Today's news of a clash with Chinese troops near LAC in Tawang brought the memories of a visit to Bum la (a pass) and a little interaction with the jawans posted at the border, living in my mind. We visited Tawang in the fourth week of October 2019, it was our attempt to explore the North Eastern states. The tour started with Tawang.
We started from Nameri which is near Tejpur. As we started moving out of Assam, gradually the physical features of geography started changing as the assent began. Nature slowly was turning into more fascinating frames,and the climate gradually changed from warm to chilly. A couple of times when we halted for food and tea,all started adding layers of warm clothes.
On our wayTsela passed and a visit to the memorial of Indian soldiers who fought the Chinese in the 1962 war made us a little anguished. Our brave hearts fought the Chinese army with determination though they hardly had any support for the matching weapons or clothes. Their unconquered spirit was the only weapon to fight with. It is the memorial of indomitable sons of our country who laid down their lives in an effort to save our motherland, but it is also the memorial of our grave failure to the assessment of the geopolitical situation. Tselapass too has a tale of a braveheart to tell where the climate is even more unfriendly.
After spending a day at Dirang a picturesque village, we were the travel to Tawang. We wanted to get some medicine, so marched to the market after sunset, of course, the road had street lights. It was supposed to be hardly any distance, but even after walking for a considerable time, there was no sign of the market. I and my daughter were left a little behind and four of our members went walking a little fast. The road was full of small turns as it is a ghat region. As we were passing by a post manned by jawans, entered fearlessly the room to enquire how long we had to walk. In a totally unknown town, we had full faith that we would get the correct guidance.
We added one more layer of warm clothes. Tawang in the evening was very cold. The next day started the journey to Bum la( pass ). The turns were very sharp and the condition of the roads was terrifying, most of them were under repair or construction. ( Now whenever news of the construction of toads appears in the newspapers, it brings smiles to our faces invariably.) They were narrow and every few kilometers there were boards that had a warning written that the area is within the reach of firing from our enemy country, and some spots had the note that the area was safe but under the surveillance of our army. The roads hardly had plain surfaces making the ride bumpy, one could not sit without clutching the handles. The surrounding was scenic but couldn't enjoy it without being alert.
We were greeted by enthusiastic young jawans with warm smiles at the pass. Hot tea was being served to all which everyone badly needed. All had fully covered every inch of the body with as many layers as possible, still we were shivering. Standing in the wind outside, really needed a lot of determination and courage.
We asked them whether they feel annoyed as probably all were curious to know a lot of things about their routine. One jawan said, "we all like people visiting here, time spent with them brings warmth. " Then he showed us faraway points on the snowclad mountains where jawans guard the border. He said that one team can come down when the other team could replace it as the point could not be left unattended. Suddenly his voice changed, and he said, " as the team from this point watches the movement of the ascending and the descending teams, sometimes a team or a jawan just disappears in the snow never to return, it is a very difficult moment. But the routine continues." We were speechless, many jawans unknown to us had to sacrifice their life unsung. One understands the meaning of the statement that, they give their present to secure their future. It does not sound melodramatic there. The situation is even more unbearable as the sun sets. Jawans are on duty. Walking a few places swiftly is out of bounds for us where our jawans successfully face the clashes, teach the enemy a lesson, foil every effort of aggression, and guard every inch of our land.
We should visit our borders wherever and whenever it is possible to keep ourselves grounded.