This story is about soldiering when a soldier lives through his soul, buried deep inside him. This is a story of bond between two soldiers, right to say, association for life. It reveals that special bond, which puts us inside the interior of a soldier and his heart. Plot of the story goes back to the Second World War. Soldier, Jauru Oraon finds himself deployed in Burma along with his unit, 1 Bihar. Major Habibullah Khan Khattak was the Second-in-Command of the unit. Subsequently, the officer took over command of the unit. Sepoy Jauru Oraon continued to serve with the battalion. He also became the Colonel’s batman.
Let us see the plot, the way it evolves. Theatre was ‘South East Asia’. Location was Burma. It is also known as Burma Campaign. What was the operational situation like? Early Japanese victories had eventually been reversed by a combination of British and Chinese forces. 1 Bihar also took part in those operations. Canvas of operations was spread from December 1941 to May 1945.
As a result of the partition of India in 1947, the formations, units, assets, and indigenous personnel of the Indian Army were divided, two thirds of the assets were retained by the Union of India, and one third going to newly created Pakistan. Most of the remainder of the Indian Army’s Muslim Personnel proceeded to join the newly created Pakistan Army. Lt Colonel Habibullah Khan from 1 Bihar also opted to go to Pakistan. After partition, Sepoy Jauru Oraon was posted to 2 Bihar.
Soon after the partition of India and of the Indian Army, the two new armies fought each other in the First Kashmir War, beginning a bitter rivalry.
In early July 1948, 2 Bihar moved into the Kashmir valley and took a defensive position on a feature, called Pandu, on the Uri front. Within a few days, the feature was attacked by a brigade of Pak Forces. Bitter fighting took place, and it lasted for three days without respite. During this operation, four soldiers, including Sepoy Jauru Oraon, of 2 Bihar were taken as prisoners of war by Baluch Regiment of Pak army. They were taken to Kohat Jail with other Prisoners of war. Brig. M. Habibulla Khan, by now, commanding 100 Pak Brigade, opposite Uri, heard that there were some Bihari soldiers in the jail. He went there and recognized those who had served with him in 1 Bihar. Reunion between the Brigadier and those soldiers from his previous unit, pre partition radiated happiness, as old friends were meeting after a long time and feeling as nothing had changed. Yes, there was a feeling of recognition in meeting old friends. He sent Sepoy Jauru Oraon to his house, where he worked again as batman to his old commanding officer.
After India and Pakistan signed the agreement to exchange their prisoners of war, Jauru Oraon was given a send off by the Brigadier, who once again parted reluctantly with his old batman. He put him along other Bihari soldiers on the first train going to India. This episode of bond has a special way of putting inside the boots of a soldier. It was in the air, as two soldiers were whispering to each other with moist eyes, we long for the day to hold and see you again, no matter how far you are; the world is not big enough to hide us from each other. Very aptly, Field Marshal Bernard L Montgomery had said, “The beginning of leadership is a battle for the hearts and minds of men”. Brig. M. Habibulla Khan knew the spirit of this message very well, no wonder, the man rose to the rank of Voice Chief of the Army Staff, second highest rank in Pakistan Army. Massage was loud; Love makes bridges so distance and fear disappear when old friends meet again. A soldier will fight whenever he is told, and he will always win, at times through his loyalty to his previous comrades.