One Man Army 

Every year on January 15, The Army Day commemorates the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General K.M. Cariappa, taking over from the final British commander in 1949. The East India Army, which eventually became the British India Army, was the forerunner of the Indian army. Our Force, which is known across the globe for its valor, has fought in several battles and was the biggest volunteer army in World War II. 

So, in honor of Army Day, let me remind you of the narrative of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, MVC (Maha Vir Chakra), a soldier whose valor was lauded even by his adversaries.

It was the Chinese Army’s fourth assault, in the last charge as a final insult – they’d chopped off the hand of the Buddha Statue in Tawang and carried it away, but something was different this time. As the sun rose over the Eastern Himalayas around 5 am and the Chinese troops mounted another assault, this time through the Sela top where the Delta company of the Garhwal Rifles or specifically a Rifleman of the 4 Garwal – Jaswant Singh Rawat was in their way. 

In the battle that started on 17th November 1962 and continued for the next 72 hours, Jaswant Singh alone held the post and managed to set up weapons at separate spots. Thus maintaining a huge volume of fire on the Chinese. This led the Chinese to believe that they were facing an entire battalion, and not just one man, firing from different bunkers. By the time he was done, more than 300 Chinese soldiers had been killed. Even though the Chinese soldiers managed to capture a heavily wounded Jaswant Singh and hang him,  the Indian Army’s reinforcements arrived by then, stopping the Chinese progress into Arunachal Pradesh. This was the legendary battle of Nauranang.

This was India’s final stand, a beacon of optimism in a war that had been otherwise disastrous. The act that elevated Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat from a commoner to a legend, even a deity as the locals raised a buddhist shrine in his honour.

Adithy Praveen

FY BSc. Economics

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