Buckle up! This story explodes many bombshells as it proceeds.
Mother India gave birth to numerous brave soldiers, but some are still etched in our memories and have become immortal because of what they did for our nation. Such is the story of a mighty warrior born on the lands of Uttarakhand (an Indian state), Veer Jaswant Singh Rawat.
This legendary story dates back its origin to the Indo-China war of 1962. This martyr indulged in a 72 hours long battle with 2 other brave soldiers and 2 Monpa girls. Have you heard about someone who is taken care of like a living person even when they’re no longer in this world? Well, this story will hit you in the brain. Interesting fact, this martyr still enjoys after-death service by five on-duty soldiers. His brass bust, kept in Jaswantgarh, is served food regularly. The people in-charge change his bedsheets, clean and press his uniform and even polish his shoes. When his chamber is visited in the morning, folds are spotted on the bedsheets and his attire is found dirty. It is even believed that his soul slaps any soldier who sleeps on duty. It seems as though he explains the fact that the nation is their responsibility and they must religiously attend to their duties. This guardian angel still protects our nation and will continue to do so.
BATTLE OF NAURANANG:
It all began on 17th November 1962 when China captured the Himalayas and attacked Arunachal Pradesh (an Indian state) with the ulterior motive to capture the state. In response to this, a battalion from the army was delegated to safeguard Nauranang (a town in Arunachal Pradesh). The battle commenced and soon the heavy firing produced by China’s Medium Machine Gun (MMG) put Garhwal’s (regiment of Indian army) rifle in trouble. The Indian Army decided to summon the 4th battalion of the Garhwali unit as the war provisions had started to exhaust. As ordered, the troop reverted from Tawang, their base camp location. Some shunned this order and stayed back. They were Lance Nayak Trilok Singh Negi, Gopal Singh, and Jaswant Singh Rawat. It is even believed that they got an expulsion from the army due to their adamant decision but determined to fight their last battle, they paid no heed to the orders. They aimed to cease the firing of the Chinese MMG that was being rained on them from a bunker. What happened next changed the course of the Battle of Nauranang. They crawled through bushes and rocks and reached the bunker under heavy enemy fire determined to retract the Chinese MMG. Tossing a hand grenade from a mere distance of 15 yards, they put down many enemy soldiers to death bed. They successfully snatched the MMG from the injured Chinese soldier and took it to their shelters. This was a great comeback and destroyed the dream of the Chinese to take over Arunachal Pradesh. Unfortunately, while returning, Trilok Singh and Gopal Singh died under the heavy firing.
THE LONE RIFLEMAN AND HIS DEMISE:
Left all alone, Jaswant Singh was aware of all the uncertainties and threats but believed that no matter how challenging a battle seems, it’s never impossible to triumph. He realized that if the invaders sensed that there was no troop and just a lone soldier left, they would gain more confidence. He now received aid from 2 Monpa siblings named Sela and Nura, who even took care of his fooding. It is said that the sisters fell in love with him but also understood that nothing was possible as Jaswant was married. They stood by his side till their last breaths. With their help, he collected all the ammunitions and hand grenades and kept them to himself. All these were placed in different shelters and bunkers with the constant help and support of the sisters. By this arrangement, Jaswant Singh tried to bluff the Chinese into believing that an entire battalion still stood against them. They now started an open fire on the Chinese from all these bunkers with Jaswant Singh running to different spots and firing. Chinese believed that the Indian army was still fighting them. It is concluded that this War God managed to kill more than 300 rivals before they captured the fellow supplying rations. Sela died in a grenade attack while Nura was caught by the Chinese. The ration supplier was forced to spill out all the information and the Chinese came to know that there’s only one man who planned out their vanquish. This fact came as a shock to them and they surrounded Jaswant from all sides and opened fire. Jaswant knew he would not be able to survive this and he shot himself with the only bullet he had.
The agitated commander of the Chinese army beheaded his body and took it back home. When the war ended, impressed by Jaswant’s valor, the commander decided to get a brass bust made and sent it to India as a gift that still sits at the site of the battle.
A temple named BABA JASWANT SINGH TEMPLE is built in his memory, where objects of his daily use are kept safely. Anyone who goes past this glorious temple, be it an Indian or a Chinese, never leaves without paying tribute to him. A residence named JASWANTGARH is built in his remembrance with a memorial placed inside. His soul is believed to reside in this house.
Apart from Harbhajan Singh, Jaswant Singh is the only soldier of the Indian Army treated as a serving officer even after death. He is still not given retirement and instead receives a promotion from time to time. He was delegated as a Captain, then a Major and further, a General in the Indian army. After 40 years of his demise, when the actual time of his retirement neared, only then was he given a withdrawal. His name was never prefixed with ‘Late’. At times, when Jaswant was expected to be home, the Indian army used to draft a leave application on his behalf. Once allowed by the authorities, the soldiers used to carry his photo with great respect and honor to Baryum, his ancestral village. He was even escorted back in the same way once his holidays came to an end.
These three brave soldiers were acknowledged with awards and titles. Trilok Singh Negi and Rifleman Gopal Singh were awarded the VIR CHAKRA. Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat was honored with the title of ‘BATTLE HONOUR OF NAURANANG’, the only award given during the 1962 war. He was also granted the MAHAVIR CHAKRA.
This saga tells how Veer Jaswant Singh Rawat transformed from a mere mortal to a luminary. He was the only source of optimism in an otherwise disappointing battle.
HATS OF TO HIS BRAVERY!