoured or not?

On 15 August 1947, we got Independence and soon the process of Partition started. India witnessed riots in many corners of the country but what happened in Rajouri was not a riot. It was a war. At one side there were armed Rebels of Maharaja Army aided by Pakistan Army, local Muslims of the town and on the other side were unarmed Hindus. They were threatened, assaulted and forced to run away but without fearing for their lives they resisted and preferred to die over being called as coward.

It was the auspicious festival of Diwali. There was happiness all around. Not a single Hindu had any clue that the festival of  lights will end with blood and blood everywhere. On 11th of November 1947 Safi Daleer (Captain of Maharaja Army), Major Aslam revolted against the Maharaja and settled a camp some 8 km away from Town of Rajouri with his other Muslim soldier associates. The Kabali raiders from Pakistan also joined them. They were aided by Pakistan Army as well as by local Muslims. Soon they wrote a letter to Hindus of the town asking them either to leave Rajouri or be ready for bloodshed. The then Teshildar of Rajouri Harzi Lal assured protection to the Hindus of the town. He had some 10-20 soldiers with him. They created small posts and a soldier with some civilians were posted at each post.

The time and luck was not in favour of Hindus. Watching the large number of invaders and rebels, at midnight hour Teshildar called off soldiers and ran away  leaving behind Hindus helpless, hopeless and hapless . However, the unarmed Hindu civilians(especially RSS swayamsewaks)decided to fight till the last breath rather than escaping. On 11th of of the November (Diwali) 1947 Safi Daleer and  Major Aslam marched toward Rajouri with armed soldiers killing innocent civilians. The Hindus of the town and adjoining villages resisted at large but could not stand for long against the armed soldiers aided with local Muslims. The Hindu males were captured and brought at the ground which at present is Airfield and were killed viciously. Almost 10,000 civilians including 3000-3500 women lost there lives battling for motherland. This is an unique and outstanding example of sacrifice, valour and patriotism ever witnessed in history .

The Hindu males showed extra-ordinary valour while women set  an extraordinary example of self-sacrifice to protect self-esteem. The women decided to gather at a point and kill themselves rather than getting into the clutches of  rebels. Thousand of women consumed poison while some other jumped into the well. There were few children, women and male who could manage to save their  lives. The Pakistan soldiers  soon entered the town of Rajouri and declared it as the part of Pakistan. On the other hand Maharaja Hari Singh signed Instrument of accession with India on 26th of October 1947. The Indian army marched toward the territories illegally occupied by Pakistan. After long six months on 13 April 1948 Rajouri was recaptured by Indian army. It was the day of Baisakhi. The story of Bloodshed that begun on Diwali came to an end on the Day of Baisakhi which is also celebrated as Rajouri Day every year.

There is also a memorial in the remembrance of the Marty’s where Hindu ladies of the town everyday recite prayers to remember the Balidan of 1947. It was constructed between 1961-62. It is famously known as Balidan Bhavan. It is constructed near the well in which women jumped after the invaders entered the town. Initially, Sheikh Abdulla refused to transfer land to Hindus for the construction of the memorial. Later on after repeated request and protest by  Hindus, part of the state land was given for the construction of memorial.

The valour and sacrifice of   Hindus of Rajouri and adjoining area is pious and commendable. They were not trained soldiers , had no arms but carried a long and resistive war against the armed soldiers aided by Pakistan army and local Muslims, with there love and emotions for motherland. It is believed that for years the Hindus of Rajouri didn’t celebrated Diwali to pay tribute to there ancestors. Undoubtedly the sacrifice of these people is the reason that Rajouri is the integral part of India and not Pakistan. Along with Indian Army, these people are equally credible to free Rajouri from the clutches of Pakistan. They always stood with India and set  an example of unity and integrity. However, unfortunately the present India had no space and time to remember there sacrifice and love for India. With this article, I intended to pay tribute to the marty  of 1947. Every year on Diwali people of Rajouri perform YAJNA to pay tribute to their sacrifice for the nation. Let us light a Diya in their name this year. Let us remember them. Let us honour them.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat

Amullaya Gupta

Amullaya is a 1st year student in Delhi University's Zakir Hussain College. He hails from Jammu and Kashmir. His great grandfather was martyred on 11th November 1947 by the Kabaili Forces and rebels from Maharaja Hari Singh Army. A patriot, Avid reader and a budding writer, he has a firm grip on the issues related to Jammu and Kashmir.

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