Archive for October, 2012

Letter of an Angered Elderly …

Posted on October 30, 2012. Filed under: American Thinkers, Light plus Weighty, The English |

This is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman.The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.
We do not know what action, if any, he took to address the problem of the agitated senior?
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Dear Sir,:
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I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoued to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it..
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I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.
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You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30.00 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
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My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.
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I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, but when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, over bearing, over charging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.
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From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
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Be aware that it is an OFFENSE under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.
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Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public figure, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
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In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.
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As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:
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IMMEDIATELY AFTER DIALING, PRESS THE STAR (*) BUTTON FOR ENGLISH. Thereafter –
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#1. To make an appointment to see me
#2. To query a missing payment.
#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
#4 To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 to 9
#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

.Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

xxxxxxxxx

xxx

Moral. Do not make old people mad. They don’t like being old in the first place! So it doesn’t take much to piss them off.

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1965 War Story of Love and Gallantry …

Posted on October 30, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career, Indian Thought |

As told by Col TN Raman. On 20 October 2012, it was the Inauguration of the War Wounded Foundation’s Chapters of Southern States at Chnakya Auditorium in OTA, Chennai. This true story may be hard to believe.

There was this elderly couple in the gathering, both in their seventies, walking to the Auditorium. The woman was constantly chirping in a low voice audible only to her husband. I approached them to help them into the Auditorium. The lady introduced herself as Kamalam, wife of Naik ME Shariff.

Shariff just smiled. Then I noticed that he had both hands below his elbows missing and to top it, he was also blind. But he was always smiling and his wife Kamalam was also quite cheerful. She said, “Today we are very happy because somebody still remembers us and calls us for a function like this.”

Naik ME Shariff was serving with 7 Engineer Regiment, Madras Engineers Group, when he first met Kamalam in Bangalore in her house. Her brother was his friend. It was love at first sight. But the 1965 war broke out between India and Pakist.
On 17 September 1965, somewhere in Sialkot Sector, when his Section was clearing the enemy mine field, an air strike in the area triggered off several mines in close vicinity. He sustained severe injuries. He was evacuated to the Jammu Military Hospital, where the Surgeons battled to save his life. His life was saved but he had lost both hands and eyes.
“I knew that my life would not be the same again. I could not marry the girl I  loved. After a year I was shifted to Coimbatore for recuperating. Kamalam came to know of my condition and came to Coimbatore and stayed there looking after me. I told her that the marriage plans must be abandoned. But, she would not agree”.
 
Kamalam then started talking. “Sir, how could I marry any other man than the one whom I loved? We had overcome the first great obstacle to our marriage which was the Religious barrier. I am a Hindu from Kerala and he is a Muslim from Tamilnadu. You can well imagine how hard it was making our parents agree to our marrying. After he was wounded, initially there was absolutely no chance of our marriage. But, I had decided to live only with him, despite all his handicaps. We got married in 1967.”

Were they happy after marriage, which was against the wishes of their parents? The three children they bore is testimony to their happy married life. Their eldest son is around 38 years and is employed in the District Soldiers’ Board in Salem. The second son is managing an Eatery. The third is a daughter  married and settled well. They now live in Coimbatore.
 
Kamalam says, “I was fortunate to get him alive after his miraculous escape. We were in love for two years before the tragedy struck”.

Love, definitely is many splendored. It usually wins – ultimately.
 
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FEROZE GANDHI – Unlike any Other .

Posted on October 25, 2012. Filed under: Indian Thought, Personalities |

He is the forgotten Gandhi. Son-in-law to one Prime Minister, husband to another and father to a third, he should have been a well-known face in the country’s political landscape. But this is not the case with Feroze Gandhi whose birth centenary on September 12 has just gone unnoticed.

September 12, 2012, the birth centenary of Feroze Gandhi – India’s greatest investigative parliamentarian, crusader against corruption, advocate of press freedom and the first campaigner for the people’s right to information – has gone unnoticed.

He was such a cerebral, diligent and ruthless pursuer of truth that he was once described by a fellow MP as a “dangerously well-informed person”. While the nation remains obsessed with the fortunes of the family which has 10, Janpath as its postal address, it appears to have forgotten the real Gandhi who bequeathed this magical surname to Sonia et al.

But why blame the nation when the fault lies with an ungrateful Government controlled by this ungrateful family. Last year the Government splurged Rs 7.25 crore on newspaper advertisements on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of Indira and Rajiv, but pretends not to notice Feroze’s birth centenary.

There may be other reasons for this display of ungratefulness. Since the Government is engulfed in scams and is employing undemocratic means to curtail parliamentary investigations, how can it hail the man who was described as the greatest campaigner against corruption?

Let us pay tribute to the man who demanded a strong ethical framework for governance during the formative years of our democracy.

 Feroze Gandhi began life as a freedom fighter when still in his teens and went to jail on several occasions. He became a member of the Provisional Parliament in 1950 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli in 1952 and 1957.  He emerged as a formidable parliamentarian with his maiden speech on the Insurance (Amendment) Bill in December 1955 in which he exposed the cunning and wicked ways of the proprietors of several private insurance companies.

Having done painstaking research, he held the Lok Sabha in thrall as he narrated story after story about how business barons and companies like the Dalmia-Jain Group played around with the funds of  insurers and the web of lies that these companies put out to fool insurers, banks, shareholders and Government. At the end of his narration he demanded strong measures to protect public funds invested in insurance companies, meaning nationalisation of the insurance business.

 Such was his impact that within two months the President promulgated an Ordinance nationalizing the insurance industry. Happy with the outcome, Feroze Gandhi said: “To hold a horse you need a rein; to hold an elephant you need a chain.”

The LIC-Mundhra Scandal

In November 1957, Ram Subhag Singh and Feroze Gandhi got wind of some shady deals between LIC and HD Mundhra, an industrialist.

Singh fired the opening shot via a question in which he asked:Whether LIC had purchased large blocks of shares from different companies owned by Mundhra?

 Deputy Minister of Finance: Towards the end of June 1957, the corporation had invested Rs 1,26,86,100 “in concerns in which Shri HD Mundhra is said to have an interest”.

 Ram Subhag Singh again asked whether nationalisation of life insurance was not meant to stop such “spurious investments”.

Then Finance Minister TT Krishnamachari (TTK) rose to say the investments were not spurious. LIC had invested in these companies “solely with a view to getting a return and making a safe investment…”

 Feroze Gandhi: May I know whether it is a fact that a few months ago shares were purchased at the higher price than the market price of those very shares on that particular day…?

TTK: I have been told that no such thing has happened.

These words would soon come to haunt the Minister and cost him his job. Through this brief exchange during Question Hour, Singh and Gandhi had laid a neat trap into which the Minister had fallen. As the drama unfolded over the next year in Parliament, people realized the extraordinary power of Parliament and the potential power of an MP.

Dissatisfied with the Minister’s reply, Feroze initiated a half-hour Discussion on the subject.

He said: “A mutiny in my mind has compelled me to raise this debate. When things of such magnitude, as I shall describe to you later, occur, silence becomes a crime.” 

He unfolded the story of murky deals between LIC and Mundhra companies as he attempted to “breach the ramparts” of the Minister’s defence. The Minister had claimed that the Government had no particular interest in Mundhra companies but Feroze showed that over a six month period in 1957, on 19 occasions, LIC had bought shares of the Mundhra Group for Rs1.56 crore. Did this not amount to favouring one individual?

Feroze Gandhi then went on to show how LIC had allowed itself to be cheated. He obtained damning evidence of fraud from the stock exchanges. Shares of Mundhra companies had been artificially jacked up by 30-40 per cent in the week prior to the purchase of shares by LIC. For example, the share of Osler Lamp Manufacturing Company, which was quoted at Rs 2.81 from June 17 onward  suddenly jumped to Rs 4 on June 24, a day prior to the purchase by LIC.Similarly, the shares of Angelo Brothers, which stagnated at Rs16.87 for a week, jumped to Rs 20.25. These purchases were made on June 25, but by te time this debate took place in December, LIC’s Mundhra stocks had depreciated by Rs 37 lakhs.

Bowing to pressure, the Government announced the appointment of a commission of inquiry headed by Chief Justice MC Chagla, of the Bombay High Court. Feroze promptly offered himself as a witness and was the first to testify. Justice Chagla upheld Feroze’s contentions and said that the Finance Minister should take constitutional responsibility for what had happened. TTK tendered his resignation.

The most extraordinary aspect of Feroze Gandhi’s work was the forensic precision with which he collected facts and the manner in which he marshaled his arguments. While MPs do not exert themselves to obtain facts even in this Internet age, Feroze Gandhi sent telegrams to the Calcutta Stock Exchange and obtained the quotations for Mundhra companies between June 17 and 24, 1957. When he tabulated the information, the effect was dramatic.

 Referring to the power of Parliament he said: “We cannot hang people, nor can we chop off their necks. But we can turn their existence pretty difficult.”

Later he said: “I think collectively we have demonstrated the terrific striking power of democracy. I think this inquiry has had a tonic effect on the entire country and administration.”

When it was all over, Home Minister GB Pant said that there would be few parallels in political history to what had happened in this case — where a member of the ruling party has exposed the Government. It was all because of “the crusader” sitting in their midst.

 Defender of Press Freedom

A staunch democrat, Feroze had an abiding commitment to a free press and the people’s right to information. After he became an MP, he realised that while the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech to MPs and insulated them from defamation suits, the press did not enjoy any such protection. Therefore, newspapers were afraid to report the proceedings of Parliament.

“The law of libel hangs like the sword of Damocles over the head of every editor and correspondent,” Feroze said, adding that this fear operated like a “silent censor” and prevented people from knowing that which they have a right to know. The remedy lay in Parliament passing a law to protect the press.

Feroze examined the legal position in other democracies, consulted fellow MPs and journalists and drafted the Proceedings of Legislature (Protection of Publication) Bill. It was passed by the House in May 1956 and gave the press much needed protection while reporting what transpired in Parliament. In fact, but for this law, the media would have had great difficulty in reporting the LIC-Mundhra Scandal as it unfolded in Parliament. In an unusual gesture, the Government allowed a private member to draft and move a Bill.

It is a different story that his widow, Indira Gandhi, repealed this law to gag the press during the infamous Emergency in 1975-77. Subsequently, the law was restored.

A Forensic Mind

Feroze scrutinized lazy ministerial pronouncements with a fine-toothed comb and caught them when they spoke without applying their minds to the issue at hand.

For example, the Railway Minister had informed the House that poor punctuality of trains was because the tracks got breached during the monsoons. Feroze pulled out railways’ statistics and showed that in July when there were 38 breaches of tracks, punctuality was 78 per cent but in December, when there were no breaches, punctuality dropped to 75.7 per cent. So, the reality was just the opposite of what the Minister had said!

Such was his commitment that often the Opposition looked redundant. Time and again, Feroze would lead the charge and the Opposition would follow in his footsteps. They would often begin their speeches by paying him a tribute. He was like the Head Boy or Prefect in a school. The only job assigned to the rest was to just fall in line.

Over the last 50 years, there is not a single MP in the Lok Sabha’s treasury benches who has made the Opposition look superfluous like Feroze did.

The Forgotten Legacy

The Gandhi family (Sonia et al) has forgotten the Gandhi who gave them their identity. If only they had remained loyal to the core values that this brand originally promised – abiding commitment to democracy, public good over personal gain, country above party and phenomenal grit to pursue truth – one would not have seen the terrible erosion in brand equity. The vote-pulling capacity of Brand Gandhi has slumped from around 45 per cent in national elections during the Indira Gandhi era to around 25 per cent or less at this juncture.

As Tarun Kumar Mukhopadhyaya, who has done a brilliant parliamentary biography of Feroze Gandhi, has said:

“He (Feroze) was completely free from malice and successfully avoided all pettiness. Indeed, Feroze’s tenure in Parliament, brief though it was, engendered and encouraged public esteem for democratic institutions and faith in the integrity of public men.”

One can imagine how critical Feroze’s contribution was because in the 1950s India was a fledgling democracy. But all these eulogies are nothing compared to the tribute the greatest Gandhi paid to him when he was a young man.

“If I could get seven boys like Feroze to work for me, I (would) get swaraj in seven days,” Mahatma Gandhi is said to have told Feroze’s mother Rattimai, in Allahabad, in 1931, according to Katherine Frank, Indira Gandhi’s biographer. Should we say more?

 

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1965 Indo Pak War – bemoaned by Pakistan…

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: Pakistan, Searching for Success |

Pakistan Journos like Ayaz Amir, Ahmed Rashid, Najam Sethi seem far superior to their Indian counterparts.
Here is Sep 12, 2012 – Islamabad diary by Ayaz Amir.
 
Back from a trip to Amritsar and Delhi on Wednesday evening, and too tired to go on to Chakwal as I had meant to – PIA never disappointing, the flight from Delhi late by three hours – I sought refuge under the roof of the Avari, where my poverty usually takes me when in the favored city of the Emperor Jahangir.

And as I sat down to write this on Thursday morning, from somewhere down below on the Mall – it will always be the Mall whatever patriotic name we give it – came the ever-enchanting voice of Noor Jahan the Second, the first being the royal consort of Jahangir. She was singing that haunting song, “Rah-e-haq ke shaheedo…”, a tribute to the martyrs of the 1965 war, and it came suddenly to me that this was the Defense of Pakistan Day, an anniversary remembered with less and less fervor as the years pass…not because respect for our fighting soldiers has in any way diminished but because the truth about that conflict is now more widely understood.

It was a war that Pakistan did not seek; it was a war into which it stumbled. The hawks – the two leading ones being Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the 12 Division Commander, Maj Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik – forgot to make the little calculation that any adventure undertaken in Kashmir would impel or tempt India to straighten out the balance somewhere else, at a time and place of its choosing.

When our Kashmir adventure turned into a serious threat to Indian forces in Kashmir, to no one’s surprise except ours Indian forces crossed the international border on the front stretching from Sialkot to Lahore. Our soldiers fought bravely, at places magnificently, as did junior officers up to the level of battalion commanders. A few brigadiers too distinguished themselves. (The Indian official account of the war, which can be read on the net, generously mentions the performance of some of our fighting units.) And of course the air force acquitted itself superbly. But if one looks for Mansteins in the higher echelons of command one is likely to be disappointed. There were none, not one strategic manoeuvre worth remembering.

Our self-appointed field marshal, Ayub Khan Tareen, lived to rue his blunder. After the war he was no longer the same man and his grip on national affairs weakened. The supreme irony of course was that Bhutto whose role in pushing the war was second to none exploited the outcome, and the subsequent Tashkent agreement, to spread the insinuation that had not Ayub chickened out our forces would have won a signal triumph, which of course was complete nonsense. . But he could have been preaching to the mountains. The ceasefire when it came, with no little pushing by the superpowers, came not a moment too soon for our exhausted high command.

But for years and years the myth persisted and it was woven into national legend, that India was out to destroy Pakistan and would have succeeded but for our brave armed forces. The Defense of Pakistan Day commemorates this historiography. This myth would not have mattered if it had not led to lasting, and baleful, consequences. We had a fairly open relationship with India until then. But with the war the barriers went up and all ties were cut; defense spending sharply increased; more divisions were raised. The ramparts of the national security state rose higher. And barriers went up in our minds as well. India was the enemy and this doctrine superseded all others.

We had been doing fairly well economically, ahead then of such states as Malaysia and South Korea. The war put us off the rails completely. (The only good to come of it were the war songs of Noor Jahan, which are still a marvel to listen to.) With the 1971 war the dogmas learned from the 1965 conflict were reinforced.

Strange, is it not, that the brightest politician of his age should have been the prime carrier of this policy of revanchism and hate? We will fight for a thousand years, was one of his clarion calls, anti-Indianism a plank – nay, an essential component – of his extraordinary success in Punjab in the 1970 elections. And it was Punjab which catapulted him to national power, not Sindh. Think again…Punjab dyed in the hues of chauvinism, the country as a whole wedded to the notion of undying hostility towards India…the high priest of this doctrine was the secular, de luxe whisky-sipping (occasionally guzzling) Bhutto. Who listens to the boring lectures, or the stale oratory, of the custodians of the two-nation theory headquartered permanently in Lahore? Bhutto’s oratory had a mesmeric effect on the Punjabi mind. And his oratory had two key components: pseudo-revolutionism and jingoistic nationalism.

Only now are the barriers raised then coming down slowly, not because of any fresh dawn of enlightenment but the pressure of cruel circumstance. Our army is engaged in no fake adventure on the eastern front. It is caught in a real and brutal war on our western marches, battling an enemy all the more sinister because the strength and staying power of that enemy comes not from evil Jew or conniving Hindu but from within our own ranks.

Our Indian wars, no matter the causes, were simple, black-and-white affairs. We knew who the army was and Noor Jahan had no trouble singing the glories of our valor, real or imaginary.

The war we are now engaged in is so much more complex because the enemy is not only the visible enemy we see, cutting the throats of our soldiers in the name of Islam. The enemy is also our own confusion which still cannot make out what is at stake. At stake is the nation’s soul, its direction. We emerge from the smoke and fire of this conflict and we can hope for national salvation. We lose, or remain victims of confusion, and we might as well seek a confederation with Somalia or the Sudan (with apologies to both these nations).

A Pakistan which has forsaken the tolerance sought to be inculcated by its founding fathers, a Pakistan losing no sleep at the persecution of its minorities and the killing of Shias, a country which can countenance the victimization of an Aasia Bibi or a Rimsha Masih, is a country in dire need of asking some hard questions of itself. All injustice is bad; injustice perpetrated in the name of religion is infinitely worse. We can be such hypocrites. Are the lives of the Caliphs dead pieces of parchment or living examples to follow? What would the great Omar have done if after a short absence from Makkah he had come to know of the plight of a young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih?

There and then he would have fired the interior minister, the Rehman Malik of his time, and asked the inspector general of police, the kotwal, to run round the city walls with a knapsack on his back. And he would have carried the girl Rimsha on his shoulders to her house and asked her mother if they had enough to eat, and if anything was found wanting, on bended knee he would have cried for Allah’s forgiveness. For was it not Omar who said that if a dog went hungry by the banks of the Euphrates he, the Caliph, would be asked about it on the Day of Judgment?

The Islam which spread so fast from the sands of the Hejaz was a thing of achievement and glory. And to think what we have made of it in this republic founded in the name of Islam?

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The 1967 India China Armed Clash at Nathu La …

Posted on October 7, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career |

This is a Story that is all about Leadership provided by 2 Grenadiers under Rai Singh, and that Great Battle Field Commander, Gen Sagat Singh. All this was lacking at Jelep La in Sikkim in 1965 under 17 Mtn Div and hence this was given to the Chinese on a Platter even though the Div Commander rose to the next rank while Sagat went onto cool his heels in an Area HQ!

While 1962 stands as the seminal year for Sino – Indian relations, it was in 1967 that Indian and Chinese troops seriously clashed at Nathu La with major casualties on both sides. Nathu La at 14200 feet is an important pass on the Tibet-Sikkim border and the route taken by the Younghusband Expedition from Gangtok to Lhasa on 3 December 1903.

Although the Sikkim-Tibet boundary is well defined by the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 17 March 1890, the Jelep La pass also on the Sikkim -Tibet border was inexplicably vacated by 17 Mountain Division on the Chinese giving an ultimatum during the 1965 War and promptly occupied by the Chinese. Nathu La was not vacated and thus remained in Indian hands

At the time of the 1967 clash, 2 Grenadiers was holding Nathu La and was under the command of Lt Col (later Brigadier) Rai Singh MVC, a most gallant officer.

Now follows an account given by a young officer who was present:

“The daily routine at Nathu La used to start with patrolling by both sides along the perceived border which almost always resulted in arguments. The only one on the Chinese side who could converse in broken English was the Political Commissar who could be recognized by a red patch on his cap.

Sentries of both the forces used to stand barely one meter apart in the center of the Pass. Argument between the two sides soon changed to push changing into shove and on 6 September 1967 a scuffle took place.

To de-escalate the situation the Indian Command ordered that barbed wire be laid in the center of the Pass from Nathu La to Sebu La as it would  demarcate the perceived border. This task was to be carried out by 70 Field Company of Engineers assisted by a company of 18 Rajput deployed at Yak La pass further north of Nathu La. The wire laying was to commence at first light on the fateful morning of 11 September 1967.

That morning dawned bright and sunny unlike the normal foggy day. The engineers and jawans started erecting long iron pickets from Nathu La to Sebu La along the perceived border while 2 Grenadiers and Artillery Observation Post Officers at Sebu La and Camel’s Back were on alert.

Immediately, the Chinese Political Commissar, with a section of Infantry came to the center of the Pass where Lt. Col Rai Singh was standing with his commando platoon. The Commissar asked Lt Col Rai Singh to stop laying the wire.

An argument started which became a scuffle and  the commissar got roughed up. The Chinese went back to their bunkers and our engineers resumed laying the wire.

Within a few minutes, a whistle was heard on the Chinese side followed by murderous machine gun fire from North Shoulder. The pass is completely devoid of cover and 70 Field Company and 18 Rajput were caught in the open and suffered heavy casualties with Col Rai Singh being wounded.

Capt Dagar, 2 Grenadiers and Major Harbhajan Singh,18 Rajput rallied a few troops and tried to assault the Chinese MMG but both died a heroic death and were posthumously awarded Vir Chakra and MVC respectively.

2 Grenadier opened small arms fire on North shoulder but it was not very effective. Within the first ten minutes, there were nearly seventy dead and scores wounded lying in the open on the pass. Within half an hour, Chinese artillery opened up on the pass as well as in the depth areas but it was mostly prophylactic fire due to lack of observation and thus failed to do much damage.

Meanwhile our artillery observation post officers asked for permission to fire and it was granted. The excellent domination and observation from Sebu La and Camel’s back, made our fire most effective. Most Chinese bunkers on North shoulder and in depth were completely destroyed resulting in very heavy casualties that by their own estimates were over 400.

The artillery duel thereafter carried on day and night and over the next three days, the Chinese were given a severe lesson. On 14 September, they threatened bringing in their Air Force if shelling did not stop.

As a result an uneasy ceasefire came about. The Chinese, true to form, had pulled their dead bodies to their side of the perceived border at night and accused us of violating the border.

Dead bodies were exchanged on 15 September in the presence of Maj. Gen. Sagat Singh, GOC 17 Mountain Division in Sikkim and Lt.Gen. Sam Maneckshaw, the Eastern Army Commander.

On October 1, 1967 this event repeated itself at Cho La when 7/11 Gurkha Rifles and 10 JAK Rifles were tested by the PLA and similarly not found wanting.

The lesson of 1967 may have been learnt by China, just as the lesson of 1962 has been absorbed by India. Not a single shot has been fired across the border since then and even today the Indian Army and the Peoples Liberation Army stand eye-ball to eye-ball.

Currently both countries are well settled on the actual positions held. In Ladskh, China is pretty much close to what it desired pre-1962, which is along the old McCartney-MacDonald Line, which British India hastily abandoned in favor of the Johnson Line which encompassed the Aksai Chin after being spooked by reports of Soviet Russian presence in Xinjiang.

The McCartney-MacDonald Line, long favored by Whitehall, was dispensed with and in 1942 British India reverted back to the more forward Johnson Line that encompassed the Aksai Chin as Indian territory.

In the eastern sector, India pretty much holds on to the alignment along the McMahon Line.

Thrice in the past the Chinese offered to settle this vexatious issue on this as is where is basis, but India baulked because the dynamics of its domestic politics did not allow it.

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Founding of the SIKH Religion …

Posted on October 5, 2012. Filed under: Great Writing, Guide Posts, Indian Thought, Personalities |

The World in general, including the Sikhs themselves, know little about Sikhism. Probably because Sikhism itself has degenerated and fallen prey to the very practices, which it was the endeavor of its Guru’s to proscribe.

Here are extracts from the work of Joseph Davy Cunningham. who must surely rank with Gibbon as a Historian. This Englishman was a Captain in the East India Company and served eight years in the Punjab.when he researched and produced his great work. He died a year later, aged 39.

In religious faith and worldly aspirations the Sikhs are wholly different from other Indians. They are bound together by a community of inward sentiment and of outward object unknown elsewhere.

The Sikhs are converts to a new religion, which came from the dispensation of both Brahma and Mohamad. Their enthusiasm is fresh and their faith is an active and living principle. They are persuaded that God himself is present with them and that He supports them in all their endeavors and will, sooner or later, confound their enemies for His own Glory.

Their strength lies in the unity and energy of religious fervor and war like temperament. They will dare much and endure much for the mystic ‘Khalsa’ or commonwealth. They are not discouraged by defeat and they ardently look forward to the day when the world shall acknowledge the double mission of Nanak and Gobind.

A living spirit possesses the whole Sikh people. The impress of Gobind has not only elevated and altered the constitution of their minds but has operated materially and given amplitude to their physical frames.

The features and external form of a whole people have been modified. A Sikh chief is not more distinguishable by his stately person and free and manly bearing than a minister of his faith is by a lofty thoughtfulness of look which marks the fervor of his soul and his persuasion of the near presence of the divinity.

Nanak perceived the true principles of reform and laid the broad foundations which enabled his Tenth successor, Gobind, to fire the minds of his countrymen with a new nationality and to give practical effect to the doctrine that the lowest is equal with the highest, in race as in creed, in political rights as in religious hopes.

Nanak was born near Lahore in 1469 and was by nature of a pious disposition and had a reflective mind. He made himself familiar with the creeds of Islam and of the Hindus and gained knowledge of the Koran and Brahminical Shastras. His good sense and fervid temper left him displeased with the corruptions of vulgar faith and dissatisfied with the indifference of the learned or the refuge they sought in the specious abstractions of philosophy.

The ardent inquirer strove to attain wisdom by penitent meditation, by study and by an enlarged intercourse with mankind. He traveled beyond the limits of India; he prayed in solitude; he reflected on the Vedas and the mission of Mohamad and he questioned with equal anxiety the learned priest and the simple devotee – about the will of God and the path to happiness.

The heart of the pious Nanak sought hopelessly for a resting place amid the conflicting creeds and practices of men. He said all was error. He had read the Puranas and the Koran but God was nowhere to be found. He called upon men to worship the One Invisible God, to live virtuously and to be tolerant of the failings of others.

The mild demeanor, the earnest piety and the persuasive eloquence of Nanak are ever the themes of praise..

Nanak loftily invokes the Lord as the One, the Sole, the Timeless Being, the Creator, the Self Existent, the Incomprehensible, and the Ever Lasting. He likens the Deity to Truth, which was before the world began, which is and which shall endure for ever as the ultimate idea or cause of all that we know or behold.

He addresses equally the Mullah and the Pandit, the Dervish and the Sannaysi and tells them to remember that Lord of Lords, who had seen come and go, numberless Mohamads. Vishnus and Shivas. He tells them that virtues and charities, heroic acts and gathered wisdom, are naught of themselves.

That the only knowledge that availeth is the knowledge of God. To rebuke men who saw eternal life in their own act of faith, he declares that they only can find the Lord, on whom the Lord looks with favor. Yet the extension of grace is linked with the exercise of our will and the beneficent use of our faculties.

God, said Nanak, places salvation in good works and uprightness of conduct. The Lord will ask of man, “What has he done?” And the teacher further requires timely repentance, saying “If not until the day of reckoning, the sinner abaseth himself, punishment shall overtake him”.

Nanak adopted the philosophical system of his countrymen and regarded bliss as the dwelling of the soul with God after its punitory transmigrations should have ceased. Life, he says, is like the shadow of the passing bird. The soul of man is like the potters wheel, ever circling on its pivot. Nanak says that he, who remains bright amid darkness, unmoved amid deceit (maya) and perfect amid temptation, shall attain happiness.

Nanak referred to the Arabian Prophet and the Hindu Incarnations, not as imposters and diffusers of evil but having been truly sent by God to instruct mankind and he truly lamented that sin should never the less prevail. He asserted no special divinity, though he may have possibly considered himself, as he was considered by others, as an inspired teacher sent to reclaim fallen mortals of all creeds and countries.

He rendered his mission applicable to all times and all places yet he declared himself to be a slave, a humble messenger of the Almighty making use of the Universal Truth. “Fight with no weapon but with the word of God, as a holy man has no means other than the purity of his doctrine.” He taught that asceticism or abandonment of the world was unnecessary – the pious hermit and the devout householder were equal in the eyes of the Almighty.

Nanak extricated his followers from the accumulated errors of ages and enjoined upon them devotion of thought and excellence of conduct as the first of duties. He left them erect and free, unbiased in mind and unfettered by rules to become an increasing body of truthful worshippers. His reform was religious and moral and believers were regarded as Sikhs or disciples.

His care was to prevent his followers from contracting into a sect and his comprehensive principles narrowing into monastic distinctions. This he effected by excluding his son from the Ministry, when he should himself be no more and preferred the simple and sincere Lehna, who he named as Angad who in turn was followed by Seven more Gurus till Govind who ended the line of Gurus by proclaiming that the Granth Sahib or Holy Book would hence forth be the Everlasting Guru..

Nanak died in 1539 at the age of 70, leaving behind many zealous and admiring disciples.

For reasons of space we omit the strong contribution of Gurus’ 2 to 9 and go to the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind..

Study and reflection had enlarged the mind of Guru Gobind and experience of the world had matured his judgement and under the mixed impulse of avenging his own and his country’s wrongs, he resolved upon awakening his followers to a new life and upon giving precision and aim to the broad and general institutions of Nanak. In the heart of the powerful Mughal Empire, he set himself to the task of subverting it. From the midst of social degradation and religious corruption, he called up simplicity of manners, singleness of purpose and enthusiasm of desire.

Gobind was equally bold, systematic and sanguine. He thought that the minds of men might be wrought upon to great purposes. He deplored the corruption of the world. He resented the tyranny which endangered his own life and he believed that the time had come for another teacher to arouse the latent energies of the human will. His memory was filled with primaeval seers and heroes. His imagination dwelt on successive dispensations for the instruction of the world and his mind was not, perhaps, untinged with a superstitious belief in his own earthly destiny.

The Hindu Devtas on one hand and Mohamad on the other, had required men to repeat their own name while beseeching God. Whereas Gobind was  himself only as other men and a humble servant of God, a beholder of the wonders of creation and whosoever worshiped him as the Lord, would assuredly burn in everlasting flame. God, he said, was to be found only in humility and sincerity. He said that the low were to be raised and those held in contempt would sit by his side.

Gobind thus abolished social distinction and took away from his followers each ancient solace of superstition. To fill the void, he felt that he must engage the heart as well as satisfy the reason and give the Sikhs some common bond of union.which would remind the weak of their new life and add fervor to the devotion of the sincere.

Having assembled his followers, he founded the Khalsa, (the pure) and bonded it by sacrifice and similarity in outward form based on the five ‘K’s of the local script (unshorn hair, a comb, knife, undergarment and an iron bangle). He thus made himself master of the imagination of his followers and established the theocracy of Sikhs.

Gobind added religious fervor to warlike temper and his design of founding a kingdom of jats, upon the waning glories of the Mughals, does not appear to have been idly conceived or rashly undertaken.

After numerous successes and some severe reversals, Gobind proceeded to the Deccan where the Mughal Emperor was ensconced. Here he was fatally stabbed after he had retired. by the sons of a pathan his grand father, Guru HarGobind, or he himself had slain. Gobind directed that no harm come to his assassins as they had only done their duty in avenging their father’s death. Then he ordained that hence forth the everlasting Guru of the Sikhs was to be the Guru Granth or the Book of the compiled writings of Nanak and others.

It was 1708 and Gobind was in his 48th year.

Gobind did not live to see his own ends accomplished but he effectually aroused the dormant energies of a vanquished people and filled them with a lofty though fitful longing for social freedom and national ascendancy – the proper adjuncts of that purity of worship which had been preached by Nanak. Gobind saw what was yet vital and filled it with Promethian fire.

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KICK START Your DAY …

Posted on October 2, 2012. Filed under: From a Services Career, Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty, Personal Magnetism, Searching for Success |

WAKE UP  SMILING  

Rise Happy and Respect the Day. And the day will respect you! Remember the ‘Attitude of Gratitude’! Smiling the minute you wake up sends positive signals to your brain reassuring it that all is well with your world. This will help you carry the mood the entire day.everything is alright. 

 SPEND COUPLE MINUTES STRETCHING

Stretch those arms, legs, neck, head and just about every muscle and sinew in your body.  Stretching is Natures way of arousing your energies lying deep down and dormant. See how your cat or dog stretch and learn from them.

DRINK WATER

This you must do even before that morning cup of coffee or tea. Water comes second only to oxygen for us. It helps metabolize the fat content in your body that makes you sluggish. It is nature’s appetite suppressant. Hallelujah to WATER!

SOOTHING MUSIC.

One of the greatest anti-depressants and stress busters. Turn up the volume and carry on with your morning rituals with it in the back ground.

Every once in a while make an idiot of your self by laughing out loud. This will set you free! By the way laughing out loud lowers BP and increases blood flow to the heart and oxidizes it too. 

GOALS FOR THE DAY

These should have been set the night before when you were trying to sleep. Review them and plan your Day. This will help organize your life for the day.

By the way you should have goals for the Day, Week and Month. Remember those NY Resolutions which you remember only when another NY comes along!

 BREAK FAST LIKE A KING

Have the Healthy Stuff like cereals, eggs, nuts, juices and the like. Concentrate on fiber, citrus fruits but add chocolate. These are anti depressants and make you healthy.     

FINALLY take the trouble to look at Yourself in the Mirror and PERK UP – SURE YOU AIN’T  THAT BAD!!!

And REMEMBER

These Things DO NOT TAKE ANY EXTRA TIME at all. TIME is the Most Valuable Thing each and every Morning because  No One Ever has Time for Any thing every Morning

 

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