By Ayesha Habib

Coincidentlly, my mother born on 5th September, 1964, a day before the war began. Till that time, many events and occurrences of 1965 war have been preserved in the newspapers and books of different times. I also have a contribution to make. My story is an eye-witness’s account of my grandmother.

That is why when my supervisor assigned me write a personal account on the famous war,  I instantly grabbed the opportunity to write a real home story about the circumstances which people faced during war days.  After returning home and freshening up, I straight went to my grandmother room instead of my own. I climbed on her bed and end up lying on her lap. I insisted her to tell me about the situation people went through on the day of 6th September, 1965. She started telling me the story while patting on my back.

She said “Your grandfather was the aeronautical engineer in Pakistan Air Force; the week ago your mother’s 1st birthday a letter from PAF came to our home, that was Call for Duty letter to your grandfather.

The atmosphere of our home changed like someone actually started firing at our home; my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and my bothers-in-law all rushed to pack and went to village as living in Lahore city wasn’t save those days. Your grandfather was a brave man, in no time he packed and went on his duty.

Your mother was quite young to understand the circumstances but I exactly remember 6 September, 1965 when General Ayub Khan made a speech on morning. Talking at radio Pakistan he said, “India has attacked the believers of La Ilaha Illallah, my fellow countrymen wake up, War has begun”. Reacting to that, the whole nation came out raising slogans of Naara-e-Takbeer.

These days also introduced a new term in our lives “Blackout”, as we painted our windows and doors black, and switched off all the lights so that our enemy couldn’t find us. But an inerasable memory incident held that night. The patwari of our village went on fields, thinking that no one can find him there; he lighted up his huqa as he was compelled by his habits. Seeing the little light in the fields our enemy thought that many Pakistanis were present there; they bombed on that area which was quite near to our village. Thanks to ALLAH many people survived but patwari lost his life.

Those days, men patrolled voluntarily in the streets to protect their country people, leaving their loved ones alone at homes. Even women of that time were brave enough and were always ready to fight for the protection of Pakistan.

Besides enemy army, enemy spies were also present in our surroundings these days so we all were totally patriotic and focused in order to protect our beloved country. During those 17 days of war, a man came at lassi shop and demanded a glass of lassi and said “put 10 paisa salt in the lassi glass”. We all shocked for a moment as he was demanding huge amount of salt for only one glass and then we established that in India salt was quite high priced, it was clear to us that this man is from India. We didn’t waste a single moment and called police. After investigation, it came evident that that man was an enemy spy.

At last, on radio Pakistan it was announced that “Victory comes in the hands of Pakistan”. 6th September (Defense Day) is one of the most important events of Pakistan’s history. On September 6, 1965, Indian army crossed the international borders of Pakistan without a formal declaration of War. It was a time when not just our brave soldiers but the whole nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit to defend our home land and defeated the Indian Army and made them retrieving on all fronts.

The Story of Pakistan, its struggle and its achievement, is the very story of great human ideals, struggling to survive in the face of odds and difficulties.” Saying that my grandmother fell asleep and I went to my room thinking that there were a lot of heroes, most recognized, many unsung, we remember them always and particularly in September, marking the defense day.

Published in Young Nation on 05-Sep-2015