Hussainiwala

Hussainiwala is a village in Firozpur district in Punjab state, India. It lies near the bank of the Sutlej river. The village is on the border with Pakistan, opposite the Pakistani village of Ganda Singh Wala.

Hussainniwala is the site of the National Martyrs Memorial, which marks the location where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated on 23 March 1931. It is also the cremation place of Batukeshwar Dutt, who was also involved in bombing the Central Legislative Assembly with Singh, as well as that of Singh's mother, Vidyawati. After the Partition of India, the cremation spot became a part of Pakistan but on 17 January 1961 it was returned to India in exchange for 12 villages near the Sulemanki Headworks (Fazilka).[1]

An annual fair takes place at the memorial on 23 March, which is the anniversary of Singh's death.[2] The day is also observed across the state of Punjab.

The border crossing is now closed for travelers, although a flag retreat ceremony is still held daily. Until 1970, it was the principal road crossing between India and Pakistan,[3] and was a trade route for truckers, mostly for the import of Kandahari Angoor (dehydrated grapes) and other fruits and food products from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The border crossing was replaced by the border crossing at Wagah, a little further north. In 2005 there were proposals to reopen the border,[4] but it remained closed. Hussainiwala Headworks is located at this village across the Sutlej river which supplies irrigation water to Bikaner canal and Eastern canal[5]

Since 1970 there has been a Retreat Ceremony at the border crossing every day at 6 pm, similar to the Mahavir/Sadaki near Fazilka and Wagah/Atari border ceremony.[6] Attendees are seated in close proximity here, as compared to Wagah where crowds are kept far apart. And unlike the jingoistic display at Wagah which draws nationalistic tourists from all over India and Pakistan, the Hussainiwala ceremony is a more intimate ceremony attended mostly by local Punjabis from either side of the border. As a result, the atmosphere is not as tense, and Indian and Pakistani attendees often smile and wave to one another, and even cheer for each other's guards as they perform the border spectacle.

Hussainiwala Battle was a battle fought and won after the partition of India. It is the first post Independence battle honour and the 22nd won by the 2 Maratha Light Infantry since its inception in 1768.

At the outbreak of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the 2nd Maratha Light Infantry (Kali Panchwin) was based in Mathura when it deployed a small unit to Hussainiwala in the Firozpur sector of Punjab.

During 1965 war, the Kali Panchwin successfully repulsed Pak attack on Hussainiwala headworks in Ferozepur sector. The valour displayed by the Maratha soldiers resulted in thwarting the nefarious designs of enemy infantry brigades and tank companies on the night of September 19/20, 1965. The determined retaliation to attack by the mighty 24 soldiers resulted in the enemy fleeing from the scene, leaving behind heavy arms, tanks, ammunition and four prisoners of war. Romeo Battery of 82 Light Regiment was in direct sport of (Kali Panchwin).

In its illustrious history spanning more than two hundred and fifty years, the unit has carved a niche for itself in the annals of military history. The battalion has won one Ashok Chakra, two Kirti Chakra, one Vir Chakra, six Shaurya Chakra, two Yudh Seva Medals, twelve Sena Medals, one Bar to Sena Medal, two Vishishtha Seva Medals, ten Mention-in-Despatches, one Bar to Mention-in Despatches and ninety commendation cards. The Colours of the battalion emblazoned with 22 Battle Honours is a proud testimony of that battlefield where these handful of Marathas filled the air with the war cries of Har Har Mahadev and Bol Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai. The enemy baffled and panic struck thinking the information they received of just a handful of soldiers posted there was wrong, they mistook it for an entire battalion.

Hussainiwala Day is always a rejuvenating occasion wherein serving persons get a chance to meet veterans and revive the glorious days of the Kali Panchwin. Kali Panchwin, as the battalion is affectionately called, always recalls the memories of Hussainiwala amongst some of its heroes like Lt Col TTA Nolan, 2/Lt PS Rana, Sub Ramdas Somwanshi, Nk Vishnu Kadam, Nk Laxman Shinde, Nk Shamrao Chavan, L/Nk Narayan More, Sep Daga Nikam,Sep Baban Falke, Sep Vasu Naik, Sep Raghunath Chalke, Sep Shankar Bhosale and Sep Mahadeo Paste. The battalion lives true to its motto, Kartavya Maan Sahas meaning 'Duty, Honour and Courage'.


It defended the Hussainiwala headworks against an attack by a full infantry brigade supported by armoured columns of the Pakistan Army. The tower on the other side of the river was captured and razed to ground. Lt KM. Palande, Lt. Feroz Doctor, Lt. S Deshpande showed great courage and ingenuity by targeting aggressive patrols and targeting the enemy. The adversary launched a determined attack on the forward two companies supported by tanks, using heavy artillery fire and air support in this engagement. The enemy attack was stalled by accurate artillery fire, the murderous fire of the Vickers machine guns and 106 mm RCL guns. The enemy attack broke up in the face of stiff resistance and enemy retreated, leaving behind two destroyed tanks and two working tanks, with several dead in the fields. The commanding officer Lt. Col TTA Nolan along with Battery Commander Captain SKS Wallia were killed by an enemy artillery shelling the next morning while supervising operations. It was a major loss. Kali Panchwin was awarded the battle honour "Hussainiwala" for its role in the 1965 War.

In the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 many memorials of Bhagat Singh and others were destroyed by Pakistani artillery. Two companies of the 15th Punjab (formerly First Patiala) were attacked by four brigades of the Pakistan Army on 3 December 1971 at 18:35 hours. Nearly 4,000 Pakistani men attacked the Indian side with 15 tanks and heavy artillery support. The Indian commanders included Major Waraich, Major Singh's and Major Kanwaljit Sandhu, who was badly injured. Major SPS Waraich was reported captured, as were many JCOs and men as the squadrons were taken by surprise and had little time to get to their bunkers. A Pakistani radio news telecast reported (in Urdu) that Maj Waraich hamari hiraasat mein hain (Maj Waraich is in our custody). There was a subsequent report that Maj Waraich was in a North West Frontier jail. Their current status is unknown. They are listed as missing by the Indian Government along with 52 others including a Maj Ashok Suri who wrote a letter to his father in 1975 from Karachi stating that he was alive and well. Pakistan denies holding any of the soldiers Missing in Action.[citation needed]

The village is named after the Muslim Peer Baba Ghulam Hussainiwala ji (Saint Hussaini wala or Saint "who is of Husain"), whose tomb is in the Border Security Force, India headquarters at Hussainiwala.[citation needed]