My Life and Times
Raising and Command of 4th Battalion, 3rd Gorkha Rifles
By Lt. Col. Duleep Sinh
Part 3 : Distinct Identity
I felt that it was time to establish our distinct identity. Towards this end I decided to have our own quarter guard and raise our own separate flag. Major Raghunath Singh, who had a flair for organizing such shows, laid on quite a ceremony and on 20th Feb 1963, which was declared as the Flag Raising Day, an elaborate puja ceremony was held. Major Raghunath handed over the flag to the Adjutant as I walked up to the flag pole. The Adjutant than handed over the flag to me. After it was threaded I raised it to the mast with the band playing the Regimental March Past. That night a Bara Khana was held and we had a Regimental Dinner Night in the Officers Mess.
Finally the Battalion was ready to move and on 3 March 63 we entrained to move to Gurdaspur to be part of 68 Infantry Brigade. I had a four berth compartment to myself and besides Shanta and Bharat, Sushma and Janghoo also traveled with us. At Amritsar Railway Station, Dr Nasib Singh Pathania was present to receive Sushma and Jangoo. Sub Maj and Hony Lt Harka Bahadur Gurung retired and Sub Maj Dil Bahadur Gurung took over as the SM.
As the troops permanently located at Gurdaspur had moved to the Eastern Front after the Chinese Debacle, my Battalion was tasked to hold the whole western front in that sector, opposite Pakistan. As there was no shortage of accommodation, the Battalion families had come with us to Gurdaspur. It speaks volumes of the fame and ability of the Battalion that the powers that be handed over the security of a front formerly held by a division to yours truly and his Battalion without blinking an eyelid.
However, saner counsel seems to have prevailed as the GOC of 1 Armoured Division and BGS 11 Corps, Maj Gen Zorawar Singh and Brig Sagat Singh respectively, accompanied by Maharaj Kumar Bhawani Singh of Jaipur, as their staff officer, landed up at my Battalion Headquarter and declared that they had come to recce the front held by my Battalion. I happened to know all three of them very well and was quite friendly with them from the old days of my service with Gen Cariappa. They quite frankly told me that the recce idea was merely a ploy and they had come to renew their old friendship and have a beat up. For two days and nights we had a series of parties in the Mess, the JCOs Club and various picnic spots and on the third day they decided that enough was enough and they must return to their HQ at Jullunder. So on the third night, after another beat up, they prepared to leave and as they got into their vehicles, they forcibly hijacked Shanta and me and bundled us in a Jeep and took off. We protested furiously but it fell on deaf years and after another large round of drinks they snoozed off in deep slumber and we had no option but to follow suit. Having reached Jullunder we were shown our rooms and everyone went back for some more sleep. On getting up around midday, they sheepishly came to our room, apologised profusely for their boorish behaviour, gave us some lunch and put us in a jeep to take us back to Gurdaspur.