This poll season,village of six martrys await fulfilment of promises

The plaque,which reportedly was sent to the village by the commander of the British cantonment in Kurali after the end of the First World War,heralded an achievement a few villages in India have been able to match.

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Chandigarh | Updated: April 14, 2014 2:43 pm

“Kubbaheri — from this village 44 men went to the Great War 1914-1919. Of these 2 gave up their lives” — states an old yellowing marble plaque embedded in the wall of the dharamshala of Kubbaheri village,barely an hour’s away from Chandigarh.

The plaque,which reportedly was sent to the village by the commander of the British cantonment in Kurali after the end of the First World War,heralded an achievement a few villages in India have been able to match.

Later,while two young soldiers from the village — Ajaib Singh and Gurdev Singh — attained martyrdom in the 1965 war with China,havaldar Vikram Singh and sepoy Sukhpreet Singh laid their lives in Kargil War with Pakistan in 1999.

Called the village of the six martyrs by locals,other than a school named after Vikram Singh and a road after Sukhpreet Singh,there is nothing that the government seems to have done to acknowledge the sacrifice of these men. The village’s demand for a college for girls has been pending with the government of over a decade now.

“After we lost two sons of this village in the Kargil War,hosts of politicians made a beeline for the village. Everyday,we would have someone coming and staging a rally here. They would promise the moon and return. No one did anything. We were told by leaders from Delhi who came here that our demand of a college will be met but not a paper has moved since,” said Harbans Singh,a retired Air Force officer,who served in the 1971 war.

Following the war,several states floated schemes to undertake development of villages from where Kargil martyrs hailed. In Punjab,then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced that the villages,which had lost a son to the war,will be developed as model village but nothing was undertaken in the name of development in Kubbheri. “Badal is now the chief minister again and should look at the needs of this village,” said a villager.

“Even during British rule,this village was known to be a village of brave mothers who preferred their sons to serve the nation. More than half of this village are former servicemen. Over the years,the number of persons going to the Army has dwindled. Boys are now preferring other vocations,” Surmukh Singh,a resident of the village.

He added: “But the girls are forced to stay at home after finishing Class XII. The nearest college is in Chandigarh,where girls from our villages cannot get admissions easily. Most of them wait at homes till they are old enough to be married.”

On Friday,the last day of campaigning for the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls,the village once again was teeming with politicians and promises are in no short supply. Addressing a small gathering of villagers,Paramjit Kaur — daughter of former SAD MLA Ujagar Singh Badali,who is the party’s zila parishad candidate — said she will take up the matter of the college once she is elected. “At the zila parishad level,all we can do is to raise the demand at the level of the MLA. More powers need to given to panchayati raj institutions so that local demands are met,” said Kamal Kishore,a senior SAD leader supporting Kaur.

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