Heroes of 1962 war in Arunachal: Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Many Arunachalee old-timers recall the 1962 Sino-India conflict with fear and anger. The Chinese forces entered deep into Arunachal Pradesh along many axes like Taksing-Limeking, Mechuka/Manigong-Tato, Gelling-Tuting, Kibithoo-Walong axes and the main Tawang-Bomdila-Rupa axis. Many readers are not aware of fierce battles fought by our brave soldiers. One such story is the story of Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain.

Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain hailed from Pauri-Garhwal in Uttarkhand and was posted in the 4 Garhwal Rifles. During the 1962 Sino-India war, he was placed in command of a platoon of the 4 Garhwal Rifles occupying a forward defended locality at Nuranang (now called Jaswantgarh) in Arunachal Pradesh. On 17 November, 1962, the Chinese attacked the post with heavy mortar and automatic small arms. Under Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain’s leadership the enemy forces were engaged with heavy fire, including with LMG. Jemadar Gusain noticed that his LMG had ceased firing as both LMG gunners were badly wounded by enemy fire. He himself handled the LMG and kept on firing till the Chinese attack was repulsed by his platoon. Later he recovered and brought back the wounded soldiers.

The next day, Jemadar Gusain sited an LMG between some rocks to gain tactical advantage and prevented the enemy forces from advancing. Later the Chinese forces started heavy firing with an LMG. Jemadar Gusain crawled behind the enemy forces and destroyed the LMG with a hand grenade.

With the battle situation being grim, our troops were later cut off in small pockets due to heavy shelling and trapped in a large ambush after which many sub-units lost contact with each other. Jemadar Gusain, in utter disregard of his own safety, collected 41 men and successfully brought them out of the ambush into safety.

For his exceptional courage, tenacity and gallantry during the war Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain was awarded the nation’s third highest gallantry award, the Vir Chakra. After the war, Jemadar Jatan Singh Gusain retired at the rank of honorary captain. Salute to honorary Captain Jatan Singh Gusain! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)