Jaswant Singh Rawat
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Jaswant Singh Rawat ( 19 August 1941 - 17 November 1962) was an Indian rifleman soldier of 4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand who won the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously at the Battle of Nuranang in the present day Arunachal Pradesh during the 1962 India-China war. He was born on 19 August 1941 to Shri Guman Singh Rawat, at village Baryun, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Present Day his family is living in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
The exemplary bravery shown by Jaswant Rawat was honored by building a memorial at the post where he fought the Chinese army. The post which he held against the Chinese Army was named as Jaswant Garh. Another honor bestowed upon him is that he continues in the service even after death, he has been awarded promotions as if he is still serving the Nation.
Local people around Tawang area believe that he has become a saint and his spirit protects the area.
The Indian army keeps at least half-a-dozen personnel here to take care of Rawat as if he were alive. He is served bed tea at 4.30am, breakfast at 9 am, and dinner at 7pm.
Battle of Nuranang ' The Local Story'
The Orders for the 4 Garhwal rifles were to retreat from their position but Rifleman Jaswant Singh, remained at his post and repulsed Chinese troops for three days from overrunning the post. The local story goes that he was assisted by two Monpa girls named Sela and Nura some others say that the village lady was Boom la. They had put guns at various places in such a manner that the Chinese were made to believe that the post had many soldiers. But the Chinese got hold of the man who was supplying rations to Jaswant Singh Rawat and it became known to them that only one man was guarding the post. The infuriated Chinese attacked with full force. Sela was killed in a grenade blast, Nura was captured and Jaswant Singh Rawat killed by a head shot.
According to the legend he killed more than 150 Chinese Soldiers in the battle and the Chinese were so angry with him that they cut off his head back to China. After the ceasefire impressed by the soldier’s bravery, the Chinese returned the head along with a brass bust of Jaswant Singh.
The Official Citation
In memory of RFN Jaswant Singh Rawat, MVC assisted by L/Nk Trilok Singh Negi and RFN Gopal Singh Gusain as part of Company 4th Battalion Garhwal Rifles on 17 Nov 1962, volunteered to silence an enemy MMG that had come close to their defenses and was firing accurately at the locality. That very day 4th Garhwal Rifles had beaten back two of the enemy attacks on their location. Jaswant Rawat and Gopal Gusain supported by the covering fire from Trilok Negi heroically closed within grenade throwing distance and destroyed the Chinese detachment of five men seizing the MMG. However, in the process of returning Jaswant Rawat and Trilok Negi were killed whereas Gopal Gusain though seriously injured came back with the captured weapon. The entire operation cost the Chinese 300 Dead and wounded with loss to Garhwal rifles being 2 dead and 8 wounded.
The 4 Garhwal Rifles was awarded battle honour Nuranang, the only battle honour awarded to any Army unit in the Sino-Indian war of 1962.
The Legend of Baba Jaswant and Jaswant Garh
Jaswant Rawat has been elevated by locals to a Holy Baba, who keeps vigil over the area and protects the region. A shrine, memorial has been made at the place where he fought and the place is fondly called as Jaswant Garh. All Indian Army personnel passing by this route from General to a Jawan pay their respects here. Jaswant is treated as if he is alive, his boots shined, linen washed, towels changed. Soldiers who polish his shoes claim that they are often found covered with mud, a sign that he has been walking around at night. The Legend goes that convoys in blizzards have seen Jaswant directing the vehicles through the serpentine bends. He continues to receive his promotions on time even after his death.He even gets letters from people seeking his blessings and help in all types of problems.
- Talbot, Ian (2016). A History of Modern South Asia: Politics, States, Diasporas. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300216599.
- Col J Francis (Retd) (30 August 2013). Short Stories from the History of the Indian Army Since August 1947. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. p. 53. ISBN 9789382652175.
- Singh Gp Capt, Ranbir (2009). Memorable War Stories. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 27. ISBN 8188322660.