1962 war hero Jaswant Singh’s family wants Paramveer Chakra for him
Rifleman Jaswant Singh of 4 Garhwal Rifles held off a massive Chinese attack in the battle of Nauranang before being killed in November 1962.india Updated: Jul 03, 2017 11:25 IST
Pauri Garhwal /Dehradun
Amid a standoff with Chinese troops on the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, the family of Rifleman Jaswant Singh, a hero of the 1962 war in Arunachal Pradesh, wants the Paramveer Chakra - India’s highest military decoration - for the legendary soldier.
“We really want Jaswant bhai should get Paramveer Chakra. For this, we wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year. His office acknowledged letter but nothing happened so far” Jaswant Singh’s younger brother Vijay Rawat told HT in Dehradun.
The tiny village of Baryun village in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal district continues to celebrate its bravest son who was posthumously decorated with India’s second highest military award, the Mahaveer Chakra. A weather beaten memorial to the war hero still stands in the village.
Jaswant Singh of 4 Garhwal Rifles who laid down his life to secure an Indian post, held off Chinese forces for nearly 72 hours in the battle of Nauranang. The post is now called Jaswantgarh post in his honour. He also singlehandedly killed hundreds of Chinese soldiers before being martyred.
“Such was the heroic act of bhaiji (elder brother) that Chinese troops beheaded him, took head away and later returned as a mark of respect to the great soldier,” says Vijay who was six years old when Jaswant Singh (21) laid down his life.
The younger brother will be visiting Tawang later in November where a memorial is dedicated to the rifleman. The Indian Army still treats him as an active soldier on duty and disburses his salary, awards him a promotion and even sanctions his leave. Six soldiers take care of chores such as ironing the uniform, polishing his shoes, serving the meals and making the bed at night at his post.
“Last year my children went to Tawang and this year I will be going there. My mother died last year and she always wanted to visit there as well. But we never took her as bhaiji never wanted that while he was alive,” says Vijay who retired from the Survey of India.
Ironically, Jaswant Singh was the only person in his family who served in the army. Vijay was keen that his two sons join the army but they could not.
“But I strongly feel we need heroes like my brother. And I am sure the tradition will continue,” he adds.
Only nine families now live in Jaswant’s village Baryun. His ancestral house, like many other houses of the village, about 180 km from Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, has also been reduced to ruins and the pathway to this house is lost in the overgrown wild shrubs.
Gangotri Devi (75), a relative of Rifleman Jaswant Singh said: “The government should take care of Jaswant’s ancestral house.”
A retired army havaldar, Bheem Singh said the state government should treat Baryun as a special village and erect a memorial for the war hero.