Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) , Feb, 14 : Today, the government of Arunachal Pradesh honoured Major Ralengnao Khathing with a memorial and conferred ‘Arunachal Ratna ‘ to the brave
Popularly known as Bob , Major Khathing seventy years back was the main person who ensured that Tawang was under u India by going to the area on foot located near McMahon Line and unfurling the tricolour .
Today ,state Governor Brig (Retd.) BD Mishra laid the foundation stone to honour the hero on the same day he hoisted the Indian tricolour in Tawang way back in 1951. The government also conferred the ‘Arunachal Ratna’ to the hero .
State Chief minister Pema Khandu, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Kiren Rijiju, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and family members of the the hero were present at the solemn occasion.
Chief Minister Khandu tweeted , “Arunachal is elated to honour its true hero Major Ralengnao ‘Bob’ Khathing with Arunachal Ratna, the highest civilian honour of the state.”
Very few people of the country are aware of Major Khating’s role in bringing Tawang under India and once the memorial is constructed people of the country will be aware of his contributions The memorial once complete focus the life and contributions of Major Khathing and Arunachal’s Monpa tribe.
Born at Ukhrul in Manipur in 1912, Khathing had served in the British Army in the Second World War. He was awarded the Military Cross and received the Member of British Empire (MBE) as well.
After the country attained freedom he was appointed as an assistant political officer in November 1950 in Tirap division and was posted in Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh (known earlier as North East Frontier Agency-NEFA).
According to information available he started a journey on foot from Charduar on January 17, 1951 with a team of soldiers from 5 Assam Rifles, traversing difficult and inhospitable terrain to reach Tawang on February 6.
To establish Indian presence up to the extent of the McMahon Line, which was demarcated as the border between India and Tibet in 1914, under the terms of the Shimla Treaty, required covering the area by foot over very difficult terrain.
Khathing and his troops of 5 Assam Rifles successfully accomplished this. He then met and interacted with a number of ‘gaonburhas’ (village headmen) and quickly and effectively established authority over Tawang. Indian administrative presence was thus established in this remote part of the country.
In a tweet , Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said “Major Bob Khathing secured Tawang for #India and unfurled the tricolour on this day, 70 years ago. Today, Government of Arunachal Pradesh through CM Pema Khandu Ji honours his legacy by laying the foundation for the “Major Ralengnao ‘Bob’ Khathing Memorial Museum” in Tawang.
Major Bob has a special bond with #Meghalaya since his wife was from Shillong. Was also presented a book on the his life, authored by his son, Sh. John S. R. Khathing.
Major Bob Khathing’s story is not one known to everyone but I’m certain that the set up of this Memorial Museum will allow generations to learn about his great contributions to the North East and our country.”