The 7th Military Literature Festival, Chandigarh came to an end with HE Shri Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh presiding over the closing ceremony. In his speech His Excellency spoke that he was very happy to be present in today's Military Literature Festival because it is a platform to remember the heroic stories of the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.
Furthermore, it is heartening to know that the Military Literature Festival is jointly organized every year by the Government of Punjab, Chandigarh Administration and the Western Command of the Indian Army and that this year the festival has been dedicated to the martyrs of the 1947-48 war. Such events provide an opportunity to the people, particularly the youth, to get acquainted with the battles fought by our Armed Forces and get inspired by the experiences of the soldiers.
He also said that this edition of the Mela, among other programmes, also had a programme called 'Samvad' where serving Army officers awarded gallantry awards interacted with the youth. He appreciated this initiative and congratulated the organizers.
The concept and organization of such a programme is commendable. He was sure that the youngsters joining the event would have been excited and inspired to see the heroes of our armed forces in front of them. Despite a long and glorious military history and strategic culture spanning several centuries, people are largely unaware of its various aspects.
Punjab has a rich martial history. There is a tradition of valour, bravery and military prowess. The ancient epic Mahabharata mentions the Punjab region and its warriors. An important event in Hindu mythology, the Battle of Kurukshetra is said to have taken place in this region. (Kurukshetra, now in Haryana).
Punjab saw Alexander's invasion in 326 BC. The fierce resistance of various kingdoms and rulers like King Porus displayed the martial spirit of the region. Punjab remained an important frontier during the Mauryan and Gupta Empires, which contributed both troops and strategies to the military strength of these empires.
During the Mughal period, Punjab became an important province. The Sikhs under the leadership of Guru Hargobind and later Guru Gobind Singh organized themselves into a martial community (khalsa) and resisted Mughal oppression. Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Khalsa army was renowned for its bravery, discipline and military prowess.
Punjab made significant contributions to the Indian Army during both World Wars. The soldiers of the region displayed exceptional valour and sacrifice on various fronts. The State continued to contribute a large number of soldiers and officers for the Indian Armed Forces and played an important role in safeguarding the country's borders.
Many heroes have been born here who are known for their bravery, valour and sacrifice.None of us can ever forget the leadership of late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who led by example at a crucial juncture in our country's military history. Subedar Joginder Singh: He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honour, for his exceptional leadership and courage during the Indo-China war of 1962.
He led his platoon against the heavy Chinese army and fought till his last breath. Naib Subedar Bana Singh: He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his bravery during the Siachen conflict in 1987. Leading a team to capture a strategic outpost despite adverse weather and enemy shelling, he displayed exceptional heroism.
Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh: Known for his leadership during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, he skillfully commanded the Indian Army's Western Command and played a key role in thwarting Pakistani aggression in the Battle of Asal Uttar. Brigadier Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri: He was the hero of the famous Battle of Longewala during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Chandpuri, who was a Major at the time, and his troops successfully defended their post against a much larger Pakistani army.
Such heroes from Punjab have left an indelible mark on the history of the Indian Army, embodying the spirit of sacrifice and courage.Their stories have the potential to inspire generations of Indians. But we need to get them to the people.
A few years ago, a film 'Border' based on the actions of Brigadier Chandpuri was released. The film became very popular and the feeling of respect and patriotism for the Indian Army was strengthened among the people. The meaning of this is that we have to acquaint the common people with our glorious military history, create a connect among them.
In Indian culture, "Ahimsa Parmo Dharma" is taught, but when someone attacks us, he has to be given a befitting reply because our culture has also taught us to protect the country and religion. It is our duty to preserve the hard-won freedom for which countless Indians have laid down their lives.
The Governor congratulatedLt Gen TS Shergill, PVSM President of the Military Literature Festival Association, for staging this wonderful festival and appreciated the work and untiring efforts of the entire team of the Military Literature Festival.