“No Sir, I will not abandon my tank. My gun is still working and I will get these guys” – 2ndLt. Arun Khetarpal’s last words to his commander.

Today is the day which marks the victory of justice over injustice, and humanity over genocide –it is the glorious ‘Vijay Diwas’. On 16th December 1971, the Pakistani armed forces surrendered to the Indian military –paving the way for the liberation of East Pakistan, finally culminating into the formation of Bangladesh.

1971 Indo-Pak war
Vijay Diwas: Lt. General AKA Niazi signing instrument of surrender

Today is the day when Lt. General A.A.K Niazi along with his 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered unconditionally to the commander of the joint forces of Bangladesh and India –Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army. Raman Race Course, Dhaka witnessed the historical ‘Vijay Diwas’ where millions cheered while the instrument of surrender was signed.

Vijay Diwas: Pakistani troops surrendering their arms to the Indian Military
Vijay Diwas: Pakistani troops surrendering their arms to the Indian Military

While remembering this day, we must not forget our soldiers who fought in this 13-day-long and the bloodiest war ever fought on our sub-continent. Our upcoming generations must not forget that the war was fought for liberation of the people of Bangladesh, who witnessed mass genocide at the hands of the military of West Pakistan.

Vijay Diwas: Millions of Bangladeshis were massacred by the West Pakistani Military
Vijay Diwas: Millions of Bangladeshis were massacred by the West Pakistani Military

We will never forget that India entered into the conflict because Pakistan massacred over 3 million people, mercilessly raped over half a million Bangla women and girls. We must not forget that Pakistan forced almost 10 million people to seek refuge in India.

We entered the conflict not to dominate the South Asian region militaristically, but to prevent the genocide of the innocent people and to restore peace and order in the region. Vijay Diwas should not only be remembered as a win over the notorious Pakistani Military but the prevalence of Dharma over Adharma.

Field Marshal (then General) Sam Manekshaw meeting then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Field Marshal (then General) Sam Manekshaw meeting then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

On this Vijay Diwas, we shall not forget all our heroes — from Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw, the then General of military to all those who fought the war for righteousness and to all those who martyred for the sake of this holy land. Let us not forget young Second Lt. Arun Khetarpal –aged 21, who was awarded Param Vir Chakra and several thousand who fought and lost their lives for a brighter future of the coming generations.

Remembering our heroes
Remembering our heroes

Let us together salute our heroes on this holy day of Vijay Diwas and take a resolution that we will be a responsible citizen of this beautiful land –for which millions of people have sacrificed their life.