I love travelling to mountains. For me riding in mountains is a very effective healing mechanism. Along with the beautiful scenic treasures, these mountains have some interesting stories/folklores associated with them.
Arunachal Pradesh has always excited me as a motorcyclist and I got lucky this January to be in this land of Lamas. Crossing the mighty Sela Pass in sub zero temperatures was a thrilling experience.
During my travel to West Kameng, An interesting story unfolded. Which is worth sharing.
Sela Pass Connects Tawang to Dirang and on decent towards Tawang falls an army post called “Noora Post” which is followed by a place called “Jaswant Garh”. The name Sela, Noora and Jaswant are actually real characters of a story.
It was 1962, Indo-Sino war. Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat(MVC) a soldier from 4th Garhwal Rifles was posted at Arunachal, the then North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA). The PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) of China twice received defeat for their intrusion by Indian Army during The Battle of Nuranang. During their third intrusion Chinese were firing using MMGs on the post (21km from Sela Pass) of Jaswant Singh and but he with two more riflemen (Triloki Singh and Gopal Gusai) gave PLA a tough fight. In view of heavy shelling by Chinese, they were instructed to vacate the post by their command. Understanding the situation and knowing the importance of the post held, he along with his fellow rifleman decided to fight till their last breathe.
Flashback: During Jaswant Singh’s deployment at the post a local girl called Sela use to cross his post. This is when the love affair of Jaswant Singh and Sela started. Different folklores have different narratives about their relationship. Some says they had a live in relation ship. Some says Jaswant Singh had affairs with both Sela and Nura (Sela’s Sister) and they both lived in live in with Jaswant Singh.
Back to November of 1962, both the fellow Riflemen of Jaswant Singh Martyred. But he kept showing his metal and engaged the huge PLA single handedly. He kept changing his location and fired from different angles. The PLA was deluded of having a large bunch of soldiers firing against them.
During his one man army act, Sela and Noora along with supporting him with food and rationing fired on Chinese army as well. There is another narrative that Sela and Nura’s father has grown enmity to Jaswant Singh and he leaked the details of his post to PLA.
Jaswant Singh and Sela martyred during this battle and Nura was captured by PLA and taken to china and she never came back.
Some believe that Due to betrayal of Sela’s Father Jaswant Singh Matyred and Sela committed suicide by Jumping from the mountain top.
The Rifleman Jaswant Singh with Sela and Noora fought a brave battle for 72 hours killing more than 300 PLA soldiers. It was because of their valour Indian army managed to put a check on PLA which was marching forward towards Baisakhi Post.
For his valiant act, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat was honoured with Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous), the Second Highest Military Decoration. His Unit (4th Garhwal Rifles) was awarded with Battle Honor Nuranang.
On the names of Sela the mountain pass and the lake was named as Sela Pass and Sela Lake. The army post next to it named Noora Post and ahead of these two falls Jaswant Garh.
The cold wind piercing your ears while Riding through the frozen Sela Pass, walking on the ice patches of Jaswant Garh and looking at the Noora post, actually tries to narrate this beautiful story of Sela-Noora-Jaswant Singh.
I wonder if you can Listen.
Watch my Journey across Arunachal Pradesh in a series of Vlogs