Maj Gen (Dr.) G.D. Bakshi a combat veteran and the recipient of The Sena medal and Vishisht Seva Medal for the operations in Kishtwar and Kargil, a renowned author of 36 books and a well-known speaker and TV commentator; in collaboration with youth leader Rachna Sharma, launched the documentary “Sentinels of The Snow: The Battle of Rezangla” produced by Aditya Bakshi of Aditya Horizons Production.
The event was presided by Shri Rao Inderjit Singh; Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Planning; Union Minister of State, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, as the Chief Guest.
Addressing the audience Sh. Rao Inderjit Singh stated that being the grandson of a great AHIR, Shahid Sh. Rao Tuli Ram Ji who was Freedom Fighter in the Independence Movement of 1857 Kranti, it was a proud moment for him to represent the Haryana Community who gave birth to those braveheart soldiers of AHIRS of 13 Kumaon Regiment. He also applauded Maj Gen (Dr.) GD Bakshi & his team for screening the battle which was fought in the times of black and white cinema, for the first time on a coloured screen with so much enthusiasm.
The revival of such historic stories is relevant to create Role Models & Hero’s amongst the youth of India. We need to encourage patriotism and young people towards the valour of Indian Army.
Maj Gen (Dr.) G.D. Bakshi in his opening speech said, “We used to have an ecosystem for sustaining bravery through ballads & poets who sang War Songs in the villages, which is dead & gone. We thought Bollywood would step in, but it has done very little. So we the former soldiers & veterans decided to help ourselves to spread the ethics of duty, honor, courage & country”. The youth leader Rachna Sharma mentioned, “ऐ मेरे वतन के लोगों, ज़रा आँख में भर लो पानी, जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी, ज़रा याद करो क़ुरबानी”.
The event was hosted at the Upstage Cinema by The Roseate House Aerocity New Delhi, & witnessed the presence of Lt Gen B S Sharwant, Director General Rashtriya Rifles – Colonel of the Kumaon Regt; Lt Gen SS Mishra VSM Director General Infantry; Lt Gen karan Yadav; Lt Gen SN Handa; Lt Gen Nanda, Maj Gen RK Arora, Maj Gen R K Khanna VSM; and Rear Admiral Radhakrishnan; along with an audience of Harvard / Ivy League Alumni, Corporate Head Honchos, Veterans, Government officials, Entrepreneurs and various Social & Political influencers & leaders.
About the Documentary “Sentinels of The Snow: The Battle of Rezangla”
Aditya Horizons, in concert with Epic Channel, is producing a series of Documentaries on “The Famous Battles of India”. Five of these have been aired on Epic channel already. The latest in this series is “Sentinels of The Snow: The Battle of Rezangla”. This is the epic saga of the magnificent last man last round action of the C Company of 13 Kumaon Battalion of the Indian Army. This lone company was defending the 16,000 foot High Rezangla pass in the remote Chushul area of Ladakh. On 18 Nov 1962.
Some 3000-4000 Chinese troops launched a surprise silent night attack in wave after wave. Five Chinese attacks were mowed down by this brave company of Ahirs (from the Ahirwal region of Haryana).They did not have the support of our own artillery guns. Yet they held fast and stuck to their positions with a rare tenacity and determination. They were inspired by the courage and fiery leadership of their Company commander Maj Shaitan Singh, who moved from trench to trench, encouraging his brave Ahirs to hold on and slaughter the attacking Chinese. Enraged, the Chinese now opened murderous fire with a Regiment of artillery. They brought in their 75 mm Anti- Tank guns on wheel burrows to silence the automatics of the Ahirs. Two more determined attacks were launched. Maj Shaitan Singh mounted a swift Counter attack to eject the Chinese from their foothold. The company by now had taken very heavy casualties. Maj Shaitan Singh moved from trench to trench rallying his men. He was wounded in his arm and in great pain.
The Chinese regrouped and mounted a final attack in human waves. Some 114 of the 120 men of that brave Ahir Company were killed. The rest were wounded. Shaitan singh ordered one of his men to escape and tell the story of this brave company to his comrades- so that the world would know of the incredible stand of this gallant band of men. The Chinese suffered some 800- 1200 casualties. They were shaken to the core and stopped pressing any further attacks towards Chushul Airfield. It was a gallant stand any army could be proud of. Maj Shaitan Singh was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for his grit, determination and extraordinary courage far above and beyond the call of duty. Nine men of this company were awarded Vir Chakras, four Sena medals and one mentioned in despatches. Some four months later when a Red Cross team reached the Rezang la pass, they found the men frozen in their trenches, their faces to the foe and weapons still aimed at the attackers. The trenches were filled upto their knees with empty fired cases. It was an awe-inspiring saga of sheer courage. The Documentary brings out that heroism in a soul-stirring manner. The beauty of this documentary is that it places the battle in the larger national context and goes into the reasons for our overall debacle due to political bungling and neglect of our armed forces. It highlights the role the political leadership played unwittingly in setting the stage for this disaster. The main problem was a highly exaggerated and misplaced emphasis on Ahimsa, pacifism and Panch Sheel. This led to a severe lack of infrastructure creation on the borders and neglect of our military buildup. This had a tragic impact and compounded the scale of the overall tragedy of the 1962 War. That was redeemed only by the incredible bravery of our men against such heavy odds. The war memorial at Rezang La sums it all-
“How can a man die better
Than facing heavy odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his Gods.”
About Roseate House New Delhi
Roseate House New Delhi is a contemporary upscale hotel stationed in the capital’s only hospitality district, Aerocity. Spread across 1.6 acres, Roseate House New Delhi combines lineage and novelty in its design and services to cater to the new generation of cosmopolitan guests. 30 minutes from the business hubs of Gurgaon and Delhi, 20 minutes from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and closest to the Aerocity metro station, the hotel renders a contrasting respite from the city’s hustle-bustle.
Cast & Crew
Some of the events depicted in the Documentary have been dramatized, making it a compelling Docu-Drama. Debashish Mukherjee as Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrinal Bali as General Kaul, Col Anil Bhatt as Gen Thimayya & Aditya Bakshi as Maj Shaitan Singh are seen playing short roles in the story spanning initial Chinese provocations & incurious to the eventual discovery of Shaitan Singh & his men frozen in position in their trenches.
The documentary has been edited by Nmarita Bakshi with an in-house team adding 3D & special effects to make it an involving experience.
About Aditya Horizons
Aditya Horizons is a Gurugram based production house, engaged in covering the stories of martyrs, War heroes & Indian Military History via the medium of comics, graphics novels, TV features & VR experiences.