Archive for November, 2013

Views on WHISKEY

Posted on November 21, 2013. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty, Public Speaking |

In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey.  What follows is Class Tongue in Cheek (taken from the Political Archives of Texas):

“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the lubricant of conversation, the philosophic juice, the elixir of life, the liquid that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.

 

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Great Speech – Cricket and Politics …

Posted on November 11, 2013. Filed under: Indian Thought, Public Speaking |

These are Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Late Lakshman Kadirgamar’s after dinner remarks, in the UK where Sri Lankan Cricketers were present.
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Some historians say, I think uncharitably, that cricket is really a diabolical political strategy, disguised as a game, in fact a substitute for War, invented by the  ingenious British to confuse the natives by encouraging them to fight each other instead of their imperial rulers. 
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The world is divided into two camps – those who revel in the intricacies of cricket and those who are totally baffled by it, who cannot figure out why a group of energetic young men should spend days, often in the hot sun or bitter cold, chasing a ball across an open field, hitting it from time to time with a stick – all to the rapturous applause of thousands, now millions, of ecstatic spectators across the world.
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The game has developed a mystical language of its own that further bewilders those who are already befuddled by its complexities.In the course of my travels I have a hard time explaining to the non-cricketing world – in America , China , Europe and Russia – that a ‘googly’ is not an Indian sweetmeat; that a ‘square cut’ is not a choice selection of prime beef; that a ‘cover drive’ is not a secluded part of the garden; that a ‘bouncer’ is not a muscular janitor at a night club, that a ‘Yorker is not some exotic cocktail mixed in Yorkshire or that a ‘leg-break’ is not a sinister manoeuvre designed to cripple your opponent’s limbs below the waist.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, let me see whether politics and cricket have anything in common. Both are games. Politicians and cricketers are superficially similar, and yet very different. Both groups are wooed by the cruel public who embrace them today and reject them tomorrow. 
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Cricketers work hard; politicians only pretend to do so. Cricketers are disciplined; discipline is a word unknown to most politicians in any language. Cricketers risk their own limbs in the heat of honourable play; politicians encourage others to risk their limbs in pursuit of fruitless causes while they remain secure in the safety of their pavilions. Cricketers deserve the rewards they get; the people get the politicians they deserve.
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Cricketers retire young; politicians go on for ever. Cricketers unite the country; politicians divide it. Cricketers accept the umpire’s verdict even if they disagree with it; politicians who disagree with an umpire usually get him transferred.  Cricketers stick to their team through victory and defeat, politicians in a losing team cross over and join the winning team. Clearly, cricketers are the better breed.
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A story goes that a shark was asked why diplomats were his preferred food. He replied “because their brains being small are a tasty morsel, their spines being supple I can chew on them at leisure – and they come delightfully marinated in alcohol.
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Today we lost a match. But you lost to the rain and M/s Duckworth and Lewis. You did not lose to England . Only a few weeks ago you had a resounding victory against South Africa . You will win again tomorrow. What is important is to keep up your confidence and spirits.
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Nobody told me that I had to make a speech, it dawned on me that there is no such thing as a free dinner!”
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1947/48 War – Sam Manekshaw …

Posted on November 9, 2013. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

This is from an interview Sam Manekshaw, the first Field Marshal of the Indian Army, (Gen KM Cariappa was made one a wee later) gave to Prem Shankar Jha. Manekshaw, was a Colonel who was chosen to accompany V.P. Menon to Kashmir when V.P. was proceeding to that state to secure J & K’s Accession to India. This is Manekshaw as recorded by Prem Shankar Jha –
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At about 2.30 in the afternoon, General Sir Roy Bucher walked into my room and said, ‘Eh, you, go and pick up your toothbrush. You are going to Srinagar with V P Menon. The flight will take off at 4 o’clock’. I said, ‘Why me, Sir?’ ‘Because we are worried about the military situation. V P Menon is going there to get the accession from the Maharaja and Mahajan.’I flew in with V P Menon in a Dakota with the Air Force rep Sqn Ldr Dewan.’
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Since I was in the Directorate of Military Operations, and responsible for current operations all over India, West Frontier, Punjab, and elsewhere, I knew the situation in Kashmir. I knew that the tribesmen had come in – initially only the tribesmen – but now supported by the Pakistanis.
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Fortunately for us, and for Kashmir, they were busy raiding, raping, looting. In Baramulla they killed Colonel D O T Dykes. Dykes and I were of the same seniority and we did our first year’s attachment with the Royal Scots in Lahore – way back in 1934/5. Tom went to the Sikhs and I went to the Frontier Force. We’d lost contact but he become a lieutenant colonel. Tom and his wife were holidaying in Baramulla when the tribesmen killed them.
The Maharaja’s forces were half Muslim and half Dogra. The Muslim elements revolted and joined the Pakistani forces. This was the broad military situation. The tribesmen were believed to be about 7 to 9 kilometers from Srinagar. I was sent in to get the precise military situation. The army knew that if we had to send soldiers, we would have to fly them in. Therefore, a few days before, we had made arrangements for aircraft and for units to be ready.
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But we couldn’t fly them in until the state of Kashmir had acceded to India. From the political side, Sardar Patel and V P Menon had been dealing with Mahajan and the Maharaja, and the idea was that V.P Menon would get the Accession, I would bring back the military appreciation and report to the government. Our troops were already at the airport, ready to be flown in. Air Chief Marshall Elmhurst was the Air Chief and he had made arrangements for the aircraft from civil and military sources.
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Anyway, we were flown in and went to Srinagar and to the palace. I have never seen such chaotic cofusion and disorganisation in my life. The Maharaja was running about from one room to the other. I have never seen so much jewellery in my life – pearl necklaces, ruby things, lying in one room; packing here, there, everywhere. There was a convoy of vehicles.The Maharaja was coming out of one room and going into another saying, ‘Alright, if India doesn’t help, I will go and join my troops and fight it out’.
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I couldn’t restrain myself and said, ‘That will raise their morale sir’.
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Eventually, I got the military situation from everybody around us, asking what the hell was happening, and discovered that our information was correct and the tribesmen were about seven or nine kilometres from what was then that horrible little airfield.
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V P Menon was in the meantime discussing with Mahajan and the Maharaja who eventually the Maharaja signed the accession papers and we flew back in the Dakota.
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There were no night facilities amd who were helping us to fly back by lighting the airfield, were Sheikh Abdullah, Kasim Sahib, Sadiq Sahib, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, D P Dhar – all with pine torches. And we flew back to Delhi by 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.
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On arriving at Delh the first thing I did was to go and report to Sir Roy Bucher. He said, ‘Eh, you, go shave and clean up. There is a cabinet meeting at 9 o’clock. I will pick you up and take you there.’ So I went home, shaved, dressed and Roy Bucher picked me up and we went to the cabinet meeting.
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The cabinet meeting was presided over by Mountbatten. There was Jawaharlal Nehru, there was Sardar Patel, there was Sardar Baldev Singh. There were other ministers whom I did not know and did not want to know, because I had nothing to do with them. Sardar Baldev Singh I knew because he was the minister for defence, and I knew Sardar Patel, because Patel would insist that V P Menon take me with him to the various states.
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Almost every morning the Sardar would send for V P, H M Patel and myself. While Maniben (Patel’s daughter and de facto secretary) would sit cross-legged with a Parker fountain pen taking notes, Patel would say, ‘V P, I want Baroda. Take him with you.’ I was the bogeyman. So I got to know the Sardar very well.
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At the morning meeting Menon handed over the (Accession) thing. Mountbatten turned around and said, ‘Come on Manekji (He called me Manekji instead of Manekshaw), What is the military situation?’ I gave him the military situation and told him that unless we flew in troops immediately, we would have lost Srinagar and the Valley, because going by road would take days, and once the tribesmen got the airport and Srinagar, we couldn’t fly troops in. But now everything was ready at the Delhi airport.
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As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God almighty, everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said, ‘Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir or do you want to give it away’. Nehru said,’ Of course, I want Kashmir’. Then Patel said ‘Please give your orders’. But before he could say anything, Sardar Patel turned to me and said, ‘You have got your orders’.
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I walked out and we started flying in troops. I think it was the Sikh regiment under Ranjit Rai that was the first lot to be flown in. And then we continued flying troops in.
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Then the fighting took place. I became a brigadier and became director of military operations and also if you will see the first signal to be signed ordering the cease-fire on 1 January 1949 – it has been signed by Colonel Manekshaw on behalf of C-in-C India. That must be lying in the Military Operations Directorate.
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PS. Did you know that Sam Manekshaw never ever commanded a battalion of any Regt?
 
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