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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Story of Brigadier Rajindra Singh and the RSS Swayamsevaks in the Kashmir Valley

The period post-October 22nd, was exceptionally crucial. Pakistan’s aggression was increasing by each day. Every minute mattered. The minuscule armed strength of Maharaja HariSinh against the Pakistani army and which too strategically aided by the British , was difficult to reckon with. But, Maharaja instructed his Commander, Brigadier RajindraSinh to shield and safeguard the state, till his last breath. Brigadier RajindraSinh was appointed Chief of Staff of the State army on the 14th of August 1947. He was a highly disciplined soldier.

On the fateful day of October 22nd, while on the duty in the Srinagar camp, he received the news of a massive attack in Muzzafarabad and the attackers were heading towards Srinagar. He hardly had the armed force, to give a fight. With immense difficulty, he could gather merely one hundred and fifty soldiers. It was evident that to save the town, it was necessary to block the raiders in Baramulla, itself. Brigadier RajindraSinh decided to march towards Domel Hills. But unfortunately, Domel was lost and the enemy front proceeded further almost Sixteen more kilometers.

The enemy army, in full swing, extended huge damage to the group of RajindraSinh but somehow they managed to break through the ensphere and return back to Baramulla.
Thus, the retreat emboldened the spirit of the enemy and they marched ahead till Uri. But, Brigadier did not budge. He regained his composure and implemented a strategy to forbid the enemy’s further movement, for as long as possible.

Brigadier demolished the bridge and hampered the attackers’ further movement. In spite of the ongoing attacks from all three directions, he sent back his group first to Mahora and than towards Rampat (Jhelum Valley Road), and he, continued fighting the battle for Eleven long hours amidst the continual aggression of the enemy.

At last, he instructed the few surviving soldiers to return back and he himself was locating a safer zone, he was shot in his left arm and leg, by a bullet of enemy. Injured and bleeding profusely, he continued shooting, but finally, he was caught and assassinated.
Shri. Bamjayi has narrated this exemplary incident in “History of Kashmir”: ” Brigadier Rajinder Singh, among with few of his permanent soldiers, chefs, bearers of mess and others, presented an unmatched portrayal of valor by picking up armament and wrote a memorable page in history.”

These courageous sons of Ma Bharti halted the Pakistani army for three days.
Baramulla fell into the hands of raiders on October 24-26. The habitual offenders, with wild habits, indulged in massive looting, burning homes, raping women, and killing without blinking an eye.

As noted by Father Shanks, the tribesman came shooting their way down from the hill, on both sides of the town. They destroyed even the St. Joseph Convent and the Assistant Mother Superior and three nuns were brutally assassinated.
The continual horrendous crimes by the raiders acted as a compelling alarm for Bharatiya Government to take the charge into their hands.But, the task was not easy.

The Muslim officers in Maharaja’s army had rebelled and joined hands with the raiders, supported by the Pakistani army, killing their Commander Curnol Narayan Singh. In fact, this crucial information regarding Pakistan’s strategy to attack and the probable defection was given to Maharaja, by the Intelligence system within the Sangh, a long time ago.

The two of RSS’s prominent pracharaks, Harish Bhanot Ji and Mangal Sen Ji had established an intimate relationship with Pakistani officers and portraying themselves as Muslims, gathered information about Pakistani army movements and probable plans for attack. They conveyed all this information to Balraj Madhok Ji including the date and the route of the planned invasion.

As soon as Maharaja was informed about this, he called for Balraj Madhok and met him in the palace. Maharaja was extremely impressed with the courageously gathered accurate information. Maharaja asked for two hundred Swayamsevas of RSS and imparting spontaneous training in using arms, were bestowed upon the responsibility of securing the city.

The work of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had begun in 1940 in Jammu & Kashmir. Madhavrao Mulay Ji had come from Maharashtra as the Sangh Pracharak in Punjab. As per Sangh’s comprehension of the then Bharat’s geographical divisions, the Punjab region was presented as the undivided Punjab, the North Western border region, and the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the late 1939, the RSS pracharak K D Joshi from Sialkot in Western Punjab, asked Ravindra Verma to dig out the possibility of starting the RSS shakha in the nearest town, Jammu to the princely state of Kashmir. In 1940, with the help of Balraj Madhok Ji, the very first shakha of RSS was established in Jammu, and Jagdish Abrol came to Jammu as the first Vibhag Pracharak.

From 1949 to 1947, the Sangh created a vast impact in the Jammu region of the princely state. In 1942, around twenty Swayamsevaks from the Jammu region participated in the monthly training camp in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. By 1945, the RSS shakha began in every big town of the Jammu region. By 1947, the Sangh work expanded to the outer limits of Jammu City, and around Sixty shakha were established in the outer region of Jammu. Balraj Madhok’s unparalleled efforts helped in establishing the Shakhas in Srinagar, Anantnag, and Baramulla.

The increasing influence of RSS work was taken into account by Ramchandra Kak, the then Prime Minister of Kashmir. He called the Vibhag pracharak Jagdish Abrol Ji and discussed it in detail. Later, in the last days of 1947, Kunvar Dilip Singh, the representative of the Government of Bharat, invited the then Vibhag Sanghchalak, Premnath Dograji. RSS also contributed in the annexation process, into Bharat. Sangh had formed Purusharthi Sahayata Samiti in 1947-48, which established Refugee camps to aid the refugees migrating from Western Punjab.

The Sangh Work had impressively grown by the middle of 1946 in the Kashmir valley. The educated Kashmiri Hindu youth began joining the shakha. Around the same time, Guru Golvalkarji traveled in the Northern Bharat sector. Witnessing the rapid expansion of the organization in Kashmir, it was planned to organize his massive rally in Srinagar. It was a delightful moment for all Swayamsevaks as the region, 90% of the population there being Muslim, the Hindu community was on the threshold of losing faith. The serenity of the divine religious places was getting demolished and their self-esteem was demeaning.

In such a scenario, the attendance of the major leader of the Hindu organization was a piece of very significant news. The program was arranged in D A V college in Srinagar and was well attended. More than one thousand Swayamsevaks in full uniform were present there.

The distinguished persons of the community were also invited. Respected Guruji emphasized on the unity of Hindu society and invoked them to be cognizant of the terror activities by the anti-nationals. This clarion call motivated the people of Valley and it was clearly visible during the Pakistani invasion.

From the dawn of 15th August 1947, the Pakistani elements had begun creating chaos in Srinagar. They unfurled the Pakistani flags over each of the Government structures. The patriotic Swayamsevaks charted out a plan, on the slur of the moment and by Ten AM, thousands of them, along with other Kashmiri Hindus gathered near the Amirakadal bridge. The Swayamsevaks immediately took off the Pakistani flags from the buildings and took out a procession on the main streets of the city. The entire surrounding was filled with the cry of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jay’.

It was a befitting reply to the mischief of Pakistan. It inspired amazing energy and positivity among the Kashmiri Hindu community and Maharaja too was in for an alluring surprise with the patriotic values displayed by the Sangh. Witnessing the gravity of the situation, Balraj Madhok assured him to assemble two hundred Swayamsevas, by the next day.

Around two AM in the night, the message was sent to the homes of Swayamsevaks, to gather at the Arya Samaj temple by Six in the morning. Most of them were college students and had come on one call to sacrifice themselves, for the cause of the nation. They sang the Sangh prayer. Meanwhile, the army vehicle came to fetch them and they proceeded towards Badamibaug military camp in an enchanted mood. The few soldiers present there, imparted Rifle training to the Swayamsevaks. By evening, the group was led to the battlefield. For two days, the Swayamsevaks soldiers restrained the Pakistani army.

This is an immensely endearing historical fact and should have been penned down in history with Golden ink but woefully, no one mentions this, even though they have been aware of it Shaikh Abdullah had migrated out of Kashmir when he got to know of the Pakistani invasion!!!
The truth is, the Kashmir valley was initially rescued by the RSS Swayamsevaks and then by the Bharatiya armed forces. Shaikh Abdullah had no contribution to it.

Sources of Information :

हमारी भूलोका स्मारक : धर्मांतरित कश्मीर

नरेन्द्र सहगल

कश्मीर : दहकते अंगारे

जगमोहन जी

जम्मू कश्मीर की अनकही कहानियां

कुलदीप चंद अग्निहोत्री

Kashmir : Behind The Vale

M J Akbar

My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir

Jagmohan ji

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