It’s been 50 years since the ‘Himalayan Blunder’ of 1962 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unexpectedly rampaged into Indian territory and reached the outskirts of Tezpur in Assam before making an unexpected retreat.
The war was fought much before I was born, but being born into North East India, I heard a lot of stories and sometimes as a kid imagined where would I be and what would I be doing if the Chinese had captured the entire North East, including Shillong, my home town. I, who was struggling with my Hindi writing, in my imagination, was dreading the idea of mastering the complex Chinese script.
50 years later, the Chinese have indeed captured India (and much of the world). It is not PLA’s doing, but that of cheap labour and big factories. The laptop I am typing this post on is made in China and so is so much of what is in my home and also at work.
This reminds me of a joke that my brother shared with me, when my son Googool (Advay) was born:
A boy goes to meet his new born sister at the hospital. On seeing the sleeping infant he starts looking for something, lifting her sleeves, closely analysing her feet and when he tries to turn the baby over, his father interrupts and asks, “What are you looking for?” “A tag, to check if the baby is also made in China,” the boy replies.
The front page headlines in The Sunday Standard dated October 21, 1962, announcing the other kind of Chinese invasion that happened half-a-century ago.