It was on this day 50 years ago that the first Chinese mortars fell -- in the Eastern sector at Namka Chu, and in the North, at Aksai Chin's Chipchap Valley. The war would end in just over a month.
To me, and I suspect to many, the most arresting story of the 1962 border war between India and China was the Battle of Rezang La in Ladakh on Nov 18. The painting here is an impression of the scene, though there were no sun-dappled ridge-lines or meadows -- just terrible cold and howling wind. It was here that the 13 Kumaon regiment's Charlie company, led by Major Shaitan Singh, fought off unending waves of Chinese forces. 114 of the 118 men died fighting, managing to kill many times more Chinese troops, who were better armed, greater in number, and who arrived with full-fledged artillery support. Major Shaitan Singh, who was killed in the battle, was awarded India's highest war-time gallantry decoration, the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for his action. The war ended only days later with a unilateral ceasefire by the Chinese. But the Battle of Rezang La remains, to this day, one of the most astonishing feats of bravery against impossible, suicidal odds.
A day of remembrance of those who were lost in the 1962 war. If we remember them at no other time.
Labels: China-Related, Military History, Warfighting