Archive for January, 2018

Governance – Lesson from the Roman Empire …

Posted on January 27, 2018. Filed under: Personalities, Roman Thought |

Courtesy Wikipedia

The rulers commonly known as the “Five Good Emperors” were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.The term was coined based on what the political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli said in 1503:

“From the study of this history we may also learn how a good government is to be established; for while all the emperors who succeeded to the throne by birth, except Titus, were bad, all were good who succeeded by adoption, as in the case of the five from Nerva to Marcus. But as soon as the empire fell once more to the heirs by birth, its ruin recommenced”

Machiavelli argued that these adopted emperors, through good rule, earned the respect of those around them:

Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, and Marcus had no need of praetorian cohorts, or of countless legions to guard them but were defended by their own good lives, the good-will of their subjects, and the attachment of the senate.

The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon, in his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, opined that their rule was a time when “the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of wisdom and virtue”.

Gibbon believed these benevolent dictators and their moderate policies were unusual and contrasted with their more tyrannical and oppressive successors. Gibbon went so far as to state:

“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus’.

“The vast extent of the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded respect.’

“The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws’.

“Such princes deserved the honour of restoring the republic, had the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational freedom”.

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WW II n Indian Army …

Posted on January 21, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

Courtesy Gen Bhimaya …

The USS Missouri and the USS Arizona are the chief attractions in the Pearl Harbor Museum. They represent “the triumph and the tragedy” of World War II.

A tour of the museum fills one with the flashbacks of the momentous attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as the gravitas of the surrender ceremony.

During my visit to Pearl Harbor, I had feasted my eyes on these memorabilia.

Contrary to popular belief, India was not represented in this surrender ceremony, whereas a small country, such as Netherlands, was, because it was a major power, with colonies to boast.

Brig (later the COAS) Thimayya represented the Indian Army at the surrender ceremony in Singapore. This signal honor was bestowed on him because he was the only Indian officer (of undivided India) who had successfully commanded a Brigade in operations.

It will be interesting to note that the British prejudice against Indian officers spilled over to their American cousins: witness the desperate but unsuccessful attempts of MacArthur to prevent Indian troops entering Japan as a part of occupying force.

It is in spite of this prejudice, not because of it, Indian officers and troops excelled in combat

Lt Col SS Kalha DSO, MC and Bar, 2/1 Punjab, Lt Karamjit Singh Judge, VC, Major S.K. Korla, DSO, MC are some of the gallantry winners and the Burma campaign under Gen Slim was a clear vindication of the prowess of the Indian Army, properly led–an aphorism that rings true and often, even now.

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The New Army Wife …

Posted on January 18, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Personalities |

As Received …

A girl is walking down a civilian Street,
A Fauji comes storming and sweeps her of her feet!

A new life, a new style, a new world altogether,
She has the happiest time because they were together!

His postings, his boys, his duties; she was holding them firmly,
After all she was married into the most elite family!

Days go by, months move into years,
She is standing tall, fighting all her fears!

Babina, Wellington, Mhow and places she never knew existed,
Those were the ones where she lived and visited!

Parties, meets, outings, life was in the groove;
Give her a few boxes with a new address and she was ready to move!

Moving to new place, making new friends,
Hard it is to leave behind loose ends and those friends!

It could be a shelter, a flat or a broken down place,
Where ever reaches, it becomes her new address!

Always on the move, managing kids, chores and those bank accounts,
The little time she gets with her Fauji Hubby is all that counts!
He depends on her for everything he holds dear,
Because his duty always comes First and that’s crystal clear!

When they are together she forgets all those times she cried,
Because watching him adorning his uniform is her utmost pride!

She hugs him tight when he goes out in those areas called field,
Always praying to the Almighty to become his shelter and shield!!

Yes! Sometimes the Gods are not all thst that kind,
Because she is always the one who is left behind!

But yet she smiles and waits for the love of her life,
Because she is strong enough to be called an Army Wife!!!

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Sun Tzu – Grand Daddy of War …

Posted on January 16, 2018. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, Personalities |

Sun Tzu’s Classic ‘On War’ was placed at the head of China’s Seven Military Classics on the collection’s creation in 1080 by Emperor Shenzong. It has long been the most influential strategy text in all East Asia Here are some noteworthy maxims …

1. Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

2. If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

3. Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

4. He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. To see things in the seed, that is genius.

5. He will win who knows when to fight, when not to fight.

6. To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

7. What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

8. Victorious warriors win first and the n go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

9. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him. Not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

10. The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

11. Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack. If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him.

12. All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.


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Imperial Services Cavalry Brigade Memorial …

Posted on January 15, 2018. Filed under: Regimental |

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Love, Marriage in 21st Century …

Posted on January 14, 2018. Filed under: Searching for Success |

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Another Place Where They Live Long …

Posted on January 6, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

One third of Ikaria’s population lives past the age of 90 – and they spend every day doing what they love – By Marissa Tejada 17 November 2017

With thin, white hair pinned to the side and thick glasses perched on the bridge of her nose, Ioanna Proiou slid her wrinkled, sun-spotted fingers over the strands of baby-blue wool stretched across her heavy wooden loom. She clanked a lever forward on the handmade machine again and again, a technique she has perfected over 90 years.

With that loom, Proiou creates the woven bags and clothing she sells from her little shop in Christos Raches, a village of 300 residents on the Greek island of Ikaria, a nine-hour ferry ride across the Aegean Sea from Athens. As her arms moved in rhythmic fashion, the loom shaking slightly, the 105-year-old told me how much she still loves her job.

“Do something in your life that stirs your passion,” she advised me. “When my husband died decades ago, I continued doing what I love. Later, someone else proposed to me, but I said ‘no’. I am married to my loom.”

Not far from where Proiou sells her wares, Christos Raches’ main square is quiet and calm. Locals sip coffee in the shade of leafy plane trees and exchange pleasantries outside their terracotta roofed homes. Business owners open and close their doors on no set schedule. Many of the shops operate on an honour system: customers take what they please and leave money on the counter in return.

It’s a fairly common scene on the Greek islands, but Ikaria is different: here, one third of the island’s population lives to be more than 90 years old. Along with Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in California, Ikaria is a Blue Zone, one of five designated places where people live the longest.

Experts often cite a healthy diet and an active lifestyle as key to a longer life. The medical professionals and anthropologists associated with the Blue Zone project also note the importance of close family ties and involvement in faith-based communities. Ikarians make an effort to stay closely connected to their families and neighbours, and the elderly play significant roles in the community.

Grandparents often help raise grandchildren or run businesses. But Proiou credits her longevity to her passion for weaving and her outlook on life. “Do not want more than what you really need. If you envy others, that can only give you stress,” she told me.

Medical professionals note the importance of Ikaria’s family ties and faith-based communities

Retired doctor Christodoulos Xenakis has another theory about how Ikarians avoid unnecessary anxiety. We met briefly during my first hour on the island and we had agreed to meet again, though tracking him down wasn’t easy.

“No-one really sets appointments here,” he shrugged when I greeted the 81 year old – who is considered a young man by Ikaria standards – a few days later in the village. Time is an important part of life on Ikaria, Xenakis explained, but not the way most people think. “It’s more like ‘see you in the morning, afternoon or evening’. We don’t stress.”

Ikarians spend their days with purpose

That’s because, Xenakis said, Ikarians spend their days with purpose. He excitedly told me about his latest project organising the Ikaria Senior Regatta, a boat race for which the minimum qualifying age for captains is 70. Twenty participating crews sail a 14-nautical-mile route from neighbouring Samos island to Ikaria and back.

“It’s not really a race,” Xenakis said. “The regatta shows we can still do it and we are capable.”

“There’s always something to do with your time,” he added. “But when you do things that make you happy or others happy, how can you not feel healthy, feel better or feel good?”

One third of Ikaria, Greece’s residents live to be more than 90 years old!

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He Chose the Army …

Posted on January 6, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

Barnana Gunnaya couldn’t stop his eyes from welling up with tears as he saw his son Barnana Yadagiri in an Army officer’s uniform at the Indian Military Academy’s passing out parade in Dehradun on Saturday.

Gunnaya, who till recently used to work as a daily wager earning Rs 100 per day in a cement factory in Hyderabad, didn’t even know till a day before the parade that his son was being commissioned as an officer.

“My father is a very simple man. He thought that I was getting into the Army as a soldier. In fact, he told me I was making a huge mistake by leaving a highly-paid software job to join the Army,” said Yadagiri, who overcame extreme financial difficulties to become a software engineer from the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad.

After refusing a job offer from Union Pacific Rail Road, a US-based company, and saying no to a call from IIM Indore — where he had secured admission after scoring 93.4 percent in the CAT exam — Yadagiri decided to “follow my heart and serve the country.”

On Saturday, with his proud parents watching with misty eyes, he received the IMA’s prestigious silver medal for standing first in the order of merit in the Technical Graduate Course, which paves the way for cadets with a technical background to join the Army’s engineering units.

Recounting the struggles that he had to undergo before savouring this moment, the young officer who sustained his studies through government scholarships, told TOI, “I have seen days when my father earned only Rs 60 after a day’s hard work and my mother who is afflicted with polio clean office tables to make both ends meet.”

Despite having seen such financial hardships, he says he was never tempted by money. “I had the option of sticking to the corporate world and making a lot of money but that was not where my heart lay. The kind of mental satisfaction one gets by working for the motherland cannot be replaced by any amount of money.”

On what he is looking forward to most after achieving his dream of becoming an Army officer, the young man who loves public speaking and reading books, said, “The basic character of hard work is already there in my genes. I will ensure that I fulfill my duties in a manner that makes the country proud by working in the defence research and development stream.”

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Babri Masjid – A View of our Historians …

Posted on January 3, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought, Personalities |

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Military History n Political Correctness …

Posted on January 3, 2018. Filed under: Regimental |

Self Evident Exchange of Views –

1. Gen KM Bhimaya

Dalits, proudly celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon, were attacked by some miscreants.

I do not wish to delve into the political ramifications of this incident, except to admire this Battle as one of the very brave actions fought by an Indian Unit of the East India Company.

As a tribute to this valorous action, the designation of this Unit was changed to “Grenadiers.” At the village Bhima Koregoan, Captain Staunton with about 800 Dalit troops defied and defeated a large army of the Peshwa.

It was a battle of maneuver, deception, and raw “guts”. Please also read Gen S.L. Menezes’s “Indian Army”, page 291, for more information. The General was a dyed-in-the-wool ‘Grinder’.

2. Brig Jagtar S Grewal

It is a sad day that defeat of Peshwas is being celebrated. We should celebrate battle honors pre independence only which were abroad. This must be motivated by congress
Rightly said its political ramifications should not be discussed. Even such battles should be played down

3. Col PM Dubey VSM

Thanks Gen Bhimaya for presenting new and hidden face of the military history.

We should not be looking at this battle having been won by dalits or lost by Peshwas, which will dilute the very purpose of history. I think Gen SL Menezes has written this chapter to glorify the ancestors of his Regiment, Grenadiers.

What we need to learn is reasons of loss of battle and not won by whom. We need also to remember that on both sides Indians were fighting, may be the cause/aim was different.

4. Gen KM Bhimaya

I have failed to develop the art of being politically correct. I recall some astounding summing up in various military institutions of learning in which political correctness often clouded one’s judgment.

For a military officer, a feat of arms, regardless of when, or where it occurred, and who the participants were, should be the staple of intensive study. Even though the Confederates fought against the Union Army, some battles of maneuver (Chancellorsville, for example), in which the outnumbered Confederate General Lee inflicted a crushing defeat on the Union Army) are still being analyzed in detail.

This said, the Indian context may be different. As brought out by Puran and Gary, some historical footprints that hurt the national sentiments should not be glorified needlessly.

If I remember correctly, this was the Government’s policy immediately after independence, and battle honors, such as ‘Delhi’ and ‘Lucknow’ that featured in some battalions’ Battle Honors were removed.

Some regiments retained the British forbears’ names: Napier’s, Hodson’s, Queen Victoria’s, to quote a few examples, although these were “unofficial”.

Gen Menezes has not glorified this action in his book, but has lamented the fact, that, despite such gallant performance, the enlistment of these “lower caste” men was not encouraged. Their recruitment virtually discontinued, until the exigency of World War 2 brought them to the mainstream once again.

The Duke of Wellington, when he was the Prime Minister, was asked which was his toughest battle?

Everyone present in the gathering expected the obvious answer: Waterloo. Surprisingly, the Duke proclaimed, “Assaye”. Like Koregaon, this was a touch-and-go battle. The Madras Sappers were the most outstanding of all the participants. Since, under East India Company, the British awards could not be given to Indian troops, Madras Sappers’ services were recognized by awarding them special features in their emblem (I think it is the ‘Elephant’).

In another case of outright prejudice, 41 Bengali Regiment was disbanded because the men resented poor leadership, and, more important because of the activities of many Bengalis in the forefront of the independence movement.

Despite these performances, prejudices against color (the British preferred fair-complexioned men to the dark) and political activism precluded the recruitment of many potentially good soldiers and the “Martial Race” theory ruled the roost.

It is noteworthy that, in 1927, B.R. Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution, had visited the memorial at Koregaon and paid his homage. Was he unpatriotic? I do not know.

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