November 18 is an important day in the history of India. On this day, a brave son of the Indian Army was martyred, who saved Ladakh from Chinese Army in 1962. The name of that brave son is Major Shaitan Singh. In the Battle of Rezang La, Only 120 Indian Army soldiers defeated the 1300 Chinese soldiers in the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh.
Major Shaitan Singh Bhati was born on 1 December 1924 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He belonged to a military family. His father was army officer Lt Col Hem Singh Bhati. He was commissioned into the Kumaon Regiment on August 1, 1949. He showed his bravery in the 1962 India-China war.
Battle of Rezang La :
On the morning of November 18, 1962, The Chushul valley of Ladakh was covered with snow. There was a silence in the atmosphere. But this silence could not last long. The calm atmosphere of the valley echoed with firing and shelling in the early hours of 03.30 am. Ladakh was attacked by about 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China with a large amount of ammunition and cannon.
A 13 Kumaon contingent led by Major Shaitan Singh was stationed in the Chushul valley. The Indian Army contingent had only 120 personnel, while on the other side was a large force of the enemy. A peak in the middle from above stood like a wall, due to which cannon and shells could not be sent by the Indian Army to help our soldiers of Kumaon Regiment. Now 120 soldiers had to face the huge army and weapons of China on their own. Our soldiers were few and lacked of equipment too but they were full of spirit. The brave soldiers of 13 Kumaon regiment fought with their bravery.
During the war, Major Shaitan Singh, regardless of his life, kept up the courage of his troops and led the troops from one platoon to another platoon amidst a firing of bullets. During this time, He was injured by many bullets fired by Chinese Army. When two of his companions were carrying him after injury, the Chinese soldiers attacked him with machine guns. The Major Shaitan Singh felt that the lives of those soldiers were also in danger, so ordered them both to go back. But those soldiers hid him behind a stone. Later his body was found at this place. When he was found, he still had his gun in his hand and the grip was not loosened.
When the Indian soldiers lost their weapons after taking iron from the Chinese soldiers in the Rezang La War, they started fighting with hands and killed 1300 Chinese soldiers. Out of 123, 114 Indian Army soldiers were martyred. Major Shaitan Singh was one of them. The remaining 9 soldiers were taken captive by Chinese Army. The Chinese army also had to bow to this bravery of Indian soldiers and finally announced a ceasefire on 21 November.
The body of Major Shaitan Singh was taken to his ancestral village in Jodhpur, where he was given a final farewell with full military honors. For his bravery, the government posthumously honored him with Param Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry award in the country. His bravery is still a glorious part of the history of the Indian Army.