Archive for February, 2012

Thomas Jefferson – Relevant for the Ages …

Posted on February 22, 2012. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities, Quotes |

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time and made this statement – “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Thomas Jefferson studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood history, the nature of God and his laws, and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. He was a very remarkable man who started learning early.

Some Facts. At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French. At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages. At 16, entered the College of William and Mary. At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe. At 23, started his own law practice. At 25, elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice. At 32, a Delegate to the Second Continental congress. At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence. 

At 33, reviseed Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom. At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry. At 40, served in Congress for two years. At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.At 53, served as Vice President and. At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions – the basis of ‘States Rights’

At 57, was elected the third President of the United States.At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size. At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

At 65, retired to Monticello. At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine. At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first President.

At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams.

Some of his observations –

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” –

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people under the pretence of taking care of them.”

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless”.

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Credo of the Indian Army …

Posted on February 15, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career |

Field Marshal Chetwode’s Address to the First Course at the IMA on 10 Dec 1932, has come to acquire immortality as the closing passage contains the words which have become the credo of the Academy – indeed of the Army itself! He was the C-in-C at the time and the Main Building in the IMA is named after him. Over to him –
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“I address the Gentlemen Cadets in particular and welcome them as the first cadets of the Indian Military Academy. I impress upon all and upon the Indian officers in particular their ability to assume full responsibility for India’s defense.
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I can proudly say that the men who will serve under you in the ranks are the best material in the world. They have proved it on many stricken fields. Now how they are to be led will depend on you. You will have to prove you are fit to teach these gallant men in peace. You will need to gain their confidence to lead them in war.

In wishing well to this Academy, and to the first batch of Gentlemen Cadets, I venture to offer you two pieces of advice.

Firstly, may I urge you to remember that politics do not – and cannot – find any place in Army life. An Army can have no politics. It is the paid servant of the people and is at the disposal of the Government of the day, whatever may be the political complexion of that Government.
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Once there is any suspicion that an Army, or any part of it, is biased politically – from that moment on the Army would have lost the confidence of the nation. It is then no longer impartial and the way ahead is chaos.
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Secondly, I ask you to remember that you have come here to have your first lessons in three principles which must guide an officer of a National Army and these I now enumerate.
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First – the Safety, Honor and Welfare of your Country come First – Always and Every time.
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Second – the Honor, Welfare and Comfort of the Men You Command come Next.
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Third – Your Own Ease, Comfort and Safety come Last – Always and Every Time.
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I wish all success to the Indian Military Academy and to those who are now commencing their military careers within its walls”.

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This here Genius with rich Humor …

Posted on February 11, 2012. Filed under: American Thinkers, Light plus Weighty |

 There was this question on a University of Arizona chemistry mid term exam: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat?)

Most students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. There was this one student who got an A Plus for his answer. 

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving – which is an unlikely event.

I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of  change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to  expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true. Thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct

This leaves only Heaven and proves the existence of a divine being. More so as last night, Teresa kept shouting ‘Oh my God!’

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General Thimaya’s Resignation and the Debacle of ’62 …

Posted on February 8, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career, Indian Thought, Personalities |

The exactness of the conversations are as obtained from various sources. The facts are universally known and in print.

As a Gentleman Cadet. at the IMA attending the RimCollian Celebrations in Mar ’59, it was my fortune to personally hear the pain and anguish of Gen Thimayya as he described to other senior officers, the relations of the Army HQs with the Defense Ministry; mainly his with the Defense Minister, VK Krishna Menon.  No wonder the Indian Army got the thrashing of its life from the Chinese, just three years later in ’62. And within two years of that Nehru died a broken and ravaged man. 

Here is how the story of General Thimaya’s resignation unfolds.

Menon called Thimayya and told him that he had no business to meet the Prime Minister without his specific approval. Thimayya reiterated that the Prime Minister desired to know about the preparedness and the state of morale of the Army and he had told him nothing that he had, over the period of 18 months or so, not discussed with the Minister.

Menon remained furious and said: “No, General. It’s downright disloyalty and amounts to impropriety.”

To this, Thimayya replied,: “I make no allegations. You can call the other Chiefs too. They will say the same that they and I have continuously said — that the Services are being neglected and that their morale is low. These are the facts that we have told you earlier and I told the Prime Minister now. I am reiterating that by speaking candidly I and other Chiefs are being loyal to you, the Government and to the Country. That’s what loyalty means to me.”

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After another outburst from the Defense Minister, Thimayya saw no further point in carrying on the conversation. Deeply hurt at the Minister’s remarks, he got up and repeated: “I have never been disloyal to anyone, least of all to you, my country or the government.”
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Menon shouts at the top of his voice. “You are disloyal to me and I have no place for disloyal generals”. Thimaya leaves.
After Thimaya had left, Menon meets Nehru, who asks him not to rock the boat. He assures him that he would once again get the chiefs’ willing cooperation, provided Menon showed patience.

It was late when Thimayya reached home and told his wife, Nina to be ready to pack up and then murmured, “It’s time to pack up honorably.” He also talked to the other Chiefs, Air Chief Marshal Mukherjee and Admiral Katari and told them he was seriously  contemplating putting in his papers the next day. Both repeated their vow to ‘follow him.

Thimayya drafted his resignation letter the following morning and showed it to Mukherjee and Katari, both of whom confirmed their willingness to follow suit. “My conscience says wait” was Nina’ s advice.

Thimaya called Major General S.P.P. Thorat, his preferred successor, who advised the same. So was the suggestion of Bogey Sen, his CGS and Wadalia, his Deputy Chief. General Cariappa who was in Delhi asked him to meet the prime minister again before he ‘bunged in’ his letter.

That night, Thimayya thought and re-thought about throwing away a fine career, the great honor the country had bestowed upon him and the trust his officers and men had reposed in him. It was one of the saddest nights of his life. In the morning Thimaya sent his letter to Nehru..

Nehru called Thimaya and put his arm around his shoulder and asked him why he hadn’t met him earlier, rather than sending in his resignation. “Please withdraw it straight away,” ordered a visibly annoyed Prime Minister. “I will see you again at 7 p.m. with your letter withdrawing your resignation. In the meanwhile, I am keeping your letter with me.” He then asked him to return at 7 p.m.

In the meanwhile Katari had informed Mukherjee, who was by now in London, that Thimaya had submitted his resignation and he was following suit. The period between 2.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. was used by Nehru to control the damage which the resignation of the chiefs would cause to the government, the services’ morale, and result in the joy of the enemy.

Nehru rang up Katari and told him that he had called Thimaya and he was withdrawing his resignation and he should not entertain any such proposal. (A similar message went to Mukherjee through the High Commission.) He told him that Thimayya would meet him again in the evening and he should meet him at 9.30 p.m.

So by the time Thimaya arrived at the Teen Murti residence of the prime minister at 7 pm through a carefully orchestrated game play, Nehru had distanced the other chiefs from Thimayya by talking them out of it. Menon too was asked to keep a draft of his resignation handy. An emergency meeting of the Cabinet Committee was also called.

When they met, Nehru began his effort to win over Timmy with his charm. But Thimaya said that he had not changed his mind and instead urged the prime minister to accept his resignation. In his defense, he argued: “That’s the only honorable course left to me and the other chiefs. When professional advice and recommendations are flouted at the drop of a hat, the chief loses his place and importance.”

Nehru, however, said: “We have sufficient problems. And at this moment of crisis, one should not do anything to encourage opponents and the enemy. Shouldn’t it be so, Timmy?

Thimaya explained that it was indeed a “moment of crisis” and it was his loyalty to him and his sense of patriotism to the country that had moved him to sacrifice his job. He repeated that Menon as defense minister had “made it impossible” for him and the other chiefs to work as head of the services, and unless Menon was moved out of defense, there could be little progress. But he understood that as this obviously could not be agreed to by the prime minister, he — and the other chiefs — should step aside, and, therefore  the submission of his resignation.

Nehru admitted that Menon was a “difficult man”, but he was simply “brilliant” and was doing service to defense which no one earlier had done. Thimaya agreed, but suggested that his methods of “man-management” were “outrageous” and his brilliance was that of an “Oxford professor of philosophy” rather than of a man dealing with the country’s defense forces which have to be prepared and motivated to fight enemies.

And, finally, he truthfully said to his prime minister: “With the present state of the army, I can hardly assure success. We are not prepared. All my efforts — as also of others — have failed for the past 24 to 30 months to make the armed forces a viable defense force. So let someone else do the job – I request my resignation be kindly accepted.”

Nehru heard him out and said he agreed. He then pleaded with Thimaya: “Timmy, I ask you to withdraw this resignation. I, as your elder and not necessarily your Prime Minister, am requesting you to do s o. I promise to restore dignity to you and the other Chief’s Offices. We have to fight an enemy. For my sake, withdraw it.”

At 9.30 pm Katari met Nehru who told him that they were “ganging up” against Menon and that “Thimayya had withdrawn his resignation” — both factually wrong. Katari, then decided to call off handing his letter of resignation without even checking with Thimayya.

Whether it was the charm of the prime minister or fear of retribution or the weakness of Katari — and Mukerjee — one will never know. But enormous damage was done to this    great Chiefs’ solid standing.

On the morning of September 1, the Capital awoke alarmed to the disturbing disclosures in the Press about Thimayyas’ resignation (which had, by then, been withdrawn).

There was also considerable applause when the prime minister assured the House — and through it, the country — that “under our practice, the civil authority is, and must remain supreme” (while it should, however, pay due heed to expert advice). There was also applause when he referred to the army’s “fine mettle” and “excellent morale.”

It was (daughter) Mireille who wept bitterly at the public humiliation of her father in Parliament (where she sat alongside Indira Gandhi) by Pandit Nehru; tears welled up in her eyes. When she recalled the scene to her father, the tears returned as she had filial sentiments though she knew nothing of Politics.

She spoke of these things to her father on the telephone at Secunderabad where he had gone for the forth coming inauguration of the Joint Land Warfare School.  “Daddy you have been let down. Mummy was right in asking you not to withdraw your letter.”

Thimaya said nothing.

Later, on his return to Delhi, he showed her the office copy of his letter of resignation that contained the gist of what had transpired between him and Nehru – besides the appeals from the prime minister to withdraw his letter.

“You’ll now on defend your father, I hope,” he said. “Always passionately, Daddy,” replied Mireille.

“If these are trivial, then I know of no other important issues,” he told Nina, who was furious at the withdrawal and asked him to “re-resign” without a second thought, and expose the duo.

He told her that he had accepted the advice and the assurances of his Prime Minister and had withdrawn his resignation.“For, in a democracy, a resignation is the only constitutional safeguard to a service chief against incompetent, unscrupulous or ambitious politicians” .

General Thimaya had recommended Gen Thorat to succeed him as Gen Thorat had carried out a thorough recce and submitted a plan to Timmy in case of a war with China.

This was that since NO Roads had been made in the forward areas despite the urgings of Sardar Vallabhai Patel since 1950 and others thereafter, a classic Defensive Battle should be fought at the existing road heads so as to blunt the Chinese Offensive as then that would be from an extended advance over nebulous foot paths.

This recommendation was shelved and Gen Thapar was made Chief as a stop gap till Gen Kaul took over.

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Now over to Sam Manekshaw and his experiences with Menon and Nehru ………… This was during the Question Answer session at the end of Sam’s lecture at the Staff College given on Armistice Day, a quarter century after he laid down office –

Question -: In the 1962 war, what was your appointment, were you in a position to do something about the situation?

Field Marshal :- In the 1962 war, I was in disgrace.

I was Commandant of this Institution. Mr. Krishna Menon, the Defense Minister, disliked me intensely. General Kaul, who was Chief of General Staff at the time, and the budding man for the next higher appointment, disliked me intensely. So, I was in disgrace at the Staff College. There were charges against me – I will enumerate some of them – all engineered by Mr. Krishna Menon.

I do not know if you remember that in 1961 or 1960, General Thimaya was the Army Chief. He had fallen out with Mr. Krishna Menon and had sent his resignation. The Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru, persuaded General Thimaya to withdraw his resignation. The members of Parliament disliked Mr. Krishna Menon and they went hammer and tongs for the Prime Minister in Parliament.

The Prime Minister made the statement, “I cannot understand why General Thimayya is saying that the Defence Ministry interferes with the working of the Army. Take the case of General Manekshaw. The Selection Board has approved his promotion to Lieutenant General, over the heads of 23 other officers. The Government has accepted that.”

I was the Commandant of the Staff College. I had been approved for promotion to Lieutenant General. Instead of making me a Lieutenant General, Mr. Krishna Menon levied charges against me.

There were ten charges, I will enumerate only one or two of them – that I am more loyal to the Queen of England than to the President of India, that I am more British than Indian. That I have been alleged to have said that I will have no instructor in the Staff College whose wife looks like an ayah. These were the sort of charges against me.

For eighteen months my promotion was held back. An enquiry was made. Three Lieutenant Generals, including an Army Commander, sat at the inquiry. I was exonerated on every charge. The file went up to the Prime Minister who sent it up to the Cabinet Secretary, who wrote on the file, ‘if anything happens to General Manekshaw, this case will go will down as the Dreyfus case.’

So the file came back to the Prime Minister. He wrote on it, “Orders may now issue”, meaning I will now become a Lieutenant General. Instead of that, Ladies and Gentleman, I received a letter from the Adjutant General saying that the Defense Minister, Mr. Krishna Menon, has sent his severe displeasure to General Manekshaw, to be recorded.

I had it in the office where the Commandant now sits. I sent that letter back to the Adjutant General saying what Mr. Krishna Menon could do with his displeasure – very vulgarly stated. It is still in my dossier.

Then the Chinese came to my help. Krishna Menon was sacked, Kaul was sacked and Nehru sent for me. He said, “General, I have a vigorous enemy. I find that you are a vigorous General. Will you go and take over?” I said, “I have been waiting eighteen months for this opportunity,” and I went and took over.

So, your question was 1962, and what part did I play -, none whatsoever, none whatsoever. I was here for eighteen months, persecuted, inquisitions against me but we survive….

I rather like the Chinese.

Post Script. A long while later, Karan Thapar, whose father had been made Chief after Gen Thimayya, had Sam over for a Q and A Session on his TV Show. Towards the end, he asks Sam whether he ever met Krishna Menon after wards. Sam’s response went something like this –

“Oh Yes – \we did meet. It was towards the end of an invite at Rashtrapati Bhavan, and as I and my wife were walking out, who do we see along side but Mr Menon. I immediately said, “Good Evening Sir” and he responded with the same greeting. Where upon, I turned to my wife and said, “Dolly, don’t you remember Mr Krishna Menon?” And the prompt response was, “Most Certainly, I DO NOT!!”

 

Also read –

https://improveacrati.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-1962-war-a-politically-determined-disaster/

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The Parsis …

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Indian Thought, Personalities |

No Indian community internalized the civilizing mission of the ancient
Hindu culture as did the Parsis. Only 50,000 remain in Bombay (Now MUMBAI) today, mainly in South Mumbai, the most disciplined and cultured part of India .

In South Mumbai, the cutting of lanes by drivers is punished, jumping a red light is impossible, parking is possible only in allotted areas,roads are clean, service is efficient, the restaurants are unmatched – civilization seems within reach. South Mumbai has some of the finest buildings in India, many of them built by Parsis.

The Parsis came to Mumbai after Surat ‘s port silted over in the 17th
century. Gerald Aungier settled Mumbai and gave Parsis land for their Tower of Silence on Malabar Hill in 1672. The Parsis made millions through the early and mid-1800s and they spent much of it on public good.

The Ambanis built Dhirubhai Ambani International School , where fees are Rs 348,000 (US $8,000 a year in a country where per capita income is $ 600 per year) and where the head girl is Mukesh Ambani’s daughter.

The Kingfisher Mallya’s gilded the insides of the Tirupati temple with gold. Lakshmi Mittal, the fourth richest richest man in the world says he’s too young to think of  charity!! He’s 57 and worth $45 billion.

The Birla Family built 3 temples in Hyderabad , Jaipur and Delhi. These days Hindu philanthropy means building temples. They do not understand social philanthropy. And these days, the Hindus’ lack of enthusiasm for philanthropy has become cultural.

The Hindu cosmos is Hobbesian and the devotee’s relationship with
God is transactional. God must be petitioned and placated to swing the
universe’s blessings towards you and away from someone else. They believe that society has no role in your advancement and there is no reason to give back to it because it hasn’t given you anything in the first
place. This is something that needs to be changed and reverted to our
Sanatan Dharm.

The Parsis, on the other hand, understood that philanthropy – love of
mankind – recognizes that we cannot progress alone.  That there is such a
thing as the common good. They spent as no Indian community had ever before on building  institutions, making them stand out in a culture whose talent lies in renaming things other people built.

The Parsis built libraries all over India – they built the National Gallery of Art. The Indian Institute of Science was built in 1911 by Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata, the Tata Institute of  Fundamental Research was built by Dr Homi Bhabha, the Tata Institute of Social Science was built in 1936 by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The Wadias built hospitals, women’s colleges and the five great low-income Parsi colonies of Bombay. JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College were founded by Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy.

By 1924, two out of five Indians – whether Hindu, Muslim or Parsi – joining the Indian Civil Services were on TATA scholarships.

They gave Mumbai the Jehangir Art Gallery, Sir JJ School of Art , the
Taraporevala Aquarium. The National Center for Performing Arts, the only
place in India where world-class classical concerts are held is a gift of
the Tatas. There are 161 Friends of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) -92 of them are Parsis. For an annual fee of Rs 10,000, Friends of the SOI get two tickets to any one recital in the season, they get to shake hands with artistes after the concert and they get to attend music appreciation talks through the year.

The  Parsi dominates high culture in Mumbai. This means that a concert
experience in the city is unlike that in any other part of India . Classical concerts seat as many as two thousand.

Zubin Mehta, the most famous Parsi in the world, is Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  since 1969. He conducts the tenor Placido Domingo, the pianist Daniel Barenboim and the soprano Barbara Frittoli. Four concerts are held at the Jamshed Bhabha Opera House and then one at Brabourne Stadium with a capacity of 25,000.

No other city in India has this appetite for classical music and in Mumbai this comes from the Parsis. Despite their tiny population, the Parsi presence in a concert hall is above 50 per cent. And they all come. Gorgeous Parsi girls in formal clothes – saris, gowns – children, men and the old. Many have to be helped to their seats.

Most of them know the music. The people who clap between movements, thinking that the ‘song’ is over, are non-Parsis. Symphony Orchestra of India concerts begin at 7 pm. Once the musicians start, latecomers must wait outside till the movement ends.

The end of each movement also signals a fusillade of coughs and groans, held back by doddering Parsis too polite to make a sound while Mendelssohn is being played. No mobile phone ever goes off as is common in cinema halls: his neighbors are aware of the Parsi’s insistence of form and his temper.

The Parsis were also pioneers of Mumbai’s Gujarati theatre, which remains
the most popular form of live entertainment in Mumbai. Any week of the year will see at least a half dozen bedroom comedies, murder mysteries, love stories and plays on assorted themes on stage.

The Parsis were the pioneers of this writing and acting in the first plays of Mumbai. They also built the institutions that supported this. Mumbai’s first theatre was opened by Parsis in 1846, the Grant Road Theatre, donations from Jamshetjee Jejeebhoy and Framjee Cowasjee making it possible.

Want to add about the generosity about Ratan Tata who did so much about the staff of Taj Hotel during the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Not only that but he also set up camps for all the other victims and their families who suffered during the attack at Bori Bunder.

The  Parsi in Bollywood caricature is a comic figure – but always honest,
and innocent as Indians believe Parsis generally to be, rightly or wrongly.

In the days before modern cars came to India the words ‘Parsi-owned’ were
guaranteed to ensure that a second-hand car listed for sale would get picked up ahead of any others. This is because people are aware of how carefully the Parsi keeps his things. His understanding and enthusiasm of the mechanical separates him from the rest. Most of  the automobile magazines in India are owned and edited by  Parsis.

The Parsis are a dying community and this means that more Parsis die each
year than are born (Symphony concert-goers can also discern the disappearing Parsi from the rising numbers of those who clap between movements).

As the Parsis leave, South Mumbai will become like the rest of Mumbai –
brutish, undisciplined and filthy. Preserve this race. You are privileged if you have a Parsi Bawa as you friend. He/She is indeed a “Heritage” to be treasured.

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Tribute to Sam Manekshaw by the Pakistan Daily – ‘Dawn’…

Posted on February 2, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

This is an article on Sam Manekshaw carried in the ‘Dawn’ of Karachi, Pakistan when he passed away –

SAM Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was his full name by which he was rarely called, as he was known familiarly and affectionately by his men and officers and friends as ‘Sam Bahadur’.

Manekshaw was no ordinary run-of-the-mill man. Born in Amritsar in 1914, he died in Wellington, Ootacamund, in the Nilgiri Hills of South India at the age of 94.

Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw, MC, was the second Indian soldier to be so honored, with justification, with the highest rank that can be bestowed upon a soldier. The other being Field Marshal K. M. Cariapa, the first Indian to command the Indian army and who was friend and contemporary of our Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani to command the Pakistan army. However, unlike Ayub, both Cariapa and Manekshaw were honored for their military skills and prowess.

Sam Bahadur became India’s chief of army staff in 1969 and, as we in Pakistan must accept with heavy hearts, the highlight of his outstanding career was his resounding victory over the armed forces of Pakistan in 1971, when we lost East Pakistan and it became Bangladesh.

Anecdotes about the field marshal abound. His most famous remark, according to one obituary in the English press, was made on the eve of the outbreak of the December 1971 war when India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, asked him if he was ready for the fight. His reply came pat: ‘I am always ready, sweetie.’

He famously said that he could never bring himself to call Mrs Gandhi ”Madam’ because it reminded him of a bawdy house. His other well-known exchange with Mrs Gandhi was when she once questioned him about rumors that he was plotting a coup. He asked her if she would accept his resignation on grounds of mental instability. 

Held in awe by India’s politicians for his military professionalism, he was loved by the men of the army he led. I had the good fortune and honour of meeting him in Delhi, in 2001, when he was 87 years old, upright, with his moustaches bristling. I had heard much about him from my very good friend, Lt Gen Attiqur Rahman, who knew him from the days when they served in the British Indian Army as young officers of the Fourth Frontier Force Regiment and were sent to the Burma front.

In February 1942, they were together holding a bridge over the Sittang River when Sam nearly lost his life. After a night sharing a mackintosh in a bit of hollow ground, Sam was ordered to take his company down the road to investigate the firing from the jungle. When Attiq later went off down the road, he saw Sam being carried on his orderly’s back, unconscious, his face ashen. He asked the regimental doctor how badly he had been wounded and was told that he would probably be dead by the time he reached the other end of the bridge. 

Later, whilst reorganising, he heard that Sam was in hospital at Pegu. He went to see him and it was obvious he was in terrible pain. He hung on to Attiq’s hand and in a whisper, asked him to leave his pistol so that he could shoot himself. Attiq told him not to be silly and that all would be well. As we now know it was all well but it was a close call. The surgeon attending to him almost gave up on the bullet-ridden body. 

The story goes that as he lay in hospital, an English General (most probably Sir Frank Smythe, himself a VC), pinned his own military cross on to the chest of Captain Manekshaw as he knew that the MC could not be awarded posthumously. Attiq and Sam did not meet again until 1945 when Sam was one of his instructors at the Quetta Staff College.

Another good friend of Manekshaw from this side of the border was our Rangila Raja Gen Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan. At the time of partition Major Manekshaw and Major Yahya Khan were together on the staff of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. Sam owned a red James Motor Cycle which Yahya had always had an eye on. He offered to buy it and did, for the princely sum of Rs 1,000 which he promised to send over from Pakistan. Yahya, being Yahya, let it lapse. After the 1971 victory, Sam was heard to quip, ‘Yahya never paid me the Rs 1,000 for my motorbike but now he has paid with half his country’.

When I met the Field Marshal,I told him that Yahya had never forgotten the debt, but had never got round to it. I offered to pay back the Rs 1,000 with interest, on his behalf. No, no, said the field marshal, Yahya was a good man and a good soldier and we served together. There was not one mean or corrupt bone in his body. Your politicians are as bad as ours. Yahya was condemned without being heard. After he was put under house arrest at the end of December 1971, up to his death in 1980, he clamored unceasingly for an open trial. Why was he condemned unheard?

Sam was buried quietly in his home in Tamil Nadu, a modest affair rather than the grand funeral he should have had in the capital, Delhi.

Last year his name was linked to bizarre allegations made by the son of President Gen Ziaul Haq, our ‘exceedingly clever’ politician Ejazul Haq, against an unnamed Indian brigadier who allegedly had sold Indian war plans to Pakistan. Utter Rubbish.

Unfortunately an ungrateful Nation paid him no respect even when he passed away. No Indian Politition or dignitary was present at the Field Marshal’s funeral. There was not a single representative from the Army he led let alone the Navy or Air Force, How sad and a blot on an ungrateful Nation.

Many were angered by this lack of respect shown to the nation’s brave soldier and one website is devoted to the comments of Indian citizens on the reaction of their politicians: ‘if- you-have- to-die-can- you-please- do-so-in- delhi’.

The editor comments –

‘The death of the only Indian to be appointed field marshal when in active service has been remarkable for the warmth of the ordinary men and women who queued up to say ‘thank you.’

‘It was also remarkable for the complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India’s only decisive military victory.’

And here is Sam’s own sentence which would make Sam Bahadur chuckle:

 ‘I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defense of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor, a gun from a howitzer, a guerrilla from a gorilla – although a great many of them in the past have resembled the latter’.

 

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