Jammu, October 26 (Scoop News)-The `Jammu and Kashmir State Forces War Memorial’, situated in all its pristine glory within the Jammu cantonment, silently salutes the Dogras and other War Heroes of the Indo-Pak War of 1947, who had made supreme sacrifices to protect Jammu and Kashmir. In 1947, before grant of independence, the British Govt had given an open offer to all the kingdoms, as to whether to join India, Pakistan or to stay Independent. Accordingly J&K had decided to stay Independent. Pakistan, however, wanted Kashmir for itself. In a nefarious design, Pakistani raiders were sent to capture entire J&K. Only nine Battalians of J&K State Forces and JAK Militia had valiantly fought the raiders till the Indian Army had concentrated at Srinagar on 27 Oct 1947. The Indian Army, along with the J&K State Forces and JAK Militia had pushed the raiders back. This jolt brought the Pakistan Army into the war directly. The entire J&K could not be liberated due to UN intervention. However, the major portion of the J&K state was liberated by the joint efforts of Indian Army, J&K State Forces and JAK Militia.
The J&K Infantry, and JAK Militia had fought very valiantly during the entire war. During the Indo-Pak War of 1947, out of the total 4076 martyrs of the joint force comprising of the Indian Army, the J&K State Forces and JAK Militia, as many 1201 soldiers belonged to J&K State Forces and JAK Militia. In order to recognise the sacrifices made by the J&K State Forces and JAK Militia to save their mother land, Yuvraj Dr Karan Singh, the then Sadar-e-Riyasat J&K, had conceived the idea of getting a War Memorial constructed in Jammu Cantt. A committee was constituted, to project the design, and to raise funds. The committee had got the hall designed on the basis of European architecture.
The committee for the construction of this war memorial was thereafter constituted under the patronage of Sadar-e-Riyasat Yuvraj Dr Karan Singh. The committee used to hold regular meetings to monitor all the activities pertaining to War Memorial. Initially the purpose of the Hall was to create a reading room-cum-library hall. The out side premises were to be used as a children’s park.
An appeal was made by Yuvraj Karan Singh to all civilians and Army Units to contribute for the construction of the Memorial Hall. The money was contributed by Yuvraj Dr Karan Singh, JAK RIF Units, JAK RIF Regimental Centre, Civilian brethren of J&K State and a few other units of the Indian Army.
All serving soldiers of J&K State Forces and JAK Militia had contributed their one day’s salary for this noble cause. As per the audit report of 1955, the total contribution was `Rupees Sixty Eight Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Two, Four Annas and Three Paise’. The expenditure incurred for this purpose was `Rupees Forty Seven Thousand One Hundred and Fifty Nine and Ninety One Paise’. The balance money amounting to Rs 21,723/- was kept with the J&K State District Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Board (DSS&AB). Rs 15,000/- was reqd to be kept in the form of fixed deposits and the balance amount, for the upkeep of the Memorial Hall.
Initially, no funds were available for carrying out any maintenance work when the JAK RIF Centre took over the War Memorial. All JAK RIF Battalions and the Regimental Centre had contributed money for this purpose. Rs One Lakh was given by the J&K State Govt for this purpose in 1991. Another Rs 40,000/- were made available by JAK RIF Regimental Centre for construction of the front boundary wall.
The foundation stone for the construction of the Hall was laid by Dr Karan Singh, the then Governor of J&K State on 13 Apr 1953. The construction work was under taken by the JAK RIF Regimental Centre which was then under Lt Col Ishwar Dass. Only skilled persons were employed by the Centre. Unskilled working hands had come from amongst the trainees of the JAK RIF Trg Centre, which was then located in the present Raghu Pratap Lines opposite the Memorial Hall. The work was completed in one year. The monument was dedicated to the memory of brave soldiers of J&K State Forces by His Excellency the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, on 13 Apr 1954.
It was decided by management committee that the War memorial was to be handed over to the Cantonment Board Jammu for maintenance and upkeep. The overall supervision however was left with the J&K State Zila Sainik Board.
The panels inside the hall are made of pure teak. The names of the martyrs are inscribed in white paint. An open offer was made by Dr Karan Singh to select old weapons and pieces of equipment from state stores, after due selection process. A Rifle with three barrels, Rifle Breech Loadingalong with with machine gun, Cannon Guns (small) with carriage, Gubaras, Cannon Brass, Khukris with Scabbards, Swords, Royal Tegas (banners), General Hoshiar Singh’s Sword along with pistol, and Charaina Set have been displayed inside the main hall of War Memorial since 26 Feb 1956.
Immediately after the completion of works, the Memorial Hall was handed over to the Cantonment Board Jammu for maintenance and upkeep. It continued to be looked after by the Cantonment Board Jammu till 1976. Maj Gen Raj Kumar Jasbir Singh visited the Memorial and found that it was not being looked after properly. He took up a case with the J&K State Zila Sainik Board and the Cantonment Board Jammu for handing over the building to the Tiger Division for maintenance and upkeep.
Due to the efforts of the General Officer Commanding, War Memorial, comprising the Hall and the adjoining area was handed over to the Tiger Division. The deed of lease for five years was signed between the Cantonment Board Jammu and the General Officer Commanding Tiger Division on 31 May 1977. Per Annum rent was also fixed, to be paid to the Cantonment Board Jammu.
Maj Gen HN Hoon, became the General Officer Commanding Tiger Division thereafter, he discussed the matter with Maj Gen RK Sood the Colonel of the JAK RIF & Ladakh Scouts and the then Military Advisor to President of India, to have the War Memorial comprising the Hall and the adjoining area transferred to JAK RIF Regimental Centre. On behalf of the JAK RIF Regimental Centre, the War Memorial was taken over by a JAK RIF unit and been maintained vigorously. Ever since, various JAK RIF units have been looking after the War Memorial.
Initially a fair was proposed to be held on 13 Apr i.e. on Baishakhi Day, every year. Presently an Annual Wreath-Laying function is held in the War Memorial on 27 Oct every year which is celebrated as “Infantry Day” as the First Infantryman had landed in J&K, on this momentous day in 1947.
It has now been proposed that the memorial will be converted into an All Infantry Regiment Memorial, wherein names of all those martyrs who had laid their lives in J&K after 1947 will also been ensgraved. Marble slabs from Rajasthan have been purchased for engraving names of the martyrs. The work of construction of the `Wall’ in the Centre of the Hall and engraving work will be undertaken soon.
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