Sunday, March 28, 2004
28th March,2004,Sunday somewhere in Nothern sector,14 excited students standing on a watch tower,overlooking ,Pakistan. Just 300 meters away is a Pakistani post hidden in the Sarkanda grass.Had it been three months back in December their heads would have ben blown off.The students of YPS Mohali had been invited to visit a school run byu army right on the LOC.In the bargain we got to see both sides of the Army.On 27th of March,2004,14 students of class 10th, eager to know what was in store for them over the next one week,started off on their journey to Akhnoor.We acclimatized ourselves to the surroundings.The next day was a thrilling one from the beginning to the end.We went to a forward post somewhere in Chhamb sector and met Major R.S Rai and his soldiers.We were overwed when told that the area in front of us was Pakistan.From there we went to another forward post from where we were told about the various Pakistani posts which were not more than 100 meters away.The officers of the unit indicvated the LOC for us and told us about the communication systems.After thaty we went to Chhamb sector area where we were briefed about the #wars of 1947,1965 and 1971.We were also told about thr historical routes of the invaders like Alexander.Then we were told about the place called Chingus.Chingus means intestines in Persian and it is the place where Shah Jahan’s intestines were burruied.We had lunch with the officers,after which we were asked to write down the remarks.The next day we went to Rajouri sector.That night we had dinner with Brig. K.V.S. Lallotra.The next day,we dressed up in our school uniform because we had to visit Pinewood school.This school was started by Brig. Lallotra in 1994 with the help of his wife.And this year in April,the school will have its first batch of class 10th.The school lies straight in lines of firing and we were shown walls which had holes due to firing and also roofs which had been blown off.They also showed us remnants of the shells which had landed from other side of the border.The children,who would earlier run away to hide themselves in,now would sit quietly in a group.The students put up a cultural show for us which included a bamboo dance,Khikhi dance,a skit,a puppet show and a poem which was recited by Haseena who was in class 4th.The show was brilliant and it inspired us to do something too.We sang one of our school songs.Mankeerat,a budding musician, presented an item on the tabla which was appreciated by one and all.We had some refreshments and interacted with the students for some time.Our school presented Pinewood school with its very first computer and set of Britannica CDs.This gesture was highly acknowledged by one and all.We were then taken to a forward post by the Battalion there.This part of trip of surely the most exciting and thrilling part.The Jawans told us aout the artillery weapons in detail which was followed by a demonstration.And then it was our turn to fire the 5.56 rifle,AK-47 and the heavy machine gun.Wow!It was a lot of fun.This made us realize that it was once in a lifetime experience for us.After this we were taken to another post where we were shown 81mm MTR.We were given a little briefing.We then went to the border fence and walked along it.The officer with us told us the various encounters and ambushes that had takn place in the area that we were walking in.We were briefed about mines.The last event for the day was to visit to the Battalion headquarters.We were shown 106 RCI which weighed 219 kg.The best part was when we were asked to pick it on our shoulders.What an experience it was!!Half of us left it and ran away complaining of shoulder pain.The eventful day was followed by a dinner with the officers.The officers performed black magic and other trick but were unfortunately caught by the intelligent students of Y.P.S.The next day we went to the Poonch sector with the Battalion headed by Col. H.S. Bhagat who made sure that we we had a great time.He asked us to wear Army Jackets and caps,we finally sat in a 2.5 ton army truck,something we had all been waiting for eagerly.The journey was a lot of fun but our bones were rattled.Col. Bhagat took to one of his posts where we were shown the way they communicate,where the JAwans live,their mess,etc.We had lunch with the Jawans which is called Langar in the army.The post that we were was just 50 meters away from the LoC.We were then taken to Col. Bhagat’s headquarters where he asked us to check out every corner of the place.We had a great time with him.After a short photo session ,we had to leave and we went back to the Rajouri sector.The next day we met all the officers that we come across on the trip and presented them with the Souvenirs.It was a touching moment for all of us to say goodbye to them.Thereafter,we started on the journey with an overnight stay at the Jammu Transit Camp.All of us came back with a heavy heart.The trip besides all the fun part,made us feel really,really proud of being Indians.The trip instilled in us the spirit of unity.We promised each other that if we see anybody disrespecting anything that belongs to India, it is our duty to correct them.The National Anthem gained utmost importance.We then realized that we are living in modern cities with our families,friends,etc and still we are often quarrelling and arguing.Well,let us look at the JAwans who are sitting ambush throughout the night whether the night its rain,hail or snow and are still happy and content with their lives. We learn that these jawans are living away from their families just to save the country. That’s real machoism. The jawans , the officers, commanders were all very hospitable. They made sure that we have a good time. I don’t have words for their hospitality. We were told by Brig. Lallotra, that if the civilians want to do something for the soldiers they can say a little prayer for them! That is what I request all of you to do. I wish all of you could go on such a trip and see how hard is to guard the boarder of the country! Hats of to all the people because of whom we are living freely today.