Remembering 6 September 1965 War: Until Another September
06 September, 2010
By Sohail Parwaz
A much respected friend of mine and someone who is like an elder brother, Air Commodore M. M. Alam, popularly known as Squadron Leader M. M Alam, called me up out of the blue a few days back. My grandson Shamyl Bashir retains not only the honour to sit in the lap of this legendary war celebrity and a cherished hero of the September 1965 Pak-India war, but also to have a pile of photographs taken with him. We all devotedly take him as our esteemed elder while he admires all of us as his younger, which is a great honour for us. After his talk I beamed back into the past while putting the receiver back on the cradle and reached into September 1965 epoch.
Oh Lord! What kind of folks those smart sons, charming brothers and amorous husbands were who did not give a second thought when they found the honour and dignity of their motherland at stake. How nonchalantly and cheerfully they sacrificed their ‘today’ for the nation’s ‘tomorrow’. Frankly speaking, in those crucial moments had those icons indulged in the ‘ifs and buts’, then the country’s memoir would have spelled something different.
Today while having differences with the top brass of the armed forces or while keeping grudge with them, emotionally we get so carried away that we do not spare the forces even as an organisation. Not for a faintest moment did we become conscious of the fact that each and every member of these armed forces is our own kith and kin. Each rank of these forces is either someone’s brother or nephew, son or son-in-law. On the one hand, we worriedly pray and beg to Almighty Allah for their wellbeing when they are out against the odds, on the other hand we do not feel any shame while deriding and denigrating them. Truly speaking, our approach and outlook has made our second and third generations indifferent and ignorant about our illustrated history of September 1965. Had we not been so casual and careless, the feelings of our proud and energetic youngsters would have been different. They would have preferred to become M. M. Alam, Aziz Bhatti, Abid Majeed, Masood Akhtar, Shabbir Sharif, Sarfraz Rafique and many others like them instead of having a crave for shining as Shah Rukh, Amitabh, Sunil, Sanjay and Govinda.
It is almost half a century since the 1965 war was fought. At the time of the1971 war, our apathetic and insensitive attitude had already surmounted. The history of Pakistan at the time of the fall of Dhaka was hardly a quarter-century old and the sour reality is that a nation which forgets her heroes in just 25 years and turns unresponsive to nationalism, takes the name of ‘Pakistan’ with a heavy heart, then one should not be astounded.
Dear readers! I know that my blunt words are going to pinch a few hearts, but at the same time I am pretty convinced that those who have true love for this beloved motherland are not going to mind it. It should nip only those who consider this holy motherland nothing more than a conglomerate, a fertile jaageer (lands) or a goldmine. If this would have not been the case, then an unknown lady, whose ancestors once migrated from God-knows-where, would not have given a disgusting and disgraceful statement while sitting in the enemy country that she would not have regretted if Pakistan had dismantled. There is no dearth of such sinful souls who are polluting Pakistan with their filthy presence.
The problem is that neither any of them has lost any dear and near ones in any war nor have any of their blood relations ever been brought back from Siachen in a coffin box. Had that been the case, I would have posed them a humourless question: what does Pakistan means? I wonder if any one of them could tell me about the contribution of his (or her) elders in the completion of Pakistan (not the Pakistan Movement). But incidentally I do not find any reason to ask this question to such insensitive selfish scallywags. The value of an independent homeland is only known to those who witnessed the debacle of Partition. Those who sacrificed their infants, who jumped into the wells to save their honour and those who were compelled to leave their young daughters behind, would be the appropriate people to put across this crucial and critical question.
The September 1965 war confirmed this myth that our nation is one, indestructible and rock-hard solid, but at the same time 1971’s setback elucidated this point as well that to create crevices in this wall, one does not need any war but just a cultural infiltration. Try to trace back the links of those who ridicule and diatribe the Pakistani armed forces and amongst them you will find those who want to divert their countrymen’s attention away from their looting and plundering. Some of them would be felons who want to change this Islamic society into a vulgar outfit and a few of them would be found dying even to hug and hold the Indians.
Dear readers! Our beloved motherland is passing through the crucial era of its history. During the last six decades we never faced such a test, not even in September 1965. In that war it was the unforgettable unity of the armed forces and civilians that led us to a remarkable victory. I agree that in 1971 there was a sheer drop in that cheek and chutzpah. I also admit that we never bothered to trace out the reasons for the heartbreak and dumped reports like the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report in the cold storage, but is it not a bitter reality that when the enemy is out there and threatening one’s sovereignty, the sensible people forget the family feuds?
Our armed forces fought the 1965 war with the splendid support of their civilian brethren and they won it with the latter’s cheer. The bottom-line is that the Pakistan army cannot think of fighting and winning any future war without their countrymen’s backing. This army is purely yours, so please do not leave them alone and if by any chance the brain wave stirs your mind, then before doing so find sometime to read an Urdu book, Jab Amritsar Jal Raha Tha (When Amritsar was burning) written by Khawaja Iftikhar.
I dare to dedicate my today’s column to Sepoy Boota Khan, who is vigilantly manning a post at the highest snow desert of the world Siachen in minus 30 degree below freezing temperature, and who does not know in what mess his family is living back in Bahawalnagar since the last time he visited them about four months back.