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Book reiterating events of 1962 Sino-India War released

The book also has the accounts of the heroes from Arunachal Pradesh who served in various conflicts outside the state

Itanagar, Feb 20: For most residents of Arunachal Pradesh, the memories of the 1962 Sino-India War brings mixed emotions. Hearing of how the Chinese advance faced little resistance in a number of places and how key military posts were abandoned by the Indian security forces evoke emotions of anger and distrust.

However, a number of examples of exemplary bravery were witnessed and have been retold over the years.

Pao’s new book

In his new book, ‘Flights of Fantasy: Heroes of 1962 Indo-China War, Abu Tani’s Speaking Tree and other articles’, retired Indian Air Force group captain, Mohonto Panging Pao, tells the stories of many such acts of bravery displayed during trying times.

In one chapter, Pao writes about rifleman Bajiram Thapa who, at Henkar Post located around 25km from Manigong in present-day Shi-Yomi district, single-handedly shot dead three Chinese soldiers despite sustaining injuries.

Pao writes how Thapa’s 11 Assam Rifles platoon came under heavy fire and had to abandon him.

“Although the Gurkha was physically wounded and isolated…he was in full spirits… Having evaded capture, (he) evaded capture, hid in remote caves, survived the harsh weather, and avoided detection by enemy for many days,” Pao writes in his anthology.

Plethora of subjects

The book also has the accounts of the heroes from Arunachal Pradesh who served in various conflicts outside the state, including Hangpan Dada who died in May 2016 at a counter-terrorism operation in Jammu & Kashmir’s Naugam sector. Dada was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra.

There’s even a chapter recounting the counter-terrorism operations that his brother, colonel Hemanto Panging, has been part of in Jammu & Kashmir.

Pao’s book also dwells on a plethora of subjects including mythological tales of Abo/Abu Tani, the legendary primordial man of a number of tribes in the state.

CM wants Arunachal’s history to feature in school books

From the subject of Arunachal Pradesh’s past, present, and what the future holds, the book even deals with international relations in context to Sino-India relations. While not necessarily ‘high literature’, the book of serialised essays helps highlight tales hitherto unknown to many in and outside the state. It was this aspect that chief minister Pema Khandu said must be brought to light during the book launch today.

Speaking at the launch, Khandu said that “about 80-90 percent of the people are not aware of the state’s history and its rich cultural diversity” and the state government will give priority to educate the younger generation about the state and its cultural diversity from an early stage.

He said that the state education department has been asked to compile and introduce chapters on the state at the primary levels.

Khandu also informed that he will call for the inclusion of the history and culture of the Northeast in the NCERT syllabus.

“If done so, people from outside the region would come to know about the rich history and culture of the Northeast. Unfortunately, even today most people of other states are unaware of the region, its contributions to the freedom struggle and its rich cultural diversity,” he said.

He had made a similar call during the foundation laying ceremony for a museum for Major Ralengnao ‘Bob’ Khathing who was instrumental in bringing the Tawang sector into Indian administrative control.

“There are many unsung heroes like Major Khathing, we need to honour them and write about them so that people recognize and appreciate their contributions to our history,” Khandu said today.

This is Pao’s second book since 2014’s ‘Keerook and Other Stories from Northeast India’. Both books have been published by Notion Press.

Team NewsFile