India is a predominantly peace loving country. Our internal strifes notwithstanding. Our military strategy is defensive. We want to protect our territory. However, do we remember or even honor our heroes that give their lives to protect our boundary? How many of us even know the names of jawans and officers that protected us from Chinese aggression, war against Pakistan in 1971 or during Kargil invasion? We do not even have memorial/s for our soldiers. Wherever, there is one, these memorials are an example of apathy and neglect.
Mr. Shekher Gupta reminds us bravery of a company of 13 Kumaon Regiment led by Major Shaitan Singh Bhatti and his 114 men. These brave soldiers fought the Chinese in the western front in 1962. They fought till the last man and till last bullet. These people could have simply fled, but they did not, even in the face of great adversity and inclement weather. Valor as this, for a losing cause, should be material of history books. It is a pity, that we hardly ever hear about Major Shaitan Singh and his exploits. People should be motivated to serve their country and lay down their lives following example of Shaitan Singh and his company of soldiers. Some gratitude we show to our soldiers that fight for our today and tomorrow.
What we remember is the then defence minister Shri Krishna Menon, many think of him as an unmitigated disaster as a defence minister. General Kaul, a man who got the post because of his proximity to Pandit Nehru, a man who could not take the heat of war, fell sick and returned to the safety of Delhi. We name avenues after Krishna Menon, may be tomorrow we shall also have a road named after Robert Vadra, but we or our posterity will never hear about Shaitan Singh. Remeber this immortal song by Lata Mangeshkar, ” Jo shahid huein hain unki, jara yaad karo kurbaani…”.