Tawang Celebrates ‘Khating Day’, Honoring the Legendary Legacy of Major Bob Khating

On February 14, 2024, the Indian Armed Forces, the Tawang Administration, and the local community of Tawang gathered to commemorate the 74th Major Bob Khating Day at the Tawang War Memorial complex in the border town of Arunachal Pradesh. Major Bob Khating was pivotal in establishing the Indian administration in the remote Tawang region after India gained independence from British rule.

In 1951, Major Bob Khating, appointed as the Assistant Political Officer, undertook the monumental task of hoisting the tricolor for the first time at Tawang. This marked the formal establishment of Indian Administration in the region. To achieve this, Major Khating led a treacherous march from the plains of Assam to Tawang, navigating the challenging Sela and Bomdila passes during peak winters. He led a contingent of 200 Assam Rifles troops and 600 porters, showcasing remarkable courage and determination.

Major Khating’s unwavering resolve and diplomatic finesse helped bridge divides and build trust among the local populace. Through tireless negotiations and genuine empathy, he seamlessly integrated Tawang into the Indian Union, laying the foundations for governance and development. His strategic leadership and commitment to unity ensured a smooth transition, earning him the respect and admiration of all. Today, Tawang stands as a testament to Major Bob Khating’s indomitable spirit and visionary leadership.

Born in Manipur, Major Ralengnao “Bob” Khating (1912 to 1990) served with distinction in the British Army during the Second World War. Later, he became the Indian Ambassador to Burma (now Myanmar) in the 1970s. He was conferred the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by the Indian Government in 1957.

The annual celebration of Major Bob Khating Day continues to be a significant event, drawing military officers from the Tawang Brigade, senior officials from the state administration, students, community leaders, army veterans, and monks. The proceedings, starting with the customary Wreath Laying, included the unfurling of the tricolor and performances by students and local artists. The celebrations serve as a tribute to Major Bob Khating’s enduring legacy of peace, unity, and nation-building.