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Tribute to Air Marshal

Tribute to Air Marshal

Vijay Singh Jamwal

I was in 6th standard when 1965 Indo-Pak war broke out. Incidentally I was studying in Govt. High school Ambghrota. It is very near to Akhnoor town. Then there was bridge connecting Jammu city with Akhnoor town called Yuvraj Karan Singh bridge which was not strong enough to withstand the weight of heavy tanks and big guns of Indian Army. Pakistan was eyeing this bridge to disconnect Jammu from rest of the area of Akhnoor, Chhamb, Rajouri and Poonch.  I still remember that heavy motor shells were falling near the Petrol Pump across the bridge.                               We were all worried about the safety of this bridge and its ramifications for us. Fearing for safety, the people of Akhnoor fled the town and took refuge in Ambgharota.
At this critical juncture chief of air staff ordered his airmen to bombard advancing Pak troops. He silenced their guns and forced them not only to retreat but beg for cease fire from UNO. This Young chief of staff of 44 years was none other than Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh. For this act of bravery and leadership quality, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second Highest Civilan award.
He retired at the age of 50 in 1969. He was appointed ambassador in Switzerland.  He also sarved as ambassador in veticsson in 1971. He was appointed High Commissioner in Kenya in 1974.
He was honoured with Marshal of the Air Force for his contribution and distinguished services to Indian Air force at a late stage in January 2002.
Uptil his death on 16th September-2017 at the age of 98, he remained active in social life. After his retirement he sold his farmhouse at Delhi for Rupees 2 crores and started a  trust for the welfare of the families of the air force personnel. Whatever positions he occupied, he stood always apart from the others. This is why he was given such a tearful farewell by the indebted countrymen. This five stars Marshal though he is not with us but his glowing, calm cool and smiling face will always shine in galaxy of stars inspring us to tell his heroic deeds of this air warrior.
This finest Warrior of Indian air force deserves memorial to be built in Akhnoor in recognition of his contribution for saving Akhnoor, Chhamb Rajouri and Poonch areas, from falling into the hands of enemy in 1965                 Indo-Pak war. In the end I will conclude my eulogy with my favorite couplet of Lal Chand ‘ Falq’

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