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11 Infantry Division / Golden Katar Division

The Division insignia is a Katar, a Rajput dagger. A sword is a bladed weapon, consisting in its most fundamental design of a blade and a handle. The blade is usually of some metal ground down to at least one sharp edge and often has a pointed tip for thrusting. The handle, called the hilt, has been made of many materials ranging from jade to bejewelled cast metal. There are several hundred types of swords. Swords & Daggers from India present a diversity and a range which is probably unparalleled anywhere in the world. Indian Swords & Daggers have a wide range of variety of shape and their jewel-like ornamentation with priceless gems and gold & silver. Some of the well-known types of Indian swords include the katar or katti also used in the Deccan.

In the different gradations of caste the Rajputs hold the second place, that devoted to the military profession. They were not, as might be supposed, confined to the country between the Indus on the west, the desert on the north, and the Vindhya mountains on the south, known as Rajputa'na, but were spread over a great part of Hindustan. The Rajputs were all brought up to the use of arms. Every favorite weapon, whether sword, matchlock, spear, dagger, or bow had a distinctive epithet.

Kattar may be translated the "cutter" (quasi, "piercer"). Since the katar is gripped by the crossbars, the blow is delivered as a punch. Katar [katarah, katan] is a Hindi word, kattar, probably from the same root as the verb katna, to cut. The translator of the Seir (i, 549, note 53) thus describes it, "A poignard peculiar to India made with a hilt, whose two branches extend along the arm, so as to shelter the hand and part of the arm. The blade is very thick with two cutting edges, having a breadth of three inches at the hilt and a solid point of about one inch in breadth. The blade cannot be bent and is so stiff that nothing will stop it but a cuirass. The total length is 2 to 2s feet, one half of this being the blade." The hilt has at right angles to the blade a cross-bar by which the weapon is grasped, and it is thus only available for a forward thrust. The blades are of various patterns, and the length varies from 9 to 17 inches.

The first serious blooding along the Western border came about in the 1965 war with Pakistan in the Kutch Sector. In January 1965, fighting broke out in the Rann of Kutch, a sparsely inhabited region, when the Pakistani forces began using tracks a mile and a half inside Indian Territory. On 24 April 1965, Pakistani troops at tacked Indian positions in the Rann of Kutch. A hastily constituted force, named Kilo Force under Maj. Gen PO Dunn was formed to contain this attack. It was in the wake of these operations that the necessity of field formations under Southern Command gained impetus. The first formation to be raised was Kilo Force, which was later re-designated as 11 Infantry Division. In September 1965, the operational responsibility for the Barmer sector was given to Southern Command and entrusted to the Division.

The defining moment came in 1971 when Southern Command was deployed in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Kutch with 12 Division, 11 Division and 46 Sector respectively. Here, its formations were engaged in a tenacious defence at Laungwala which thwarted the Pakistan of offensive in the 12 Division Sector, and an equally audacious offensive by 11 Infantry Division to capture Khokhropar and Gadra Cit y. In 1971, the Indian Army, with Southern Command at the helm, undertook large scale desert operations for the first time, and captured over 9,000 square kilometers of enemy territory in the Barmer sector.

The 2001 Gujarat earthquake occurred on January 26, 2001. Once the tremors were over in Gujarat and dust began to settle, the Army looked ahead with measures to bring normalcy. It was not an easy task given the magnitude of destruction and the shock and fear among the local population. With the efforts of the Golden Katar Division, the government agencies, NGOs, AWWA and Army got together to establish relief camps and start rehabilitation in a concerted manner.

In October 2003 Air Marshal SP Tyagi, AOC-in-C, South Western Air Command accompanied by senior Air Officers visited Army's Golden Katar Division in Ahmedabad cantonment. The AOC-in-C was received by Maj Gen Noble Thamburaj, GOC of the Division. He briefed the dignitaries on the role of the Division. At a separate function, Mrs Vandana Tyagi, President AFWWA (Regional), SWAC was received by Mrs Anita Thamburaj, AWWA President and exchanged notes on various welfare activities undertaken at the Division.

In mid-2005 Maj Gen SN Handa, GOC, Golden Katar Division flagged off the Army expedition team heading from the 'Sea to Rann' at Sainik School, Balachadi. The four-day expedition moved through the Gulf of Kutch touching Navlakhi Port and then entered the 'Little Rann of Kutch' (LRK) through Surajbari on boats. The team after crossing the LRK in flat-bottomed boats to Ghantila terminated the expedition at Kuda village near Dhrangadhra. The expedition team led by Lt Col JS Goraya included five officers and 11 jawans of the GK Artillery Brigade along with two Coast Guard personnel and a scientist from Agriculture University, Junagadh. The team members interacted with local public enroute and studied the diverse ecosystem.

In January 2007, in a unique attempt to forge closer bonds between Army and the people of Gujarat, Golden Katar Division organised a three-day Know Your Army exhibition at Sardar Estate, Vadodara. The event was the result of a joint initiative by Army and the civil administration of Vadodara district. It aimed to motivate young men and women of the district to join Armed Forces. The event was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah and attended by a large number of civil and military dignitaries including Maj Gen PG Kamath, Genernal Officer Commanding, Golden Katar Division. The huge jumboree comprised a number of cultural programs and activities such as Khukri dance, malkhamb and local folk dances. Stalls were established by various arms and services of the Indian Army where weapons and equipment, presently in use, were displayed. An attractive photo gallery highlighting the achievements of Army in aid to civil authorities, adventure activities and sports was laid out for viewing by the people of Vadodara. Other organisations like the Branch Recruitment Office (BRO), Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) also put up stalls to inform the local population about the activities of these organisations. Traditional arts and craftwork made by the wives of Army personnel were put on display to receive a very encouraging response. The highlights of the exhibition was a motorcycle display by the Tornadoes of Army Supply Corps (ASC), a demonstration of an assault on enemy position by Armour, Infantry and Mechanised Infantry and a display of the parachute motor-sailing by 10 Para (Special Force) team. A massed Pipe Band display by bands of six infantry battalions of Golden Katar Division stamped the grandeur of the Indian Army on the minds of the people.

In mid-2008 the 11 Division of the Indian Army undertook a tree plantation drive 'Go Green India' simultaneously at Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Dhrangadhra, Jamnagar and Bhuj military stations in Gujarat and also in some parts of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The drive involved families and children also to plant at least one sapling inside the cantonment. This drive was a sequel to "Mission Greening India" which was held in July 2007. The GOC of the Division, Maj Gen Sanjiv Langer initiated the drive by planting a sapling alongwith the Jawans and families of the Division at Ahmedabad Cantonment. Saplings procured from the Conservator of Forests were planted by defence personnel during the drive. In Rajasthan, the drive has been carried out in Barmer, Jasai and Jalipa while in Maharashtra the event was held in Pune.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:41:08 ZULU