Monday, May 20, 2013

The Story Of An Unsung Hero ...

In the Land of Azaad Kashmir ,approx. 50 kms north to bhimber , lies a small village called BAROH, just at the line of control between Pakistan and India. The most prominent landmark of the village is a vertical ridge called Baroh Ridge. On the extreme end of the ridge lives an old man almost reaching the age of 100 years,named 'KHUSHI BABA'. With thick long white beard ,darkened skin folds around his eyes,lips strictly sealed and melancholy eyes with a thousand tales of a century hidden deep inside, Khushi Baba walks the land with a stick in his hand and is often seen sitting beside a stream washing his clothes or sometimes comes to my Regimental Aid Post to get medicines.He lives alone with nobody around to take care of him at such an old age.But there is a long story behind such loneliness ,reasons that make this country the 'Land Of The Pure' .Reasons that define the true kind and class of people that made this country possible.So lets just stop time of the present and journey back into the black and white of early 20th century to peep into the life of Khushi baba of the 1940's...

Born in Baroh in 1915 ,Khushi Baba spent his childhood days at baroh ridge in a way that has not changed much even now in this village with children more attached to nature and outdoor games and very little of an entertainment at home.Khushi baba then moved out to take on the world the moment he realised he was strong and old enough to leave home.
In 1942,Khushi Baba enrolled himself in the BRITISH ARMY and mastered in Guerilla training at Pune(Indian) and joined 619 Field regt. He worked tenaciously under the command of English officers. However,during the time of 1940's, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was struggling for Pakistan and separate nation for Muslims. Khushi Baba resigned from the British Army and decided to return back to his village of Baroh.

1946- Kashmir was under the rule of king Dogar. Dogar was building up an Army of his own in Kashmir, owing to the political developments in the subcontinent and more likelihood of the creation of two countries ,Pakistan and India. Khushi Baba on hearing of the package Dogar army had to offer, which included pension at the end of retirement and better scale of wages, enrolled himself in the Dogar Army at Nowshera.( Nowshera is only two ridges to the East of village BAROH).But it wasnt all fairy tale for Khushi Baba joining the Dogar's Army as onset of 1947 brought with  it fresh violence especially the burning down of Muslim villages by Dogar Army in the-presently- Indian Occupied Kashmir.Khushi Baba saw the burning,the killings of his fellow Muslims ,rapes of young women at the hands of hindu Dogars and prejudices of extreme nature. On realizing how biased the Dogars were ,Khushi baba couldn't convince his conscience, to be working under an Army that was going rampant on Muslims.

 Pakistan was about to get independent .As Redcliff and his counterparts were busy dividing the subcontinent into two,words had reached Khushi Baba and his group of - planning to be deserters - of how hard the times were coming up for the Muslims of the region.He already had planned to take revenge for the spilled blood of his muslim brothers and sisters, by the Dogars.
So khushi Bada besides others ,decided to desert the dogars. They were at that time,living in the Base camp of Dogars in nowshehra .the only escape route through the base camp lay near the latrines and pitch dark night , khushi Baba along with others finally made a move .Through the small windows of the washrooms ,they jumped out of base camps and started running towards the ridge (Chai Ridge) that would lead them to Baroh.They knew they would be followed and killed as soon as the Dogars found out they had deserted.Khushi Baba tells of how long the night was and they kept on running and climbing the ridge through the darkness until they reached the other side of Chai ridge.
On reaching the safe zone ,it was dawn and sun was rising as Khushi Baba knelt and kissed the soil of Chai village.The moment he saw the Baroh ridge ,he started crying and promised His God that he would take revenge for all the Muslim killings he has seen.
This picture was taken from the Baroh Ridge as sun rises from the CHAI RIDGE.The same ridge Baba Khushi crossed at dawn more than 60 years ago.Across this ridge lies the Indian city of Nowshehra ,once a base camp of Dogar Army 

Qubailee people arrived to help out Muslims of Kahmir ,following Dogar's post independence annexation of Kashmir to India.In the region in proximity to Baroh, the qubailee Lashkars made their base camps in SAMAHNI and TANDAR villages. Khushi Baba knew the region very well and went to Tandar to help out the pathaans and qubailees.He served as a vital Asset to the qubailees ,showing them the various vulnerable areas and defiles and helped them understand the dynamics of the landscape around Baroh .On reaching Kartan ( a ridge on left end of Baroh) . The qubailees decided to camp before the fateful encounter with the dogars.They ate and danced for three consecutive days.(Khushi baba tells me of how the Pathhaans loved to eat meat and mutton and they spent three days eating and slept at Kartan to revitalize themselves for the upcoming encounter with the Dogar Army at CHAI RIDGE). After three days ,the commander of the Lashkar gathered his men and told them to take on the Dogars and occupy the ridge .(Khushi baba told me in a very candid way every word that commander spoke before the encounter with the Dogars.Khushi baba spoke in pashto and then translated for my convenience.He can speak urdu,pushto,punjabi,persian,all learnt over the period of a century) .

So the qubailees took on the Dogars and defeated them.The Dogars fled back to Nowshera Base Camp and even left their loadded trucks behind. However words had come of the huge Indian Army reaching Nowshera to rescue the Dogars .KHushi Baba suggested that the qubailees must not sit relaxed on the Chai ridge and move forward but nobody paid a heed to his words. On seeing how the Qubailees had given up any further advance,He left and went to the Pathaans and lashkars of SAMAHNI.
The commander of the Samahni LASHKAR was named Capt Khan.He was a wise man and a good tactician.On hearing Khushi Baba ,he took the news of Indian Army's arrival very seriously and planned out how to stop the indians from taking over Chai ridge. Khushi Baba knew the Indian side of Chai ridge very well ,he knew the most vulnerable points and tracks in the routes of Indian Army .Capt Khan gave 600 men to Khushi Baba to ambush Indian Army on its way to the ridge.

This picture of KHUSHI BABA was taken in late 1947,at the time when he was working for Capt Khan,commander of the Pathaan Lashkar camped in Samahni.

Khushi Baba took 600 men and infiltrated into the Indian territory .He knew all the tracks and bridges that would be used by the Indian Army vehicles to reach the ridge.He Half cut the logs on the bridge and placed 600 men around the bridge and created a perfect ambush.Then waited for the night to arrive. ( khushi Baba still recalls how the pathans wouldnt stop talking and laughing despite strict instructions of quietness lest anyone should hear them and ambush plan would fail) . They waited for hours and around midnight
,they saw lights of vehicles arriving their way.It was the Indian Army of 80 vehicles and huge weaponry reaching the bridge to cross it and attack the Chai ridge. Khushi Baba lay very close to the bridge,logs of which he had already cut with an axe.No sooner than the first vehicle reached the bridge,the bridge collapsed with the weight of the indian truck ,taking the vehicle down alongwith it into the abyss.seeing this , Khushi Baba ordered men to fire.The surprise element was achieved and the Indian Army was caught off guard and had to retreat to Nowshehra.

Throughout the 1950's and 1960's ,Khushi Baba continued to infiltrate the Indian Occupied Kashmir and was a very useful spy.He married in 1949 to a woman from a nearby village but spent next two decades away from home ,away from family and kept spying for his country.He still remembers how he would disguise himself like a shepherd and had once brought a herd of 30 cows from Indian territory and distributed them equally among his fellow villagers of Baroh.
But nothing comes easy.Every sacrifice has a price to pay. In Khushi Baba's case,his family left him owing to his long years of absence and his wife settled in Gujrat. This was the biggest price Khushi Baba had to pay for his country and the tragedy is that it goes unheard of.During his whole spying career. Khushi Baba had done eight successful infiltration and had once kept 20 men hidden in the jungle eating leaves and insects until the LOC finally became less hostile to cross .

Khushi Baba at present lives all alone and his kids are still settled in Gujrat. Little do they know how much sacrifices their father had carried out throughout his life in the name of Islam and Pakistan.Little do they realize their father is among the biggest 'unsung heroes' of Pakistan.


  1. True words out of a true heart.. Only a genuine heart can seek such unreachable depths and it will inspire any jejune soul. Impeccable!!

  2. IMPECCABLE is just the right word, i must say...Thankyou so much anonymous....

  3. A very inspirational well written true story. Makes u realize u are nuthing compared to ppl like khushi baba who sacrifice all they have...... indeed one of the greatest n biggest unsung heroes of this motherland!

  4. Thankyou for the kind words..yes indeed we only see the visible ugliness when in truth there is a hidden blesssing to this country in the form of Khushi Baba and many more that Pakistan is surviving still despite all odds...

  5. Excellent a wonderful job dne......keep writing....u ve great potential...

  6. thankyou for the compliments roomy..thankyou :)

  7. An interminable dustup narrated by an ingenious heart..yet to find another immaculate version with such a combination.. It really is colossal!

  8. Thankyou sooo much anonymous. Really i feel humble facing praises of such magnitude.thankyou so much.your admiration is my inspiration.thankyou!

  9. keep up the good work! cheers :-)

  10. great work by KHUSHI BABA and also well done Mr Amim Akhter....
    keep it up bro (y)