Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Many Arunachali old timers recall the 1962 Indo-Chinese 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 2nd Lieutenant Ganga Bahadur Rawat.
Hailing from Nautanwa in Nepal, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat belonged to 1/9 Gurkha Rifles and was deployed between Tsangdhar area of Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh during the 1962 Sino-India war.
On 20 October 1962, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat was performing the duties of Company Havildar Major in the Tsangdhar area of Tawang district. The Chinese forces attacked with about two infantry battalions. Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat and his soldiers fought back and drove back the enemy forces. However, with superiority in numbers, soon the company position was overrun by the enemy forces. Despite being outnumbered and attacked from all sides, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat counter attacked the enemy forces with his men. Although the enemy forces were all over the platoon position, he charged the enemy with his handful of soldiers. The suddenness of the counter attack by his team confused the enemy and enabled Havildar Rawat’s small force to reach the platoon headquarters. Thereafter, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat successfully withdrew his team back to safety.
Throughout the entire battle, as the Company Havildar Major, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat displayed the highest sense of duty, leadership, courage in the best traditions of the Army. For his exceptional courage, tenacity and gallantry during the war, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat was awarded the third highest gallantry award of the nation, Vir Chakra. After the war, Havildar Ganga Bahadur Rawat rose to the rank of Honourary 2nd Lieutenant and retired. Salute to 2nd Lieutenant Ganga Bahadur Rawat! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)