“I am here tracing the History of the Earth itself, from its own Monuments.”
― Jean-André de Luc
Statues and monuments can tell history, remind us about history, and they keep the past alive for the present times and the eras to come. In this article, an attempt has been made to throw light on Jammu’s iconic and historic heroes by exploring the monumental statues raised in their honour. Jammu and Kashmir has been blessed with formidable, unflinching and valiant leaders who have striven to fight for the common man, and have ensured the principles of equality, justice and honesty are performed and preserved. To know the rich heritage of the Jammu city, and to salute these heroes, the article witnesses these symbolic statues, and by doing so, we hope, a sincere effort is made to maintain these historic structures lest they are forgotten, and lost.
The article will be the first in the series where monuments of J&K will be explored to know the history and cultural heritage of the state.
Brig. Rajinder Singh
- Known as the “Saviour of Kashmir”, because of his indomitable spirit in defeating the invaders from Pakistan in 1947.
- His courage and gallant service to the nation can be evidenced how with only few soldiers, he valiantly defended the state capital for five days and sacrificed himself for the safety and security of the Jammu and Kashmir state.
- The outcome, due to his undefeatable bravery has been that major portions of the state have not gotten fragmented but remain an integral part of India.
- Was awarded the highest honour of Maha Vir Chakra.
- To remember the martyrdom of Brig. Rajinder Singh, a statute was raised by Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister on October 24, 2002 behind the Civil Secretariat, Jammu.
Shaheed Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary
- Young Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary achieved martyrdom while valiantly battling the ULFA terrorists in Assam’s Tinsukia district.
- He defeated two Action Group Commanders of ULFA cadre, and because of his resolute resilience he was also put on their HIT list.
- Was awarded Sena Medal for gallantry, and Kirti Chakra (Posthumous), the Second Highest Gallantry Award.
- For his selfless acts of bravery, a statue was erected in his honour by Maj Gen Dig Vijay Thakur from 9 Corps (Memon Cantt) at Krishna Marg, near Shaheedi Chowk, Kathua.
Gen Zorawar Singh
- Remembered as the Napoleon of India
- Was a brave General in Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s army.
- Led a perilous expedition to Ladakh to extend the boundaries of the country.
- His expeditions are etched in the history of Indian military because despite the dangerous paths, life-threatening cold and sudden attacks by the enemies, the General ensured victorious outcomes for his people.
- The importance of these expeditions was that if they had had not be undertaken by him, Ladhak would have been a part of China.
- To honour his bravery, and remember him, a statue was raised near Bahu Plaza, Jammu by Lt.Gen. (Retd) S.K. Sinha, J&K Governor on April 23, 2005.
Lt. Gen Bikram Singh
- In 1962 War with China, General Bikram Singh played a critical role in protecting the Indian Territory.
- He is remembered for his unstinted service in defending Ladakh, Chushul.
- He is fondly remembered for his humble behaviour towards officers below in rank, and in his concern for their welfare.
- He died in a helicopter crash on 22 Nov 1963 near Poonch city.
- To commemorate his service to the nation, a statue was raised by Former Deputy Chief Minister Pt Mangat Ram Sharma and Paramveer Chakra awardee Subedar Bana Singh in his name. It is located near Tawi Bridge, Jammu.