December 16-Vijay Diwas-A day of celebration and homage to soldiers-Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri
Soldiers are the backbone and pillars of every nation. They sacrifice their lives for their nations so that people lead a life of peace and comfort. India is a huge country and its soldiers are patriotic to the core. Who can forget the Indo-Pak War of 1971 when Bangladesh fought the Bangladesh Liberation War against Pakistan to become an independent country. It established itself as the sovereign nation called Bangladesh. It was one of the most violent wars of the twentieth century which caused large scale atrocities with an exodus of ten million refugees and colossus killings by the Pakistani Armed Forces.
16 December, 1971 was a day of rejoicing and paying homage to soldiers which is celebrated every year to honour and salute the victory of Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan. India pays homage and commemorates all the soldiers who defended the nation. It was a decisive victory over Pakistan. Nation pays tribute to brave hearts of 1971 Indo-Pak War on 16th December that is celebrated as Vijay Diwas (Victory Day).
Our nation celebrated Vijay Diwas on 16 December, 2021 to commemorate fifty years of victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War – a golden chapter in India’s military history. It was called ‘Swarnim Vijay Diwas’. Prime Minister and the Defence Minister paid homages at the National War Memorial where the Victory Flame was lit a year ago to mark the beginning of the celebrations. On this day of ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’, thirty ‘Mukti Jodhas’ were invited from Bangladesh and honoured gracefully.
The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation was an evidence of highly executed military and diplomatic strategy and shaped a new geography under Indira Gandhi’s sound leadership. It was the boldness and resilience of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. She being an adept and diplomatic Prime Minister carried a well-knit crackdown in Dhaka and swung into fierce action. The newly formed Bangladesh deserves congratulations for being categorised as a ‘Least Developed Nation’ to a ‘Developing Nation’ by the United Nations. It was indeed a victory of the people of India. A stamp was also issued to commemorate the historic event which carries the ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ logo designed by Lieutenant Cdr. Kushal Chandrashekhar. The stamp displays the spirit of Indian Armed Forces and the Indo-Bangla forces.
December 16-Vijay Diwas-A day of celebration and homage to soldiers-Puri. 16th December, 1971 is a landmark day in the history of Indian Armed Forces over the Pakistani Armed Forces when Pakistan government surrendered its armed soldiers. The Instrument of surrender was signed by Commander of Eastern Command of Pakistan Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi who accepted the decisive defeat. It was signed from the Indian side by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Indian and Bangladesh forces in Eastern Theatre by Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora. It was the largest military surrender after the Second World War. The Indian Armed Forces in association with Mukti Bahini, liberated. Bangladesh in a very short period of thirteen days with a colossus surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers.
The end of the war also resulted in the subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh. It was not only a victory for creating Bangladesh but it was also a victory over the hearts and minds of the people staying in that area. The day is also celebrated in Bangladesh as ‘Bijoy Dibos’. This victory for the Indian Military stripped Pakistan of nearly half of their population and one-third of their army was in captivity. The 1972 Simla Agreement resulted in the release of the Pakistani Prisoners of War, the recognition of Bangladesh as an independent state and ceding the land captured by Indian troops during the war.
December 16-Vijay Diwas-A day of celebration and homage to soldiers-Puri. The bravery and courage of the Indian soldiers, their indomitable determination and will-power, their love and patriotism for the nation changed the course of history in the Indian sub-continent for ever. It is the moral duty of every Indian to pay homage to Indian soldiers and remember brave hearts with full feelings of love who made their sacrifice for our safe tomorrow, peaceful life and brighter future.
Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.) who was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Dr. S.S. Johal, awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2004. Smt. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Dr. Jaswant Singh Puri.
(The views expressed are personal)