Life at Bajjar

Life at Bajjar

“Machhal meinaakar agar Bajjarnahidekha to kya hi dekha”; these are the words that welcome anyone who visits Bajjar Post. Needless to say, it was unnerving enough for me to be this close to a Pakistan post which was just 65 meters away, and to see them sitting at a dominating height this close was enough for an adrenaline spike. Even though I was well aware that our side has successfully occupied the post for almost forty five years since it was established here at the current location, the case studies of the incidents of 2016 and 2020 to both of which Bajjar Post bore witness cooked up mixed feelings within me, as I am sure it would for any officer who comes to these beautiful mountains for the first time. It was not even 24 hours in Bajjar Post, when I was called to accompany Lt Col Rahul Chavan for a ‘conversation’ with the Officer Commanding Pakistan Bajjar. I came to know that these ‘talks’ were frequent in Bajjar. I remember my first conversation with Capt Mujahid (or so he told his name was) to be an aggressive one, with him trying to intimidate me and my mind constantly racing to draw first blood in the verbal spat. These conversations got easier when Capt. Mujahid was relieved by a much-toned down Capt. Umar, who usually stuck to pleasantries and tried hard to avoid any kind of verbal conflict with me.

Showing aggressiveness and dominating the enemy is a continuous process, not just during the Cease-Fire Violations, but to intimidate him and keep him guessing, this is what we tried to achieve during my stay at Bajjar. Be it the drills and routine that we tried to follow, or be it the defiance that we showed every time the enemy post threatened us to stop the maintenance and improvement works that we have been doing in Bajjar Post, it was necessary to keep a strong head and be ready for any challenges the enemy throws at us. True challenges bring people closer. This phrase literally came true for a patrol we conducted in October 2021. Being a new moon night, the pitch-darkness made it difficult for us to even take a step forward without slipping. The slippery route due to the rain the previous day and the night dew didn’t make it any easier. I remember the occasional taps on my shoulders by my buddy behind me to make sure that he has not wandered off breaking the linear formation in the darkness. But there have been few instances when I felt more satisfied than when we had a steaming cup of tea in our soggy uniforms and with muddy faces after we made it back to the post in the morning.

Life at Bajjar is not made any easier by the famous canine of Bajjar, Tyson. Tyson has single handedly initiated a Cease-Fire Violation at Bajjar when he killed a dog at the enemy post and an enemy sentry nearly got his leg bitten off while trying to stop Tyson from his rampage. They started firing towards our side, starting a CFV, which lasted nearly two days. Tyson has made it an endeavour of his to bring back proof of his kills, the lifeless body of

enemy dogs hanging like ragdolls in his bloody jaws. But there are no two sides to the fact that Tyson stands guard at Bajjar as an added boost to the security of the post, his ears searching for the slightest sound and his paws ready to pounce. Life is never easy when it is 65 meters way from the enemy. At no point of time can we relax, and the ground warrants for constant surveillance, intensity in aggressiveness and alertness at all points of time. Even though maintenance activities have been carried out constantly at the post, the proximity and position of the enemy posts and the tense atmosphere that lurks round-the-clock calls out for more improvements, as even the factors as small as an inch-difference in the depth of the trenches can be the difference between life and death in the location such as this. It is indeed not easy to achieve this, but needs grit and a sense of defiance towards the warnings and threats of the enemy. This was evidently visible when an MMG post was being constructed at Bajjar in Aug 2022. We were apparently successful in keeping the enemy in dark about the construction that we started. But the work was almost completed by the time they came to know about it. The next few days were all about ignoring the enemy threats to stop our construction work. The Pak Bajjar troops were all helpless when we took off the sheets covering the structure after completion. Although there has been these slight bumps in the ‘Bajjar life’, they were only a slight break between an exciting tenure in these lush green meadows and snow covered mountains and I could not have been any more proud than serving in a post this close to the enemy posts. It’s only halfway down, as there is still a lot to do and lot to experience in these beautiful mountains.

Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR    

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