TODAY -

The panic radiated at War-Torn PAD

Kamal Baruah *

 Map of Tezpur



I woke up by a long siren after a doze, where I had to wait an hour at the airport lounge until PAD called off. The scene was like another war zone where soldiers came, saw and conquered the world. I felt another Kargil there while I was part of India's one of the toughest battle terrain with Pakistan

There're thick jungles along with heavy rainfall making the vast topography inhospitable. To the stranger, this land may seem another battle with poisonous insects, leaches and reptiles. North East tenure is considered a punishment transfer for an outsider. But being a native, I opted for Assam. After Assam Agitation (1970-1985), insurgents were waging an armed insurgency to fight with the Indian Army.

Those days, Assam was under disturbed area. Army got special power on the name of AFSPA. Human rights are being violated under that controversial act from J&K to Assam and Manipur. Soon after glorious triumph over Kargil War 99, I landed in the evening at Guwahati Railway Station. There were incidents of bomb-blast and conflict uprising against Army. The panic radiated and we're forced to pass in Transit Camp that night. There was Assam bandh on the following day while Army dropped us at the Airport. We flew by an Antonov.

The flight was scheduled to land after 45 minutes but it experienced airborne delays. The passengers were informed for placing hold of landing by ATC. We were anxiously looking at fellow travellers. After a few circles over the Wing sky, AN-32 was finally descending, adjusted with airspeed and altitude at the runway.

There was PAD (Position Attack Defence) going on. The fighters were flying ultimate low at extreme sonic booms, air flowing aerodynamic noises around us. Those were MIGs, Jaguars that conquering the eastern sky, where soldiers galloped along the parade ground with boots and jungle uniforms. Also there were noises coming from aircraft systems, cockpit, cabin pressurization and its conditioning systems, auxiliary power units and helicopter hovering.

I realised that cause disturbance to Goraimari-Salonibari residents. The localities have harrowing time from night flying too. Regular power cut in the evening caused havoc to residents. The base seemed annoyed and racked by war-torn PAD. I witnessed such scenario forcing me to think "oh hell where will this all end?"

Those days were long past. "Huge Chinese armies have been marching in the northern part of NEFA. We have had reverses at Walong, Se La and today Bomdila, a small town in NEFA, has also fallen. We shall not rest till the invader goes out of India or is pushed out. I want to make that clear to all of you, and, especially our countrymen in Assam, to whom our heart goes out at this moment." This speech of All India Radio on Nov 20, 1962 made people of Assam feel abandoned. It was like people of Assam were let down by their own government. At a time when even the Prime Minister Nehru seemed helpless, what was going to be their fate?

It was Tezpur, where Dalai Lama was given a warm welcome after Tibetan uprising in 1959. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the Chinese aggression. India will have to revisit the issues of long shadow of this small town during November 1962, panic spread through Tezpur as the Indian army retreated from the Kameng sector of Arunachal, the evacuation of people from Tezpur took place.

It was hard to imagine the chaos that descended upon that small town, the thousands of people in bullock carts and vehicles crowding the steamer ghat in chilly winter and set up campfires in the night to flee to the south bank. The British/Scottish tea planters, administrations had flown out to Calcutta and no one was left in charge.

The Indian Army had to fight alone with Mules carrying ammunition over a mountain pass. The supply line was cut off due to non availability of frontier air base and motor able train/road links. Army's ammunition stocks were being blown up by enemy's explosions. Word had spread that the Chinese were decided to come down to Tezpur.

The State Bank's coins were all dumped in the Padum Pukhuri Lake and burnt all the paper currency. The gate of the Tezpur Mental Hospital opened; the inmates were let off and roamed around the deserted town. An eerie silence swept across the town with only a few people remaining. After 31 days, China declared unilateral ceasefire on Nov 21 midnight, 1962 but people continued to flee homes.

I woke up by a long siren after a doze where I had to wait an hour at the airport lounge until PAD called off. The scene was like another war zone where soldiers came, saw and conquered the world. I felt another Kargil there while I was part of India's one of the toughest battle terrain with Pakistan.

The Operation Vijay of Indian Army with the help of Air Force recaptured the LOC sector infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. Although I was not fighting in the forefront line but I felt the heat of the war. I had the opportunity to serve the border of Kutch. There was virtually no habitation in the end of the horizon to the world. The emitting light of Keti Bunder port was seen from barrack. We were trapped for 60 days conflict in that endless salt-whiteness. Life was beautiful and lonely there in that inhospitable landscape at Kutch.

It was a thorny welcome awaited for me at Tezpur. India put military deployment at the eastern border after war. There was movement of armed forces and their logistical support infrastructure in the North East. The billets were over crowded even a place of charpoy was not available for a rest and had to shift my bedding every day looking for a bed of night duty personnel. Normally it was no power supply during night.

Technical areas are somehow brightened by DG Sets. Tezpur base is a restricted area due to its proximity to the China border. There are Intelligence wireless unit from Army, IB, SSB that carry out the task of monitoring military activities of enemy country. My tradesmen were busy recording on Shortwave HF Receiver. I was sent on detachment on the very next day to Army Camp Vartak Border Roads Organisation.

The huge herd of wild Elephants were entering together for search of food, blocking the runway. Elephant sometimes went berserk caused crazy damage. Once they ventured onto a Signals Unit and damaged everything even playing football with Russian crumbling bunkers. Elephant chasing Team ECT had been deployed to protect the base. Their efforts went in vain.

Elephants have the largest brain of any land animal and are exceptionally smart creatures. They go back to Arunachal Hills in the morning. I was busy converting data between transmission media by tuning modem with computer safely inside soviet bunkers 24x7.

After nearing two decades, memories of rough terrain at Tezpur base still haunted me today. Serving in the Armed Forces is not a job. It's about love, passion, pride and honour of their country. Army endure struggles for its citizen to sleep in peace. Tezpur returned to normal after quite a long time. They were chills moments of fear of foreign occupation, torn apart by Chinese Aggression. Those fearless nights are my wild dreams.

I am a soldier, I fought where I was told and I won where I fought. Hovering copter with SAR Team was painful experience while victim's families at base were in distress. Today I lift the LCD screen mounted on clamshell of my laptop. At sunset, the wintry breeze swirls by keying another story to an unknown destination of a soldier.

I pulled out my iphone for a mail to my editor tonight. Sunrise is still a couple of hours away. I choose to sip a cuppa coffee before I go sleeping well tonight.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be reached at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 09 2019.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nongkhrang Ehanba @Lilong #1 : Gallery
  • RS adjourned without CAB: What now? #1
  • Indie films: Loktak Lairembee & Soni #1
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Mother language is a carrier of values...
  • 71st Zomi Namni at Singhat
  • The Rohingya Crisis : Paper
  • Everyone shows concerns on pollution but..
  • HSLC exams underway
  • RN Ravi arriving Nagaland to brief hohos
  • More powers under CrPC to Assam Rifles
  • Traditional Raas Dance #1: Gallery
  • Boinaoton, Achamba :: eMing
  • Schemes of Panchayati Raj #1
  • Ego that pushes one out of the rapport
  • Meitei in Scheduled Tribe list, what ?
  • Patriotic Youth of DBC with the Nation
  • RPL trainees of Meghalaya
  • Fate of Manipur
  • No over the top glee at Meghalaya
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #3
  • Zasigi coIroL :: Seireng
  • CAB: Imphal I/W [12 Feb] #3: Gallery
  • Overboard 2018: Skateboarding competition
  • Palliative care as career option
  • Importance of health screenings for women
  • Intimidating media: Think before you lift
  • ST demand for Meiteis hotting up
  • Rajkumar Singhajit : Tagore Award 2014
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • CAB: Khwairamband [10 Feb] #2: Gallery
  • Tribes India [Exhibition] #3 : Gallery
  • 'The Wishess' wins 1st NE Multimedia
  • Why Manipur is a self-alienated society ?
  • Antibiotic mismanagement- sleeping bomb
  • Rejoinder to NDPP :: NPF
  • The unwanted season for no good reason
  • 8 in the race for Cong ticket in Inner PC
  • Mukna - Indigenous Games : Gallery
  • Internet shutdown- only solution for govt ?
  • Keisham Priyokumar's short stories? #2
  • Revive Tabanglong Village
  • Without a Womb :: Poem
  • RPL trainees of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
  • CAB award goes to CM ?
  • Demand release of Student Leader
  • Veewom's arrest: mockery of rule of law
  • Arduino & Raspberry-Pi workshop at ADBU
  • Lui-ngai-ni @Senapati #1: Gallery
  • Republic Day - Tableaux : Gallery
  • Marriage : Zeliangrongs & Tais #1
  • My Story :: Poem
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Quest for Federalism in Myanmar : Paper
  • Gatekeeper's management mantra
  • From Democracy to Dictatorial govt
  • Fresh twist to Citizenship Bill
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati : Gallery
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Rules of the Road at Silicon Valley
  • What is a school meant for ?
  • Why meiteis should not be ST #3
  • Release Thokchom Veewom - II
  • Release Thokchom Veewom - I
  • Face scrubs to avoid dirt & dullness
  • SM4E Awards 2019 : Nomination open
  • After effect of CAB collapse
  • Need to look beyond CAB
  • Panel seeks support to save NH
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #2 : eRang
  • Exam Centre allocation for HSLC 2019
  • 3rd World Bamboo Workshop #2 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 65 :: Poem
  • DIPR facts on Census confuse Pangals
  • Manipur Tourism: Global Mice Congress
  • Coping up with examination stresses
  • On Govt inability to present CAB
  • Breather for the North East
  • Henjunaha #2 :: Funga Wari
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Gallery
  • CAB: Imphal I/W [12 Feb] #2: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni -Naga Seed Sowing Fest
  • Different opinions on CAB 2016
  • Change of B Voc Examination Schedule
  • Nagaland MP will vote against CAB
  • Overshadowing issues by CAB
  • RS adjourned till February 13
  • CAB: Imphal I/W [12 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • CAB: Blockade [7 Feb] #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Priyokumar's short stories? #1
  • Just a beautiful lie :: Poem
  • World Wetlands Day 2019
  • Protests against Union HRD Ministry
  • 'PDA trying to confuse Naga people'
  • The 'ban' of Internet
  • Setting date with February 12, 2019
  • NSCN (I-M) elects new leaders
  • Scientific Knowledge in Manuscript
  • Poppy destruction @CCpur : Gallery
  • Kishorechand Wangkhem's case
  • 70th Indian Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Hinduism and Indianess
  • CAB: Maharaj & Xenophobia :: WJ
  • Deciphering a laboratory test report
  • Stop discrimination against women
  • The falls of protracted leader
  • More than hinting CAB will be tabled
  • CAB: Khwairamband [10 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @Majorkhul #2 : Gallery
  • Human trafficking at Moreh
  • Why meiteis should not be ST #2
  • The Dark Light :: Poem
  • Exclusion of Pvt Teachers from HSLC
  • Pan Meetei met Ex Dy CM
  • NSS special camp 2019 concluded
  • NE to Bangkok flight from March
  • CAB: Khwairamband [9 Feb] : Gallery
  • Thamoise Foidattuna :: e-pao Radio
  • CAB Meira Rally #4 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • Prof T Kameshwar: Reminiscence
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition: Final Day
  • Tips for healthier skin this winter
  • Sincerity matters
  • Awaiting final pact with NSCN (IM)
  • CAB: Blockade [7 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • 3rd World Bamboo Workshop #1 : Gallery
  • The panic radiated at War-Torn PAD
  • NE- Socio-Economic Development: Book
  • CAB- Consequences in Manipur
  • [ST] Demand for Constitutional Safeguard
  • 'ArP to observe Black Day during PM visit'
  • CAB date with RS on Feb 12 ?
  • Check Post (ICP) @ Moreh : Gallery
  • Tribes India [Exhibition] #2 : Gallery
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #4
  • It's a privilege to be a Rongmei
  • A Saviour Of My Own :: Poem
  • North East Startup Summit 2019
  • Budget : Full, half or quarter ?
  • BJP shows no concern for NE states
  • Mission schools under threat again
  • CAB : Blockade @Tiddim [6 Feb] : Gallery
  • Dolaithabi Barrage: Concealing Facts
  • 70th Indian Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Marketing Associates @ PiCiDi Systems
  • CAB, Political Parties and Manipur
  • The Novels Of BM Maisnamba #2
  • Employment in non-Govt sectors in Manipur
  • The board exam festival
  • NE voice on CAB: no worry for the BJP
  • Alienating natives & embracing foreigners
  • Henjunaha #1 :: Funga Wari
  • Movement against Citizenship Bill in NE
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition: Day 1 Report
  • Konthoujam Maikel (Painter) :: Profile
  • CAB Meira Rally #3 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • Business as usual will fail on cancer control
  • Citizenship Bill: Thinking with ethics
  • STDCM reasserts Demand for ST
  • Nepal to SE Asia: Trafficking via Moreh
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #2
  • Aribam Syam return Padmashree to Govt
  • Cry of a Dying River - 64 :: Poem
  • Impact of AI and Robotics on Society
  • New MSAD Executive term 2019
  • Rejoinder from Shurhozelie Liezietsu -Feb 3
  • Festival to promote NE trade, tourism
  • Onetwo Okram : Singer- Profile :: eRang
  • CAB : Film Forum Protest : Gallery
  • Cultural: Republic Day #1: Gallery
  • Why Manipuri people oppose CAB? #2
  • Noting anti-CAB stand of NPP, NPF
  • CAB Gen Strike #1 [31 Jan] : Gallery
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #3: Gallery
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #3
  • Truth of Manipur is inherent in nature
  • JRF required at IBSD, Imphal
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3 : Gallery
  • February Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • CAB Meira Rally #2 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • The Novels Of BM Maisnamba #1
  • Screen time, effect on speech & language
  • Trainees Certificate of Lunglei, Mizoram
  • ST: Unfounded fear psychosis being spread
  • CAB Meira Rally #1 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • CAB Protest #1 [29 Jan] : Gallery
  • Fellowship Meet of Maring Naga
  • Legal Awareness for Women leaders
  • Flowers for beauty
  • Opposing ST demand of STDCM
  • Gaan-Ngai @Namthanlong : Gallery
  • Why Manipuri people oppose CAB? #1
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #2
  • Oinam Shilla : Society Development Award
  • MIK (Manipuri in Kolkata) : Gallery
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #2: Gallery
  • Why shouldn't Meitei be included in ST
  • Combing Operation @Hatta : Gallery
  • Laishram Bombayla : Padma Shri Award
  • Maisnam Renuka (Painter) : Profile
  • Thank You Note: Khumukcham Sanjita
  • Gaan-Ngai - festival of Kabui #2
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2 : Gallery
  • Rongmei and Kabui are one
  • Rani Khidir : Kalaritu (Laiyekpa) : Profile
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #1: Gallery
  • Ranjit Ningthouja : Profile of a playwright
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 : Gallery
  • Dr Thokchom Asha: Teacher Award
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS