KITNE GHAZI... !
KASHMIR has been experiencing a new peace in the past few months as the administration in the post-Article 370 period settles with its tasks. The higher inflow of tourists into Kashmir has begun bringing better economic prospects to the common people -- even as the Security Forces are busy defeating the evil designs of terrorists. It is in the light of these improving conditions in Kashmir that one awaits the arrival of the proposed memoir of Lieutenant General Kanwal Jit Singh Dhillon Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye (proposed to be brought out by Penguin Random House India). He served in Kashmir through six tenures from the lowest to the highest ranks in most of his illustrious career. He also served the country as the Chief of the Defence Intelligence. ‘Ghazi’ is almost always the code word which the terrorists use for themselves. With an obvious reference to that, Lt. General Dhillon has talked about how Kashmir has survived through the reign of terror, thanks to the efforts made by the Government in general and the Armed Forces in particular.
In many interviews, Lt. General Dhillon has represented the efforts of the Army in the most precise and precious words. Each word of the veteran officer who retired recently from service carried much weight -- of his experience, his expertise, and his exceptional faith that the situation in Kashmir will improve beyond words in the coming times, no matter the tough challenge. This faith has made all the difference -- not only to Lt. General Dhillon’s life and career, but also to Kashmir as a whole. He was the Corp Commander in Kashmir when Article 370 was abrogated. And when Pulwama strike took place, he was only four days old in his command. Despite that terrible Pulwama strike, the Indian Army remained focused on its task and completed the mission of revenge in a methodical manner -- keeping its morale intact.
The story of Kashmir after the abrogation of Special Status is the story of how the Army and the civil administration kept its morale up even when criticism was being heaped about things going wrong everywhere and every now and then. The story of Kashmir is also the story of how Pakistan’s terror narrative kept failing itself over time. The story of Kashmir is also the story of the sacrifice of not just the people in uniform but also by the civilians who died in countless thousands. The story of Kashmir is also the one from the philosophy of integration which the Indian democracy has harboured and sustained through thick and thin.
In Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye, Lt. General Dhillon promises to tell not just his story but also, in parts, the story of India and Kashmir -- not just purely from a soldier’s point of view but also from the Indian perspective. That book is expected to make waves -- mainly because it has been written by a professional warrior who can be billed as one of the best communicators of the purpose and practices of the Armed Forces.
The current peace in Kashmir is an outcome of a planned execution of the abrogation of the Special Status. Signs of growth and development are visible in a big way all over Kashmir. Terrorism also has been contained to a great extent, no matter sporadic incidents. It is obvious that in the next some time, Kashmir will attain a complete normalcy -- following which the Government may hold legislative elections there and even restore its Statehood, as is being indicated in bits and pieces by different leaders.
All this has happened despite Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye. The Armed and Security Forces have played critical role in Kashmir for all these 75 years -- right from saving Kashmir from Pakistani invaders in 1947-48 through many wars until now. And they also played a role much beyond their uniform. As Lt. General Dhillon says, in effect, the Army did such a great job because its India calling.
When the history of these times will be written later, the role of the Army will occupy a major place and space in those pages. What politics sought to spoil the Army saved from happening. The Indian nation, the larger Indian society, therefore, must remain eternally grateful to the Armed Forces.The story of the Army, therefore, must be told in every Indian home for all the time to come.