Archive for April, 2017

NE History – Birth of Mizoram – Part I …

Posted on April 30, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought, Uncategorized |

SEVEN DAYS in Mar 1966 – ‘Rat’ Revolution’ in Lushai Hills by Unni Kartha.

‘Mi-Zo-Ram’, now a ‘land of the happy hill people’ became an independent state of the union only in 1987, 40 yrs after Indian independence. It is an exotic locale in the north eastern corner of India, with 90.7% dense forest cover, lots of bamboo, just 52 odd persons per sq km, almost equal man to woman ratio and 97% literacy, all of them reasons why Mizoram is such a happy place.

But that was not how it was in 1840 when Capt Blackwood, a cavalier pirate of sorts, led the 14th NLI Regiment of East India Company through the thick bamboo forest to go after the Kukis (Thahdos), Lusei and others, who were all hell bent on head hunting and eating themselves ‘Su-Shi’, in the raw, and displaying the leering heads of the dead men on a stake outside their cottage.

To give them due credit, the natives of erstwhile Lushai Hills were a persistent war like people and tested the patience of Queen Victoria till she annexed them in 1895 and made them her subjects and predicates, in Wren & Martin, the constitution of ‘Eng-Land’. Reason why they had bit of an attitude in 1947 and wanted to become ‘Lushai-Land’ like ‘Eng-Land’, and not be a part of Indian Union. Their attitude upset quite a few, including Sardar Patel, who wisely left the state of affairs and governance to 259 tribal chiefs, to continue head hunting and eating each other sushi, to keep the Lusei very happy in ‘Hinglish’ Wren & Martin under the ‘Tiranga’, and make them forget their aspiration of an independent ‘Lushai Land’.

After Indian independence, the entire ‘North East’ territory ahead of Siliguri continued to be one single province ‘Assam’, ruled by Congress Chief Ministers (CMs)  Gopinath Bordoloi (1946-50), Bishnu Ram Medhi (1950-57) and then, for thirteen tumultuous years by a Rasputin, Bimala Prasad  Chaliha (1957-70). Elected thrice as CM, Chaliha faced two national emergencies; the Sino-Indian conflict and the Mizo revolution/civil war.  The former had nothing to with him. But the latter was perhaps triggered by his politically savvy, but demographically catastrophic, draconian ‘ Official Language Act 1960’ which hoped to unify the entire North East, compelling all diverse ethnic groups to learn and speak in Assamese. Chaliha, with king size ambition, proactively resisted the popular demand to divide the mammoth, ethnically diverse, geographically difficult to  administer Assam state, into smaller states (with common ethnic and linguistic identity, as it is now), though he was put in charge of various Committees of central Govt of India (GoI) which contemplated such division. Only after his death in 1971 could GoI make any headway to break down the mammoth Assam province. But let me not jump the gun.

During Medhi’s innings as CM in 1954,  an attempt at ethnic cleansing was made by the 259 venerable Mizo chieftains, mainly to make the Christian Lusei and Budhist Chakamas into edible sushi delicacy; head hunting was after all a  favourite ‘time pas’ in that part of the world. The European Presbyterian Missionaries were the first to start crying. Their cry was picked up and repeated very volubly by international press, the Queen of England, President of America, and even the Pope. GoI, Nehru in particular, was heartbroken.

Medhi came under severe pressure to act. As all CM’s do under emergency, usually under ‘Aid To Civil Power Act’, Medhi immediately called for Army intervention. But Maharaj Rajendrasinhji  Jadeja, then Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of Indian Army, declined saying he had inadequate resources and that it was a political problem which Medhi must handle himself on political and administrative level.

So VK Singh was not the first Army Chief to say ‘Bugger Off’, when asked to go and murder fellow Maoist citizens whom the politicians and bureaucrats could not handle within the political machinations of our strange democratic system.

Medhi then turned to the very spirited and dynamic Jairam Das Daulatram,  Governor of Assam, and Kailash Nath Katju, the Union Home Minister under Nehru. They helped by moving two units of Assam Rifles, a para military under Home Ministry, from Shibsagar and Shillong into Lushai Hill Tract, to assist in maintaining law and order by giving everyone in Lushai Hills the ‘Bum-Boo’ !

Medhi made the 259 tribal chieftains redundant and turned to the Deputy Commissioner Lushai Hills, S.N.Barkataki from Assam Civil Service Cadre, and the newly enacted ‘Lushai Hills Act’ to handle administration through elected ‘Autonomous Village Councils’. For a while Mizoram once again became a happy place eating food cooked with ‘Bhut Jolokia’ chillies and not sushi or ‘Tipsy pudding’ with Chakamas’ gonads. Then in 1958, with clockwork precision, the forests in Mizoram went wild with ‘Mautam’.

Mautam, a cyclic ecological phenomenon, occurs precisely every 48 years when the strange bamboo (Melocanna Baccifera) in the jungles of Luhai Hills and neighbourhood, flowers all at the same time. Strangely, this massive flowering of the bamboo incites the pheromone and testosterone levels in jungle rats to multiply so rapidly that there is not enough for them to eat in the jungle. They then run out of the jungle like locust and spread-out all over Lushai Hills to forage food grains, creating famine and plague amongst the Homos, Sapiens, LGBTs as well as those who look and act like Neanderthals in Lushai Hill Tract.

In the Mautam of 1958, the rats perhaps fornicated with more zest because the famine and plague were most severe. The then Governor of Assam, Chandreswar Prasad Sinha, along with Chaliha in tow, moved Assam Rifle and some local armed constabulary, at platoon level, into the far reaches of the jungles, to set up posts with air dropping zones, create a civil-supply-chain for distribution of essential commodities, maintain law and order, and feed the hungry and unhappy people of Lushai Hill Tract. He also got the central Govt to send in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to create a north to south motor-able road from Silchar to Lunglai, no mean task due to the severity of the jungles and mountains. The road was expected to not only improve communications, but also substantially increase the quantity of supplies that could be sent to Lushai Hills because Silchar was connected to Guhati by rail.

Mr Shankaran Nair, then Dir IB in Delhi (later Sec RAW before he resigned during Morarji’s time as PM), in a secretive operation, recruited and inducted an army of Malyalees, as ‘Political  Officers’ who had a covert role as ‘Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB)’ operatives all over the North East. They were meant to keep their finger on the pulse of the local people, transmit daily intelligence reports for IB HQ in Delhi. Their overt inconspicuous role was supply chain management of air dropped stores and assistants to civil administration!!! Local people were first taught social adjustment trades (carpentry, masonry, electrical applications, or simply as labourers for road construction and as porters for the public logistic distribution system). They were then paid in Indian currency. The currency was used to buy the goods that was air dropped.  It was a cyclic process, a successful non-profit business run by GoI !!!

First into the foray to meet the challenges of air dropping supplies to the beleaguered Mizos was Biju Patnaik and his private airline Kalinga Airways, operating from Guhati and Kumbigram (Silchar), also handling the to-ing and fro-ing of VIPs, para medics, political and administrative teams, all from a small wartime ‘advanced landing ground (ALG)’, (now the Lengpui Airport, 32 km from Aizwal (old Aijal). IAF soon joined in. General Satyawant Mallanna Shrinagesh, ex Chief Of Army Staff (CoAS), who succeeded Sinha as Governor, increased the quantum of solace and the Mautam crisis was more or less brought under control by 1960.

As it happens in every calamity, the locals rose to the occasion too, by forming the ‘Mizo National Famine Front (MNFF)’. The MNFF was a large work force of pioneers, basically to lend a hand with the grass root distribution of the logistic aid that was being air dropped at the dropping zones at Aijal, Champai and Lungle. MNFF was to carry it in small head loads to inaccessible far flung habitats, all over the jungle, …….one hell of a job.

And the man who quickly rose up the chain of command in MNFF was the charismatic, dynamic, 33 year old, demobilised ex Havildar Pu Laldenga, born an Assamese with Mizo ancestry and family ties. His greatest achievement was to integrate the diverse tribes of Lushai Hill Tracts into a single group called Mizos and give an identity to the Lushai Hill Tract as ‘Mizoram’. He was gleefully preferred as a stooge and promoted to the forefront by the state, as well as the local civil administration, due to his military background as well disciplined efficiency and ability to motivate his illiterate and backward people.

As Hav Laldenga’s popularity grew amongst the tribes of the new ‘Mizoram’ across the board, his pockets began to bulge. He began to develop megalomania and king sized ambition, especially when inadvertently supported and abetted by the army’s Eastern Command, as well as  the civil administration run by an ex CoAS in Guwahati. The Indian army, civil administration and the IB created the over ambitious political Frankenstein from one amongst their own cadre.

As it often happens, political mavericks create secessionist movements only when supported by rouge external nation state(s) with motives, money, cross border shelter, arms and training. Hav Laldenga became the darling of then East Pakistan, keen to support dissidents and break away groups in India. Under Paki tutelage in Oct 1961, Laldenga (along with JF Manliana, R Vanlawma, and Rochhinga, comrades from MNFF), dropped ‘Famine’ from the apolitical MNFF and converted it to a right wing fascist ‘Mizo National Front (MNF)’ with explicit secessionist intensions, to go back to the ambitions of creating a kingdom called Mizoram, the same ‘Lushai-Land’ like ‘Eng-Land’, with Hav Laldenga as King (much like Idi Amin in Uganda).

India at that time got embroiled with the Sino Indian war (1962) and lost focus of the MNF and the Mizoram. The Malyalee political officers from SIB, most of them young frustrated bachelor Catholic Christians, were using the expat missionaries as conduits for creating ‘zenanas’ with the prettiest girls in the neighbourhood. Their finger instead of being on the political pulse as Shankaran Nair intended, was elsewhere.  They became ‘sleepers’ on the job. Laldenga was left alone to ferment separatist ideology, piggy backing on the public dissent created by introduction of Assamese as compulsory official language, part of the ping pong policies introduced by CM Chaliha, with full support from ex CoAS Srinagesh and Vishnu Sahai, an ex-ICS Cabinet Secretary, who alternated with ex CoAS Srinagesh every few years as imperious Governors of Assam between 1959-68. GoI had no clue about the political trouble that was brewing in the new found Mizoram despite the bevy of ‘political officers’ of SIB present there.

Laldenga and his minions in MNF went on a recruiting drive to create a private army of mercenaries using demobilised or retired ex-military cadres to form the supervisory chain of command with younger able bodied men as jawans. 2 AR, which had just been disbanded for mutiny, joined Hav Laldenga to the last man. This private army of the MNF was then named Mizo National Army (MNA). After recruitment, the MNA cadre were secretly ferreted out to clandestine training camps in East Pakistan, where they were split, armed and trained to form two infantry Brigades (Bdes), each with four battalions (Bns), much like the Indian army.

The ‘Lion Bde’, with Bns named after Mizo legends (Chawngbawla, Khuangchera, Saizahawla and Taitesena Bns) were given operational responsibility of the northern half of Miizoram. The Dagger Bde (with Joshua, Lalvunga, Vanapa and Zampui Manga Bns) operated in the southern part. By the end of 1965, the MNF had armed themselves with basic infantry weapons; 303 rifles, 9mm Stens, AK-47, LMGs, RPGs, mostly supplied by Pakis, and others stolen from Assam Rifles. They also obtained explosives by raiding the posts of Border Roads Organisation engaged in building the north to south road in the inaccessible parts of Mizoram. Money came from raiding banks in Assam, as also counterfeit notes printed in Pakistan. The Pakis taught MNA how to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to booby trap jungle trails, to mine roads and to blow up installations.

To support the operational logistics of the two Bdes in inaccessible terrain, Laldenga called upon his old army of pioneers and irregulars of MNFF and formed them into Mizo National Volunteers (MNV) under command of MNF. By mid-1965 the stage was set for ‘rat revolution’ and civil war in Lushai Hill Tract, now referred to as Mizoram. Happy Lusei were then turned to very unhappy and angry Mizos.

As it happens in insurgency and civil war in remote areas, the MNA too had to feed off the land, depend on the villages for their sustenance (new recruits, money, food, shelter, wine, women and song). Atrocities began initially as pillage, abduction and rape. To cover that up, Laldenga called for ethnic cleansing, targeting the non-Christian minorities (Chakma, Mara, Lai, Tripuri, Hmar, Paite,…….etc). Mizoram went on the boil.

Code named ‘Operation Jericho’, Hav Laldenga’s plan was simple. He hoped the two Bdes of MNA attacking form north and south would quickly capture the treasuries, neutralise the posts manned by Assam Rifles / other local police / militia, takeover police stations and jails, capture armouries, arrest important non-Mizo (‘Vai’) officials and hoist the MNF flag at Aijal on 1 Mar, followed by a victory parade on 2 Mar 1966. He hoped that many from the civil administration would turn sympathisers and make the takeover easy. Hav Laldenga also hoped that if he could keep the MNF flag flying in Aijal for 48 hours, other countries such as Pakis would recognise the Mizo territory as a sovereign state, plead their case in UN, perhaps even invite UN peace keeping forces in the new found ‘Kingdom of Mizoram’.

The AR posts did get some indication that something was amiss when during the night of 27 Feb, Rokima, the brother of the MNF Lieutenant Lalnunmawia was killed in an accidental explosion of an IED, investigated by AR on 28th morning. However, AR could neither connect the IED blast with an impending attack, or the ferocity with which it would come the same night.

28 Feb 1966.

There was no Indian Army tentacle in Mizoram on 28 Feb 1966. The closest, 61 Inf Bde, was located at Silchar. Its forces, 4 understaffed Bns, were strung about on posts all over Nagaland and Manipur tackling other insurgencies. Since Mizoram had been comparatively peaceful, the only defensive forces there were para military; one battalion of No 1 AR, besides unarmed Border Roads Organisation (BRO) road construction parties, tentacles of unarmed / armed local armed constabulary, all of them in defensive garrisons at Kolasib, Aijal, Champai and Lunglai, besides platoon sized in-depth posts elsewhere deeper in the jungle where there were DZs.

On the night of 28 Feb/1 Mar 1966, both Bdes of MNA launched a series of simultaneous well planned attacks on the AR posts at Kolasib, Aijal,  Lungle  and Champai; as well as the constabularies at Demagiri, Chawngte, Hnahlan,  Marpara,  Tuipang,  Tuipuibari,  Vaphai  and Vaseitlang. The Border Security Force (BSF) in embryonic state was just being raised and was not involved in Mizoram, not then. There is no record of employment of CRPF at this stage.

The MNF attack at Lungle began at about 2230 hrs on 28 Feb 66, at the sub-treasury office situated within the defended perimeter of 1 AR post.  500–800 strong MNA attacked the stockade and were soon repulsed leaving two AR personnel and six of MNA dead. Three AR personnel were wounded. The AR camp was then surrounded and the siege lasted three days.

On 1 Mar morning one Mi-4 from 110 Helicopter Unit which tried to attend to 1 AR call for causality evacuation was shot at and had to return empty handed, without landing. No further attempts were made by helicopters to rescue the wounded.

The siege continued with intensive rifle and LMG fire from both sides. 1 AR began to run out of ammo and drinking water, while the MNA seemed to have no such difficulties.

An AF Dak from Kumbigram made a valiant attempt to air drop ammunition and water. It too came under fire and had to abort. On 5 March, the insurgents kidnapped RV Pillai, the Sub-divisional Officer (from SIB). At night on 6 Mar when they ran out of drinking water and ammunition, Lungle post surrendered along with the lightly held garrison of the BRO. By 0700 hrs on 7 Mar, MNF flag was flying over Lungle and the treasury as well as the armoury were in MNA’s hands.

Lungle was a diversion. The main objective of the MNA was Aijal. As sun set on 28th Feb, MNA elements started to infiltrate the township and completely surrounded it by around 2230 hrs. MNA then setup road blocks to prevent vehicular traffic. They began a combing operation looking for important members of the civil administration.  TS Gill, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) at Aijal, an ex-Army officer from the Indian Frontier Administrative Service (IFAS), took shelter in the heavily defended AR garrison. On his way he managed to get hold of L/Nk Shivashankaran Nair and his HF radio set from the BRO post.

1 Mar 66

At around 0200 hrs on 1 Mar, MNA elements attacked the telephone exchange at Aijal and took control, cutting all telephone links to the outside world. An hour later, around 150 MNA combatants, led by Nk Sub Lalnundawta (ex 2 AR, by now a self-styled Colonel), attacked the District Treasury and took control of not only treasure, but the entire armoury. Within the next few hours, the MNA was in control of all the administrative nerve centres, entirely paralysing the civil administration. They also seized all the vehicles in the town. MNA attacked the Aijal AR garrison repeatedly but could not penetrate the outer ring of ‘punjis’ (sharp wooden stakes) and ditches with intensive well sited fire from AR. By daybreak on 1 Mar, Aijal was completely under the control of the MNA and the AR garrison was surrounded and quarantined.

L/Nk Nair opened communication with 61 Bde in Silchar and civil administration at Shillong, Gauhati and Calcutta by 0400 hrs on 1 Mar. TS Gill started dictating situation reports every half an hour with Nair tapping the Morse code key.  This BRO radio link remained the only means of communication with Lushai Hill Tract in the subsequent days. The bad news was conveyed to the PMO, but blacked out from the press.

The records of a fact finding mission, from Govt of Assam, consisting of an all-party group sent to Mizoram three months later states, ‘At about 0130 hrs on 1 Mar, about 150 MNA surrounded the sub-divisional officer of the Public Works Department at Phainuam (near Vairengte) and asked him to get out of the district. They also took over the departmental stores, arms and ammunition of the policemen and all available vehicles. After the civil administration and local police ran off into the jungles, the MNA retreated to Kolasib. Similar incidents were reported from Coinlang and Chawngte. At the same time MNA captured the AR post at Champhai, with help from their sympathisers inside the AR post.

At Kolasib, the MNA took around 250 civil officials, the policemen and BRO road construction pioneers as captives, and kept them without food and water for two days. The women and children were also taken as captives and kept separately in a small building. However, none of the civilian officials and government servants was harmed. The MNF perhaps expected their support in running the administration of the proposed new sovereign state’.

In a brilliant lightening surgical strike, Hav Laldenga had liberated Lushai Hill Tract, and proclaimed independence of Mizoram. Well almost. All that remained as a thorn in his ass was the vigilant and valiant besieged post of 1 AR at Aijal which refused to surrender. It was just a matter of time, before they too ran out of water and ammunition and surrendered.

At 1100 hrs on 1 Mar, Hav Laldenga ceremoniously proclaimed independence, and exhorted all the Mizos to join the revolt against the ‘illegal Indian occupation’ of ‘Mizoram’, land of the Mizo people. Due to sniper fire from the AR post, he had to cancel the victory parade. The declaration of independence was a public relations fiasco since there were only the MNF cadre present along with a few press reporters whom Laldenga had invited. They could not get the news out since all telephone lines had been cut by the MNA. However, jeeps with loud speakers were sent around Aijal to convey the declaration of independence amongst the local population. It panicked them.

2 Mar 66

On 2 Mar, MNA ambushed an offensive patrol of the 1st AR just as they set forth from the garrison and inflicted heavy casualties on them. Around 1100 hrs MNA captured Aijal jail and all prisoners were set free. This led to further looting and arson of Aijal bazar, though the bazar was closed. Because of AR’s refusal to surrender, the planned victory parade by MNF on 2nd Mar was postponed to 10th Mar. Fearing oppression and retribution, the civil population of Aijal began running away into the jungles.

All of 2nd and 3rd Mar loudspeakers were used to broadcast continuous propaganda asking the Aijal garrison to surrender.  However the garrison stood fast and repulsed the MNA sallies to overrun the post.

By now the national press as well as international press had got the wind of the revolution in Lushai Hills. Canards began to fly. Chaliha, the CM in Gauhati, was livid with rage. He went ballistic with his rhetoric. Vishnu Sahay the Governor was equally emotive and joined Chaliha in blaming everyone else other than himself or Chaliha, especially for releasing Laldenga from jail without interrogation of any sort when he was caught returning from East Pak, the previous year. Indira Gandhi, a political novice had been PM for just 35 days with Gulzari Lal Nanda as her Home Minister. There were political and policy paralysis in Delhi, as well as Guhati.

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Mrs India 2017 – Capt Shalini Singh …

Posted on April 30, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities, Searching for Success |

Shalini Singh age 23, lost her husband and was left with a two-year-old son. Her story, in her own words–

“It was 2001. I was happily married. I had an army officer as a loving husband. Maj Avinash was posted in Kashmir. The separation was hard.

 Married at Nineteen, I continued my studies after marriage. We were blessed with a baby boy in 1999. I was a happy fauji wife, blessed mother and busy student. Life was great.
 
Mobiles were not common. We connected through phone calls, which were either patched up through Army Exchanges or made after long waiting in the only STD booth for soldiers.
 
Considering the quality of the connection and the rarity, each successful conversation was like a battle won. He used to love listening to the meaningless chatter of our son over the phone. Life was a true wonder. And we used to desperately look forward to those phone calls.
 
Until one morning when a phone call from Kashmir blew out my world. Early morning on 28 Sep 2001 the call from his unit said that he is seriously wounded. We were shaken. The worst fear of a fauji family had come true. Our universe went dark and our world came to a standstill. We prayed and prayed and prayed but alas!
 
The second call after two hours turned our world upside down. I had lost my husband,at the age 23. My two year old son had lost his father.
Maj Avinash Singh Bhadauria, Kirti Chakra (Posthumous), 8 Rashtriya Rifles
made the supreme sacrifice. He was 29.
 
My mind went still. Body became numb. Time passed in a haze. I did not know how to react when people offered condolences. I could see the faces, feel the movement around me and hear the sounds but everything seemed unreal. Nothing made sense. Nothing had meaning. I felt like ending it all.
 
But I had my hapless baby. Playing, giggling, chattering, chuckling and crying – enjoying the attention but not knowing anything. Dhruv brought me back to and gave me strength.
 
Over time, I decided to join the Army. I was not sure how as I was fragile and delicate and I had been a pampered child. When I met his unit officers, I told them that I had decided to join Army. Most were pleasantly surprised and extremely supportive though some were sceptical too. They made sure that I was aware of the challenges.
Getting through the selection, they said, was tough, and the training would be tougher. Life as an officer was not easy. Frequent movements, remote postings lots of instability, would cause problems as I had Dhruv – wholly dependent on me.
 
But I decided that my son would be my biggest strength and I would not let him make me weak. I had just one thought in my mind. I have to be strong. I have to wear the uniform and hit back at life. For us both.
 
I quit my Post graduation studies and applied. I prepared hard and also took coaching for the SSB. In December 2001 (three months after my husband attained Martyrdom) I was called for a week long interview at SSB, Allahabad.
 
My son had never stayed without me. I could not have left him for a week. My parents accompanied me to Allahabad. Understandably, they were not allowed inside the SSB centre. My son refused to eat from them. They used to wait outside in a nearby park with him. I used to come out at every break and feed him.
 
It was tough. My SSB co-candidates were moved to see my difficulties and were all praises for my strength. It was difficult but I was determined. For a week, I went through the rigorous procedure with determination and focus. Tears only used to roll out at night when I was inside the centre alone and my son was not with me.
 
When the results were announced, I couldn’t believe my ears. Yes, I had made it! I cried and cried and cried – don’t know for how long and ran outside full speed to inform my parents. We all cried together with immense joy and remembered my husband.
 
Thereafter, I had to spend another week for the medical tests. I could not have asked my parents to continue sitting at the park for another week. So I thought of speaking to my little child and making him understand that he should go with his Nana-nani. Dhruv did not cry as I had expected. He gave a smile and a flying kiss, then waived me good bye. I controlled my tears. I am still grateful to him for his understanding. We connected through our souls. And he understood my pain and the need for him to stay away from me. He became my strength.
 
But this one week of staying away from his mother was only a small rehearsal for my little one. It was a precursor to the many long periods in future when his mother would be away, not for days but for months at a stretch.
 
The beginning was a six months long training in Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai starting in March 2002. Life had changed 360 degrees. From sari/suit to uniform and army boots… I never had imagined in my wildest dreams ever. But I was there. Such is life.
 
Was Academy training tough? No, it was very very tough. To put it bluntly, it was beyond my imagination and physical stamina. At times I used to cry in pain, overwhelmed by sadness and silently angry at my destiny, but I couldn’t give up.
 
The hard work paid off. On 07 Sep 2002, twenty days short of my husband’s first anniversary of Martyrdom, I was a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army. Everyone present for the commissioning ceremony had tears when my three year old son pipped the epaulettes on my shoulders.
 
Life was getting back on track. My husband was awarded Kirti Chakra (Second Highest Peace Time gallantry award) posthumous which I received in uniform from President Shri APJ Abdul Kalaam.
 
For a young single mother working in a mostly male dominated environment, life had many challenges too. But I faced them with positivity and a smile on my face. I learnt to move on with courage each passing day.
 
Life has been full of struggles, but I guess that is the case with everyone. Ours may have been a little more intense. There is not one but many low moments and each time it felt the lowest.
 
After eight years of losing my husband, when I lost my own dad it was the worst. My husband and my dad were the two pillars of strength in my life. One gone the other supported me with equal energy and love but with both gone the vacuum in my life became unbearable. My mom, brother and son were my support and helped me stand up again.
 
The organisation was very supportive. I received all the monetary and pension benefits from the Army. However, it’s been 15 years and I have yet not received Ex-gratia fund from UP government and my fight is still on for the same. Sometimes I wonder when it is so difficult for me – an educated lady with unparalleled official and administrative exposure as an Officer – to get her dues from the Government, how difficult it must be for a Jawan’s wife with much less education and almost no exposure.
 
After six years of service I decided to leave the Army to live a more settled life for my son. And today I am a mother of 16 plus boy. I am working and we are happy as a family and are each other’s strength. 
I have taken a sabbatical this year to support my son with his studies and career goals. He is in class XIIth.
.
As a single parent, if you really ask me my dreams and aspirations, I only wish to see my son grow big in life and live up to his father’s name. That’s what I tell him. That’s all that I want and wish for. If he does well my sacrifices do not matter. I will thank my stars for being kind on us now.
 
 
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Valley Protester tied to Jeep Front …

Posted on April 29, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Searching for Success |

Comment by Gen RK Gaur on Gen Bhimayas’ write up – An excellent erudite balanced analysis. Thank you Gen Bhimaya. I would have rewarded this officer for initiative in saving lives, extracting civilians from torture injury and death. No shot was fired, no casualties, and mission successful. Bold and courageous man.                                     Over to Gen KM Bhimaya  –

Recently, the image of a citizen tied to the bonnet of an Army vehicle generated intense public debate about the propriety of such a “brazen” reaction by the army that violated basic human decency.

The Army veterans, except one, supported the above action as the one dictated by the exigencies of service, which, in the event, proved successful because it rescued the trapped police personnel and other staff at the election booths.

Numerous precedents, including  the use of ruse and deceit in bringing about the downfall of Bhishma and Dronacharya were cited by the protagonists to underpin their arguments. On the other hand, some antagonistic commentators waxed eloquent, predicting that this incident was going to be the “defining image” of the Indian Army in Kashmir that is already being perceived as an “occupying force” by citizens of Kashmir Valley.

The truth lies in between. In the annals of the counterinsurgency, drastic measures have been implemented successfully, even as the lasting effect of such measures had been both suspect and controversial: the grouping of villages in Mizoram, for example. While some insurgents in Afghanistan resorted to “beheading” of innocent citizens with impunity, I do not know whether retaliation in kind would have received the nod of public approval.

Be that as it may, in the instant case, the quick thinking “out of the box” actions by a young officer saved a complex situation without causing injuries to anyone. This is to be commended, not deprecated.

Just as in the case of tactical operations, there is no rule book that prescribes solutions to all counterinsurgency contingencies. The leader on the spot should be given the freedom to devise appropriate strategy to retrieve, or save a situation, if the limits of human decency are not exceeded: torture, for example. In declared conflicts, the conduct and behavior of troops are regulated by the Geneva convention.

Is there a written convention that regulates the conduct of troops in counterinsurgency? I think not (except, of course, the time-honored concepts of “good faith” and “minimum force”).

What is the level of human decency that should be maintained? This should be laid down by the elected leaders who also should be cognizant of the dangers that the counterinsurgency troops would be exposed to, if any impracticable or unimaginative restrictions are imposed, just to gain some political leverage: witness the clamor for the revocation of the AFSPA, across the board, by some short-sighted politicians.

Even while imposing reasonable restrictions, the civilian executive would be well-advised to consult the Armed Forces: witness the farcical suggestion from some analysts that “Burhan Wani should have been tactically captured alive”.

General Mark Clark, the U.S. General, who was fighting the Germans in Italy during World War 2, once happened to observe, by chance, some third-degree interrogation techniques being employed by his troops. He called the officer-in-charge to his make-shift office and asked him why the officer was employing such harsh interrogation techniques. When the officer complained that the prisoner was not cooperating, General Clark reminded the officer that the Americans were fighting the war to defend the cause of individual dignity and freedom, and the interrogating officer was not helping this cause by resorting to “unacceptable” techniques.

Who decides the acceptability or otherwise of the intended technique? It should be the commander on the spot, if he follows the golden principles of “minimum force” and “good faith”.

While questionable means do not always justify noble ends, what is “questionable” is not granitic. The means employed should be carefully calibrated lest they should undermine the political legitimacy, the final arbiter of the measure of government’s success, or a lack thereof.

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Possibility of US China War …

Posted on April 28, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom |

These extracts are from a Speech by Nick Xenophon, an Australian Senator – 

Earlier Britain and then the USA was our trading partner and strategic ally. Now China is our largest two-way trading partner in goods and services ($150 billion), our largest export market ($86 billion) and our largest source of imports ($64 billion). And the integrated East Asian economic zone is the world’s fastest growing.

So, how do we negotiate the tension between our major security partner and our major trading partner?

China sees as vital to its security the string of archipelagos from northern Borneo to the Kuril Islands north-east of Japan. It has piled sand onto reefs in the South China Sea, creating seven new artificial islands, and has installed missile batteries and radar facilities, giving it effective control over sea and air traffic in the region.

Increased tension between the US and China seems inevitable, and Australia may well get dragged in.

Last year the RAND Corporation published a report called “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable”.

It makes sobering reading. Their research team concluded that “war between the two countries (the US and China) could be intense, last a year or more, have no winner, and inflict huge losses and costs on both sides.”

China’s defensive military capabilities will continue to increase, and it will be able to inflict heavy losses on its opponents.

As both sides’ technologies and doctrine create a preference for striking first, the potential for miscalculation is high. Each side may believe that by striking first it can gain and retain the initiative, and by doing so it might be able to end a conflict quickly.

Yet this kind of thinking has uncomfortable parallels with Europe of a century ago, when the belligerents initiated their own military plans to attack before being attacked, and both sides believed that in doing so they would gain operational dominance and end the war swiftly. Back then, both sides had strong economic ties, which ‘experts’ said would prevent any conflict.

Furthermore, using the line and military strategy attributed to Sun Tzu, China may decide to “kill the chicken to scare the monkey” – sink an Australian vessel to warn off the United States Navy.

Are we truly ready for the consequences of a war?

Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, where there were relatively few casualties, this time we may see large numbers of body bags returning, or never returning at all, since they may have been sunk at sea.

Other consequences – Calls from the extreme political fringe for Chinese Australians to be interned in camps?  For India reinforcing its troops along its border with China? For Russia to be emboldened along its western border? For increased activity in the Middle East, as extremists there take advantage of US preoccupation in the South China Sea?

We already know what the invasion of Iraq unleashed. And back home the consequences would be catastrophic, both for our economy and society.

RAND said a US-China war could shrink China’s GDP by up to 35 per cent and the USA’s by up to 10 per cent. But given our much higher trade dependence on China and the region, a 30 per cent contraction would not be out of the question.

And demographically? Seeing Chinese Australians and Chinese students on our streets shows how integral they’ve become to our nation’s fabric. A war with China would rip Australia’s economy and society apart.

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Prem Bhagat and Inder Gill …

Posted on April 27, 2017. Filed under: Personalities, Searching for Success |

Prem Bhagat and Inder Gill – A Believe It Or Not Yarn …

First re the authenticness of this yarn? Answer – my own ears. It was early 1983 and there we were in the 2 Assam Rifles Officers Mess before marching in for dinner. There was Gen Ranjit Dayal, the Corps Commander, who had served in 2 AR as a major in the late 50s. There was Gen Ravi Mahajan, the Div Commander, obviously the CO and self.

Some how the talk turns to Inder Gill who had been CO of Ranjit Dayal. Among other yarns Ranjit Dayal narrates of this Sand Model Discussion conducted by the great Prem Bhagat VC who was then GOC 9 Div. Inder who was the then Para Brigade Commander is one of the syndicate leaders and his solution is on the mat. The discussion becomes heated and when Gen Prem Bhagat says something, Inder retorts, “Sir, You are talking COCK!” There is pin drop silence before Gen Bhagat thunders, “Gentleman, lets adjourn for lunch”.

The next day, Inder meets Bhagat in his office and refusing to sit down, hands over a sheet of paper signed by him. Bhagat glances at the sheet which contains a request for premature retirement due to Inder’s loss of control the previous day. Bhagat thunders, “Inder, there is doubt in my mind whether I was talking Cock yesterday. But there is no doubt in my mind that you are talking cock today” and tearing up the sheet throws it into the waste paper basket.

Sure, they were real Men and Officers to boot!

 

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Prabhat Chand …

Posted on April 23, 2017. Filed under: Personalities, Searching for Success |

An Unforgettable Character ….

Capt Prabhat Chand, 4 Guards was a grand orator, dramatist and a wonder of the World at large. We were in a couple boarding schools together. He was the ACA 10 or 11th Course in the NDA and later was ADC to the President.

This is a story that came my way a long while back about him on the JC Course. There is this Sand Model Discussion attended by the Commandant and his entourage. Like any good soul, Prabhat is sitting on the last and highest bench and wholly wool gathering if not dozing when suddenly he hears his name and a Q being asked.

He arises slowly and fiddling with his pipe he asks whether he has been addressed. On hearing an affirmative answer, he begins to light his pipe, which process easily takes couple minutes. A Puff or two follows and then in all seriousness, “May I have the Q again please?” ………..

The Q is repeated which is followed by deep consideration and couple deep puffs  ……… and then, “I am afraid … I do NOT know!”

Hell, they do not make them like that any more! Am told he wrote, “Across the Ichogil” after the 1965 War. They say sadly that he is no more.

Shall be Maha Happy if am told I am Wrong.

Comment – Amrik Khaira
Amrik Singh Khaira
 Amrik Singh Khaira –
He was ACA 11th course. We were together in JC Course. Very fine soul. Drove a Standard car during the Course. Took lift a few times. Kamta Prasad was the Commandant attending that sand model.

 

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South China Sea Dispute – (In the back ground also N Korea)

Posted on April 22, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Chinese Wisdom, From a Services Career |

Dotted with small islands, reefs and shoals, the South China Sea is a crucial shipping route and home a messy territorial dispute that pits multiple countries against one another.

Tensions in the contest waters have ratcheted up since 2014 as China has turned sandbars into islands, equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems and warned US warships and aircraft to stay away from them. Adding fuel to this heady mix, the Trump administration looks set to take a much more confrontational stance toward Beijing than its predecessor — setting the stage for a potential showdown.
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China bases its claims on the “nine-dash line” — its claimed territorial waters that extend hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan, abut its neighbors’ claims and, in some cases, encroach upon them.
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The Paracel Islands (Xisha to Beijing) have been controlled by China since 1974, but they are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Tensions flared in 2014 when China installed exploratory oil rigs in the vicinity.
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The situation is more complicated in the Spratlys, which Beijing calls the Nansha islands. The archipelago consists of 100 smalls islands and reefs of which 45 are occupied by China, Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines. All of the islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while some of them (or nearby waters) are claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
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What’s China been building?
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In early 2014, China quietly began massive dredging operations centering on the seven reefs it controls in the Spratly Islands — Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, Mischief Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Gaven Reef and Hughes Reef. According to the US, China has reclaimed more than 3,000 acres since the beginning of 2014.
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On his 2015 trip to Washington, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China wouldn’t militarize the islands, but a December report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said China had installed comprehensive weapons systems on seven reefs that include anti-aircraft guns. Some have called the islands China’s “unsinkable aircraft carriers.”
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Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan have also reclaimed land in the South China Sea, but their land grab — the US says approximately 100 acres over 45 years — is dwarfed by China’s massive, recent buildup. What’s the US view? It could be changing.
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The US has traditionally taken no position on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea but has repeatedly asserted its right to freedom of navigation in the disputed waters, with the US military flying and sailing its assets close to the islands China controls.
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Tillerson and Trump have not minced their words on the issue, suggesting that the State Department could take a more muscular approach. “Building islands and then putting military assets on those islands is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea. Its taking of territory that others lay claim to,” Tillerson said in his confirmation hearing.
“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed.”
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Blocking Chinese naval vessels from accessing South China Sea reefs would almost certainly trigger a US-China clash, says Ashley Townshend, a research fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
“More to the point: as many of the reefs are effectively a part of international waters, preventing Chinese ships from sailing to or near them would undermine the very freedom of navigation rules that the US has been trying to uphold,” he adds.
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China warns US surveillance plan with CNN crew on board
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China warns US surveillance plan with CNN crew on board 03:47         What could China do? As China stretches its muscles as a growing superpower, the South China Sea, rich in oil and gas reserves, has become a testing ground for whether the country will rise as part of the existing international order or outside it. China says both the Paracels and the Spratlys are an “integral part” of its territory, offering up maps that date back to the early 20th century.
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It has repeatedly defended its right to build both civil and defensive facilities on the islands it controls. In December, a Chinese warship unlawfully seized an underwater drone from a US oceanographic vessel.
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One new strategy could be to declare an air defense zone in the South China Sea, which would require all aircraft to file flight plans even if they don’t enter Chinese airspace.
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Beijing has also ignored a landmark ruling last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which said there was no legal basis for China’s maritime claims. Even though they now have international law on their side, other claimants have done little to challenge Beijing. The Philippines, which originally brought the case, has pivoted towards Beijing under President Rodrigo Duterte.
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Beijing’s response to Tillerson and Trump’s comments to date has been fairly muted, but some analysts think Beijing could soon test the new US commander in chief.
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The WarBurtons – Anglo, Afghan, Indian Tale …

Posted on April 21, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=df0cbc2d5e&view=att&th=15b922bf10d7626e&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saddbat=ANGjdJ-tULKPZaHfVC-cKLF3WgslO6zmRSBcZb_Vi_fHmPkIVEinZTqXa7IM-nJu2aRVyqU3-imAGTGUHkZ_T4FZOJ52gmQ0WLWp-es6tR2813Rb0QdM9W9kl2z5tmN-eG97kVycoR3xaki-7eeft608UFQ5Dw0_gb0MPKcAeJoeFS_57QhCuxI_3JpsCTBkZsqOFeYxRXu0qYRsRQzwi1lO6IAZcNO5zsKRQG2VoTRJerPlHuoPNn6JQSF5qvUT9AjGI4E43QVedEfml2GhPoDUvW5qAmuJ_HEiT7087t87mFq-G1o-jyxJRBDHEUWFJ7mHZ3L0DQnkTOIB-Q1SvtYshzc6PwIwQWr_jNrre3tJqNrqPzrCXatECSDrlqUIoTy1MuzMQXsoW0ZrN8_XSoP3lU7DucqF1aChzEpIZVNt0KCXi0Zd6P-Y57gOQJMo5symukQIvEOx_fhtQFBS-dmtsJQp98mnzHLTWdeb9YXhPuMjilVvAxX45ZtSxH2Qwpu61Ojfaj6UFqOahfB0kuLye9HAyLTtynpC2R_VigOH7rNGpYe_k_Kyt66FpKPZNe-5s9Pz0EdKr0IVhmDvLS3Z2nSQCt6YP-TGSmLsw2rkuqwc1jp_xtGX4mK9YmiKRLyno66HH0dc1Hy8Kaq33RZkY4SP8AVyWhIMALDAxA

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Prem Bhagat and Inder Gill …

Posted on April 21, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career |

First re the authenticness of this yarn? Answer – my own ears. It was early 1983 and there we were in the 2 Assam Rifles Officers Mess before marching in for dinner. There was Gen Ranjit Dayal, the Corps Commander, who had served in 2 AR as a major in the late 50s. There was Gen Ravi Mahajan, the Div Commander, obviously the CO and self.

Some how the talk turns to Inder Gill who had been CO of Ranjit Dayal. Among other yarns Ranjit Dayal narrates of this Sand Model Discussion conducted by the great Prem Bhagat VC who was then GOC 9 Div. Inder who was the then Para Brigade Commander is one of the syndicate leaders and his solution is on the mat. The discussion becomes heated and when Gen Prem Bhagat says something, Inder retorts, “Sir, You are talking COCK!” There is pin drop silence before Gen Bhagat thunders, “Gentleman, lets adjourn for lunch”.

The next day, Inder meets Bhagat in his office and refusing to sit down, hands over a sheet of paper signed by him. Bhagat glances at the sheet which contains a request for premature retirement due to Inder’s loss of control the previous day. Bhagat thunders, “Inder, there is doubt in my mind whether I was talking Cock yesterday. But there is no doubt in my  mind that you are talking cock today” and tearing up the sheet throws it into the waste paper basket.

Sure, they were real Men and Officers to boot!

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Finance Guys are Lethal …

Posted on April 15, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Searching for Success |

“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad,” –   Theodore Roosevelt. And now here is Financial Skull Duggery at its Finest!

MARY is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar and as  such she will go broke. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Mary’s ‘drink now, pay later’ marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flock to Mary’s bar.

Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Dublin — all is starting to look Rosy. By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Mary’s gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Mary’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into Drink Bonds and Alki Bonds. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets.

The new investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as ‘AAA’ secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics. They have had a ‘rating house’ certify they are of good quality.

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.
One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Mary’s bar. He so informs Mary.

Mary then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Mary cannot fulfil her loan obligations, she is forced into bankruptcy. So she now is broke.

The bar closes and the 11 employees lose their jobs.
Overnight, Drink Bonds and Alki Bonds drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Mary’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the various Bond securities. They find they are now faced with having to write-off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations. Her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.                                                                                                                                                 Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro, no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Mary’s bar.
Now, do you understand how Modern Economics work?

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