Captain Amarinder Singh to pen a book on Punjab’s troubled past | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Captain Amarinder Singh to pen a book on Punjab’s troubled past

The book will cover the period spanning the trifurcation of the state in 1966 when its troubles really began and till the end of militancy in 1992. “It’s going to be my last book. I have got all the facts and figures, but I will write it after I retire.

punjab Updated: Apr 06, 2017 08:21 IST
Navneet Sharma
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.(HT File Photo)

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is planning to write a book on three decades of turmoil in the state.

The book will cover the period spanning the trifurcation of the state in 1966 when its troubles really began and till the end of militancy in 1992. “It’s going to be my last book. I have got all the facts and figures, but I will write it after I retire.

Before that, I will write one on the 1971 military operations along with TS Shergill (retd),” Capt Amarinder, whose book on the Battle of Saragarhi is due for release on April 8, told Hindustan Times. He took over as the chief minister on March 16 after leading the Congress to a thumping victory in the state assembly polls.

The 251-page book is being released in the 120th year of the Battle of Saragarhi. (HT Photo)

Amarinder said he was involved in the situation from 1980 when (then Prime Minister) put him in charge, but later opted out. “Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale came up because of the failure of Akalis. If it had not been for the short-sightedness of Parkash Singh Badal on the Punjabi suba issue, we would not have been in the situation we are in today.

It was the genesis of all troubles that the state faced,” he said before the conversation again veered to his latest book, “Saragarhi and the Defence of the Samana Forts”, on the bravery and valour of 21 soldiers of 36 Sikh Regiment (now 4 Sikh) in 1897-98.

Amarinder, a military historian and a former officer of Sikh Regiment himself, said the epic battle had not got the importance it deserved in the military history. “If you look at the military history, you will find many examples of ‘Last Stands’ in a battle at the last minute. But this is an example of collective body of troops who knew at the start of the battle that this was going to be the last day. There were 8,000 people in the front, but were told to hold their ground. If they wanted they could have got out, but stood their ground and fought valiantly,” he said.

The chief minister said he started writing the book two years ago and the Colonel of the Sikh regiment was kind to him to provide the digests of the battalions.

“I also accessed material from the army museum in London. During the battle, Gurmukh Singh, who was the signaller at Saragarhi, was passing on signals to the fort. There were also first person accounts of men from Orakzai and Afridi tribes after a peace treaty took place in 1898,” he said.

Asked if this story of courage and determination of 22 men led by platoon commander Ishar Singh provided inspiration to him during his ‘last political battle’, the two-time CM said he was a platoon commander in his battalion and had often wondered how he would have reacted to such a situation.

“In my view, Ishar Singh did a great job. And I have made a mention of this in the book,” he said. The 251-page book will be released in the 120th year of the Battle of Saragarhi.