The powers that be in Rawalpindi thought India would get so entangled in internal and border issues of Kashmir that it wouldn’t be able to advance beyond it. However, Shastri lived up to his name — Lal Bahadur: meaning brave. He ordered the army to advance inside Pakistani territory from other borders.
His logic was if Pakistan did not think twice before invading our borders, we too should have no problem in entering theirs. Not just that, he also ordered the Indian Navy and Air Force to engage the Pakistanis.
Ayub Khan probably had not anticipated this reaction. That’s where he lost the plot. He had stationed most of the Pakistan army on the Kashmir border.
Taking advantage of this, the Indian Army could advance without much resistance inside Pakistan’s Lahore borders.
According to noted Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi, the BBC had broadcast the news that Indian Army officers were sipping whisky inside the Lahore Club.
Sethi says the Indian Army also suspected a Pakistani ploy to allow them easy entry till a certain point and then catch them unawares by suddenly surrounding the advancing army from all sides. That’s why they moved with utmost caution.
This approach by our army allowed Pakistanis to regroup and put up some resistance on the Lahore border. One doesn’t know if reports of Indian soldiers sipping whisky in Lahore Club were actually aired on the BBC.
Why the Indian Army did not enter Lahore is also mired in mystery. Whatever be the truth, one thing is certain. Three years after being defeated by the Chinese, our confidence was now restored.
As attempts are being made again to push the rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar into communal violence, why can’t we remember patriots and bravehearts such as Vir Abdul Hameed, AB Tarapore, Nand Gopal, Ajit Singh, AR Khan, Deb Singh Bhandari and KP Lahiri?
They are people who rose above the boundaries of caste and creed and made the supreme sacrifice for their country.
Their message was simple: Dying for one’s country is better than a thousand lives.
Great men like them proved to the world at large that back home we may have our own identities, but Indians unite when it comes to defending the motherland.
With the 2014 elections in mind, some people want to divide society and embarrass our country much in the same manner as Ayub and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had embarrassed their country in the 1965 war.
Let us learn lessons from that war and that victory. First: That from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is one and it is impossible to divide it. And second: That while defending the country, our youth don’t think about caste and colour.
We only have to draw lessons from the past and look within. Our desire to stay united is far greater than anything else. We have proved it time and again. The only regret is that at times we tend to drift apart.