The POW who saved Kashmir book on unsung saga of Sher Bacha Brig Pritam Singh released in MLF 2019
KI Singh/ royalpatiala.in/ Chandigarh
A panel discussion on the book ‘The POW who saved Kashmir-Unsung Saga of Sher Bacha Brigadier Pritam Singh’ written by Brigadier Jasbir Singh was held here at the Military Literature festival. A first copy of the book was also delivered to the author of the book.
During the panel discussion the various aspects and bravery of Pritam Singh and how his honour could be restored was discussed. The panellists included author of the book Brigadier Jasbir Singh, the publisher and co-author Pankaj P. Singh and Major General Ravi Arora CEO and Chief Editor ‘Indian Military Review’.
The panellist felt that the Brigadier Pritam’s contribution to India’s first conflict post independence needs to be understood in its totality.
Heroic saga of Brigadier Pritam Singh, who saved Poonch. He earned the sobriquet when the town was under siege by the Pakistani army, beefed up by ‘Razakars’ (raiders), for one year from November 22, 1947 to November 21, 1948. Trouble began with the influx of almost 40,000 refugees from across the newly-demarcated border, swelling up the town’s population to around 50,000. Due to the scarcity of food and warm clothing and the enemy knocking on the doors, people suffered endlessly. At this juncture, the Brigadier emerged as the saviour of Poonch, and was called ‘Sher Bachcha’ by the elders of the town for his outstanding leadership during the siege.
The subsequently year long siege described in this book needs to recognised for what it was. It perhaps suffices to remember that if Pritam had not done what he did the fate of not just Poonch but even Srinagar would have been a hundred times worse. They said that it was due to the bravery of Brigadier Pritam and his battalion that Poonch was saved. But soon after, the story of the saviour of Poonch took a U- turn. The Brigadier Pritam was court-martialed on false grounds by those with clear vested interests.
The panelists said that even now, nearly after seven decades it’s time to look into this grave injustice of history and recognise a valiant son for having stood firm and having done his duty.