Sepoy Rajesh Orang Martyred in Galwan Valley was Only 26, the Sole Breadwinner in His Family


Sepoy Rajesh Orang Martyred in Galwan Valley was Only 26, the Sole Breadwinner in His Family

Illustration: Arati Gujar

The violent face-off between India and China in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh inflicted a heavy cost on both sides. At least 20 are said to have been martyred on the Indian side, leaving families heartbroken and the entire nation in mourning.

Among those who laid down their lives for the country is 26-year-old Sepoy Rajesh Orang. Belonging to the 16 Bihar Regiment, Orang was killed in action, 2500 kms away from his hometown in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. He is survived by his parents and two sisters. The family has been inconsolable after receiving the news of the young soldier’s death.

The family received a call from the army headquarters on Tuesday evening. Orang’s father Subash was so shocked, he asked no questions. He doesn’t recall details of the conversation either and has been confined to his bed since.

“I am proud of my brother. I hope India gives China a befitting reply,” his cousin Abhijit said.

Sepoy Orang was the first in his family to enlist in the armed forces. The son of a farmer, he was the sole breadwinner in his family. A fortnight ago, he spoke to his sisters, telling them that he was going up the mountains and would not be able to call for a few days, NDTV reported.

The soldier visited his family eight months ago. He was planning a visit in May but the lockdown forced him to stay back. Reports say that his parents had fixed his marriage.

Now, the family is waiting to hear from the army about the last rites.

Sepoy Orang is among the two soldiers from West Bengal who were killed in the face-off with China. The other is Bipul Roy of Alipurduar.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her heartfelt condolences to the families and announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh. “We stand by the next of the sons of our soil in this difficult time,” she said.

“Sacrifices of our soldiers won’t go in vain,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day.

The heartbreaking stories of soldiers and those they leave behind is a reminder of the human cost of conflict. And that cannot be compensated.