New Delhi: Chinese troops played Punjabi songs on loudspeakers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, apparently for the listening pleasure of the Indian soldier posted to the frontier, where for the first time in 45 years shots were last week.
While Indian soldiers are highly amused, this is a hark back to tactics employed by Chinese Han generals some 2,200 years ago during the so-called 'Battle of Gaixia'. It was in this battle that Han king Liu Bang beat his Chu rival Xiang Yu and established the Han dynasty in China.
Referring to the Punjabi song incident, the state-run Global Times newspaper said the Indian army is in a situation of "hearing Chu songs on four sides." This apparently is a message to India that the Indian army is isolated and besieged.
"Hearing Chu songs on four sides” is a Chinese idiom. It is said to have originated from the Battle of Gaixia. After the fall of the Qin Dynasty, the state of Chu and the state of Han fought for control of China around 206 BC to 202 BC. As per legends from 202 BC, Chu king Xiang Yu was trapped and surrounded by Han forces in the hills at Gai Xia.
To weaken the morale of Chu forces, particularly King Xiang, who was a ferocious fighter, Han soldiers started singing Chu songs from all sides. After listening to these songs, Chu soldiers thought that Han people had captured their homeland and brought the Chu people to the battlefield.
So the Chu soldiers became worried about their family and became homesick and lost the will to fight. Many deserted. Even the Chu king is said to have cried. Xiang Yu committed suicide after his forces failed to break the trap.
However, it seems fanciful for the PLA to assume that the present standoff can be won by playing some Punjabi songs. Only last week, the Indian Army’s Sikh regiment observed the 123rd Saragarhi Day to mark a battle in which 22 soldiers of 4 Sikh in a famous last-stand fought thousands of Pathans in the North West Frontier Province on 12 September 1897.