Remembering a War: Through pictures

50 Years ago, this week India and China clashed across the Himalayas. Within a month, the unprepared, non-accalimatised, ill-equipped Indian soldiers were thoroughly outmanouvred, outgunned and outnumbered by the rampaging Chinese who came down from the Himalayan passes almost to the plains of Assam.

While over 3,000 soldiers were killed, many were taken prisoner.

Many soldiers were in the POW camps inside China for up to six months after the war. In early and mid-1963, all of them were repatriated.

Defence Ministry photographers and Films Division cameramen were at hand to record these events as well as Indian deployment mostly in Arunachal Pradesh, then known as NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency).

A friend in Pune, Nitin Shastri, has painstakingly collected these photographs by cajoling and persuading functionaries at the Defence Public Relations and Films Division.

I am putting up these rare photographs in a hope that we will remember those grim days and take appropriate lessons from those years laeding up to the border clash that has left a deep scar on the collective Indian psyche.