Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced on Tuesday that the lives of three local heroes – General Zorawar Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, and Brigadier Rajinder Singh Jamwal – will be incorporated into the school curriculum across the state. This initiative aims to celebrate their contributions to the region’s history and inspire future generations.
General Zorawar Singh:
- A commander in the Dogra army, Singh played a pivotal role in expanding the kingdom’s territory in the 1830s. He conquered Ladakh, Baltistan, Skardu, and parts of Western Tibet, showcasing his exceptional military prowess.
- Known for his strategic brilliance and leadership, Singh’s conquest of the Paddar region (famous for its sapphire mines) solidified his reputation. He even led a successful campaign against the ruler of Ladakh and established himself as a key figure in Dogra history.
- Despite facing harsh winter conditions and supply shortages, Singh’s ambition led him to venture into modern-day Ladakh and establish forts along a 450-mile communication line between Mansarovar and Mount Kailash. However, his life tragically ended during a battle with Tibetan forces in 1841.
- A 19-year-old National Conference member, Sherwani’s courage and ingenuity played a crucial role in halting the Pakistani-backed raiders’ advance towards Srinagar in 1947.
- With Indian forces still days away from deployment due to the Instrument of Accession’s absence, Sherwani’s actions proved decisive. He either misled the raiders by offering a false route or warned them of the Indian Army’s presence, buying precious time for reinforcements to arrive.
- Sherwani’s bravery and sacrifice prevented Srinagar’s fall, potentially altering the outcome of the 1947 war with Pakistan. Today, he is remembered as the “Saviour of Kashmir” and commemorated by the Indian Army on its Infantry Day.
Brigadier Rajinder Singh Jamwal:
- A decorated officer, Jamwal led a small contingent of 200 men against a much larger force of raiders near Uri in 1947. His unwavering determination during the first Indo-Pak war delayed the enemy’s advance for several days.
- Despite sustaining severe injuries, Jamwal commanded his men to continue the fight and leave him behind. His troops bravely held their ground for nearly four days until reinforcements arrived.
- Jamwal’s actions were instrumental in defending the state until the Instrument of Accession was signed, and he is also celebrated as a “Saviour of Kashmir.” He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest military decoration in India.
The inclusion of these heroes in J&K’s textbooks represents a conscious effort to celebrate diverse voices and showcase the rich tapestry of the region’s history. Their stories of courage, sacrifice, and leadership will undoubtedly inspire young minds and serve as a reminder of the values that define Jammu and Kashmir.