November 20, 1962– The Indian Army suffered heavy casualties in the hands of People’s Liberation Army in the 1962 war, before a ceasefire was announced. Despite being outnumbered and being ill-equipped, the Indian soldiers showed exemplary courage in defending the Indian territory from the invaders.
There are countless heroic tales from the 1962 Indo-China war that need to be narrated in public domain. Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat attained martyrdom while defending his post for 72 hours against the Chinese. In 2015, the Press Trust of India reported that Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was planning a biopic on Rawat.
Battle of Nuranang
On October 20, 1962, the People’s Liberation Army attacked Ladakh and crossed the McMohan Line to reach North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), now called Arunachal Pradesh. The month-long war was fought between the Indian and Chinese army in the North-East. According to indiatimes.com, the PLA launched a fourth attack on Nuranang by moving a Medium Machine Gun (MMG) close to the location where 4 Garhwal Rifles were stationed.
Lance Naik Trilok Singh, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat and Rifleman Gopal Singh took the grilling task of crawling through rocks and bushes to take on the enemy’s MMG. Jaswant Singh managed to snatch the MMG from an injured Chinese soldier and crawled back to his trench. However, he was shot in the head while advancing to the trench. Meanwhile, Gopal Singh managed to take the MMG back to the Indian trench. Jaswant Singh Rawat’s heroic sacrifice did not go waste as the Indian side retaliated with a counter-attack on the Chinese, thereby thwarting the enemy’s designs to bring Arunachal under its control.
The Chinese launched a fifth attack on the post but their attempts were obstructed, resulting in the deaths of around 300 PLA soldiers.
A different story
According to local legends, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat with the help of two tribal girls Sela and Nura fired machine-guns from three different positions from his bunker. The defence lasted for more than 72 hours, making the Chinese believe that they were fighting a platoon instead of a single soldier. However, the enemy managed to capture an armyman who was supplying ration to Rawat. The Chinese surrounded him from all sides and launched a final attack. It is said that Rawat shot himself to prevent himself being captured. The PLA regulars were so angry that they took his severed head back to China. After the ceasefire was announced, the Chinese returned the head along with a brass bust of the martyr.
“Such was the heroic act of bhaiji (elder brother) that Chinese troops beheaded him, took head away and later returned as a mark of respect to the great soldier,” Vijay Rawat, the slain soldier’s younger brother told The Hindustan Times several years later.
Jaswant Singh Rawat was posthumously awarded the Mahavir Chakra for his valour. The post has been named Jaswantgarh in his honour. A temple has been erected in his memory and soldiers are deployed to take care of the memorial. According to a TOI report, the soldiers make the bed for him, serve him tea and also deliver the letters sent by the followers.
For interesting news videos from InUth, follow us on Youtube.com/InUthdotcom