What connects an iconic Indian army battle victory, the famous painter MF Hussain and one of the most iconic slogans ever heard in independent India? 

Desmond Hayde was born in the UK but grew up in India. Of Anglo-Indian descent, he was educated first at Asansol and then Bangalore. Commissioned from the Indian Military Academy on September 12, 1948, Hayde was placed in the Jat regiment.

Interestingly, while Hayde spoke Hindi with a thick accent, his Haryanvi was said to be fluent and perfect. It endeared him to the men of his regiment. Their time of glory would arrive in 1965 during the India-Pakistan war.

In early September, 1965, Lt. Col. Hayde with his 3 Jat regiment was ordered to breach the western bank of the Ichogil canal inside Pakistani territory and occupy the town of Dograi. On the intervening night of 6-7 September, 3 Jat achieved their objective.

Unfortunately, the regiment had to pull their reins as their supply lines were strafed by PAF fighter jets. The unit was not replenished with  ammunition and supplies and was forced to camp inside enemy territory for nearly 2 weeks, awaiting further orders. 

During this delay, the town of Dograi was turned into a fortress by the Pakistani army. The order to attack finally came on September 20. Hayde’s single battalion was faced by a two-battalion strong opposing force, further aided by a tank detachment.

But the Jat battalion, inspired by their CO, fought ferociously and after 27 hours of relentless battle, took possession of Dograi, at the cost of losing nearly hundred of their own. Lt. Col. Hayde’s battle cry “Zinda ya murda, Dograi mein milna hai!” lives on in the history of the Jat regiment.

On October 29, PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, while addressing Lt. Col. Hayde’s men uttered his iconic slogan of “JAI JAWAAN JAI KISAAN.” 

Lt. Col. Hayde is believed to be the only Indian soldier to be painted by painter MF Hussain.

Lt. Col. Hayde was awarded a Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry and would eventually retire from the Indian Army as a brigadier. He settled down in Kotdwar, Uttarakhand where a school, built on land donated by Hayde carries his name proudly to this day.


Desmond Hayde passed away in 2013 from skin cancer.