|Indian POWs in Tibet with blaring loudspeaker|
Today China believes that it has mastered the Art and that it has demonstrated it in brainwashing many Indian journalists in the wake of the Doka La confrontation, near the trijunction between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim.
This may have been true during the first weeks in view of the of the paucity of information (and knowledge) from the Indian side.
Propaganda (or disinformation) has always taken an important place for the survival of a totalitarian regime. It continues today, whether it is with North Korea or China.
During the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, the Indian POWs in Tibet were subject to the heavy Maoist propaganda machine. Unfortunately in most (not to say all) of the cases, it did not work.
Today, the Chinese are probably attempting to brainwash the Indian soldiers on the ridge on the heights of the trijunction in Bhutan.
If they do, they are again bound to face a failure once again…
The Indian jawans is just not brainwashable!
Here is the account of a young captain who was taken to Tibet as POW war in October 1962. He recalls his days in the camp in the Yarlung Valley.
Note that I had earlier posted another account of the Indian POWs in Tibet on this blog.
This event had a salutary effect on everyone for a day or two, as I learnt later. I was kept in a dark room with no light, but twice a day a sentry used to leave the food plate inside. Lt Thong visited me once every day and tried to persuade me to officially apologise for being an enemy of Chinese-Indian friendly relations and to connect my ways for future. He promised that as soon as I accepted my mistake, the rest of my punishment would be commuted. While it was quite depressing for the first two days I found that regular recitation of Japji Sahib [Sikh mantra recitation] , the only “Path” (Prayer) I know by heart helped me retain my spirit. By the third day I found myself walking inside that dingy room which was diagonally 7 ½ paces, practically throughout my waking hours, and made me much more determined than on the first two days. The plan to effect and escape from the PW camp was fortified in my mind over the next two to three days, while still in solitary confinement.
On the fifth day, Lt Thong and the Company Commander (Fatty) came to my cell at about mid-day and said that the camp Commandant had decided to take a lenient view of my crime, and in order to promote age-old friendly relations between the two peoples, has decided to release me unconditionally. It is only when I rejoined my other colleagues that I learnt of the counterproductive effect my punishment had on the men of my Para Troop, officers/JCOs and NCOs of our company. All of them expressed open resentment to the Chinese interpreters who used to visit them over the day for “friendly chat”. 2/Lt [Second Lieutenant] A, my Gun Position Officer, and 2/Lt B. of 2 Rajput were extremely vocal in telling all the JCOs and NCOs at meal times to display their unhappiness to the Chinese on their action. A. also told me that, you had also forcefully told the Chinese that it was a folly on their part to have tried to somehow tame me. I think Thong or Chou conceded to him that they did not realize that I would not break after one or two days and agree to apologise publicly. Had my prayers not given me the required strength, I could have crumbled and agreed to accept my mistake. Perhaps, they would then have repeated the drama effecting my release in front of everyone. It is due to the strong support from my seniors like you, my own colleagues and JCOs/men of our company and the OR of my Troop who were in another sub unit who made the Chinese rethink and release me unconditionally on the fifth day.
On returning to my colleagues, I took only two of them in confidence to join me in planning escape from the PW camp. While I did think of including 2/Lt D. as well but he was slightly handicapped due to his injury. Thus, it was only A., B. and self who went ahead and collected the Tibetan dresses and footwear from the locals in exchange for our cigarette rations. On the days when we were on water-duty for the Company Langar it was easy for us to contact the residents living in the village en route to the stream from where the water was collected. When I came to seek your blessings and approval in Feb 63, rations of Sampa [tsampa or barley flour] for one month or so plus apparel and footwear had already been mustered and one guide arranged. He was keen to flee Tibet and was the main service whom I had befriended for the execution of our plan. As I look back, I cannot help realizing that the success quotient of the plan conceived by us was very low. Your matured advice, based on far more experience, was invaluable in touring down our bubbling spirit to teach the Chinese a lesson. Within three weeks of my meeting you for the plan approval, the Chinese announcement of repatriation of PWs commencing was made. I think the date was 2 Mar 63. While the senior Officers left soon thereafter, ours was the last batch to be handed over on 25 May at Bumla. We left the camp on 22 May and reached the handing over venue on the third afternoon. Throughout our return journey by road all three of us were carefully analyzing the plan we had made. While we realized even then that our chances of getting across successfully were not high, passage of years and experience leaves, no room for doubt that we did not have even a 10% chance of success. It was only the daring spirit of youth which propelled us to seriously go-ahead with a plan with such a low probability of success...