Sharing his birth date 2nd October with Mahatma Gandhi, Havildar Hangpan Dada was born in 1979 in village Borduria, in a far flung area of Tirap District, Arunachal Pradesh. Enrolled in the Parachute Regiment, six years later, he was transferred to the Assam Regiment and posted to its Regimental Centre. In January 2008 he was transferred to the 4th Battalion The Assam Regiment. Posted to 35 Rashtriya Rifles (RR-of the Assam Regiment), since late 2015, Havildar Dada was deployed in tough terrain on the 13000 feet high Shamsabari Range in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
Hangpan turned out to be a man of many talents. He became well known not only for his qualities of fearlessness, compassion, competence and high sense of professionalism as a soldier and leader, but also, with all such virtues, as a deeply religious and sensitive person. During testing times, when threat of terrorist attacks was imminent, Dada would silently slip into the role of a scout and lead the entire patrol safely back to the base. Few can forget the incident when Dada was evacuated by helicopter after being bitten not once but twice by a snake. As a leader, Hangpan always led from the front, whether it was a patrol or a church service. In October 2005, Hangpan was married to a charming young lady named Chasen Lowang. In June 2006 she gave birth to a daughter, who they named Ronkhin. In July 2009, they had a son, named Senwang.
On 25 May 2016, as part of that year’s series of many infiltration attempts by Pakistani terrorists supported by Pak army, four heavily armed terrorists (later identified as of Lashkar e Taiyyaba), were spotted by 35 RR. Havildar Dada, who has been described by the Colonel of Assam Regiment, Lt Gen Subrata Saha, PVSM, UYSM, YSM, VSM**, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning & Systems) as a cool, calm and courageous soldier and an ideal choice for leading challenging missions, quite typically, volunteered to lead the operation to engage these terrorists. Well holed and heavily armed, the terrorists brought down heavy fire on Dada and his team as they were approaching to lay the initial cordon. Displaying quick thinking and reflex action, Dada retaliated killing one terrorist instantly and injuring the second one grievously. Realising opposition, the other two terrorists ran downhill escaping Dada’s chase until they encountered a Stop. Seeing the Stop, the terrorists took cover behind huge boulders and started firing at Dada and his buddy who were still chasing them on their heels. In the best tradition of Indian Army, Hav Dada, decided to outflank the Militants. Displaying, sheer grit, determination and intelligent use of ground, he closed on to the terrorists and got them both singlehandedly one by one. After successfully eliminating three of them, he rushed back uphill to find the fourth injured terrorist. Having finally found him hiding behind a boulder, Hav Dada outflanked and closed on to him. While doing so he got shot in the stomach. Unmindful of his personal injury, he again rose like a Phoenix and fired at him. The fourth terrorist was also eventually killed in this encounter. Hav Dada succumbed to his injuries on the spot. For this gallant action, Hav Hangpan Dada was awarded the Ashok Chakra (Posthumous), the Nation’s highest peace time gallantry award other than in war on Independence Day 2016. On Republic Day 2017, the Veer Nari, Chasen Lowang, received his award from the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.