A tribute to the unsung Jourian’s Martyrs

Satish Singh Manhas
In the annals of history, there are stories that transcend time, echoing the resilience and courage of those who dared to challenge oppressive regimes for the sake of justice and fundamental rights. One such poignant chapter unfolded on 31st January in 1953 in the small town of Jourian in Jammu division of where seven individuals, including two from the same family, made the ultimate sacrifice in their quest for the restoration of ‘one vidhan, one nishan, and one pardhan.’ All seven from the Jourian areas including two from a single family namely Late. Sai Singh and Trilok Singh and others in Waryam Singh, Baldev Singh, Basant Ram, Nanak Chand and Mela Ram suffered the police bullets for raising tricolor and that too for the total integration of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country. The backdrop of this courageous act was the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir, led by the then Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah. The demand for a unified governance structure by the Prajaparishad, later Jan Sang and now Rashtriya swyam sewak sang had gained momentum, with the call for ‘one vidhan’ representing a singular constitution, ‘one nishan’ symbolizing a united flag, and ‘one pardhan’ signifying a single head of State/Government. In the midst of a political atmosphere fraught with tension, these seven individuals took a stand that would reverberate through the years and echo for all the coming generations. They raised a flag, held Tiranga rally march against the then Government defying the constitution although peaceful.
In the incident one family lost two of the martyrs together only for the unification of Jammu and Kashmir. This amplified the gravity of their sacrifice, reflecting the deeply entrenched desire for a more just and unified system. As they faced the formidable Government machinery led by Sheikh Abdullah, the martyrs of Jourian knew that their struggle was not just for themselves but for the countless others who dreamt of a cohesive and equitable governance structure. The sacrifices they made on 31st January in 1953 were a testament to their unwavering commitment to the principles of justice, equality, and the right to self-determination. This sacrifice got a fast forward on August 5, 2019, a day that marked a historic turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir with the removal of Article 370. The removal of Article 370, a temporary constitutional provision that granted the region special autonomy, was a seismic shift that aligned with the very aspirations for which the martyrs of Jourian laid down their lives. The echoes of their sacrifice resonated in the corridors of power as the Government, decades later, acknowledged the need for a more integrated and uniform governance structure and so constitutionally removed Article 370. The demand for ‘one vidhan, one nishan, and one pardhan,’ which seemed like an uphill battle in 1953, had finally found fulfillment in the constitutional amendments on 5th of August in 2019. Thanks Modi Government.
The martyrs of Jourian, although not alive to witness this historic moment, became the harbingers of change. Their sacrifice was a catalyst that fuelled the aspirations of generations to come, laying the foundation for a more unified and harmonious Jammu and Kashmir. It is crucial to recognize that the removal of Article 370 did not just symbolize a shift in legal provisions; it represented a broader acknowledgment of the people’s rights and a departure from a system that, for decades, had been a source of discontent and strife.
The sacrifices made on 31st January in 1953 were not in vain; they were the seeds that germinated into a more inclusive and equitable political landscape and kept the sentiments of millions ignited till 5th of August 2019. In the wake of this transformation, it is incumbent upon us to reflect on the significance of the martyrs’ sacrifice and to ensure that their struggle is never forgotten. The lessons from Jourian should serve as a reminder that the pursuit of justice and fundamental rights requires courage, resilience, and a collective commitment to a shared vision of a better future. On 31st January 2024, let us also celebrate the triumph of their ideals and the realization of ‘one vidhan, one nishan, and one pardhan.’ Their sacrifice may have been in the shadows for decades, but on August 5, 2019, the sun finally dawned on a new era for Jammu and Kashmir – an era shaped by the indomitable spirit of those who refused to bow to oppression and stood tall for the principles they held dear. Naman and Shardhanjali to all martyrs of Jourian and respect for their families, friends, relatives, near and dear one’s.
(The author is serving as an Assistant Director in Forest Department)