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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

India's forgotten heroes

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--------------------Forwarded Message------------------
From: ABC

its overwhelming..
our guys fight without fancy weapons and any political back up in an unforgiving weather...its just a brave heart what they carry..
such stories make me proud but more sad really

India may have lost the 1962 war with China, but it was not completely a saga of defeat. Hamstrung by an indecisive leadership and poor military equipment, the Indian army put up a valiant resistance along the McMahon Line. It is another matter the political leadership of the day did not back them.
One such spot where our soldiers fought back, and repelled, the Chinese incursions was at Razang La near Chushul, in the Himalayan heights. On November 18, 1962, 114 soldiers of the 13th Kumaon fought till the last man, and last bullet, in sub-zero temperatures, to beat back the huge Chinese army. A grateful nation acknowledged their valour by posthumously conferring the Param Vir Chakra on Major Shaitan Singh.
They fought till the last man, last bullet
They were ill-equipped, ill-prepared and heavily outnumbered by the Chinese. All the 114 jawans died in action, not a single soul retreated and neither did they let the Chinese intrude. For three months the government didn't know about them, about their extraordinary sacrifice, till in January-end in 1963, shepherds from Chushul found bodies of jawans scattered on the Rezang La, after the snow had melted. The dead bodies of the Chinese were far more in number, about eight hundred on our side, and it was estimated that more than a thousand might have fallen to the bullets of Indian soldiers. It was an unbelievable feat and the government decorated Major Shaitan Singh with a Param Vir Chakra, posthumously.
The PVC citation awarded to him reads: 'Major Shaitan Singh was commanding a company of an infantry battalion deployed at Rezang La in the Chushul sector at a height of about 17,000 feet. The locality was isolated from the main defended sector and consisted of five platoon-defended position. On 18 November 1962, the Chinese forces subjected the company position to heavy artillery, mortar and small arms fire and attacked it in overwhelming strength in several successive waves. Against heavy odds, our troops beat back successive waves of enemy attack. During the action, Major Shaitan Singh dominated the scene of operations and moved at great personal risk from one platoon post to another sustaining the morale of his hard-pressed platoon posts. While doing so he was seriously wounded but continued to encourage and lead his men, who, following his brave example fought gallantly and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. For every man lost to us, the enemy lost four or five. When Major Shaitan Singh fell disabled by wounds in his arms and abdomen, his men tried to evacuate him but they came under heavy machine-gun fire. Major Shaitan Singh then ordered his men to leave him to his fate in order to save their lives. Major Shaitan Singh's supreme courage, leadership and exemplary devotion to duty inspired his company to fight almost to the last man.'
The Rezang La memorial is a simple marble pillar with names of all the 114 martyrs etched on two sides, in Hindi and in English. The third side has these inspiring words:
How can a Man die better than facing Fearful Odds,
For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods,
To the sacred memory of the Heroes of Rezang La,
114 Martyrs of 13 Kumaon who fought to the Last Man,
Last Round, Against Hordes of Chinese on 18 November 1962.
Built by All Ranks 13th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment.
Please spread this email- let other Indians also know of the extraordinary sacrifice and valour of our troops. Men who left behind the comfort our their homes and left behind widows and fatherless children just so our Motherland was safe from Chinese invasion.

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