SPECTACULAR LEADERSHIP OF THE INDIAN EVEREST EXPEDITION
1965 - INDIA’S FIRST SUCCESS ON EVEREST
“The scaling of Everest four times in succession within ten days is a feat that had drawn the world attention it richly deserved. This splendid accomplishment, unparalleled in many ways, said a great deal for the superbly organized and managed expedition, for the outstanding leadership, for the matchless team of the Sherpas and, indeed, for the mountaineering skill, courage, endurance and fitness of the nine who reached the top. But in retrospect, the unsaid single major contributory factor to this glittering record of success may well be the unbounded respect and humility and faith with which the Indian team approached the eternally sacred Sagarmatha, as if on a pilgrimage. And the supreme reigning Queen of the Himalayas graciously smiled and blessed them and
they left abidingly rewarded.”
The 1965 Expedition had many ‘firsts’
- First Indian team to successfully climb the Everest.
- First time three climbers stood on the summit together.
- First time nine climbers reached the summit, setting up a world record which India held for 17 years. When the news of the fourth summit team reached India there were spontaneous Bhangra dances in Chandini Chowk in Delhi and many
- First Man in the World to climb Everest twice – Nawang Gombu.
- First time that the Oldest (Sonam Gyatso at 42) and the Youngest (Sonam Wangyal at 23) climbed Everest together.
- First Nepalese to climb Everest – Phu Dorji.
- First time Nepal was as jubilant as India. From the road-head at Banepa to Kathmandu there were endless receptions by students and villagers.
- First time congratulatory messages swelled to thousands. One had the address:“Commander Kohli, MOUNT EVEREST, India”. It reached safely!
- Against one or two Indian expeditions per year before 1965, there were as many as 15 expeditions in 1966 – the first biggest spurt.
- First time the Indian Railways issued free first class passes to every member
- First time Harish Rawat climbed all alone from the last camp to the South
- First time story of Everest climb in cartoons, written by Mala Singh, daughter of Khushwant Singh, was serialized in the Illustrated Weekly of India.
- First time, the leader wrote a day-to-day diary on the mountain.
- First time a full-length 90 minute film on the Expedition, with music by Shankar-Jaikishan and commentary by Zul Vellani, was released in cinema halls throughout India. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took this film to Australia during her official visit in 1968.
- First time besides several editions of Nine Atop Everest, a school edition was brought out for supplementary reading in schools.