Vol. 6 | issue 7 | August 2012
war m g devasahayam
1962 China War
Stabbing the dead, yet
Speaking a month before the 50th anniversary of China’s military offensives, Army Chief General Bikram Singh said: “I am assuring the nation as the Army Chief that 1962 will not be repeated… No way. We have plans in place on all borders to safeguard our country’s territorial integrity.” But, when the integrity of the Army itself has been severely eroded in recent times, is the Army Chief’s claim even tenable?
When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.” Etched in stone, this soul-wringing message from ‘dead soldiers’ greets you as you enter the famed Kohima War Cemetery. As one takes a round of the cemetery, one sees hundreds of small plaques with the words ‘Known Unto God’, meaning that we do not even know the names of the valiant men who gave their lives so that we may live. Can there be a more poignant sacrifice? That was during the Second World War.
What about the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the most devastating that India fought post-Independence? Do we remember the names of the nearly 3,000 men, who caught unawares, laid down their lives in a desperate bid to save the honour of the Indian Army and the integrity of the Indian nation? Do the names of Major BK Pant, Lieutenant Subash Chander, Naib-Subedar Snehuneshu Biswas, Havildar Phani Bhushan Nayak, Naik Joybandhu Datta, Sepoy Jag Pal Singh…and many, many others ring a bell?
These are but a few random names taken from a list of the brave sons of India who died on the night of October 19-20, 1962, at Nam Ka Chu when the Chinese attacked 2nd Rajput positions at the base of the Thagla Ridge beyond the Zimithang Valley in NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh). This was the beginning of the bloody clash across the previously considered ‘impregnable’ Himalayas that caught the Indian leadership napping and left 2,420 officers and men dead in this theatre alone………READ MORE