This is the saga of man who thwarted Pakistan plan of annexing Kashmir in 1947 with a strength of just 100 soldiers at his command, he put up a fight-which was extra-ordinary by all accounts.
Brigadier Rajinder Singh was born on 14th June 1899 in small village of Bagoona 35 kms east of Jammu in the family of Dalpatia clan of Jamwals. The history of bravery and sacrifice ran in the family, with his illustrious ancestor General Baj Singh having sacrificed himself almost a century earlier in the defence of Chitral. His grandfather was a war veteran with seven battle scars on his body. His father Subedar Lakh Singh, who Rajinder lost at an early age of six months was a junior officer in the State forces Lt. Col. Govind Singh, an affectionate uncle, brought him up. He was educated in Jammu and graduated in 1921 from Prince of Wales College, now Government Gandhi Memorial Science College in 1921. During his student days he is remembered as being unassuming, obedient and a good student who did well in his studies. In June 1921 immediately after graduation he joined the J and K State Forces as a Commissioned Officer. Being educated, hard working and dedicated to his profession his progress was rapid. He was promoted Captain in April 1925, Major in July 1927 and Colonel in 1935. In May 1942 he had risen to the rank of Brigadier and stood approved as a Major General. On 24th September 1947 he took over as a Chief of Staff of J and K State Forces from Maj. General. H.L Scott a British Officer. Brigadier Rajinder Singh as Head of the State Forces responded to the call of the time and the ruler and laid down his life fighting with a company virtually to the last man, a rare feat in the annals of military history. He delayed Pakistani invasion of 6,000 strong with 100 gallant soldiers for four days from 23rd to 27th Oct 1947 on Uri front and enabled Maharaja Hari Singh to accede to Indian Union and get reinforcement and also enabled Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to organise his people to defend the State.
The saviour of Kashmir as he came to the called lateron was awarded the first gallantry award of Independent Indian Mahavir Vir Chakra posthumously for his courage, supreme sacrifice and leadership for which he will be remembered forever. We remember him on his birth anniversary and pay homage to him and his gallant men who scarificed their lives for the state.
Independence demanded price and scarifices while the country got independence under Mahatama Gandhi with comparatively less sacrifices. It had to pay heavy price at the time of independence due to partition of the country. Our suffering started with the Pakistani invasion of the Valley on night 21st to 22nd Oct 1947 since J and K State did not accede to either of the dominion on 15th August 1947. Pakistan started attacking the State soon after 15th August according to the plan hatched by her in collusion with the British culminating into an invasion of the Valley in Muzzafarbad in Uri sector on night 21st to 22nd Oct. Two Muslim companies of 4 J and K Infantry defending Muzzafarabad switched sides which was a severe blow to the defence for the State and was to have a far reaching influence on the battle of Uri.
When Maharaja Hari Singh was informed about the fall of Muzzafarabad by Brig. Rajinder Singh, Maharaja decided to go to the front to see the situation for himself but Brig. Rajinder Singh volunteered himself to proceed to the front as the Maharaja was to carry out accession parleys and arrange reinforcements from India.
On 22nd Oct. 1947 Brig. Rajinder Singh collected whatever troops were available in Srinagar Cantt and proceeded towards Uri with a small force of 100 men. He reached Uri at mid-night in a heavy down poor. Next day on 23rd Oct. 1947 the first engagement took place at Garhi where he inflicted heavy casualities on the enemy but lost a complete platoon in the battle. This bold and determined action of the Brigadier put a severe caution on the enemy which made it possible for the Brigadier to organise his defences at Uri and get some reinforcements. At this time Maharaja Hari Singh realising the gravity of the situation, issued the historic order to Brigadier Rajinder Singh to hold the enemy at Uri at all costs and to the last man. Brigadier Rajinder Singh realising the importance of Uri Bridge to the invaders blew it up on 24th October which was a masterly stroke of the delaying operation that saved the Valley of Kashmir. The destruction of the Uri Bridge drastically slowed down the enemy’s movement, the invaders however followed up on foot and Brig. Rajinder Singh commenced a fighting withdrawal towards Baramulla. After delaying the enemy at Mahura on 25th octrober. He took a defencive position at Rampur Buniyar where he fought them like a lion till 1:00 AM on 27th Oct. Since this small force came under very heavy pressure, it was forced to withdraw due to mounting casualities.
Brig. Rajinder Singh was himself hit in his right arm and legs in the ambush while withdrawing to the next position Despite his bleeding wounds he continued to inspire his men to fight on and subsequently he lost his life defending his country against great odds.
In Jammu in his memory a Chowk is dedicated behind the Secretariat. A beautiful park is also built in this Chowk with his statue. Brig. Rajinder Singh Auditorium is also situated in the Jammu University. In the memory of Brig. Rajinder Singh, a park on his name has been built on Ranbir Canal. Rajinder Bazar in Jammu brings to us the memory of this great Solider and Son of the Soil.