'Battle Of No Survivors' Revived Near Indo-China Border

18 November 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: 'How can a man die better than facing fearful odds'-these were the last words of Major Shaitan Singh to his soldiers, who fearlessly fought the Chinese human waves in 1962 at a height of 16,404 feet at Rezang La in Chushul sector. These words still act as major motivating force for the Indian troops deployed along the Line of Actual Control with China in strategically important Ladakh region. The memories of this war between India and China, which is also called as 'battle of no survivors', were revived today at Chushul where rich tributes were paid to those soldiers, who laid down their lives while valiantly fighting the well equipped Chinese Army. For the first time since 1962, two of six survivors of Rezang La battle-Havildar Ramvir Singh and Honorary Captain Ram Chandra participated in the function and shared heroic contribution of each and every troop of Charley Coy of 13th Kumaon Regiment, which led to killing of more than 300 Chinese troops that too amidst heavy artillery shelling from the enemy. It is on this day in 1962 that Major Shaitan Singh and 114 of his men preferred supreme sacrifice instead of retreat. Never before had so many officers and jawans (114 out of 120) laid down their lives in one battle. Later, Charlie Coy was re-raised and designated by Army Headquarters as 'Rezang La Coy'. Havildar Ramvir Singh and Honorary Captain Ram Chandra, who were part and parcel of battle of Chushul and displayed unprecedented courage and valour, shared the exemplary leadership and courage displayed by each and every soldier under the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh. They informed the soldiers, officers of civil administration and civilians that Major Singh without any fear of heavy firing from the Chinese troops moved from one platoon post to another and encouraged his men to fight. 'How can a man die better than facing fearful odds' were his words to the troops of his Coy in order to boost their morale to fight Chinese human waves, the war veterans said with their chests brimmed with pride and eyes full of tears in memory of their co-soldiers in the battle. They recalled that due to valour and courage of soldiers of Charlie Coy the Chinese troops were lying scattered like berries in a market. 'Scenes of our soldiers losing lives one after another still haunts us in our dreams but at the same time we are proud to be part of that Coy which set an unparallel example in the military history of India by defending our motherland at frozen windy heights of Rezang La with a missionary zeal', they said. 'Indian Army is better prepared now as compared to 1962 war in terms of weaponry and is able to meet any challenge from the enemies', they said in obvious reference to the frequent Chinese incursion and face-off with civilians and troops along the LAC in Ladakh region. It is said that the bodies of 114 soldiers, who got killed in the 'battle of no survivors' remained in the snow clad mountains at Chushul till February when all the bodies were retrieved and then mass cremation took place at a place where war memorial has been constructed by the Army. This war memorial is acting as motivating force for those troops, who are deployed in Chushul, in defending the country amidst many odds. Around 2000 civilians from Merak, Khakted, Tsaga, Durbook and Nyoma also participated in different events organized by the Army to pay tributes to warriors of battle of Chushul. This war memorial also inspires the civilians to boldly face Chinese face-offs and stay put in the border helmets to protect the boundaries of the country. Each and every individual, who participated in the function, swept away by a surge of emotions especially after reading the names of the martyrs for the battle of Rezang La. Several senior Army officers including Major General A S Bedi, General Officer Commanding 3 Div and Brigadier J K S Virk, Brigade Commander of Chushul Brigade, and other formations in the adjoining areas, Deputy Commissioner Leh, Simrandeep Singh, next of kin of martyrs namely Amardeep Dhingra, grandson of late Col H S Dingra, Kuldeep Yadav, son of late Sepoy Rattan Singh and Vijay Pal, son of late Sepoy Prabhu Yadav, porters, who extended all possible help to the Army in 1962 battle were among those who participated in the function at Chushul and paid tributes to the brave soldiers.