On his 119th birth anniversary, tributes were paid to Brigadier Rajinder Singh, the unsung hero who saved Kashmir from falling in the hands of Pakistani raiders in 1947 and laid down his life fighting the enemy.
The J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) organised a function to mark the occasion and paid rich tributes to late Brigadier Rajinder Singh, who belonged to Jammu and was Independent India’s first Maha Vir Chakra recipient. With a small number of about 100-odd troopers, Singh had stopped the march of Pakistani army and raiders into Kashmir and sacrificed his life on 26 October, 1947.
JKPCC chief GA Mir said the supreme sacrifice of Brigadier Rajinder Singh could never be forgotten. “He was successful in his aim but had to lay down his own life. This was the rarest example when a General himself indulged in close fight with enemy,” he said.
Who was Brigadier Rajinder Singh?
On October 22, 1947, a force of over 5,000 Pakistani troops invaded the state of Jammu & Kashmir all along its border after Maharaja Hari Singh declared Independence following the Partition of the Indian sub-continent.
The Jammu & Kashmir State Forces, heavily outnumbered, fought hard holding on to their positions, despite limited arms, ammunition and supplies. The fate of the Valley was uncertain when Brigadier Rajinder Singh, the Chief of Military Staff, took over the command of a relief column and proceeded to the town of Muzzafarabad ( now in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) to prevent the onslaught.
On 23 October 1947, another column with all available troops (nearly 100) was despatched to join Brigadier Singh with orders from Maharaja Hari Singh, who famously commanded: “Save the state till the last man and the last bullet”.
“Fighting bravely for every inch of land, they delayed enemy advance by two crucial days during which important decisions were taken. The Indian Army joined the fight and the J&K State was thus saved for India by Brigadier Rajinder Singh. He made the supreme sacrifice of his life on the night of 26-27 October 1947 valiantly fighting the Pakistani raiders in Uri-Rampur sector,” reads the Maha Vir Chakra citation posthumously given to Brig Singh.
Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler, signed the Instrument of Accession to India on 26 October to save his state. The accord mobilised the Indian Army to drive away the invaders.
The Instrument of Accession is a legal document, executing which under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to join the Dominion of India.