Today marks the 50th anniversary of Indo -China War:Excuses have been thrown into what actually went wrong-non violence,hindi -chini bhai bhai blind trust,fingers have been pointed at the then P.M Jawaharlal Nehru, Defence mininster Krishna Menon and Lt. Gen.B N Kaul
One of the bitter ironies of life is that greatest acts of heroism and valour mostly happen when the odds are hopeless and death and defeat inevitable. Throughout history nations have always glorified such episodes in their ballads and poems, by honouring the heroes and commemorating the event. It is the common perception of these few and far in between episodes in a people's history that forge a sense of nationhood. Why else would we celebrate the deaths of a Prithviraj Chauhan or a Tipu Sultan? Or a Porus or a Shivaji who battled great armies with little more than a handful of brave comrades and immense courage? Of course we rejoice in the triumphs of an Ashoka or Chandragupta or even an Akbar but that is about greatness and not heroism. Even if it is true that the end of history is at hand, we can be sure that the annals of heroism will never cease being written. However endless these may be, the heroic stand of 'C' Company of the 13 Kumaon at Rezang La on 18 November 1962 will always be among the more glorious chapters.
The monument that stands at Chushul asks, "How can a Man die Better than facing Fearful Odds, For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods."
The 1962 Chinese invasion is a tragic watershed in the military history of India. It exposed an inept Indian state both militarily and politically. But for most of the war, the fighting qualities of the Indian jawan and the young officers remained unchanged.
Indians have been conditioned to believe that we had not a ghost of a chance against China in 1962; but that's simply not true. If the Indian government had not been so blasé; if the military leadership had not been so ineffectual; if the Indian Air Force had not been grounded, ill-advisedly; well, all historic ifs, but the outcome would have been very different. China's army is a lot less than invincible, as the battle-hardened Vietnamese proved by thrashing it in 1979.
Even the timing was propitious for India, yet we fumbled.