“A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares.” – Debi Mazar
No human being is born a hero. It is due to a person’s exceptional qualities that they become one. We as a nation are very lucky, for our past is decorated with uncountable heroes. The war of 1965 was a fine example of that. One could say that every person was a hero in their own capacity. Everyone played an important role, and for that they can never be forgotten. However one man outshone the rest, the only officer to be awarded “Nishan-e-Haider” in this war; and he was Major Raja Aziz Bhatti.
Major Raja Aziz Bhatti: The Early Years
Though it is no wonder that he did, for he was an outstanding officer throughout his 15 year career as well. He joined the PMA, and due to his diligence and brilliance he was awarded Sword of Honour. He was also the first ever recipient of the Norman Medal, which was a unique honour for any cadet. While he was instructing at the School of Infantry and Tactics at Quetta, he appeared in an examination for Staff College. He topped and was then sent to Canada, where he passed at Kingston. Later on, after securing first position in German Interpreter ship, he was sent to Germany for another Staff Course. He could write and speak proficiently in Chinese, Japanese and German, besides English and Urdu.
Major Raja Aziz Bhatti: The War of 1965
He was commissioned in the 17th Battalion of the Punjab regiment, and was posted in the Burki sector in Lahore, when the war began. As he was the company commander, he stayed with his forward platoon and for 5 days and 5 nights defended a Pakistani outpost on the strategic BRB canal. He placed himself on an elevated position in order to guide the gunners to shell the enemy positions, and successfully stopped many attacks. He put himself in extreme danger as he faced constant fire from enemy small arms, tanks and artillery. And that is how he embraced Shahadat as he was hit by a tank shell in the chest.
A day before this happened, his commanding officer sent word to him, that he should come back and rest; as he had not slept since the war had started and that someone else could be sent in his place. To this he replied “Do not recall me. I don’t want to go back. I will shed the last drop of my blood in the defence of my dear homeland.”
Major Raja Aziz Bhatti: An Exemplary Role Model
Such was his sense of duty, undaunted valor, spirit of sacrifice and patriotism. It is indeed a great privilege that he was one of us. Even today it is without a doubt that our forces continue to serve us with zeal and commitment. However, we as a nation seem to have forgotten one very important thing; that the country must always come first! At all times we need to be courageous and willing to sacrifice, only then can a country be safeguarded against every challenge and adversity it faces.
The example set by Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed, teaches us just that. He has left behind a great legacy, one to learn from and to follow. This inspiring man had a stocky frame, colored eyes and a very fair complexion. His nature was simple and straightforward, and he was a thorough gentleman. Even during the war he prayed regularly. His favorite ghazal was “Jazba-e-dil” and he often liked to write down his thoughts in his diary, which is placed at the Army Central Library, Rawalpindi. He is buried at his village in Ladian in the district of Gujrat.