Written by Raavi Mohanty
I was surprised when heard of the true story of Pakistan defense during the war happened in 1971. I met up Brigadier Dr. Rajendra Paul Singh, (Brig. Dr. R. P Singh) VSM (Retired) years back. He was writing a book ‘Liberation War’ which is about to be published in English, Hindi & Bengali worldwide. This apart, he has proposed to broadcast a TV Serial of approximate 400 episodes as well.
About Brig. R. P Singh – [Brigadier Dr. Rajendra Paul Singh]
He is the son of a freedom fighter who jumped in the fray at very young age of 16 years when Shaheed Bhagat Singh was hanged on 23 March 1931. During the ‘Quit India Movement’ his father had gone underground and carried out liaison with senior Congress leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Govind Ballabh Pant who were lodged in different jails and he helped in organising rallies and protests during the duration of the Movement. Unfortunately, his father died in 1953 at an early age.
Brig. Dr. R. P Singh spent his early life in a village & studied in the village school till VI standard. Did his matriculation from S D High School Ambala Cantt and he was studying in S D College Ambala Cantt in BA II Year when he got selected in the Army. While serving in Army, he did his graduation in Guru Nanak University, Amritsar and post graduation from Madras University and an equivalent of PhD from National Defence College, New Delhi.
He is a veteran of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, in which he was involved from day one i.e. 26 March 1971 till the surrender of the Pakistan Army on 16 December 1971, in different capacities. He was a young captain in 1971. Initially, he commanded a rifle company on the Indo-East Pakistan when Pakistan army launched the brutal genocide code named Operation Searchlight was launched at zero hour on 26 March 1971. Later he was tasked to help the civil administration in setting up and running the camps for Bangladesh refugees as the civil administration was not ready to take on the burden of such unprecedented exodus. Therefore the Army had to chip in. During this period he met a large number of victims of Pakistan army’s brutalities and interacted with a large number of International charitable organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Human Right agencies, as well as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. On 17 April 1971, he witnessed the swearing in ceremony of Bangladesh Government (in exile) also called Mujibnagar Government. He also met the large number of Muijbnagar Government functionaries including Barrister Amirul Islam who played a vital role in the Governments formation, liaison and coordination with Indian officers and international media management and drafting Bangladesh independence declaration.
In the beginning of July 1971, he was selected as an instructor in the Officers Training Wing of Mukti Bahini (Bangladesh Liberation Army) where he trained more than hundred thirty officers of Bangladesh Liberation Army; amongst whom Sheikh Kamal, son of Father of Nation of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujbur Rehman, and brother of current PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, was also a cadet.
Before the war started his unit was earmarked as Army HQ reserve and was not taking part in the war initially. On 30 November after the formation of Indian and Bangladesh Army Joint Command (Jukto Front) Indian Army asked for volunteers to command Mukti Bahini troops due to acute shortage of young Bangladeshi officers. Not many officers came forward to lead the new troops who were neither known to them nor were trained by them. He volunteered to lead a wing of 850 Mukti Bahini freedom fighters and liberated large chunks of the territory of Bangladesh from Pakistan occupation forces between 4 and 16 December 1971.
As an Author and Columnist
he has written a book ‘Liberation War: From East Pakistan to Bangladesh which is under publication. At present, he is writing another book ‘Genesis of Indo-Chinese Border Dispute’.
he is also a columnist for the largest circulating Hindi Daily ‘Dinik Jagran’, Bangladesh English news paper ‘Daily Star’, Bangladesh Bengali daily ‘Samkal’ and Hindi daily Rashtriya Sahara etc. I also take part in TV debates on various channels.