Portrait of an Indian Soldier
A tribute to Hangpan Dada, killed in an encounter near the LOC on 26 May
I first met Hangpan Dada in a WhatsApp forward. A clean-shaven, square-jawed, handsome man from Arunachal Pradesh, posing with his good-looking, smiling wife Chasen. In the photos, clearly taken on an Agra holiday and repurposed for this sombre occasion by trimming the background, he was clad in a tie and suit, looking quite pleased with life. The text described him as one of the bravest Rhinos, as Assam Regiment soldiers are called. He was a motivator for his company, a legend, said the forward. And then that line that we read so often on social media: Salute to the martyr.