Story of a brave FC soldier who died fighting in Swat
“I am dying, take my gun and deliver it to General sahib,” were the last words of Sepoy Gul Farosh as he lay critically injured near Manglawar village in Swat on October 28, 2007.
His surviving colleagues from the Frontier Corps conveyed his words and delivered his gun to their officers. Maj General Mohammad Alam Khattak, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps, was subsequently informed about Sepoy Gul Farosh’s dying words. In his meetings with FC soldiers and visitors, the general often mentions the brave Jawan as someone who fought till the end and didn’t lose control of his gun even after being fatally wounded.
There was a background as to why Gul Farosh uttered those memorable last words. He had heard Maj General Alam Khattak, himself a Pashtun from Nowshera, telling a darbar, or soldiersí meeting, that losing one’s gun amounted to abandoning oneís wife. There cannot be a greater insult to a Pashtun than to lose his wife. And it is common to hear the Pashtuns telling each other that abandoning one’s gun was just as dishonourable as losing a wife.
Gul Farosh, a typical Pashto name meaning flower seller, later succumbed to his injuries. It took time to retrieve his body and transport it to his village, Shamozai, in Mardan district for burial. Three days after his death, the young bearded soldier was buried in his ancestral graveyard.
His death shocked his old father, Dervesh Khan. The tragedy made him ill and one could see that life was slowly ebbing away from this frail and poor farmer. He had spent almost all his life tilling other people’s land as tenant and fetching firewood from the mountains to sell to villagers. Like his name, he was a Dervesh in the real life. Simple and honest, he couldn’t even properly count the currency notes. And even though he was desperately poor, Dervesh Khan always carried sweets in his pocket to give to children. One does come across sweet persons in life and he definitely was amongst them.
About two and a half months after Gul Farosh’s death, Dervesh Khan quietly bid farewell to the world. On January 10, 2008 he was buried close to the grave of his dear son. It was a double tragedy, which deprived the family of its breadwinners.
Gul Farosh’s mother and wife would have coped better with the grief of his death if he had children. The couple remained issueless during the seven years of marriage. In August 2007, Gul Farosh was injured in action in Thall. But he recovered and continued to serve the FC with distinction. He had also qualified an anti-terrorism course at the FC training centre at Mir Ali in North Waziristan.
After his recruitment in FC Khyber Rifles wing on April 1, 1997, he served at a number of places, including Ali Masjid in Khyber Agency, Ghallanai in Mohmand Agency, Thall, Regi Lalma, Peshawar and Torkham. He also took part in rescue and rehabilitation activities for the earthquake-affected communities at Battagram in Hazara. That was the kind of work in which the deeply religious and kind-hearted Gul Farosh found satisfaction.