History needs to record glorious 1962 chapter

*Martyr Thapa news made a difference: Nalo

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

“Oh lawmaker, you are from Tama Chum Chung ridge, located in Upper Subansiri district bordering China, which had witnessed tactical fighting between jawans of China’s People’s Liberation Army and Indian Army during 1962 war,” – was the reply to Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo who was inquisitive as to why many media persons were approaching to interview him.

Admitting that he was born in Orak village under Lemiking circle where the memorial of 1962 martyr Shere Thapa of 2 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles, built by villagers, stands tall today, Nalo said the news published in your daily’s June 24 edition under headline – Nalo to move CM to give him national hero honour – has made a difference.

“All Arunachal Pradesh Gorkha Association president Shyam Ghatani and general secretary Rajesh Chetry called on me on Friday to appreciate my desire to give belated recognition to a great nationalist, who had protected our motherland at the cost of his life.  Martyr Thapa has left behind a legacy for others to emulate to reflect patriotism”, he said with conviction.

Asked about progress of the historic but one of the remotest parts of the state, he admitted that it lacked desired development. “I would accelerate the process in road power, health and education sectors, the priority of present government led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu,” he added.

Many researchers, historians and tourists would visit the area, once well connected, to have glimpse of unwritten history. Who knows martyr Thapa could be a propeller of development of the area through which Chinese jawans had dared to sneak into Indian Territory but many of whom never returned. Alert Thapa had killed 160 of them on 18.10.1962, positioned himself at a vertical slope – invincible high mountain ridge on one side, steep slope down to Ngo stream, source of Subansiri River, on the other side. He had located the most strategic place, either to stop or kill the advancing Chinese soldiers. Thapa did not notice anymore Chinese after emptying all magazines with the fired brash khokas lying scattered. He confidently came out of his bunker for a recce. Death was waiting for him as he peeped towards the heap of corpses with great satisfaction. A wounded but alive Chinese solider lying on the heap along with his colleagues fired, killing him instantly.

While correct information on 1962 Indo-China War is still shrouded in mystery, but conclusive evidences are proof of the pitch battle, beyond Tawang and Walong (Tibet-Burma-India tri-junction) sectors. Villagers inhabiting the Indo-China border claim that the PLA had sent its troops through passes, including Taksing, Mechuka, Anini, etc where the forces camped waiting for orders. Had the war prolonged, China would have launched a multi-pronged attack but withdrew its forces after cessation of firing, following 29 days (Oct 18 to Nov 16, 1962) of fierce battle, leading to the humiliating defeat of the Indian Army.

While presenting a paper on “Buddhism” during a national seminar in Rajiv Gandhi University on xxxx, my logic was Buddhist monks from far and wide by trekking on foot for two to three days reach Motongsa, locally known as Kongmu, located in inaccessible jungle along Jairampur-Pagsau Pass route bordering Myanmar. They worship and mediate there for days together and take shelter in the ‘staging hut’ built by former speaker Setong Sena. Its serenity justifies the divinity and importance of the pilgrimage. This Buddhist pilgrimage  in Nampong hills of Changlang district provide evidences of the spread of Buddhism as though this route King Ashoka’s son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra after propagating Buddhism might have returned from Burma (Myanmar) via Patkai Hills to India. This had prompted senior professors of other universities to question: Do you want to change the course of history?

I had quipped: “No, I am an observer and highlighted the truth with evidence. The history, if failed to record it then, should update for the future generation not to blame us for our shortcoming. Where is the question of changing the course of history?

Likewise, Nalo with the help of CM Khandu could update history by adding this glorious chapter lest remain unrecorded just because the Army had given retreat order!

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