Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unique love story of Jaswant Singh and Sela in Arunachal

An hour after Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh, people come across a unique memorial-cum-mandir of Jaswant Singh Rawat alias Jaswant Baba. The story of Jaswant Singh Rawat is inscribed in a plaque at the memorial. The caretaker of the memorial also takes pride in recounting Jasawant Singh's heroics. Jaswant Singh of the 4th Battalion Garhwal Rifles held off the enemy for 72 hours single-handedly. He ran from bunker to bunker- firing and creating an illusion of many soldiers present. Two local girls helped him to carry the ammunition. The story goes that rather than give in when the Chinese soldiers were at their doorstep, Singh hanged himself. Army convoys on the way to the border make it a point to stop and pay homage at the beautifully maintained memorial. The jawans (soldiers of the Indian army) at the outpost treat everybody passing through with tea.
It was the final phase of the China war in November 1962. Even as his company was asked to fall back, Jaswant Singh remained at his post at an altitude of 10,000 feet and held back the rampaging Chinese for three days single-handedly. He was helped by two local girls -- Sela and Nura -- during the heroic battle that ended after the Chinese discovered the post was being defended by a solitary soldier. His love story with Sela is still remembered in Arunachal and on her honour the Sela Pass is named!
So enraged were the attackers that they cut off Jaswant Singh's head and took it back to China. However, after the ceasefire, the Chinese commander, impressed by the soldier's bravery, returned the head along with a brass bust of Jaswant Singh. The bust, created in China to honour the brave Indian soldier, is now installed at the site of the battle, a location now known as Jaswantgarh. Jaswant Singh's saga of valour and sacrifice continues to serve as an inspiration to all army personnel posted in this sector.
Army personnel passing by this route, be it a general or a jawan, make it a point to pay their respects here. Jaswant, who was awarded a Mahavir Chakra for his bravery is not the only soldier to be honoured thus. We find several memorials built along the way. One of them in fact is right on the border at Bumla honouring Subedar Joginder Singh who won a posthumous Param Vir Chakra for his bravery.
In a way, the Indian Army is trying to overcome the one big blot it has on its record by officially recognizing the 2420 dead warriors in the 1962 conflict. The Army has constructed a huge war memorial at Tawang. The magnificent Tawang War Memorial, inaugurated by the then Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. H R S Kalkat in November 1999, has a 40-feet high Stupa as its centrepiece.
A plaque at the entrance which says, 'A nation that does not honour its dead warriors will perish' indicates the Army's willingness to accept its defeat and learn lesson from it. Old timers say the war memorial is the first real attempt by the Army to honour those who died fighting a vastly superior and well-prepared enemy.

8 comments:

  1. Good that you commemorate the heroism of Jaswant Singh Rawat, but I must correct your impression that Se La (or Sela Pass as it is incorrectly called - La means Pass in Tibetan) was named after Jaswant's girlfriend. The name is much more ancient, and occurs in British correspondence from the 1940s.
    JOYDEEP SIRCAR

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  2. What ever it may be, there is no comparison to the yeomen service the soldier did to Mother India. Every Indian should visit the monument and wait for his/her turn to polish the shoes of Jaswant Singh at least once in the lifetime. The soldiers posted on duty at the Memorial does it every day with pride and I wish I could do it once.

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  3. He was brave of bravest. I would like to polish his shoes. Yester night I saw 'Enemy at the gates' which the true story of a Soviet sniper named Vasili Zaytsev, who killed nearly 400 German army officers and soldiers during the Battle of Stalingrad during the World War II. I want the Indian filmmakers to make a movie on him and depict his story of valour and courage. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

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  4. In this time I feel very proud to know about the Jaswant Singh Rawat & his bravery.
    This called a true bravery. Hats off for Jaswant Singh Rawat.
    If single soldier can kills the 300 enemies then what happened when whole battalion present there.
    This kind of miracle happen once in a century.
    Jai Jawan, Jai Hind, Jai Uttrakhand & Jai Garhwal Rifles.

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  5. You are always with me forever ...........

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  6. Proud we are indian , hats off jaswant singh, selute indian army.

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  8. a ya, we must remember like this type of bravery Babas and must be tell our kids so that they also to increase their chest up. I saw/visit the garh(Jaswantgarh) so many times single and with my kids. Also, we must remember the temple/memorial of local still living girls (1) Se La(Sela pass) lover of Baba and (2) Se La's younger sister Nura (Memorial at Nura Nung) and so many brave solders who laid their life enroute to Beijing(China) through Arunachal Pradesh.
    We must heads off to China also because they maintaining a statue/memorial for Baba in their country (as they thinking that so many Baba may grow in china).
    Another think was that before 1995, the temple/memorial of (statue of) Jaswant Baba made equal to Lord Shiv's (Statue), now the Lord Shiv's statue has been removed or separated.

    Thanks.

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