After retiring from the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora joined the Akali Dal and was a Member of the Parliament from Rajya Sabha from 1986 to 1992.
He retired from the Indian Army in 1973. Lt Gen JFR Jacob has written in his book An Odyssey in War And Peace that Gen. Aurora approached then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for governorship of a state but she declined. Jacob also writes that Gen. and Mrs. Aurora were a regular part of the social life of Calcutta.
In 1984, Aurora fiercely criticised the Indian National Congress leadership following Operation Blue Star, which was an operation by the then government of flushing out armed Sikh militants who had taken up positions inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar but also caused extensive damage to the holiest shrine of Sikhism. Subsequently, he spent several years as a member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Indian Parliament, for the Akali Dal, a political party. Aurora was also an active member of the Citizen’s Justice Committee which provided pro bono assistance to Sikh victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Jagjit Singh Aurora died on 3 May 2005 in New Delhi at the age of 89.He was cremated at Brar Square in New Delhi with full military honours. He was survived by a son and a daughter. After his death, the gratitude of Bangladesh to General Aurora was emphasized in a message to India, from Morshed Khan, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, stating: “Aurora will be remembered in the history of Bangladesh for his contribution during our war of liberation in 1971”. when he led the allied forces.”
The site of the Pakistani surrender, where Lt. Gen. Niazi signed the Instrument of Surrender with Lt. Gen. Aurora on 16 December 1971 has been converted into a national monument Swadhinata Stambha. The main attraction is the glass Stambha which is built on the precise location where the instrument of surrender was signed. The monument also includes an eternal flame, terracotta murals of martyrs and a body of water.
- In his book, Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation, Lt Gen JFR Jacob wrote that,”During the 1971 operations, Aurora undertook frequent visits to the forward areas but failed to win the confidence of most of the field commanders there. His relations with most of them were like oil and water and he did not build up his subordinate commanders in spite of their successes in battle.”
- After the Indian Army attacked the Golden Temple at Amritsar, in 1984, Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora raised his voice against Indira Gandhi’s decision and criticized her. Talking about it, he said,”I don’t see a very comfortable period in the coming months in the Punjab. She is a very capable person, and she has great staying power. But she has no warmth. She can be a vicious, cold, calculating person.”After the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Lt General Jagjit Singh joined the Citizen’s Justice Committee and founded the Sikh Forum, aimed at providing justice to the victims of the riots.
- Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora often voiced his opinion in favour of a better relationship between India and Pakistan.
- In 1984, Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora published a book titled The Punjab Story, which was based on Operation Bluestar undertaken by the Indian Army.
- Jagjit Singh Aurora was passionate about golf.
- After Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora died, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw paid homage to him and gave him the credit for the victory of the Indian forces over Pakistan in the 1971 war. Talking about it, Sam Manekshaw said,
Jaggi did the work while I got the baton of the Field Marshal.”
- Following his death in 2005, Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora’s uniform and medals were handed over to the Indian Army.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- After the end of the 1971 war, Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) by the President of India.
- In 1972, the Indian government awarded Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora with India’s third-highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan.
- Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora was awarded Bir Protik, Bangladesh’s fourth-highest gallantry award.
- The Government of Punjab conferred Punjab Rattan Award on Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora after his death.
Dates of rank
|Insignia||Rank||Component||Date of rank|
|Second Lieutenant||British Indian Army||1 February 1939|
|Lieutenant||British Indian Army||30 January 1940|
|Captain||British Indian Army||22 February 1940 (acting)
5 February 1941 (temporary)
1 May 1942 (war-substantive)
30 January 1946 (substantive)
|Major||British Indian Army||1 February 1942 (acting)
1 May 1942 (temporary)
|Captain||Indian Army||15 August 1947|
|Captain||Indian Army||26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)|
|Major||Indian Army||26 February 1950 (temporary)
30 January 1951 (substantive)
|Lieutenant-Colonel||Indian Army||30 January 1952|
|Colonel||Indian Army||1 August 1958|
|Brigadier||Indian Army||3 February 1957 (acting)
|Major General||Indian Army||21 February 1963 (acting)
20 June 1964 (substantive)
|Lieutenant-General||Indian Army||6 June 1966 (acting)
4 August 1966 (substantive)