Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: ARMY CHIEF (Page 1 of 4)

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

 

 

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

 

Imagine you are sitting on your dining table just about to have your lunch and a fly comes and sits on the rim of your water glass. I will tell you my reaction. I slowly move my hand as close to the fly and like you hit the striker of carom I snap my finger. Eighty five percent chances are I get my kill. In case she is smart and buzzes off, it gets me irritated and I demand my peace time armoury to be opened and the oldest and most dependable weapon called the fly swat be brought into the battle field. Trace out the line of flight of that irritating character, close in and one shot it is dead. I am now a master in taking aerial shots too. Lunch can wait.

This is what happens to the armed forces when they spot a militant or a terrorist in Kashmir. The irritant has to be eliminated and then only will they think of anything else.

Imagine you are dead tired and just about to knock off to sleep and in your ear you hear that whine of a mosquito playing the latest melody. At least my sleep goes for a six. I keep “odomos” handy. People who don’t like odomos switch on “Good night”. I get hold of a fly swat and trace it out till the time it is splattered on the wall. One has to face the wrath of his wife later as many decorative pieces have seen the dustbin in this makkhi-machhar ka chakkar.

Be that as it may. Don’t we try and understand the idiosyncrasies of our vehicles and run them anyhow. The steering and clutch free play differs for each vehicle. For an expert it takes one ride to understand those nuances. Modiji & his team took four years to understand this dhakka start vehicle.

There used to be one more reason to drive a vehicle which is called “ego”. How on earth can my vehicle stop? In times when there used to be vehicles with old carburetors it was common. When a 1 Ton did the “shuck-shuck” drill standing in the middle of the market with the bonnet up, a man sitting with his hand cupping the carburetor used to be a scene. Maroing a handle used to be total “Beizzati”. Dhakka used to be Maha Beizzati. Every method on earth had to be tried to start that gari for a fauji worth his salt. Was it the same condition in J&K or was it politics of a different kind?

Reminded me of my courtship days many moons back when after great difficulty I could convince my father in law to grant permission to take his daughter for a movie. Well, as an officer and a gentleman, I wore the best dress and best perfume and because I was on temporary duty at Jodhpur I borrowed a Yezdi bike from an officer in whose regimental mess I was putting up. He told me the bike is OK but sometimes it overflows, so switch off the petrol once you park it.

I don’t remember the name of the movie leave alone the “working party” in it as I was in love. The movie got over and I went to the underground parking to fetch the bike. I tried starting it but the damn thing won’t start. My “would be” was waiting outside so I pushed the bike up. I realised that in my excitement I had forgotten to switch the petrol off. I tilted the damn thing and tried starting, it won’t start. I opened the tool box, got out the “Plug paana”, wrestled with the spark plug and kicked it khali many times so that the excess petrol evaporates. I requested my sweetheart to take and auto and go home. Both of us were quite embarrassed for the tamasha on the main road. Jodhpur being a small place word had spread. Father in law had sent a search and rescue mission already.

Now I was all alone. Ego stepped in; I opened up the top of carburetor and found the float valve was stuck. I freed it and reassembled the contraption. One kick and it started. It had taken me almost an hour though. First thing was to reach my darlings home. I didn’t switch off the bike just blew the horn and the whole mohalla came out. She stood in the veranda and so did my father in law. I waved my left hand without leaving the throttle hand. They waved back and off I went to my mess. My hands and dress were stinking of petrol but that didn’t matter. I went to the bar had two neat and got back to my bed and slept off. Victory was at my feet.

This story has nothing to do with flies, mosquitoes, militants and J&K but it definitely has a relation with irritants, egos and ways and means to keep the house free of insects besides keeping your engine purring. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

KASHMIR NEEDS A DIFFERENT MEDICINE

 

 

 

KASHMIR NEEDS A DIFFERENT MEDICINE

 

It took Delhi so long to identify why things were going wrong in Kashmir. “Der aye durust aye” is an old adage which fits in most appropriately. Now that der has been done the requirement is of durusti to be done. There is another one which says “a stitch in time saves nine”. We missed out stitching in time and thus lost those nine-nine-nine-nine soldiers and more. Nevertheless, it isn’t too little too late either. The root cause has been correctly identified and shown the door. Now is the time to do things differently.

Time now is ripe to find the right “man” (Governor) for this job. There are people who have extensively traveled and served in the valley and are capable to fit in the chair. They know the roots of this issue and can contribute positively once appointed at the helm of affairs.

Let me be clear, Governor’s rule is also part of democracy. Unlike Pakistan where the military just takes over. Here we have a method in the madness. The new Governor should be from the forces is my view. This man will have the correct overview, will be familiar with the terrain, routes of ingress and egress, intricacies, sensitivities, deployment, grids, intelligence set ups, gaps in information flow, military tactics, command and control set ups, internal rivalries, weakness and strengths besides having an analytical mind free from dirty politics.

The President of India should give one clear order to the Governor, “sort out Kashmir”. If the aim is clear, the rest can worked out. No ifs and buts please. Additional resources required for such a task can be placed at his disposal. The President should also lay out clear orders to the military, being the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces that sort out Pakistan. At least during the period when the Governor is internally sorting things out, Pakis dare not look this side. Hit them hundred times harder if they violate the terms. Keep talking to them but let them walk the talk. Shake them up if required till they beg for peace.

Militants and their supporters should not be spared either. Let these people now understand that if you have decided to stay in the pond then you cannot make the alligator your enemy. The security forces have to be ruthless now. The stooges of Pakistan need to be quarantined and moved out of the valley. They shall no more be considered as citizens of India. Put them in the clink and let them have no communication with the world.

Once situation gets under control then is the time to appoint new administrators to look into various ministries and departments. Let the Governor pick up his people who would be best suited for such jobs. No politicians & bureaucrats or political interference please. Totally apolitical people are the need of the hour to sort out the rot by eliminating what is wrong and why. Their focus has to be what needs to be done and how? They will give out the road map with time lines with people in charge and accountable. Every man & every Rupee needs to be accounted for.

We have experimented with Kashmir far too long. The concoction we made only produced germs where as we were supposed to finish the filth but disease kept spreading. Our doctors were either not interested or didn’t understand the pulse of what was happening. The miracle never happened. Now is the chance to firstly disinfect our land, secondly, change the hospital administration and pick up the best of doctors and nurses along with the latest gadgetry. Let us give Kashmir a complete face lift.

People will shoot me down for being radical, suggesting the undoable, unheard of & idiotic things. I say when politics and politicians have failed why not try something different. I have seen childless couples go to many babas, mazars, neem hakims. They go to churches, temples; gurudwara’s and ask mannats, even wear a taviz for that one wish. The pressure on them is so much that they grab anything suggested to them. When all fails then they go for IVF and many succeed. So why not try something untraditional and unconventional to get rid of the cancer affecting Kashmir. Where there is a will there is a way. However, will of the Kashmiri people is lacking.

Kashmir is our beloved and we have to try alternate medicines. Political, slow acting medicine has been a complete failure of kinds. Now is a window of Governor’s medicine. No harm trying it. Two things can happen, one is failure but why be pessimistic, let’s be optimistic that we will definitely succeed. Are the decision makers willing to take a bitter pill as I suggest? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

A DAY IN THE VALLEY

 

 

 

A DAY IN THE VALLEY

 

“Eidi hazam aur cease fire khatam” reminds me of my childhood when we used so sing, “Tamasha khatam-paisa hazam”. The holy month did not remain as holy as it ought to be. Encounters with death loomed large over the security forces and others too in the valley.

In J&K brushes with death are common.  It need not be an encounter with militants only. If you come back safely after your posting, you can thank God. One has to be prepared for an encounter at any moment. Chances are moment you let down your guard a bullet comes looking for you. One has to be on his toes throughout his tenure. It is a high pressure job.

I remember when posted there I was once detailed to get pay for the sector. I had to move from Kangan to Sharifabad. We congregated at the sector HQ as the personnel were from various battalions. I briefed the party on various drills and contingencies and moved in a convoy of a gypsy, a 2.5 ton (dhai ton) and an LPT (10 tonner) with about 36 people as a special pay QRT (Quick Reaction Team). No waiting for any ROP-Sharopy. (Road Opening Party)

Sharifabad was connected to the main road by a serpentine raised narrow bundh. Suffice to say that the bundh was broad enough for a truck to pass. It was rice harvest season. People were working in the fields. I saw a lot of “Tongas” and horses standing on the side of this elevated road. We were feeling comparatively safe as Sharifabad was just a few kilometers away.

There would have been no cordon and search that night, a good dinner and a peaceful sleep was on my mind. I asked the operator can you see the vehicles behind. He said no. I stopped, got out with my AK-47 slung over my shoulder and waited. The seventh sense was telling me something is wrong.

I said a silent a prayer and told the driver to turn back. It was a long curved road and the rice fields were about 15-20 feet below and water logged. The moonlight was being reflected from the stagnant water. Lo and behold I found two headlights down in the rice fields. All of us quickly dismounted. We got on to the Divisional frequency and intimated them that we need help. The AAG responded and said the needful will be done.

I went down sliding. There were 12 people in the 2.5 ton. We pulled out the driver and co-driver; they were in a daze but OK. The tragedy had stuck in the rear. The dhai ton was lying on its side. Three guys were injured badly. On one the spare wheel had fallen, on the other the jack had hit his head probably and the third was under the dhai ton itself. All were breathing but the situation was grim.

I baby carried a chap with lot of difficulty up the steep slope. The badly injured were put in the LPT. Walking wounded were put in the gypsy. I left a guard of One JCO & 6 jawans as ammunition and weapons of the injured could not be accounted for. Once the critically wounded were in safe hands we rushed back to the site. It was cold but we traced out each and every magazine and weapon even in knee deep water as it was moon lit. Recovery of the dhai ton was left for the next day. Villagers has evaporated into thin air.

I spoke to the driver who told me that he had seen a few villagers next to the tongas, who shooed the horses away seeing our vehicles approach. To avoid hitting a horse I cut the steering and the result was in front of us. I left further investigation for the next day and rushed back to hospital. Three guys were very critical and rest were shaken up with minor cuts and bruises. No one had a wink of sleep that night for obvious reasons.  Next morning two of the most critical were heli lifted to Udhampur, Sad news reached me that one jawan passed away in flight and the other after about two hours in hospital. I had a lump in my throat and still get it when I remember them. God bless their souls.

We the security forces suffer causalities in various administrative moves too. The risk of serving in J&K is compounded as on one side is the devil and the other is the deep sea. God forbid, had a Kashmiri been killed in the incident where not a single round was fired, I would have been answering the human rights courts.

Out of 36, 33 of us got back, two left for their celestial journey and one badly injured came back after a long time of rehab and sick leave. His both legs had multiple fractures as he was under the vehicle. I look back and think life was not easy in the valley. I moved to Manipur from the valley. It was like falling from the frying pan into the fire. Picture abhi baki hai mere dost.

What was the cost we paid to collect those 50 Lakh rupees as pay? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PAKISTAN MUKT BHARAT

 

 

 

PAKISTAN MUKT BHARAT

 

Four brave hearts walk this earth no more due to the unprovoked firing by Pak on a bunker repair party. Four more will never walk straight as they have been injured & maimed. Living with a splinter or a gunshot wound is so bloody painful. I have seen people scream at the sight of an injection; imagine a shell splinter passing through your guts for no fault of yours. The trauma after the incident, the sleepless nights hoping to somehow ward away that memory of that moment when you were hit can never be understood by any politician or bureaucrat. The moment which takes away a chunk of your flesh and bone would never allow anyone to be his usual self.

I know many people who have lost some part of their body in action with the enemy. They all project a brave face. They may set examples for many to emulate and motivate them by their courage and determination but I know deep inside they burn. They burn to take revenge of that moment which became their life changing moment. The apathy of our government traumatises further & can never be factored in. That pains even more. To fight on paper is far more difficult than to fight in the battle field. These brave men never reveal their inner self. The hurt inside is like an etching on stone. That scar mark will only perish when the soldier finally bids adieu. How many more such marks are acceptable to our country and countrymen?

Once you are sent back home in a six feet by three feet by three feet box draped in the tri-colour, it doesn’t matter. You have done your time in hell. The wailing will die down and the tears will dry but life has to go on. Even the animal in the house is shattered as understands that something unusual has happened. People on the other side of the border do not. Someday we have to do a tit for tat. The scale of damage to the other side should be “tit cubed”. Three times more number of mothers should wail to understand the pain of an Indian soldier’s family. It sounds cruel, so be it.

Many of the injured will be boarded out unceremoniously and face a double whammy. “Arey bunker hi to bana rahe the”, would be the underlying statement. Moment you are found unfit; you would be shown the door. Had the enemy been shooting at you, you would have reacted according to “Seekha hua Tariqa”. When your own people start to shoot you down, you don’t know what to do. Now reality strikes you, when you can’t even give a thumb impression as your thumbs were left in the battle field.

For the bureaucrat you would be just a case study for a new policy. For a politician a vote less makes no difference. For them you are just another “shaheed” for a wreath to be laid on. The neta may promise something which in that moment your family may not be in a position to assimilate. The lady starts a new battle of survival. The Bureaucrat moves on posting, politician changes his party. Fresh soldiers are posted to face the wrath of the same enemy again as cannon fodder.

Shelling & casualties have become a daily routine. It is funny to see media chaps trying to reach places where firing is taking place. The “natak” of puffing and panting shown on TV is to safeguard his naukri. Smoke emanating from jungles and bunkers being destroyed is shown as a fiction movie. Once report is submitted, the focus changes to “man ki baat” far away from the action scene. One more breaking news story bites the dust. One more soldier turns to dust.

The policy of a cheek out every time, an olive branch and a white flag held in each hand will leave more people in trauma. Policy on how to collect taxes is well know but policy how to give a befitting reply to the enemy is yet to be drafted it seems. The world laughs at us for inaction while the Government makes a mockery of a soldier’s life as elections are an electoral “battle” which matter more to them. They use “Ran neeti” for war of a political kind not war to sort out the enemy. Ironic!

Why can’t the government start a campaign called Pakistan Mukt Bharat? No bloody Paki or his stooges dare to venture on our territory. Let us then obliterate these devils; consequences will be for many generations to see. Let us plaster them with an uninterrupted and uninterruptible shelling & fireworks display this Eid. Will our leaders unite for once and feel the pain of every soldier who has given his today for India’s tomorrow? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

INNOCENT TERMITES

 

 

 

INNOCENT TERMITES

 

The innocent stone pelters of J&K are turning “innocenter” by the day. They are extra ordinary citizens who can be found praying all the time in this holy month of Ramzan. For what is a different issue? They don’t abuse, they are never violent. It happens so that when security force people appear in their area, stones, batons and bricks appear in their hands by a miracle. They are such naive people that anger is generated in them from somewhere, through some divine power that they start smashing and bashing anything related to the security forces.

It appears to me that their behaviour is akin to people who go into a “trance” when they get connected with that invisible force. Thereafter they don’t see or feel anything, they just throw anything and everything at the security forces in their stupor. The forces are actually there trying to assist them. Kashmiri’s need to understand that people are giving them false hopes of Azadi. This, the pelters are unwilling to understand.

Peace can never be one sided. Violence against the state and its forces will only increase the agony and time to attain peace. If forces withdraw, will all these people who attack the security forces guarantee peace & prosperity for their people? Will all those who are motivating these pelters guarantee that they will be able to look after their affairs. As I see it, these people do not except the elected government also. Can one Kashmiri be at peace with another Kashmiri? The answer is a straight and blunt no.

With limited resources, lack of education, jobless youth and over dependence on government funds, can these guys think of peace? Sarkari Naukri’s are limited. Tourism which became the backbone of Kashmir’s economy is touching rock bottom. Where is the famous apple of Kashmir? The fruit industry which can boost the economy is rotting. The blue revolution is below expectation, actually the fisheries are gasping for water. Animal husbandry needs a real husband to do the job. Timber industry which is so much in demand world over appears as if “ghun” (mites) are slowly gnawing through and turning it to dust.

I was staying in a walnut forest when I was in the anti-infiltration role in Kashmir. The logs which were being illegally “adjusted” in full view of the forest department for “deodar” & “akhrot” were unimaginable. “Janglat Vibhag” was the most “in demand” department. Timber smuggling was rampant. There is no penalty for a tree which has fallen due to natural reasons but how many were felled and reported as rotten? Villagers have been given permission to fell a few to construct or rebuild their houses. One tree becomes two and so on. The forest cover keeps dwindling. Funds for the forest keep evaporating.

Why is peace eluding J&K? I have heard many politicians deflecting this topic by saying; it’s a very complicated subject. Definitely it is! That doesn’t mean it cannot be tackled. Who are the main players? It is the people of Kashmir and their representatives. Then why can’t a solution be worked out? Cessation of fire has been imposed on the security forces, what about the same on the not so innocent militants, they don’t accept it. Is it a political gimmick? Should it be one sided?

Is Pakistan the culprit? In my mind I have no doubts. They can be tackled externally. But, who will sort out these mites who are drilling holes in our healthy wood? I would rather say they have done the termite effect on Kashmir. If the militants are the mites, then the people who support, fund, shelter, encourage militancy and are in touch with Pakistan, sitting inside Indian territory are termites. They are eating Kashmir from within.

By spraying insecticide the disease & decay won’t go. We need to eliminate the queen. Who will identify the queen? I think it has been done already. When a termite hill is attacked, the workers and soldiers are bound to be agitated. They fight and try to plug in holes so that the queen remains safe. The forces have been doing the ant eaters job. Eating and eliminating what is visible and leaving the rest of the nest to recoup, rebuild and keep feeding the queen which keeps reproducing more white ants. The expanding graveyards are witness to it. Government of India has got the wherewithal to just focus on the queen. Distractions and deflections have to be guarded against.

The “innocent” worker ants are pelting stones, the “soldier ants” are attacking as militants. Where has the queen gone and hidden herself? We got to locate & eradicate her. The sooner we get our act right, whole Kashmir will be in peace, India will be in peace, Kashmiriat will return, Insaniyat will resurface and Pakistan will rest in peace. Have I got it right? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

WATERY TALES

 

 

 

WATERY TALES

 

I was watching a programme on water scarcity where I saw long queues of residents waiting to fill water in Simla. India may see a water crisis soon. Does this strike a chord somewhere? War for oil is passé, the next World War is going to be for water, I reckon.

Hills do have a peculiar problem where water freezes in pipes in winters. In summers tourists flock the area and consume water in bucket loads, in rainy season every drop gets washed away. So how to sustain is the question. My place has an average rainfall of 2500 mm plus per annum and all goes to the sea. Villages around are crying hoarse for drinking water but nothing is being done to harvest a single drop or address their perennial problem.

Be that as it may. I remember in the deserts I was lucky to have served in a battalion which had no dearth of vehicles and had many bowsers of 1000/3000 litres capacity. We were also fortunate enough to have our Engineer Regiment friends who used to go in advance to establish water points for us in midst of nowhere. I must also thank the Indian Government and their vision to construct the Indira Gandhi canal from Harike barrage in Ferozpur to deep inside Rajasthan, teeming with fish and delivering pure water from the confluence of Beas & Sutlej Rivers to the parched deserts. Fresh canal fish, fried to perfection with rum and “thanda pani” was ultimate during exercises.

I remember a place called “Dharmi Khu”. It was a deep well very close to the boundary of India and Pakistan. Shepherds of both countries used to water their cattle from this common well. I for the first time saw two camels pulling a huge leather bucket (MASHAK) made of one piece camel skin out of the well from a depth of about 1000 feet for water to reach the surface. The communication between the camel operator and the man at the well used the typical one finger whistle. It used to be fun to see the irritated camels come back in reverse gear grunting and blabbering their frothy tongues. I have tasted that water, it was very brackish. Normal people will spit it out like a shower but man and beast in those far off lands had to drink it. I hope “Sagarmal Gopa Canal” water has reached there by now.

The chaggal (water canvas small) and the pakhal (mule tank) were the ultimate Army water carriers. As a Mech Officer I never carried a water bottle but had chaggals tied all around my open jonga. The thin crust of ice in the chilly desert winter on canvas buckets was common. How can one forget, beer bottles were chilled in deep pits left overnight, sprinkled with water in the golden sands of Jaisalmer.

In Ladakh fetching water was fun. Though we had an engineer detachment but they were left to run the boat in Pangong Tso with a modified one tonne engine. The water point was between Lukung and Phobrang village. My “Pinja” buddy in a 3 Ton with my wife and our post dog Rambo used to hop on with a small working party to fetch water every second day. Wife, I & Rambo used to get down at the fishing point to catch Brown Trout. Rest of the party used to go to fetch water. I used to wonder why they didn’t carry water tanks. They used bring back frozen blocks of nice clean transparent ice. This also solved the mystery of why these guys carried crow bars instead of rubber hoses. Later I found this a common site in Ladakhi villages where ladies used to carry ice in baskets.

Water both in High altitude and the deserts was rationed. Our unit water bowser used to pump water in our over head tanks once a day in married accommodation at Jodhpur. Jaisalmer was equally bad where we lived off pakhals. While one was deployed in the deserts for exercises and operations one had the privilege of having an exclusive bucket of water as an officer. Men generally took a dip in the canal in case it was in the near vicinity. In my whole army life it was rarely I would have taken a shower. Today, in Jodhpur one has to store water in underground tanks and it is 1000 rupees for a tanker these days. All our lives we lived with water timings and never complained.

Most of us would never have witnessed dry cleaning of utensils. Let me tell you about a typical desert village where the utensils are rubbed clean with sand and we too did it in various exercises to conserve water for the days ahead. I haven’t seen “BARTANs” cleaner and glistening like gold after dry cleaning with sand. They will beat Vim bar any day.

A man can live without food for weeks but maximum three days without water. If water is so important, then what are my countrymen doing to preserve it? I think fauji’s can manage with rationed water can the rest of India too? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY HOME IS OPEN FOR YOU

 

MY HOME IS OPEN FOR YOU

 

“HANS KE BOLA KARO BULAYA KARO

AAP KA GHAR HAI AYA JAYA KARO”

                                                                                            -Gazal sung by Jagjit Singh

Will opening cantt roads improve civil-military relations? If the answer is yes, then balle-balle but I have an issue with people who do not belong to the Armed Forces fraternity; I dare say “civilians”.  It appears to me they take it as an insult if not an abuse. How should we address them as? Let us think.

I find “non-military people” carry many myths, that because I am a “fauji” I must be drinking daily. The second myth is that in cold areas we keep drinking alcohol to stay warm. Third myth is that liquor in the fauj is free, if not free then “bahut sasti” as they put it. Non-fauji’s are more aware of your quota of rum and would always request for a “case” or two on a regular basis. Some even have the audacity to offer extra cash for a bottle because “Purity ki sureity” hoti hai fauji liquor main & Chadti bhi jaldi hai. Also, CSD is the cheapest bazaar on this side of Suez.

I stay in a colony of my company. It has been maintained like a cantonment. People from the nearby villages make it a point to come inside, just to feel good & show their authority. The gardens, flora, fauna, lawns, fountains and a kind of discipline in the layout lures them inside. To keep them out is not possible as facilities like banks, ATM, School and relatives reside inside. If you stop them, they feel offended. If you let them go without a check then the company management gets angry. Catch 22.

We maintain parking in designated areas, however the village folk fail to understand that parking in the middle of the road can cause accidents, they just won’t listen. Speed means as fast as the accelerator can take you. Speed limits don’t matter. We put speed breakers, they started bypassing them. Helmets are an absolute no, they get a headache.  Seat belt, what are seat belts they say. Plucking leaves from hedges is a big time pass for them.

Let’s now go inside a military cantonment. You will find very well laid out lanes, parking slots, parks, geru-chuna on trees and pavements. Without helmet you just cannot move, even the pillion rider has to wear one. No one litters as a habit. Outside, people litter as a habit. Spitting is rare in cantts, outside, gutka along with saliva is spat in every corner. On a roundabout, non military people get a licence to take short cuts. Suffice to say the basic civic sense is lacking. Why?

Keeping the cantonment neat, clean and green is a matter of pride for us. Units are given designated areas of responsibility to keep cantts spic and span. As a corporate we did a “Swach Bharat” campaign and picked up every tiny bit of filth around a famous temple close by. Within one week it is back to square one, dirty as dirty could be. “Koora” as they call it is piled a mile high again.

Well, let us welcome the non military crowd to our folds but with a caveat that friends when you come kindly maintain discipline, don’t break traffic rules, understand that someone else also has the right of way, don’t over speed, don’t litter and assist us to assist you to feel free and safe. All faujis know that they won’t stay more than two years in any station but maintain them to the best of their ability.

Please stand with our families who are separated from their husbands fighting on the borders for you. That lady is a father, brother and sister to her children. She doesn’t let the absence of the father be felt. She also knows that bad news can come anytime. She is the doctor, nurse, washerwoman, teacher, tutor, coach, driver, maid and banker for the house hold. She is used to living in a protected environment so please do not let her feel threatened is a request.

The Services are now kind of used to dictates’ of kinds, cease fire with militants, Yes sir, go for flood relief, Right sir, react in natural calamity Wilco sir, open cantt roads, yes ma’m, remove AFSPA, roger sir, civil administration has failed, control riots, no problem sir, fight militants, my bread and butter sir, fight enemy within and without, aye-aye sir. Ask for modern equipment, no budget, ask for ammunition, manage in what you have, Rations need to be restored, we shall think about it, implement OROP, we have given you enough, sort out pay commission anomalies, court will decide, give us at least our Izzat, what the hell does this word mean.

Be that as it may, we the cantt people do not want to unnecessarily inconvenience you guys at all. “Aap ka ghar hai aya jaya karo”. From our experience we know that once we let you in, you will take it as a birthright. Friends we in the forces live by certain ethos and Dastoor. We swear to protect our constitution and the integrity of India. Do the “non-military people” also do so? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 

 

 

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 A weird kind of feeling sets in when one hears that the cantonments have been made free for all. When I was posted in Jaisalmer in 1985, reaching the railway station from my unit used to take 30 minutes. At times the station bus driver was briefed not to let the station master turn the signal green till officer’s vehicle was in site. I remember I missed the train once and caught it at the next station called Thaiyat-Hamira, as my jeep had got stuck in sand. One always cursed why the cantts are so remotely located. I think we didn’t want spies sneaking into military locations.

We used to dislike going to the distant Air force station in Jaisalmer but could not help it as all VIP movement used to take place from there. Hell used to break lose if one found one item missing which meant more than an hour’s delay to fetch it from the unit. The station was fenced with various check posts. Security SOPs were strictly followed. By the way on the lighter side, I always used to wonder why the Air Force Police chap carries a compass as part of his accoutrements’. Did he use it to guess the direction from which I came from or that he set a new bearing every time he moved from the gate?

Be that as it may. Suffice to say cantts used to be far from towns to avoid being a hindrance to any civil traffic or people. As time went by people started to slowly creep closer to the boundaries and encroach prime land. I remember Nabha, a small little place in Punjab, where, from ones backyard one could get milk through the barbed wire fence. One could choose the buffalo to be milched. If that black beauty did not look at you and say moo you could tell the person to skip to the next one. “Saron da saag” used to be exchanged in “dolu’s” full across the fence. It could have been bombs too. People wanted the road through the cantt open but they also understood the security concerns.

Nabha had Bouran gate, Alhoran gate, Patiala gate, Dulladi gate & Mehsi gate, which used to be manned and used to be the first check point for people trying to enter Nabha fort. Those gates did signify that the fort was protected from all directions. Military stations & cantonments too are protected areas. Exposing those places to the public gives an opportunity to anti national elements to have a free run. Leaving our doors open does attract thieves I suppose.

Inside Nabha cantt we had a “Ghora khana” and “Hathi khana” (Horse & Elephant stables). It was like having your Armoured Regiment and the Mechanised Infantry Battalion. These locations were closely guarded as the animals needed protection against sabotage and subversion. Someone could steal the animals or poison the animals and their fodder or could pollute the ponds in which they bathed. Fit animals could be replaced with lame ones. All these were security concerns of the King who had many enemies. In modern times if someone can get in and sabotage our tanks and BMPs costing crores, we might be unfit for war. Well, time will tell its repercussions.

I was talking to a friend of mine and she totally turned me off by saying that you army men think too much of yourselves by calling us “civilians”. She further went to say that I must remember that the forces are under the civilian rule so don’t think you guys are superior kinds. If this is how our fellow countrymen think about people who live and die for the tri-colour, then there is something wrong with someone’s mentality. I dare not say the “civilian mentality” lest my friend feels offended again.

Doesn’t a security guard of your society ask you at the entrances that whom you want to meet? Doesn’t he register your mobile number, name and address before letting you in. Then what is the issue if they check you at an Army check post. By the way, the Armed forces adapt fast to changing situations. Our families are also now mentally prepared in case of emergencies like Pathankot. We know how to look after ourselves and we are flexible enough to cope with any challenging situations. That’s how we are bred. Opening of roads do irritate us but don’t bog us down.

In case an Armed forces man is on duty in Kashmir and gets a message that his house has been burgled, his car has been damaged, his little child and parents have been hurt and manhandled badly while he was in an operation putting his life at stake for the sake of the people who don’t know and understand what an encounter with a terrorist is. Can those people assure him the safety of his family when he is risking his life for citizens of India?

I also know of people who are best friends till the time they can lay hands on a couple of bottles of liquor from the canteen. If such people feel hassled to show their identity and get equally inconvenienced like every other soldier, before entering any restricted area, then God help us! If opening the cantt road is for ego or vote bank, then it’s a shame. Why have security and protection for ministers then? I was sent out to rot in the desert for one year because our parliament was attacked. Had one odd MP been shot dead, then would the forces been given a free hand & told to eliminate Pakistan? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FIT FITTER FITTEST

 

 

FIT FITTER FITTEST

 

It was amazing to see “Chilly” do those demo type push ups which we used to do in NDA. Media jumped in pushing only words out of their vocal chords on a futile debate. The discussions became so hot that people were sweating in air conditioned studios as if they had done 100 push ups non-stop. I wish all those overweight panelists and anchors had hit the floor to prove their fitness instead.

I have one “dili-tamanna” Chilly. You being a fauji will understand it. Please get every “Saansad” to Rajpath at 5.30 am every morning (Rain or no Rain). Road walk and run should be the first day’s agenda. Area between North and South block maybe used for the PT fall in. North Block for the ruling party and South Block area for the opposition and others. Sick report people to stand near the gates of Rashtrapati Bhawan and should be checked by the Rashtrapati himself. All “shammers” to be sent back with Att “A” (Attend all parades).

You can be the Adjutant and give the report to the Commanding officer whose name I need not mention. As it is the opposition parties have united so Raga can give it to Mummy ji, as the neighbouring battalion adjutant. You can call them Blue land and Red land reports.

Kindly request the Army to please spare PT ustads in those red stockings for the event. If army can help laying yoga mats and building bridges on Yamuna this won’t be a big ask I suppose. Thereafter, all “dhotiwalas” should be handed over to the ustads in manageable squads. I find there will be an issue here as there would be very few parliamentarians under 40 years. Therefore, the grouping should be 40-50 years, 50-60, 60-65 and above 65 years. I know that most of them will fall in the last bracket. You may have to design a special PT Exercise Table for them (No table 13 please).

Kindly ensure about 30-40 ambulances are placed for Medical cover for the event. Hospitals need to be kept on standby as there would be lot of ligament injuries and sprain cases. I would love to hear the ustads say, “India Gate ko dahine chor ke ayega”. “Pahila teen rakhega baki dobara”. Go and suddenly say wapaaaas. You don’t know whether you have to go or come back. I would also like to see how these people react to” idhar fall in-udhar fall in”. Remember, ustads used to shake us up from slumber by showing his hand where to fall in. A Kenyan NDA cadet just gave up. The Ustad asked him what happened, he said Ustad you first decide where I have to fall in and I will go there.

Their X, Y, Z security personnel to be lined up for crowd management. I am sure when the Desh will hear that our “desh chalane wale” are doing PT to stay fit, it would be an event of sorts. At least for the first few days people may come in large numbers to show their solidarity as they definitely follow their leaders, even though blindly.

I remember the famous “nimbu pani” of NDA Khadakwasla after Josh Runs. Here we would be dealing with many diabetics so give them “karela” and “lauki” juice to refresh them. If that is not possible then” neem-ras” in lieu of aam-ras would do. All “kitanoos” in the tummy and brain will get destroyed. O My, how can I forget “Sulabh”? You will have to place mobile toilets as some “Mahanubhav” would like to stay inside to escape the wrath of ustads. The doors must have timers, after five minutes they should automatically open to expose the reality.

I know our politicians walk a lot (padyatra) and are fit guys. They talk a lot too especially when they are on TV. Some of them can sit for 18 hours on their chairs and work. I must appreciate their stamina.

One more thing, if we can do all this then let us stick to timings and punctuality. If you leave timings of PT Parade to be discussed in parliament as to what time is the best time to exercise, I am sure they would never be able to come to a consensus. If you say morning the opposition will say evening, the speaker can keep requesting them to “baith jaiye”. I would say, moment they clog the well of the house, PT Ustads should appear and take them for a run around the parliament building. Make them climb up and down the stairs 40 times, desh fit apne aap ho jayega.

I am not asking for any cartwheels, handsprings and back flips which politicians keep doing in political life by jumping from party to party and doing politics of convenience. They ride high horses because we elevate them to that pedestal. They do push the common man into blind wells.

Be that as it may, I congratulate you Minister Saab to have started the fit India initiative. I shall not take your challenge as I am best at doing “Shavasan”. India can only be fit, if their leaders are fit. Leaders need to be physically fit, mentally strong and morally straight. I must thank my Alma Mater for making me fit in all respects. I also want to thank & salute all my PT & Drill ustads for their service to the nation. Will fitness I mention ever be on the politician’s agenda? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FIRE TO CEASEFIRE

FIRE TO CEASEFIRE

 

Ceasefire has been ordered in J&K. I don’t know will it be applicable to both sides as some forces are hell bent to destroy Kashmir and in turn India. Why a cease fire in the holy month of Ramadan only? Why not every month? Kashmir thus will stop suffering and so will the security forces.

I say why anyone should fire at all and then call for a cease fire. Every Kashmiri has a right to live in peace and so does every man and woman in uniform deployed there. Why pick up a gun or a stone in the first place? If every village decides to cease hostilities, where is the question of anyone dying? I hope militants will be sincere in not violating it for the sake of people of Kashmir. If this time is going to be used to trouble villagers to condescend to their demands to garner support and brain wash Kashmiri youth against India, then time is not ripe to give this leverage of ceasefire. In case they are going to cross the dotted line, then God help them.

Who doesn’t want peace? The security guy will be the first one to grab anything which will help to create a peaceful atmosphere. He is fed up of roaming day in and day out in unknown territory, checking unknown people, whose intentions behind those fake smiles are not known. He also wants to sit and enjoy a kahwah and wazwan. He also wants a “Sunday” to rest. They fire at him and stone pelt him. Then only the soldier retaliates. Who actually needs to cease fire then?

If our own convoys cannot pass safely in our own territory then it should be a matter of shame for the Kashmiri people. It looks pathetic that security forces have to place guns on top of our vehicles to kind of intimidate the militants warning them to dare attack us. The common citizen has to pay the price by getting inconvenienced, delayed, diverted and threatened of dire consequences if a convoy is harmed. The militant comes, does his job and melts away, Common man bears the brunt.

Let us then ceasefire like this on mutually agreed terms. No firing or militancy related activity in the months of January as it is the first month of the year. February, we have Valentine’s Day so everyone to give and take love. March is Holi and time for spring. So let us enjoy the fruits of nature. May and June are too hot and June also being the month of Ramadan, so let us forget our animosity. July is monsoon, time for a break. August is when India attained independence & Id time, so why fire then. September and October are months of Dussera-Diwali. November is my birthday, so please don’t fire. December again is time for Christmas so let peace prevail. Let this cycle repeat.

If peace is the requirement of the valley people, then it is they who need to create an atmosphere for peace. The security forces will take nine steps but you take one. Security forces cannot be only on the receiving end always. The forces will continue to keep their vigil and stick to their word. People of “jannat”, when will you understand this? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PM ON FAST

[ninja_form id=1]Gone are the days when Gandhi ji used to go on a fast and the world used to get shaken up. I think the British gave up because his fast was a more deadly weapon then any gun. PM Sahib decided to do the same. He is on a fast as a mark of protest because our representatives stalled all work in our “Gole Market”. It appeared more like a “Gole Macchi Market”. The basic decorum and the discipline of the august houses suddenly evaporated into thin air. PM Sahib must be in a terribly angry mood to take this action. Indeed it is very unfortunate for India but who cares.

I remember we used to ask the Adjutant, how is the bosses’ mood? Last minute check used to be with the COs runner, if he nodded his head straight, then you had a chance to put across your argument. If he nodded sideways meant hell is going to break loose. One entered the COs office at one’s own risk. Many times if you were called, you meekly asked the adjutant Sir, what is the agenda? His simple answer used to be “Danda”. There was no use for any guess about your condition when you came out. A good adjutant used to keep a chilled glass of nimbu pani in summers or a hot cup of tea in winters ready, knowing the aftermath of the firing you got.

Imagine if PM saab is in a foul mood and tells his secretary to call a few ministers to his office. Finance Minister, asking for a chilled nimbu pani “in winters”, holding a shredded noting sheet of a few lakh crores which the PM just tore off for no reason.  DM coming out all guns blazing at the Chief’s, stating PM passed though Delhi Cantt and found the Chuna-Geru was not up to the mark. Transport Minister trying to send a message to avoid meeting to the PM stating he is struck in a traffic jam. Foreign Minister already on a flight to Bhutan, when asked why? She says, because of that dhokla issue or was it dhoklam, she forgot.  General Saab already fit-chuted and ready to para jump over Iraq, just in case some more Indians had to be brought back.

Bosses mood was an indicator for things to come our way. It was like the daily horoscope. I remember one of them used to get in good moods moment you talked about a party. Who is throwing it and for what reason was beside the point. Another one used to be a bridge enthusiast; so one could wait till the cows came home and have lunch at dinner time, office started after that. One used to be that training type, if your dangri smells of sweat and your patka is full of sand, it was ok with him. So you knew what to do moment you saw him, just do a front roll in the sand and your day was through. One was a stickler for punctuality, one second late for any parade meant you were on leave that day.

In the civil I find mood swings more and very difficult to predict. He will talk soft but mean harsh. He will record every incident and keep quoting it, till you die. They provoke you and make you react, burden you ‘without resources’, backtrack from their words, mean something & say something. They assume that you will interpret what they say in a manner what they don’t mean. At least in the fauj a boss used to fire you, abuse you, kick you, and shout at you but at the end of the day things were forgotten over a drink. If he was really annoyed, he sent on an LRP (Long Range Patrol).

Be that as it may, where will the PM go to express is displeasure? For him, our diversity is now becoming our divisiveness. We are no more united. Everyone wants a bigger chunk of the pie. If not then hamper parliament proceedings. That’s what the reason is for the PM to react. How do you control such people, the PM per force has to go on a fast to show his unhappiness; a sad state for India.

I consider it a matter of shame if the PM has to go on a fast like this. Knowing the Indian mentality it will make no difference to any of those elected representatives who did not let the houses function. Had these guys thought about the country first, things would have been different? I wish the PM follows our adjutant and introduces stalls of Nimbu Pani and Chai outside both the houses, for all MPs found misbehaving. When will this Gole Machhi Market return to the stature and maintain the dignity required of our Parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY RELIGION IS SAFFRON WHITE & GREEN

Splintered is a feeble word I would use for India today. We are kind of disintegrating as a nation. Fragmentation has become a new norm of our society. Even our ethos is crumbling with every passing day. The whole world is our family is way too big a statement. Today, we are split down the middle, even in our families. Then we have our social gradation which separates us, followed by our religion which makes us drift apart further. Now we also have various kinds of fringe elements adding to the chaos. Is this the India of our dreams?

The segregation starts moment a child is born. The difference is being born in a municipal hospital or a super speciality hospital. The gap is seen between the haves and the have not’s. Then comes our schooling, in that comes gradation due to Vernacular medium, English medium and International schooling. Religious schools & institutions shred us further apart. We stand divided at every step but are united to fight for destruction of this nation.

In the armed forces we too have groups called Combat groups. We have squads, sections, platoons, detachments’ and Combat teams. We have Brigades, Divisions, Corps and Commands. However, we train together and fight together. We are divided into such groups to unite our Hindustan. We carry our religion, which is the national flag on our sleeves.

A crew of a tank, a gun or a BMP is an ultimate team. Everyone is a cook, sentry, gunner, commander, operator and stick. If the driver doesn’t switch on the master switch, nothing functions. If a loader doesn’t load, the gunner can’t fire. If the commander doesn’t designate a target, the driver will not be able to position his vehicle correctly for the gunner to fire. If all of them do not come together as a well oiled team, they cannot fight the enemy. Where does religion come in here?

In battle there is only one aim, annihilation of the enemy. I don’t know if religion, caste, creed, ethnicity is becoming our biggest enemy.

In an army convoy if the leading vehicle is too fast, the vehicles following will get scattered. If it is too slow, they all will bunch up. If they do not follow SOPs & drills and adhere to speed limits, there is likely hood of convoys getting mixed up and accidents. Aim is to get every vehicle, men and material to the designated place, at the right time, in the designated order, in the best state of preparedness, for accomplishing a mission. That is what India needs. There cannot be a hindu-muslim-sikh-isai convoy. Yes, the “mandir vehicle” as it is called is also part of the convoy. Anyone so desirous of “tekoing his matha” can do so while on the move but without breaking convoy discipline.

During war water and food is limited and rationed. It is distributed equally to everyone. There is no discrimination. In battle if a man is thirsty and you offer him a sip of water and a tonne of gold, what will he go for? What will a soldier carry in battle? Is it ammunition or his religion? Religion has no place in war, it is the country that comes first always and every time. Rest doesn’t matter.

We have one organisation which is above religion and politics that is the Armed Forces. The seeds of animosity and bitterness cannot be and should not be planted in our blood. Every officer loves his cook as much as he loves his gunner. Every man counts, every trade has his role to play. The doctors don’t see your religion to treat you when you have a bullet in your chest. When blood is infused, no religion is printed on it except its group. Life and limb needs to be saved not religion.

If this much is clear then at least on the day when soldiers are being laid to rest after making their supreme sacrifice for the nation, let news channels not debate, as they show scenes of coffins and the last post being played with politicians this Hindu-muslim-sikh-isai issue. Let that soul depart in peace.

My country is supreme; rest all has no place in military ethos. I have pledged my life for the tri-colour, I shall go by land, sea or air, where ordered, to defend it from internal disorder and external aggression is the pledge I have taken and a promise made to my countrymen. If I die in the line of battle, the only place where my religion comes in is to give me a befitting farewell on my last journey. Otherwise I have no religion. Is my religion loud and clear? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CONDOLENCES ARE NOT ENOUGH

It was sad to hear that four more brave hearts fell to Pakistani shelling. “Condolences” have become such a common word now and are not enough. The whole country stands with the armed forces, we know. Solidarity is not enough. Today, condolence has become more akin to pity. Solidarity appears to be just a verbal support and assurance. Though every show of support is welcome but to mitigate the loss of a martyrs family is impossible. A person in that fraction of second when a bomb explodes next to him lives no more. That very second he is on a different journey leaving behind shaken comrades, ladies beating chests and wailing children.

In the line of duty there are already enough hazards. Inclement weather, hostile terrorists, enemy fire, illness, accidents, besides politicians getting FIRs lodged against own armed forces. This adds on to the misery and lowers the morale of a soldier. Every man in uniform lives with these risks. In that bat of an eyelid he is gone. Risk increases many fold if they get engaged with the enemy. With every step closer to the enemy it is a fifty percent chance of survival. To make his sacrifice count, what all does this man do is unimaginable by many of us.

Last 70 years we have borne the brunt of the enemy. What we get in return is condolences, pity, sympathy, empathy and all those bombastic words. The huge bhashans, the endless debates, veterans boiling their blood and the next day it’s the same routine. Tri-colours are in constant demand and so are the wooden boxes to carry the mortal remains. Firing squads, wreaths and guard of honour has become a SOP of every Military station. All these things are done internally by the armed forces and on the quiet. Who else will care?

Are we doing enough to stop this constant flow of bodies home? Why can’t a living being come back to live happily ever after?  Talks don’t work out; retaliation doesn’t work, then what next. People say war is not a solution; then what are the means to sort out Pakistan. Is it diplomacy? Is it international pressure? Your guess is as good as mine. Passing resolutions in parliament and making a hue and cry on TV doesn’t work. It has to be action on all fronts. Question is when, how and by whom?

What they portray in movies is very different from reality. In movies the emotions are faked, the josh is faked, blood is fake, ammunition is fake, the smoke is fake, the explosions are controlled, blood sweat and grime on the actors face is the artistry of the makeup artists. Even the panting is faked, the firing is faked. The hospital, doctors, and nurses all are faked. Tears are faked. The storms and winds are faked. The pain of a wounded soldier is faked too. The reel life is nowhere close to the real life.

In actual war nothing can be faked. We keep hearing of fake promises on the political front every now and then as also of political battles. Terms like maidan-e-jung, chunaavi akhara,  ran bhoomi  are common parleys during elections, well sirs, verbal volleys and an MMG burst are totally different. You may shoot from your mouth and influence a few people but when it comes to the real bullets it takes a life and limb with it. It maims, it injures the heart and soul of not only one individual but his whole family and his armed forces fraternity very deeply.

Words like hum un par naaz karte hain, naaz marne ke baad quon karte ho bhai. They are very bahadur, we are where is the doubt. Hum Pakistan ko sabak sikha denge, which text book lesson are we talking of. Hum nakon chane chabwa denge, hope you know your biology right. Aar paar ki larai hogi. Kis ke aar aur kis ke paar, I ask? How many politicians have lost their lives taking a bullet on their chest? What has been done to stop this bloodshed by those who run this country? Enough of cannon fodder we have been. No more death is acceptable.

I will accept that we don’t need an unnecessary war. I will accept what the political decision is but I will not accept politics over the dead bodies of the martyrs’. I am ready to face enemy bullets happily for my nation provided my nation’s representatives promise me to finish this issue from its roots. If diplomacy is the solution, so be it. If the Armed forces can find the best solution for you, give your orders but kindly stop showering condolences as they appear artificial. Are the corridors of power listening? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

 JAI HIND JAI BHARAT

A movie has become such an issue that most of India has decided to see it moment it is screened. The rest of them are waiting to get a free show. The judges have seen it, the jury has seen it, the judgement has been given but egos cannot see it. Some people have decided to carry batons to the hall. Just in case they find things going out of hand they would at least sort out people selling popcorn at exorbitant rates. A movie today can hold a country to ransom is a new high of sorts. With all due apologies to the people of the toughest martial clan and all the sons of Raja’s as they are the “poots”. I just want to ask where their Raj is and where is their Rajwada (Kigdom). Many of them are unemployed and most of them are living in their Jhooti shaan (false pride).

Be that as it may, I have one suggestion that as Pakistan continues with relentless firing every day. Kindly take your naked swords to charge at the real enemy. By intimidating a few artists, producers, lawyers and maker of movies if you all are achieving that sense of pride & honour which was achieved after conquering the enemy’s garrison then I will not utter a word. However, if this Dhakosla (pretence) is going to cause destruction to national assets and loss of life, it would be the most shameful thing a warrior clan can do.

Times have changed; those forts of yore do not exist anymore or are in ruins. People have even looted their stones. Most of the haveli’s have been converted into hotels and resorts why not object to your traditions of the bygone years for this. The place where decisions were taken to fight the enemy is being used as dancing arenas. Place where horses and elephants were stabled are now nowhere to be seen. The place where troops used to rest are now places of entertainment, why not object to all that. The chivalry has gone.

When you can’t afford to continue that royal life style then how can these few meters of celluloid hurt your sentiments? I think the issue is not with Rajasthan alone. That’s how we have splintered ourselves in India. Instead of binding and bonding we are looking for opportune moments to disintegrate besides spreading hatred and spewing venom.

Well let me then get to my clan, the clan of the Olive Greens, where someone is committing Jauhar for the Izzat of India on a daily basis. The actual enemy are the insurgents, militants, terrorists, jehadis & pakis or are they the corrupt which we don’t address but find a movie maker our biggest enemy.

Let me take an objection then to all movie walas that stop making movies about fauj and faujis. We are not rum drinking, merry making, and partying type of characters. We don’t jump off aircrafts and land in our girlfriends arms. We are not gun trotting people who shoot anyone and everyone. We are not Rambos who kill by the dozens and don’t keep a count. We are through professionals. It’s a shame to show faujis selling the country by movie makers then. My engineer friends would love to have girls hanging upside down from bridges while they diffused IEDs. I can assure you if that happened, no challiya, or challiya ki girl friend would walk this earth again.

I then also want to say that why is it that only “Micheal” daru pee kay danga karta hai. What about people of all other communities. Let me not get into it as we are just two percent of 125 crore deshwasis. Who all like to speak English, especially after 8 pm, who all are into “chitta” (drugs), Kala (Black money), Dab-Khadabba (spotted, tainted with corruption and criminal cases)? If all of us start taking objections to such portrayals then this country will only move towards self destruction. If we don’t educate ourselves & continue to stick to the old virtues, we will never progress. Choice is with us to go back to the dark ages.

Let us stop doing this nonsense. I suggest in case one is so touchy then better become a “Kamikaze” pilot and go across and sort out the enemy. If that is not workable then get after the corrupt. Two things will happen, one, India will have peace, and second, India will progress. Bharat and Hind will be saved from the enemy without and evil within. When we are going to unite as one? When we say one for all and all for one, I see one for one and all for none. Can we make our Bharat Mahan this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FAUJI DRIVERS

I just happened to see our RM take a Sukoi ride. I am sure after a hectic 24 hours on our Air Craft carrier Vikramaditya, to fly in an aircraft would have left her flabbergasted. My salutes to you Mam, it needs a lion’s jiggra (heart). What you went through in a sortie or a day at sea, these men in white and blue do it on a daily basis. You must have spent some time with the folks in Olive Green too and I am sure you would have cherished every moment. You can be rest assured that the country is in safe hands. You can bet your life on them. They won’t let India down is now stamped, signed, dated and sealed with your visit.

Be that as it may, moment I saw the SU-30 rolling out with the RM, the first thing which came to my mind is that the Air Force would have put her in the cockpit with the best pilot. In all probability it would have been the Commanding officer. My mind wandered as I was just thinking had she sat in an army vehicle then everyone would have gone looking for the best driver. Reason for detailing the best driver is that he avoids all dhachkas (bumps) while the memsaab is sitting in the gaari (vehicle). In other words the lady has to have the smoothest ride. Saab ke saath, parvah nahin.(If makes no difference when sir sits) Ask the pilot mam, what he must be thinking while you were on board. He would have ensured not a “G” extra. They are indeed the best of best.

This reminded me of my good old days when we were in a place called Lalgarh Jattan. It was so God forsaken that the nearest STD booth was in Ganganagar about 20 kms away. We had just been allotted a house and were busy setting it up. Wife complained of severe back ache one day, probably she might have got a catch, shifting the black steel trunks around. Simple fauji drill I did, took her to the MI (Medical Inspection) room, got medicines and off we went. However, the pain did not subside. The third day she just could not get up from the bed. I panicked and decided to take her to MH (Military Hospital) Ganganagar. Whole night she cried in pain and I could just do nothing about it except rubbing Iodex.

As luck would have it, due to mobilisation practice I was not able to accompany her. My company driver Rajjan Lal was detailed and Major Kandari volunteered to accompany her. I spoke to Rajjan and told him that make sure the drive is smooth. My wife was furious because I wasn’t going along. She said “your office is more important than me” etc. Rajjan gave me the most assured look, half pitying me and said memsaab aap fiqr mat karo (madam you don’t worry). I bade her good bye at about 9 am and at 11.30 Rajjan was back. I asked him what happened as I could see him totally white faced and with dried up lips. I knew something was not right and just hoped my wife was OK.

With a stammering voice Rajjan sheepishly said memsaab theek ho gaya (Madam is alright) and he has dropped her home. I exclaimed, what! How can this miracle happen? Sheepishly he said sir, I was driving very slowly till Khayali Wala (a village), suddenly the road became good and I sped. It slipped out of my mind that madam is sitting behind and I missed a speed breaker. The jonga jumped over it, she said Bhaiya main theek ho gayi, ghar chalo. (Brother I have become OK take me home)

I picked up my bike and rushed home and found she was happily in the kitchen. I asked what happened. She said the sprain (CHOOK) in my back was straightened out by the driver as they jumped over a speed breaker. She landed with a thud and heard a crackling sound and suddenly all pain subsided. I thanked my stars and thanked “Dr” Rajjan. Rajjan thereafter never missed a speed breaker till retirement.

Well, Madam, I don’t know how many of your aches and pains the Army, Navy and Air Force would have removed. However, you definitely need to look into what pains them the most and that is their IZZAT. For every Indian’s tomorrow they are giving their today. Do take a closer look at issues of all those serving and of all those who gave their yesterday too. You will then always be given the smoothest ride. Do you get my point madam? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MATTER OF AN INCH

These days I avoid commenting on the state of political affairs. However, when people get loggerheads with national security, I can’t resist keying a few words. Today, I would like to deal with a politician who rubbed the Indian Navy on the wrong side for not granting permission for a floating jetty to be constructed in the Malabar hills of Mumbai. Well Sir, the least I can say is little knowledge is dangerous. If another 26/11 happens, the same politicians will not only run to the Navy but also provide a mile of land to establish a security hub where they refuse to give an inch today.

Be that as it may, you call Colaba area posh. Rightly so, it is the inhabitants and the culture of the citizens staying in that area that make it posh and Navy is definitely one of them. Real estate prices are not the only indicator for the poshness of a place. It is the environment, the facilities and national assets that make it so. Don’t you see smart men and women in white who add to the definition of posh?

If I have to suggest, why do we have all Mantralay’s including yours in Delhi? Let the Maharashtra Mantralaya shift to Deonar dumping ground and our Parliament to the Gazipur land fill. Two things would happen, one, the habit of opening their mouths too much by the politicians will stop due to the stench. Second, that area will become posh.

The Navy should be patrolling the Pakistan border as you say. Rightly so, you should be patrolling the Indian roads then. Why do you politicians chicken out while giving orders to sort Pak out? Navy would be more than happy to shift their Headquarters to Karachi or Gwadar as the case may be. You want to be in the arms of your darling every evening, what has the navy chap done to deserve a life buoy around his neck at the end of each day.

Once Pakistan is taken care of, thereafter, you won’t have any requirement of the Western fleet. Army too will be able to concentrate on the direction which is getting hotter by the day and so will the Air Force. Kindly minister sahib, visit those forward areas. I request you give us a few feet, where roads and other infrastructure can be built for sustaining the troops. The forces will be more than happy to find their colleagues being evacuated in time and saved. We want living legends and not dead jetties.

Let us be clear that minister ship lasts as long as the government lasts. How long will this one last, next election will tell? Once the Navy is sent off to patrol, they definitely won’t be able to vote, as they would be guarding the high seas for this nation. This should not give you a wrong notion that their vote won’t count. If need be, the armed forces will make it count one day. We are protectors of this nation and not people who lower their morale by ridiculous statements. We serve every government irrespective of who is the minister of which ever ministry.

The joke going around is that, if you can’t give an inch of ground, we definitely can give the government a nine inch boot in next elections. The men in uniform owe their allegiance to the tricolour & the constitution; politicians we know owe their allegiance to whom, for what and why.

One more thing I want to ask Minister Saab. You keep every inch with you but please ensure that servicemen and ex servicemen do not have to beg for their rights. Their families are looked after while they are at the borders. Their children get admissions in schools, their properties are not taken away by thugs, their aging parents are treated with dignity and their documents are made without greasing any palm. Too much of rum has been spilled in the corridors of civil authorities without relief to this man guarding the frontiers. The beauty is that even when you don’t give him his due, he still doesn’t let the country down.

I wish you become the Defence Minister one day, maybe just temporarily and understand why they denied that facility. The person whose baby it is knows, isn’t it? I know you can’t think beyond business, profits and commerce but National Security should never be compromised at any cost, ever.

Well, Indian Armed Forces have a different business to deal with. So kindly take back your words and give us that inch which you have decided not to give. We have been taught and believe in that Chetwode Motto which says “The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your country comes first always and every time”. Construction of a jetty for commercial purposes comes last always and every time. Does it make any sense to you Mr Minister? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

10 MILLION DOLLAR MAN

This man called Hafiz Saeed is always in the news on every Indian news channel. God knows if he is under house arrest, close arrest, or no arrest. What I reckon is that he roams free and attends to his “social service” business as usual. I am also told that he has a bounty on his head of 10 million US $, that is more than 63 crores rupees, with no claimants. Quite surprising, isn’t it! Had the same reward existed in India, there would have been a long queue to claim the full house of Tambola once six and three 63 was announced.

The Paki courts don’t find any evidence against him and rightly so. How can his own family find faults with him? Even if they find a few, that gets covered in mafi-galti (pardonable margin). Indian news channels are running their shows and headlines on his name. They can be rest assured their TRPs will drop if they continue. Reason is simple, as no one is listening and no one is interested. Basically, Indians are more interested in elections. Bold decisions to tackle him or Pakistan may come before elections 2019.

I don’t think this man was the master mind behind 26/11. This is another reason that the Pakis are rejoicing because they know who the actual master mind is and laugh at the world especially the two countries, US and India for our ignorance. The brain behind Mumbai attacks was the ISI and the Pak army. This man was just a pawn. Yes, he had the ability to supply manpower and that’s it. To train them into a killing team definitely is the handy work of a well trained trainer. He just picks gullible people at random and hands them over to the ISI.

People like Kasab navigated on GPS, high jacked a boat, changed boats, got down at gateway and decided on their targets which were recced by someone else, based on videos and photos, moved in, took hostages, drove cars, caused mayhem on stations, got into prayer houses and hotels, is not as simple as it appears. Even locals get lost in their own area. What they kept in mind was shooting. Weapon handling had to be perfect. They definitely were ready for retaliation by Indian forces and came prepared to meet the promised virgins.

Looking at this man Hafiz, I doubt he has the capability to conduct such refined and precise training. Yes, I can understand his hatred for India and his mindset with regards to Kashmir. Yes, he does give inciting and hate speeches. He has political aspirations. He has the patronage of the Paki Polity, judiciary and the Armed Forces. Thereafter what? Are we still looking more for evidence to fill anther dossier? Or are we looking for a miracle that he will come and surrender at India Gate, if not at the Taj through the Gateway.

Do we need to wait for another 26/11 or an attack on parliament to occur? Do we need to wait for another Kargil like situation? Are we waiting for the dirty work to be done by the Americans? This man is not in not even hiding like Osama. Our verbal bullets have no effect, instead we are giving Paki’s ammunition to shatter us in every debate we have on the subject on TV. Their panellists’ come, abuse India and blame everything on us. We like bloody fools, keep waiting for our turn to reply in all civility and make a mockery of ourselves.

They put the onus back on India as if we are sponsoring terrorism and they are doing Yoga. We are sending terrorists across and they are sending kishmish-badam. We are doing all cease fire violations and they are showering Holi colours. They prove to world that India is the culprit of all the de-stability in this region and they are the only ones who are proposing peace. Let’s not fire blanks anymore on TV.

On the lighter side, I would suggest to news channels that when they are in the real mood of Pak bashing, call panelists from Pakistan and start winking at them. Keep winking with alternate eyes, till they are thoroughly confused. Keep showing your tongue in between. At times show your thumb (thenga) till the time they smash their TVs. Mute the Paki voices from the very beginning. End the debate stating that Pakis have admitted to all crimes and then see the fun. Instead of saying good bye, all our panelists wink, show a thenga and show their tongue with the neck protruding forward in unison. Pak will surely give us Hafiz Saeed tomorrow, if not Kashmir.

All said and done, someone please claim that 10 million dollars. It would be a waste if someone else knocks him off and the money goes back to the exchequer. Is anyone ready to claim 63 crores, without GST? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE-LIT THE PRIVILEGED OR THE TORMENTED

I went into the synonyms of the word dalit (oppressed) and found so many different meanings like, afflicted, harassed, beaten down, maltreated, persecuted, subjugated, suppressed, tormented, tortured, trampled, abused, crushed, troubled, tyrannised etc. Basically they were “untouchable” people of an era. Wikipedia has put them lower than the shudras. Now dalits have embraced various religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism etc. My goodness the burden of the words is too heavy. Do we have such atrocities being carried out on our people still?

Why after 70 years a dalit is still a dalit. One dalit is the President’s of India, one gave us the constitution, some became Chief Ministers, and some of them are MPs and members of the legislative assemblies. Quite a few of them are part of the Indian Bureaucracy. We have doctors, lawyers, engineers, police forces yet that word is attached to them. Many of them adorn uniform as part of the Armed Forces; thank God we don’t have any such differentiation.

I have served in various regions of India and I did not find any untouchable people. Yes, I met poor people and often shared a meal and shook hands with them. I did see illiterate people but with deep knowledge of the weather, terrain and life in general. I saw areas where tap water and electricity were unheard of. I served in areas where means to commute was only walking. I did see areas where there was no health care at all. Yes people were sturdy and healthy due to their life style. If you ask them how many camels or yaks do they have they used to quote in hundreds?  Multiply it with a cost of the animals; they will be richer than many crorepatis by miles. They were super rich from their hearts.

Hasn’t India marched into the 21st century?  I can understand that caste divides are there, mostly so in the minds of my and a generation prior to mine. This too shall have no meaning soon. I wish we could follow what we do in the armed forces that whatever trade you belong to you are soldiers first. Religion, caste creed doesn’t matter. The focus is on the enemy and the aim is to defeat him at any cost. Who cooks, who cleans, who serves, who fires and who drives does not matter. Everyone is a combatant, everyone has to fight. It is a team that matters. Enemy bullet is not selective; it pierces everyone in its path. The blood which spills is of the same colour irrespective of its group. The same blood is given to save life without asking which caste or creed the donor belonged to. It is precious so don’t let it spill on the roads unnecessarily.

Our society is all mixed up with divisions which are self created. If the people of the lower rung of the society do not want to raise their standards then who is responsible for it? I know everyone wants to be rich and fast. Everyone wants a job, which is highly paid with only perks & maximum privileges. Everyone wants VIP treatment by getting reservations for self and all the next generations. No one wants to walk the talk. Very few do it and reach great heights but still want to be attached to that word for more gains. Sad but true.

The age relaxations, the percentage reductions for qualifications, the lowering of physical standards for a certain category of people will lead this country into dark ages. The deserving will be left out and the undeserving will rule the roost. The PM too sold tea but is the head of our state, we proudly acknowledge. Tea vending was a phase, how he worked hard to reach this position is what matters. The President of India today, is also from an untouchable caste I am told. Well, his credentials and hard work made him a Governor and now the President. Isn’t it a matter of pride and honour?

If the old definition still applies to PM & the President then they should not even shake hands as they are untouchables or dalits. What I say is, let us remove this word dalit completely. Every human being is a creation of God, some have lesser opportunities, agreed, give them special attention, give them equal education and let them prove themselves. May be after a few generations their progenies would be better than the best. Let us be Indians and not divided into ST, SC, Dalit, shoshit, vanchit, peerit, etc. We need to change the way we think. We have to think we are Indians first. We need to unhook ourselves from the word Dalit and pave our own way.

Let us move away from untouchability to touching lives that make a difference. Too much of reservations have actually ruined the fabric of this country. When will this stigma of gradation of humans in India be eradicated? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE GREAT INDIAN TAMASHA

I am not sure why we are after the 2G scam when we are now hooked on to 4G and beyond. The outcome had been predicted many moons back. 250 witnesses were “grilled”, 10 odd people went to jail including politicians, over a lakh pages were printed for a 67 page judgement and what comes out of it, a dead rat. How many draft pages would have gone down the shredder, the person handling the incinerator will tell us. One party took advantage and won elections just highlighting this rat. The investigating agencies kept investigating playing their “pied pipes” but could not find any rat. The courts found no evidence worthwhile to nail any rat. Someone had the last laugh. Any guesses?

Be that as it may, parliament has been stalled for the umpteenth time. It is business as usual for the politicians as they feel at home disrupting proceedings, sloganeering and with dharna culture. Poor Sachin spent 365 days preparing for his maiden speech which got beeped out due to the din. When it came to increasing their salaries the pandemonium came to a halt. When it comes to OROP, they don’t have funds. The tamasha continues. I just don’t understand this new kind of “democracy” and where is it heading. Is anyone really bothered about the nation or should we keep dancing to tune being played by our “elected representatives”?

Someone shared with me certain things about the custodians of our democracy. When Bofors scam happened, who suffered the consequences, it was the armed forces. After Bofors, we got new guns this year after a gap of 30 years. Why? The Armed forces went to war during Kargil. We almost went to war again after the attack on parliament without a God damn good artillery gun. Bofors was low on spares, their prime movers were off road and ammunition was grossly short thus imported overnight at exorbitant prices. No one questioned the whole issue as it was for the defence of the country. The politicians knew if something drastic happens, this country will not spare them. The ammo was bought at “onay-paunay daam” to save their skins. When Service Chief’s highlight such issues no one pays heed but when politician’s skin is stuck in the zipper then anything can happen.

The shortage of Bofors ammunition was taken up to the MoD level during Kargil war. No country was willing to give ammunition at such short notice. One country agreed but charged an exorbitant price. War had already broken out on those icy heights and ammunition was running out. Causalities were pouring in. Ammo had to be shipped to Bombay & thereafter moved up north by train and then by road to Kargil. Ship would take two days to load, 4-5 days to travel & two days to unload.

Bombay refused to handle ammunition as all other cargo operations would have to be stopped for safety reasons. Ship came and waited for two days outside Bombay. Unloading was not on the national priority so the destination was changed to Vizag adding another 6-7 days for movement. Mind you war was on. Railways had to re-position their rakes. Due to ammunition movement and safety reasons, speed of trains had to be restricted. A 48 hours became 96 hours plus journey, then time for unloading and reloading at Jammu. Finally, movement to Kargil by trucks which would have taken another three to four days till it reached gun positions. Kargil was over by then. Shocking! Thanks to the Armed forces they still evicted the Pakis as our nations integrity was at stake.

Did anyone smell a rat, bat or cat then? The only thing which was later highlighted was the coffin scam. My foot! We kept waiting for orders to go across in the winter of 2001 but rotted in our operational locations till end of 2002, away from our families because of whose indecision, any guesses?

We the people of India including the Forces have now become puppets with strings controlled by politicians. The armed forces especially are on the wrong side of the receiving end. What planning these “puppeteers” do is not visible to the common man. The whole show is choreographed so nicely that we miss out on the larger picture. Our judicial process, our investigating agencies everyone seems to make a mockery of things. I call it wastage of paper, time, effort, resources and money of the tax payers hard earned money.

I am disillusioned, I don’t know whom to believe and trust as I have become a mere moot spectator and allow myself to be used for narrow political gains. Tomorrow, another charge sheet will bite the dust, another Kargil might happen, another political party will cry foul for scams and win elections and the cycle will continue. The soldier on the other hand will keep his vigil and never let down his guard. He remains oblivious to the real motive of the political game plan. Can someone stop this bloody tamasha? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

ANOTHER HAND OF CARDS

Gen Musharaf confessed that he is the best friend of the LeT and JuD. Whats new? At least after so many years of lying, even in the book he wrote called “In the line of fire” at last he admitted the truth which we all were aware all this while. These two organisations are also friends of the Paki army and the ISI. So it goes beyond saying that they are state actors. Now his hand is revealed.

They use them to bleed India with a thousand cuts and we call it terrorism. These guys save regular army on manpower against India because they are readily available, are low risk, have no liability on anyone. They are people who are life termers, drug addicts, criminals or about to be hanged. Even if I consider them highly brainwashed and motivated jehadi people, they actually are poor and join them to have a square meal and some monetary remuneration. These guys are like jokers in the pack which replace cards as and when required.

Why are we after Hafiz Saeed? Had we been after him in real earnest, by now he should have been eliminated from the face of this earth? We are only listening to pure noise on TV debates about him. He roams free as a law abiding citizen of Pak and is let in and let out of custody depending on the threat to his life and not depending how dangerous a threat he is to humanity. Therefore, how hard we wail on TV will fall on deaf ears. Let’s not lose our peace for an assumed king of jehadi “clubs”.

If all paki channels start shouting that someone in India called sharma (just a name) is a terrorist. Will India agree? There are thousands of people by that name. If they claim he has links with army colonels who provide training. Won’t India laugh and say what nonsense. Similarly, when we name Paki Colonels by name they brush it aside as there are hundreds by that name of Maulana. It means that we all are actual fools who are barking up the wrong tree. The need is to bite rather than bark. The pack is too big and well shuffled. To pinpoint the jack of diamonds is difficult.

Sharma reminds me of a name NIMA. While serving an organisation we had many of them. We had to differentiate each Nima by a peculiarity of his, for example BPET Nima. This guy used to fail in BPET. Then there was this guy called INT nima as he used to be in the Int section throughout. Then we had sabji nima, who was the fresh NCO since ages. There used to be one called rear Nima, as he was an expert to handle the paltan rear echelons while rest were deployed forward. Then we had MES Nima, no prizes for guessing it. We had one called MT Nima, yes an expert driver & MT NCO (Mechanical Transport) and of course how can I forget our dear generator Nima. This guy was the most important person for officers. Dot at 9.45 pm the generator lights used to be blinked once. It used to be the first warning to officers to stop the drinking & bridge session and rush to their rooms from the mess. At 9.55 lights used to blink twice. CO used to tell the Adjt tell nima to extend the time by half an hour as the hand of bridge had not finished. The same drill used to repeat at 10.25 pm, the adjutant had to perforce request generator nima for one more extension. Such extensions were routine and repeated. Then the lights never used to blink, there used to be a sudden black out. Adjutant used call up to ask, kya hua Nima (What happened). The answer used to be generator lal ho gaya aur mar gaya saab. (The generator became all red and is now dead).  God bless all the Tashi’s, Nima’s, Dawa’s, Lakpa’s Phurbu’s, Migmar’s, Passang’s and Penpa’s I served with. Tashi Deleg to them. They all were the kings of my heart many moons back.

I want to ask all the news channels, let us black out Pakistan from our air space for one month. I can assure you there will be peace automatically. Give all veteran Generals a break. Those guys have shouted enough word of commands all their lives, now sitting on news channels they are losing their vocal chords. It leaves them with a sore throat and high BP. Some of them forget having their meals and medicines in time. Some of them get carried away so much that they might fall out from their chairs in josh. Sirs, I hope none of you are missing on your chota pegs in this chaos.

If we are sane enough, let us get together and modify our strategy. Besides the full force which has been unleashed against militants let us not give these separatists any chance either. Pakistan has its tail on fire, let it burn. With its PM gone, how long do we wait for an Army take over is matter of time. Let us not reveal our Trump cards.

Now, that the cards have been revealed by the Ex General of Pak. Let us play our hand well. Like Kenny Rogers sang in the song called the Gambler, we must know when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to run. Let us deal one more hand this final time and play our cards well before Nima tells you, generator mar gaya. Does anyone know how to play this kind of card game? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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