This book is an attempt to make our present generation aware of those great people, who sacrificed their lives to protect our Motherland, thereby facilitated us to breathe in the free environment. This book is an account to their acts of valour and places associated with them. With a firm view that every Indian is indebted to contributions of all such warriors, freedom fighters, revolutionaries whose debts cannot be repaid by any means, the author believes that we can lessen the debts by visiting those sacred places, by meeting their families and also by passing these virtues to our younger generation.
More than a research in history, this book is a result of the author's aspirations to visit historical places of our illustrious country. Through this book, the author has connected these shrines of martyrdom with history and importance in the present times. This book consist details of about 50 such places associated with the martyrs and patriots. The book is intended to act as a bridge which may help our older generation connect with the younger generation.
Born on 4th Sep, 1975, in Delhi, Shri Rishi Raj is associated with Transport Sector and is working in a public sector undertaking of Government of India, equivalent to the post of Joint Director, Govt. of India.
An ardent traveller, he has so far travelled to 31 states/Union Territories, all four Dhams, all of 12 Jyotirlingas, Singapore, Tibet, Nepal, China & Japan in his 41 years of life. The pilgrimage to Mount Kailash has been one of his greatest travelling experiences. In the year 2007, he visited Leh, Ladakh & Kargil areas and made his 1st documentary which was dedicated to the martyrs of Kargil war.
In 2012, he has published his first book `Kailash Darshan—Kuch Yadein, Kuch Baatein' which was based on his experience during his pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. This book was awarded with `Rahul Sankrityayan Puraskar' by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and later in 2013 its English translation was also published. In the year 2014, the author visited Tawang and Bumla sector in North East and made his 2nd documentary 'My Journey to the Splendid Tawang'. He dedicated this documentary to the martyrs of 1962 Indo China war.
His second book `Atulya Bharat Ki Khoj' was published in 2015 which was again based on his travelling experiences to 31 states in India from Kashmir to Andaman Nicobar Islands and from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat. After completing his adventure trip to Gangotri & Yamunotri in April 2016, Shri Rishi Raj has made another documentary 'The Divine Journey to Gangotri and Yamunotri'. In January 2017 another book was released on martyrs and freedom fighters titled `Deshbhakti Ke Paawan Teerth'. Patriotic Pilgrimage of India is English version of Deshbhalcti Ke Paawan Teerth.
Even today, whenever I recall the memories of 5th JJuly, 1999, I thank God for having selected me to accomplish this sacred mission of service towards my beloved nation and fellow human beings, thus, providing me an opportunity to find and fulfill meanings of my life. Intense war with Pakistan was going on that day and the Tiger Hill, our pride possession was still in the occupied control of Pakistan. After fighting for 22 days at Tololing with the enemy and unfurling our National Flag there after winning the battle, I was sent to Tiger Hill with my soldier companions. As a disciplined soldier of the Indian Army, I was thrilled and enthusiastic to undertake this mission and felt overtly anxious to regain the control of Tiger Hill. The time to exhibit such enthusiasm, valour, and bravery had finally arrived. At the height of 16,500 feet in shivering cold conditions that could have frozen blood, we set upon the task of climbing on to a very steep cliff-top. In this pursuit, six out of my seven companions fought bravely and became martyrs. I, the lone last man standing was also deeply wounded, had already taken three shots into my body, badly bruised and battered but the spirit of dedication and determination did not dampen even for a moment, hence didn't feel pain anywhere. I somehow managed to attack Pakistani soldiers by lobbying a grenade which killed four enemies. I am still unable to recollect from where I could garner such strength for accomplishing that feat but I can definitely say, at that time, I just had a solitary aim, motive, and passion of anyhow protecting the glory of my beloved nation — Bharat Mata.
My marriage date was fixed on 5th May, 1999 and I had reached Draas with my Unit 18 Grenadiers on 20th May, 1999. At the age of only 19 years, I not only got the opportunity to fight the war, but was also honoured with the highest gallantry award of our nation, the Param Veer Chakra — which was a historical moment of my life. That moment has added an entirely new dimension to my life. Every moment of this war is still etched afresh in my eyes. How our brave soldiers not only reclaimed every inch of our land from the deceiving neighbour, but also displayed to the world that however tiring may be the circumstances, in any tough challenging positions, the Indian Army is quite capable of protecting our country. When I was deeply wounded, same thoughts passed through my mind and I recollected that in the service of Bharat Desh, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev had sacrificed their lives at a young age of 23 years; in comparison, I had just shed a little blood. Our country, for centuries, has been the land of great warriors and in every war, India's warriors had protected the country even by making supreme sacrifices. In a way, I didn't exhibit anything unique but have just followed the high standards of morale and ideals set by those martyrs. Every place in India, however tiny it may be, has many stories of the sacrificing warriors. I am happy that Rishi Raj ji not only has visited those places personally to offer heartfelt tributes to the memories of those warriors or soldiers but has also made sincere endeavours to make others aware about the history of those places. The title of this book "Patriotic Pilgrimage of India" in itself suggests that this book will apprise us with the gallant stories of our committed warriors. This effort is not only unique but also is highly commendable, for which I congratulate Rishi Raj ji and sincerely hope that the younger generation of our country would go through this book so that they can know about the great wars of India, their history, the places associated with them and the great warriors. They should be able to appreciate the price paid for acquiring and maintaining Independence, the air of freedom which they breathe. Although we cannot repay the price by any means, yet at least be able to pay our homage, gratitude, and regards to the memories of those warriors. Thus, we can fulfill some of our responsibilities.
Rishi Raj ji has started the book spanning the period from the revolution of 1857 and justifiably ended it with the Kargil War. He has narrated deeds of valour displayed by Mangal Pandey, Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Ramprasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad, Somnath Sharma, Shaitan Singh, Nirmaljeet Singh Saikhon, Arjan Singh, Sam Manekshaw, Manoj Kumar Pandey, Vikram Batra and numerous other warriors have been brought in this book altogether — making the book very useful. I bow down to all the warriors, martyrs, their families and with these words, conclude and once again commend Rishi Raj ji for this book.
The history of our country stands witness to the fact that inpursuit of affirming our greatness, we had to struggle for centuries, or dare we say several eras. This struggle was not of a year or two but had lasted for about 600 years. First it was Moghuls and then English who ruled upon us. In our perpetual freedom struggle, thousands of well-known warriors have laid down their lives and the sacrifices of many unsung revolutionary freedom fighters have gone unnoticed. Their names, their sacrifices have (7 been lost through the passage of time. In the struggle for freedom, every one of them contributed his or her mite by having made continuous efforts in their own distinct ways, following own views or doctrines. Although their ways and means might have been different yet their objective was the same — that was to attain independence and freedom. Approximately 7.5 lakh people have sacrificed their lives to achieve this objective without even caring for their families. Consequent to their struggle, the fortunate day arrived when we could see the Sun of Freedom set in at past midnight. After the independence, we were required to fight with those people too who were once a part of our nation. We shared the same legacy, language and fought together for the same objective. But, with the passage of time, when the circumstances changed — our objectives also changed and we were required to stand against each other. By this time, you must have recognised the nation referred to here. The last war with Pakistan was fought at Kargil. This war was one of the bigger examples of betrayal. Where, on the one hand, our Prime Minister was shaking hands to further cause of peace at Lahore, on the other hand, at the same time, Pakistan deceitfully took control on the hills of Kargil. It is quite unfathomable that despite having lost to India every time in the past, this country is not ready to learn her lessons. The greatest wound was inflicted by another country who by chanting Bhai-Bhai had stabbed us at our back. The agony of 55 years is still persisting in our country.
The struggle and strife, which began way back in the year 1857 at Barrackpore and Meerut and, subsequently, followed by the war of Kashmir in 1947, war with China in 1962, wars with Pakistan in 1965, 1971, and 1999, the common thing in all of them was that our valiant warriors have sacrificed everything they possessed including the supreme sacrifice of their lives without any grudge. Undoubtedly, they have done this with a solitary aim of safeguarding dignity and people of our country —nobody can have a slight doubt over this. The question arising here is that what have we given them in return. Whether we accorded them with the due respect which they richly deserved? Most of the times, we would get an answer, we have not been able to accord the due respect — which as a grateful nation should have been given to them. With the passage of time, as the new generations emerge one after another, we somehow tend to forget great deeds of these forgotten warriors. We should not let this go on. The only way forward to prevent this trend is to make our current as well as future generations aware about the gallant stories of warriors, freedom fighters, revolutionaries and also about the places related to them, inspire the younger lot to visit those places of supreme sacrifices for paying homage, respect, and gratitude. The objective of writing this book is an endeavour in this direction — to make today's generation fully aware about the architects of India who had made ultimate sacrifices for protection of our Motherland, thereby facilitating us to breathe in the free environment. I am of the firm view that every Indian is indebted to contributions of all such warriors, freedom fighters, revolutionaries whose debts cannot be repaid by any means, but we can lessen the debts by visiting those sacred places by meeting their families and also by spreading awareness these to younger generation.
I frankly don't have any qualms of being a historian or a great intellectual. I am only an ordinary man who nurses an aspiration to visit historical places of our illustrious country and in the pursuit, I have been fortunate enough to have visited many places associated with patriots where I could bow down in reverence to the martyrs — connecting them with historical perspective and importance. In this book, I have been able to provide details of about 50 such places associated with the martyrs and patriots. Therefore, readers are requested to share this book with all sections of society, especially with the children & young adults. I have sincerely tried to take reference from the available literature, Internet and concerned persons residing in these places for whatever information is provided in this book. In case any factual errors still remain, I express my apologies in advance.
I am confident and sincerely hope that you will like my efforts. I would consider myself successful in my endeavour, if only you draw inspiration to visit at least one place mentioned in this book and pay your homage to the martyrs.
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