Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Recollecting a great hero of 1947 

10 Julie 2010 11:40:00

Recollecting a great hero of 1947

Aftab Alam

ISLAMABAD, July 10, 2010: Great nations remember their heroes either in history books or by making their statues, so do we -- as a nation, not far behind in paying tribute to our heroes. Pakistan Railways has done a commendable job by keeping the memories attached to a great hero of the Independence time in a safe custody at the Heritage Museum, Golra Railway Junction, Islamabad. 
We all owe a lot to him as he saved the lives of more that 500 refugees, travelling in a Pakistan-bound train, by his great presence of mind and strategy.
Major S M Rafi was given the arduous task of protecting one of the many trains carrying Muslim refugees across India into the newly created nation state of Pakistan. 
With ugly fires of sectarian violence raging everywhere, these were the hard times. As the train left Jaipur, Major Rafi locked the passengers inside their compartments to protect them from vindictive mobs and snipers. After a journey of some 1,200 miles, to his unbounded relief, the train reached Karachi safe and sound. In an emotional account of the journey, Major Rafi thanked God and paid a great tribute to his fellow passengers who had recited the Holy Quran throughout the long journey home.
 “Major Rafi declared it as a military train and stood on guard with a gun in his hand”, said Muhammad Ramzan, the station master at Golra Railway Junction who is also the man in charge of the Heritage Museum established here. “Major Rafi was also awarded with ‘Tamgha-e-Juraat’ for his daring and great act of soldier-ship,” he proudly added.
The memories kept safe in the museum include the carriage key accompanied by a suggestive interpretation of history along with a black and white photograph of Major S M Rafi wearing his uniform and a map of the route that he followed in successful completion of this uphill task, all in original.