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Honouring Nawang

Honouring Nawang

By Col Ashwin Baindur

I recently learnt about your son’s sacrifice while getting news of 4/3rd GR from a friend. I did not know Nawang personally, but I knew the battalion in 1998, it was in Pithoragarh and Col Rana was commanding. In 1999, I was commanding an engineer field company when I met the paltan again. They were being inducted into Batalik and Chorbatla, in places higher than, more remote than Tololing and Tiger Hill and far from the glare of TV cameras. My lasting impression of the 4/3rd at that point of time was of their youngsters, eager to close in with the enemy. They did and carried out what was thought to be impossible – ejected a well-entrenched enemy from the heights some of them paying the ultimate cost in return for victory. That is the proud family or ‘band of brothers’ Nawang joined. In his short military life he would have felt as close with them as his real family.

As long as youngsters like Nawang join up, the Indian Army will always be able to stave off the nation’s enemies.

Youngsters like Nawang fool the world. They join, lanky gangling young lads, bumbling at every task till slowly but surely they learn the profession of arms. It is in the line of fire, when they stand out on their own. When faced with danger and the mute appeal for competent leadership in their jawan’s eyes, they stand forth, say ‘Follow me’ and lead from the front in harm’s way. There is no other way to win a battle and some invariably pay the price. In that moment, they exemplify the finest in Indian youth and our country. They shine so brightly for that moment that they eclipse the very sun themselves. They are the true heroes of our age!

The only way we can really honour these precious sacrifices is to live good lives and try to live upto the highest ideals which they gave their lives for.

No words I say here can beguile you of your grief, but I have the privilege to remind you that your son, and others like him, enjoy the love and respect of the common people of India, who truly ARE our nation.