RETREAT CEREMONY AT HUSSIANIWALA (Indo-Pak Border)

Sun starts setting, the weird silence on the Hussainiwala border, 11 km away from Ferozepur, is ruptured by the clattering and thunderclap of heavy boots of the well-dressed in Kahki uniform, Indian BSF Jawans who equalize their counter part, the sound of Peshawari Chapples of salwar-kurta dressed Pakistani Rangers and both of them match their every movement, motion and step with each other, under the loud commands of their picket commanders for the 40-minute retreat ceremony done for the de-hoisting of the national flags of both countries with full honour and respect on every evening. The visit of any dignity, tourist, relative or a friend to this border district remained futile without paying their visit to joint check post at Hussianiwala, and those who visit here feel get a feeling of being present in the different world. The sound of patriot songs flying in the air, intensify the feeling of Patriotism among the audience and every action of these BSF heroes is applauded by the numberless claps by them, which also provide these nation- guards a feeling of honour. People from far away visit here to watch the robust BSF Jawans competing their counterpart to prove an edge over them. Even the tiding hatred amongst hearts of the people of the two countries, this retreat ceremony has remained to be a routine for years and years even though, there has been no legal compulsion on both the sides for the same. On Indian side this check post is about 100 feet from the Zero line and from Pak it is 600 feet away. The Check post on the Pakistan side is named as Ganda Singh Wala post. On both sides of the line at a distance of 15 feet Indo-Pak national flags hoist during the daytime. Just one km on the Indian side there are memorials of Shaihd Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Till 1962, this area remained with Pakistan and they cared little to raise any monuments in the memory of these great martyrs of India, who sacrificed their lives for the freedom for both the countries. It was in 1962, when India gave 12 villages near head Sulemanki (Fazilka) to Pakistan and in exchange got this martyr?s land. But the irony of the fate is that during 1971 Indo-Pak war, the statues of these very martyrs were removed and taken away by Pakistan army and have not been returned till today. It is worth mentioning that till 1970 there was no joint parade and retreat ceremony at this check post but one evening, Inspector General BSF, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, called upon both authorities to have joint retreat ceremony and since than it has become a tradition, which is every unique in itself.