Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: ARMY LIFE (Page 1 of 4)

RAKHSA MANTRI ANNOUNCES WAR

As they say old habits die hard so following my habit I switched on TV news in the lunch break yesterday. I saw my Defence Minister addressing a press conference. I thought to myself that war must be imminent. The volume was on mute so I could not gather the gist and my specks too were not on my nose so could not read the ticker either. My curiosity kept increasing. As usual my daughter hid the remote somewhere. Finally, I could locate it and hear the sweet and melodious voice of the RM. To my utter shock she was discussing Mr Robert Vadra. I shoved a finger in my ear and gave it a shake in disbelief that have I heard it correct that the RM had found the most happening jija ji to talk about. Had she been discussing Gen Javed Bajwa, Pak ISI Chief or Masood Azhar it would have been worth listening to. It took me one minute to get the gist and I flicked to discovery channel.

Madam, I had just written a piece a few days back welcoming you to the folds of the uniformed people. I felt really belittled that the government of the day chose you as the spokesperson to put down someone who may have swindled and made loads of money through his deals as alleged but he doesn’t deserve a mention from “my” RM at least. Madam, as they say in the Army, ladies and politics are never discussed by officers. You leave me no choice except to discuss you and the politics. I felt what you were doing was the politics of a loser.

Is it because all the rest are busy with Gujarat elections and there was no one left to high light Mr Vadra of all the people? Was it a cover story to camouflage the flak which Mr Shah’s son was supposed to take? Madam we got to fight a war with our enemies for which you have been chosen as the final authority and word. Here because of political compulsions you had to speak about a person whose in-laws have so much of money that might be equivalent to your defence budget. I am just conjecturing as I am convinced that at least I can see through the smoke screen you raise. Basically the idea was to demean the Congress.  I also know that everything is fair in love and war. Where is love here? Is it love for your party? What about love for the country? Where is war? Is it the political war you are talking about? In any case the RM is not meant to fight with any individual. I feel “ye sab aap ko shobha nahi deta” (all this doesn’t suit your appointment and the dignity attached to it)

Hope madam like you have put the Armed Forces to clean all mountainous areas, you now don’t put us to clean all the political muck. You can be rest assured we can do that too but we in the armed forces are way above all this ma’am. We discuss ideas and not people. Had you talked about the measures you were taking to bring back Cdr Kulbhushan Yadav before Diwali or eliminating all terrorist launch pads in POK, I would have appreciated it. Had you told the media about the latest tanks and guns or for that matter the latest warship you launched I would have never spoken a word but when I heard you speaking about a person who is related to the head of your political opponents, my head bows in shame.

I do not know if you have a choice to refuse such press briefings. Madam you are senior to me in age and service. You also know politics well. I have no clue of even how to spell that word starting with a P. But this I definitely know that on one hand you are the most powerful woman of this country who can mobilise resources to fight nations, terrorists and terrorism. You can dominate the skies, put naval blockades against enemy nations and you chose to speak about a person who has got nothing to do with the country’s defence. Not done Ma’am.

Madam it doesn’t look nice for the Defence Minister of India leaving her prime responsibility addresses a few journalists on the few lakh rupees paid by someone, for someone, in some country, to do some travel a few years back. You are in government and you haven’t been able to fix that fellow in any of the conspiracies he is involved in, when all investigating agencies are duty bound to obey the ruling political masters. You also know that things are under courts considerations. Then what makes you come out all guns blazing at this man just because a news channel broke the story. I consider it to be absolutely useless politics. Except to spread negativity you are doing nothing else. Doesn’t suit the decorum your chair deserves.

Be that as it may ma’am, I feel a little uncomfortable when you with such an esteemed post have to speak about a person who doesn’t matter to anyone. If you can get back the thousands of crores that Mr Malaya took away, you can surely recover the same one day from this person too. Madam, defence is a different ball game which you now got to be serious about. However, kindly remember the armed forces stay away from politics. Please don’t mix the two. I am no one to advise you but you are responsible for “Desh ki Raksha” not “Vadra se raksha”. Will you ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

PM SHOOTING RAVAN

It was very funny to watch Modiji shooting an arrow from the hip on dussera. I am more accustomed to him shooting volleys from the lip. Imagine, Modiji in a trench along the LoC, Pakistan (Ravan) attacking and PM desperately trying to fire his gun. Twice it misfires and the third time Modiji picks up loose bullets and throws them at the enemy. Like all good stories end, the enemy would have suffered heavy casualties and retreated, for all is well that ends well.

It reminds me of my WT (weapon training) lessons while learning our basics of 7.62mm SLR.  It was called “Rokon ko dur karna” (removing the faults). Any mechanical thing can fail, so the “ustad” used to howl,” rifle theek fire karta rukta”, (rifle stops while firing), you just had to cock it and press the trigger, 98 times out of 100 the damn thing used to fire. Then he used to say “fire nahin” (no fire), you were then supposed to check the magazine, you could have an empty magazine, reload, cock the weapon and fire. There was one very funny command called “ Ek do round ke baad rukta” (stopping after one or two rounds) and you like a monkey said “gas ki kami” and turned the gas regulator with a funny looking tool and continued firing. Then there was one command called “fir bhi fire nahi” (still your rifle doesn’t fire), then you had to check the ejected round and check the “Painda” (base) of the round and shout “Painde pe chot nahi” (no strike on the base) and then you stripped the weapon and changed the firing pin as you were taught to say “toota hua firing pin”. Good old days they were and we practiced like hell.

One used to dread in case of war or insurgency while engaging the enemy if you have a toota hua firing pin. Then you had only one choice to dauro, leto, rengo aar pakrao, firing pin change karo aur wapas fire karo. As luck would have it I only handled an AK-47 in J&K and Manipur, I never had to go through even one “rok” (stoppage) ever. Lucky me!

PM Sahib the reality is that there are many “roks” everywhere in our systems. There are “kaidas-kanoons” (rules and regulations) but no one knows how to get things done the proper way. It ultimately boils down to throwing the arrow rather than releasing it properly. This I say in terms of all the things like GST etc which are being implemented. Everyone has agreed that this (GST) needs to be fired but none of the so called experts know how will it work or how it is to be implemented. So rather than firing it “by the “seekha hua tareeka” (learnt way) as they call it in the fauj, they experiment with it. If it hits the target, well and good, if it doesn’t then they tweak the system (improvise). In the mean time our own forces (common man) suffer as they are not sure what to do in the interim.

Be that as it may, had such a SNAFU occurred in the army there would have been hell to pay? From the Table orderly to the Safai wala everyone would have been on a route march from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and back. PMs Bow doesn’t shoot an arrow, Impossible! The person who made it would have tested it; the CHM would have tested it twice. From the Senior JCO, the Company Commander and the CO up the ladder everyone would have checked it. The Commander would have given a demo to the GOC on a FMR (Field Miniature Range) and finally the Corps Commander and the Army Commander would have been shown a live demo on the field firing ranges, where contingencies like this would have been catered for.  Even Chief’s ADC would have confirmed that all systems are working fine. A stand by arrow would have been fired and the Engineer regiment would have already catered for a demolition charge under the Ravan. How dare the arrow misfires?

Jokes apart, the reality is ladies and gentlemen, even if one has to fire dummy rounds it needs practice. So Modiji, there are big lessons for you. I know you have many things to fire for the good of this country thus lesson one, a rehearsal and a practice is definitely required. Lesson number two, get out of this notion that everything will fire perfectly because it is being fired by the PM. Things can go wrong at the last moment courtesy your advisors. Lesson three; you did not have a proper plan B in place otherwise you wouldn’t have to improvise by throwing the arrow. Lesson four, your civil Mehakma needs to pull up their socks. At such a level blunders like this are unacceptable. The PM is live on every channel shows India in poor light. Lesson six; please do not take everything and everyone for granted. Lesson seven, your confidence in tackling the situation was good but you cannot rely on instincts and take chances like this with a nation of 125 crore.

You as the top leader have to fire and fire for effect sir. Every word you fire, every policy and legislation has to be for the good of this nation. I the common man shall be observing the balance of this government’s tenure closely. We still give you the benefit of doubt. Our expectations are banking on your decisions and crack shooting Sir.  I know you are working overtime and very hard but when you fire let it be “ek goli ek dushman” (One bullet one enemy). What bullet you got to fire and who is the dushman I leave it to you to figure out. Have you understood my message? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RAKSHA MANTRI IN THE DESERT

It gives me a good feeling when my Raksha Mantri (RM) finds time to visit forward troops. I recently saw her in the desert sector atop a BMP modified like a chariot. The crew would have been, the Army Chief as the Commander, the Army Commander as the gunner and the Brigade Commander, no you guessed it wrong, poor fellow must be hanging on for dear life as the driver would surely be the senior most Havildar. Can’t take a chance with Brigadier saab’s driving and giving jhatka’s of a life time to the minister. (With no offences meant please)

 

Be that as it may, I am reminded of the good old days when I started my career from the deserts. Jaisalmer Sector was the place I joined. The then Army Commander was on an operational tour and I was made the official photographer with one pip on my shoulder. My location was in the navigation party led by open jongas of the Motorised Battalion. For me map of the desert meant nothing as I had just come from IMA Dehradun, where I could never make out the difference between a spur and its contours. We all just did “Bhed chal” to reach Bhadraj top behind Mussorie. There maps were green and shades of it. Here I had a khakhi blank sheet of paper with one odd marking of a toba, taal sar, khu, talai, tibba and an odd Dhani (hamlet) after two map sheets. This jonga was modified for carrying many tubes. One could mistake them for missiles. Actually they were stuffed with map sheets and tons of them. That was my abode for the next fortnight and I was off on my maiden desert safari thereafter.

 

These motorised guys taught me how to join maps in a sequence as every 10-15 odd kilometres the sheet used to change. My CO used to be in the gunner’s cupola and the Army Commander on a Tatra’s seat welded behind. A jeep’s seat was also welded in the rear for all and sundry. This was the Army Commander’s chariot (BMP). Our two waiter’s Gabbar Singh and Jagjit Singh were stuffed into the stick compartment in the rear of the BMP.

 

Hats off to the waiters, as moment there used to be a halt they used to stick their necks out from the gunner’s cupola in between CO’s legs with some beverage. Our CO had catered for thanda pani, garam pani, neebu pani, narial pani, meethi lassi, zeera lassi, garam chai, garam coffee, cold coffee, frooty, unit soda in three flavours and you name it. There was one officer detailed to keep fetching ice from wherever he could. Our ice supply never ran out. Administration was perfect.

 

Yours truly had no clue of Mechanised tactics. So I hung on to dear life on to that leading jonga with a “hot shot” camera and clicked away merrily. One of my photos of the BMP tracks on a virgin desert stretch was later used to design the Recce & Sp logo showing the track marks. Well, we did move bound to bound, the Pakistani rangers were following us, there were no border fences that time and we used to take the shortest cut between the border pillars. It used to be a pleasure to relieve oneself on the other side of the border. Somehow it gave a kind of sadistic pleasure and a feeling of satisfaction deep within that we watered Pakistan.

 

I learnt to read a map, I learnt to bear the heat, I learnt to face sand storms, I learnt to navigate a little, I learnt navigation by stars while moving cross country at night, I understood what a mirage is. I learnt to identify blind wells and how to avoid them. I learnt how to use a magnetic compass while on the move, I learnt to survive on limited water, I learnt to handle start a jonga, I learnt how to negotiate a vehicle in absolute lose sand, I learnt to recover a stuck vehicle, I learnt to enjoy cold meals, I learnt to enjoy the sandy crunch in the meals, I learnt the importance of a “patka” and sand goggles and this learning stood me in good stead later in life as more than half my service I did in the deserts and above all I learnt to use my seventh sense and instincts.

 

It took us lot of reconnaissance and practice to achieve the mastery of the desert. Yes I also learnt a lot of Rajasthani. I learnt what a KHOJI was. He is a person who tracks down animals in a village. Their expertise was such that they could tell by the footprints of the camel that was it laden or empty. They could identify number of camels in a group by hoof marks & foot prints. They could tell how long the animal was sitting in a particular place by the droppings and urine. They could make out that the animal is tired or fresh by the belly marks on the sand; they could even say whether a particular animal is injured or had a natural limp by the imprint on sand. They could indicate the direction of the move of the animal, was it running or walking. Basically they were the most sought after people. Later in life we used to take their help for navigation to reach our objectives.

 

Well I transformed from a desert novice to a desert fox many moons later. But it was nice to see our RM on the “Mechanised ship of the desert”. Madam I hope now you will try and understand how life is in the deserts especially while operating such equipment. I hope now you will change your opinion and understand that life in the sandy wilderness is tough too. Will you? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

JAI HIND

BABA JIs LITTLE KNOWLEDGE

I just saw a video of our great Baba and yoga guru conducting a workshop for the BSF people where in he is all praises for them. What caught my attention was when he compared their services to that of the Army. Babaji, yes the Army engages in war once in a decade or two and the BSF does guard our borders throughout the year in varied terrain is absolutely the truth. I am not getting into all that but what I want to get into is that Babaji your little knowledge is very dangerous.

I can understand your expertise in yoga and your stomach churning mastery in it. I can also understand your knowledge in “Jari-booti’s” and things like that. I have no doubts about your business acumen. I shall not question your philanthropic mission that you have undertaken. I also shall not question your intentions of providing the purest, cheapest and quality products to us Indians. However, I definitely am going to question your knowledge and expertise with which you demean the Army who unflinchingly hold the integrity of this nation. By the way we also do your goddamn yoga at the highest & coldest battlefield of the world.

Babaji have you seen a militant. I know it is none of your business. Babaji do you know what is the LC. It is not a cosmetic which reduces the lines and controls wrinkles on someone’s face. LC is where the fight happens day in and day out with the countries enemy. The BSF definitely plays its part, I know it and I have seen it and experienced their life first hand. They are one of the best forces have no doubts. Issue with you is how have you underestimated the Army? From a child in the bore well, to a natural disaster, who does the job? From a riot in Haryana, to catching another baba from sirsa, who gets things under control dear sir, would you enlighten us please? From Dhoklam to Siachen, who is sorting issues out? Babaji it is not you or your yoga for sure!

Actually, I see no fault in your thoughts, many people who have never understood what is done by which force would never know the difference. So let me forgive you babaji. I suggest you keep entangled in your own knots of asanas and yoga. May your stomach churn till you forget to turn? May you get a chance to face the real enemy? May your intentions and thoughts remain pure and innocent without getting muddy in the name of pleasing someone? Let me assure you, you put your foot in the wrong place next time; I shall let you practice your yoga that summer on a BMP in the desert at mid day. I may be generous enough to send you to Dhoklam to teach the Chinese folks some yin and yan. If I am in a mood I may make you sit on a mat in the leech infested jungles of the north east and leave your there till all your blood is purified. I would like to send you on an encounter with the terrorists. I will allow you to make a “surakhsa kawach” of pure “sarson oil” around you and be part of the assault party. Please lay yourself in shav-asan next to a T-90 while firing. You will levitate two feet like a miracle has happened. Mind your dhoti as it will automatically shred itself exposing your jewels with effect of the blast. Please show your fitness to my artillery friends by loading a few 130mm rounds. Try doing Kapal Bharti at Bana top in the glacier. Please display your stillness and control of your mind & body while my engineer friends do mine clearance or live bomb disposal.

My list is endless Babaji. Do you even know anything about this four letter word called ARMY? Do you know what the army does, how it functions? Let me assure you we are no yoga experts but we know the basics of what you teach and preach. So get rid of this ranting anything you want depending upon the target audience. I hope when you visit an army camp you don’t say the same things about the other forces. I can assure you the commander there will tell you to pack your mat and send you rolling out of his campus, “Boria Bistra Gol” in army parlance

As I said in the beginning that little knowledge is dangerous, this little knowledge when used out of context and out of place becomes treacherous. Your knowledge may please the people who do not wear uniform but please remember you are not talking about trans-fats and minerals like in advertisements of your products. Babaji please take pride in us. Even if we fight at the frequency you mention doesn’t matter. You must understand that when we fight then either we unfurl the tricolour on the objective or come back draped in it. Unlike you we don’t change into ladies salwars and scoot away. Babaji please be man enough to apologise to the Army stating that you knew not what you were saying. In any case the army has a big enough heart to forgive you for what you said out of ignorance. Will Babaji leave at least the Army alone, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY NEW DEFENCE MINISTER

Wallah! At last India has a permanent Defence Minister after a long wait and amidst so much of speculations. Congratulations ma’am and welcome to a different world. Things are different here and things are done very differently in the Armed forces. I am not using the words defence on purpose because you will get a first hand feel of its enormity once you get on the chair proper. You will have the three services Chiefs at your command to give you the correct picture of things on ground and national security. They will also tell you how things are on paper. If you will have a heart to heart talk with them they will reveal to you how they are actually functioning with all that they have. Madam, trust them and listen to them. I wish you all the best.

Well let me not get into the 3Cs of criticizing, comparing and complaining mode from the very beginning. I am sure all your predecessors would have contributed their bit in nation building and with special reference to defence. You have got a fresh slate and a fresh charter. You also have come in here in the third year of the government so the ball must have been set rolling in any case by now. I am sure budget will not be a constraint even if you have to walk in into the FMs or the PMs Office or is this asking for too much on the second day in your office. So let me assume that you will take that liberty as and when the need arises but on the other hand I would request you to change the way the defence ministry works and that its rigid protocol. You will find it on every file, the seniority in which people will put their remarks on each noting sheet. Ma’am I want you to go to the three service Chief’s offices rather than them coming to you.

Imagine what commotion you will create in the corridors of South block if you walk up to the Army Chief’s office. Let me tell you ma’am the sandwiches served there are too good. They will be served with so much of love and affection that you may ask for more. Madam you will see people running to hide all maps with those huge curtains in the Military Operations room, later realising that you will be the one giving directions soon as to which part of the map to obliterate or pound and with what intensity. Suddenly, you may find pink napkins in the corridors of South Block. Madam jokes apart, you have yourself to feel the warmth that the men & women in olive greens, sky blue and white will shower on you. They are looking for a fresh face as they have had too many stain marks from spilled goan curry, Chai from Jaitley’s ketley and rancid coconut oil on their documents.

Madam Minister, another thing I request you to change is the perception of an iron wall between the MoD per se and the people from the services. If a gun has to be used by the Army man, an Aircraft by the fly boy or a submarine by a mariner then who should have the last word in its procurement. Please involve the user in every phase ma’am because to tell the difference between a smooth bore gun and a rifled gun your technocrats will give you but for a man to survive on the battlefield and hit the target in varied terrain and weather will only be revealed by the user, I hope you will agree. Please let there be a change where the well walks up to the thirsty rather than the other way around. If anyone in uniform does hanky-panky or misappropriation of money please skin him alive. He doesn’t deserve to be in uniform but if the same is done by someone in white collars, you may decide appropriate punishment.

The biggest thing I ask of you madam is the restoration of our IZZAT. I do not want to get into the naam, namak and nishan part of it. But our prestige, our honour, our self esteem needs a definite boost. Why do we in the forces get a feeling that we are children of a lesser God? Madam our ex-servicemen are sitting on Jantar mantar peacefully till date. They are old, many infirm and not in their best of health but are conveying their feelings to this nation that for what fault of theirs they still have to bear the heat, rain and cold after doing their time in hell. Madam do go and just say a hello to them. Probably your predecessors never had the time or inclination to meet the veterans and the veer naris.

One more thing ma’am, please do not change your ministry like my wife changes her dresses. By the time you get the hang of it your tenure will be over. Do a good job and help me to vote for you in 2019 again to see you at the helm of affairs in the same Ministry. You will see many Chiefs change during your tenure but the ethos and dastoor of the services won’t change. Let them hold their head high and give you all their support. Visit doklam next week end, I would say visit every theater of operation, ask the commanders there what are their typical issues and resolve them then and there. Issues could be operational or administrative like infrastructure, health care, accommodation, equipment, morale anything under the sun. Madam another thing I am skeptic of is the DRDO, reason I don’t know but the perception says there is something amiss. We still wait for our Main Battle Tank, a state of art rifle to say the least. We want Israel and Russia to use equipment made in India is what I ask you.

At the outset let me again welcome you to the uniformed part of it. The non-uniformed you have to take care of. I can’t say I wish you were Ex-NDA but madam I expect you to be one. You need to be a flier, a commando, a paratrooper, a deep sea diver, a tank man, a sailor, a Commander of men and women in all varied terrain and weather. Madam above all you will have to have a heart of gold which beats in sync and tune with the armed forces. I wish we sort out Pak in the next three years to start with. Good Luck and God Speed to you. Have I asked for too much? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

FEELING NOSTALGIC

I am working in an organisation which has quite a few ex-servicemen working under me. It feels so good when one receives salutes with the same josh as one used to get when I was in uniform. The loud shout of Jai-Hind still gives me goose bumps.  Sometimes it feels that one never left the army. It makes me emotional as one had never imagined the same izzat will continue. I am definitely lucky.

In my office I miss my dak “in-out” tray. How can I forget the “pending” tray, it actually used to give nightmares as to why something was pending? The wall clock and calendar are still displayed, I still have a bell on the side of my desk to call the runner; the only difference is that I have to ring it more than ten times for half a minute each to catch somebody’s attention, unlike the reaction in the unit. Here we have one person looking after one floor and he has more than ten offices to look after. Sometimes this man does the disappearing trick also.

I also miss my fly swat which used to be my secondary weapon during peace time. I had mastered killing a fly with a flying shot. The glass of water still remains, the coasters are still there but the blazer cloth on my table has gone missing. I still love to have that important information under the glass of my table as a ready reckoner. The nominal rolls are still posted on the notice board along with the training programmes. I still have an operations board with maps and enlargements to show the general area, its major assets, routes of “ingress and egress”.  I love that arrow which prominently shows “YOU ARE HERE” or else I will be lost. I display an arrow which shows north prominently, by the way I will fail if you ask me the difference between true north, magnetic north and grid north.

I also have another board which gives me a feel of my good old days is the parade state board. The only thing is that now there are no companies and platoons but contractors and vehicles. From a black board we have moved to white board, from the chalk we have graduated to temporary markers but the feeling of knowing where each person is gives you a satisfaction that all must be well.

I used to have a white “Sunmica” writing board with lots of china graph pencils and some “chindi” to wipe things off, basically the progress of things and my follow up points which I miss. I also miss the draft pad, a light green shade of paper with a prominent green line about two inches from the left side if I remember correctly. Our clerks were always short of paper and this draft pad used to be the saving grace. The good old glass paper weights, the golden pen stand with a blue and red ballpens called pen Wilson. I used to feel a little jay when the Second in Command’s pen stand used to have slots to keep paper pins and we had a magnet to which anything metallic used to be stick.

I also miss the red and green bulbs denoting busy and free lights. The parallel set of lights in the Adjutant’s office which used to become a waiting hall of kinds for the umpteen cups of tea, waiting for your turn to be fired by the CO. The worst used to be at 2’o’clock. The COs jonga used to be ready to take off, the 2IC inside, red light on, you are hungry and waiting for that one signature and suddenly there is commotion. The adjutant springing out of his chair, both the lights switched off together and off went the boss. 2IC comes and tells you that brother prepare for op area tomorrow. You say sir my leave starts tomorrow, he says which leave, you say sir let me speak to the CO, he says CO has left for Div HQ and there were no mobiles. The only thing one could do was Peechay Mur daur ke chal.

Well another thing typically fauji I have in my office still are those chairs with white covers on their back rests.  I miss my small note pad with your appointment written on top. The Int Section used to nicely cover it, put a talc cover and then fire an “imprinta gun” on a tape. Out used to pop your name and stuck in the centre of your note pad. For lesser mortals they used to stencil the name. So to make up for my love for my name I display the same in form of a metal name plate on my office door with pride. It reminds me that old chap you better maintain the fauji decorum here as people call you Colonel saab and look up to you.

Today we had a kind of orderly room to reprimand a chap for dereliction of duty. I felt so sad for this retired Army clerk who has now become a discipline case beyond any ones control. I have been with him for five years. How I covered him up at the peril of my job is only known to me. How I went out of the way to help him, counsel him, counsel his family, wife too was involved like a unit lady, got him treated for alcohol dependency, motivated him to go through a rehab, sat with him in his hospitalisation, adjusted his leave and pay when he did not have any left and all those things that you do in fauj but to no avail. Today, I had to take his resignation. One could give a pitthoo in the unit or an extra guard check but here I just can’t do any such thing. There is a limit to give “lift” and tolerate nonsense. Incorrigible people are everywhere. I never give up but fauji methods don’t work in civil.

My heart is heavy, my mind is not reconciling with the fact that I as an ex serviceman had to take such a drastic step against another ex serviceman. My conscience did not allow army’s image to be tarnished anymore. If this man has decided not to listen to logic, so be it. He better be relieved from duty and left free to live his life the way he likes. Have I done the right thing? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

CHANGE THE GOAL POST

Let us start with an assumption that we are going to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, nothing wrong, most of the countries are doing it. What if I say that the same nuclear technology will also be used for making bombs as a safety and security measure for my country? I sign all declarations and prove to the world that our intentions are very pious & holy but this needs to be done for the country, nothing wrong in it again. Well, time passes everything is fine and one fine day one bomb explodes and people die at a very large scale.  You then say that actually this bomb had an alternative use for a long lost dream of India called population control. You start justifying it by saying; see how many people we have reduced from this earth and from India in particular. How beneficial it is to the country, so many lesser mouths to feed, so much lesser burden on the economy and infrastructure so on and so forth. Everyone wonders if the minister justifying the explosion is in his senses or out of his wits.

What has happened here is that there has been a change of not only the goal post but change in the game itself. The venue changed, the rules and regulations were tweaked as per circumstances and in fact there was nothing original left as to why we started this whole nuclear exercise in the first place. We kept testing the waters and kept adjusting our aim and destinations as we went along as per our convenience. We used political jargon, some facts and figures, some percentages and some decimals to create an impression that what we are presenting to the public is correct and convincing. Poor public which is naive, illiterate and actually is not concerned because if the gareeb janata keeps getting his roti somehow, achhe din or no achhe din, he continues to believe in his political masters. They make, bend, change, tweak, modify and then justify the rules with sugar coated figures.

Well that was my aim to confuse myself so I started with the nuclear example and have still not revealed why am I writing all this. Well folks, I happened to hear our very dear Mr FM & DM briefing the media on the RBI report on the effects of re-monetisation I suppose. At the end of the day the whole exercise of demonetisation aka re-monetisation was done as the colour of the old notes was not matching the PM dresses. In the bargain if the tax payers base of the country increased by 17.971%, well what is wrong with it. The hundreds of tonnes of raddi collected in form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes will be now handed over to the wall paper industry to change the colour of the walls of the North and South block. The black money which was supposed to come pouring in is still stuck in some foreign land and nothing in black could be retrieved. The cash less changed directions to less cash and the figure quoted was also in fractions of a percentage like 15.237%. Who knows how this figure has been calculated or arrived at and how accurate it is. At least I am not interested. The militants were supposed to be hit by demonetisation but they continued their demonization. Yes the only people who hit them were the armed forces and they shall continue to decimate them.

Added to this chaos of demonetisation came GST. What good it is to man or beast and what services it is taxing that no one is clear to be frank. Now we actually have a demonetised GST economy. The world economists are pondering over it as a special case study to find out how is it going to affect the coconut exports of Maldives as they are convinced that in India nothing has changed. Why I say this is because the trains keep derailing killing innocents travellers, children are again being massacred in hospitals. Babas and Baby’s keep ruling the roost. Bombay and Delhi cannot get over the deluge of rains. Pakistan continues its nefarious activities as usual. China is doing what it wants to do. I am where I was, except for my increasing weight I can find no change in me or my environment around.

It is not surprising at all because the FM handles the defence budget; he is also the DM. In the same breadth, he must be handling the home budget also so he should be the home minister too. I am not surprised that they have amalgamated the rail budget into the general budget but then where is the need to have a railways minister? If FM is going to handle all the money then why have so many ministers floating around. Here I find no logic as the people who are experts in their fields especially defence find themselves not even in the playing eleven of the game. They have been kept merely as extras. Which game they are going to play that the PM will decide? How long they will play that game before shifting to another sport that too is left to him? It is as simple as the cabinet reshuffle. From HRD to textile to another ministry in three years is like Mithali Raj shifting from cricket to badminton to boxing. Then we will expect her to win every game for India, while Sindhu and Mary Kom are told to play kabaddi and do sailing. What is the difference in sport a, b or c?

Well friends, this is not the first time the goal posts have been changed in this country. It was all started with good intentions like the surrendering of gas subsidy. Opening of the bank account was the next initiative. How far has it been really successful that Bhim, Paytm or such portals will tell? Kashmir boils with no goal post in site. Achhe din are just games people say but don’t play.  Will all these exercises bring some peace if not ache din with or without a changed goal post in the near future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

PANCHKULA AND ITS AFTERMATH

If I would have to ask any “premi” today what he or she achieved by burning what they burnt, breaking what they broke, injuring people whom they didn’t know, destroying national assets and dying on the streets of Panchkula unrecognised and for whom, probably they will have no answers. As a few would sit next to their fields watching the setting sun from their charpoy and ask themselves am I a Sikh, am I a Hindu or am I whatever religion. How did I get attracted to this person? How did I lose faith in my God? How I forgot my scriptures? How I got brainwashed by this fellow? Can I justify to myself what I thought of him? What I did to show my frustration yesterday? Was it the disbelief as I could not digest who this baba turned out to be? Was the annoyance and disappointment with my own self? Was all that I did correct?

What satisfaction did I get by putting so many states on tenterhooks? Were the railways my enemy? Was the press reporter an informer of the secret kind? Were the police personnel there to sing Arti & Ardas for you? Well, the answers can only be found and judged by those who participated as a supporter of this baba. He and his indoctrinated followers have shamed our nation beyond limits.

I grew up in Punjab and Haryana. I was deployed in these states many times. Such lovely people, such lovely spirit, such camaraderie, such big hearted people, happy go lucky people, such hard working people, such fantastic company, such solid friends and out of that lot emerge these people who got entrapped with this man’s charms that they could not understand fact from fiction. It all happened in that fraction of a second which the local government anticipated chaos but turned a blind eye to it.

The death toll must have reached half a century by now. This happened despite the courts giving clear orders to the Govt to use everything within their means to control the crowd. Our police were mere mute spectators and did not open fire. Two people in every area who thought that they will be able to destroy the state assets should have been shot below the knee, all supporters would have vanished into thin air within minutes. This man who would have come down to his knees would have deterred all the others from further rioting. The stigma and fear to be maimed and carry an amputated leg lifelong would have changed his thought process. Most of them would have run to save their own lives.

It is easy to decide to destroy but when one sees death so close you think a hundred times. When you know the police are approaching and there is a petrol bomb in your hand and a bullet hole in your knee the first thing one shouts is please save me. The second thing you hear is who gave me this Molotov cocktail (petrol bomb) and you disown it. Thirdly, you would have tried to prove that you are from the local area and had come visiting the place and not a rioter. Finally, you would have disowned the baba knowing the consequences of your arrest for destruction of public property. That is the effect of one bullet. You would have lived to tell the tale of the strictness of the police.

The police-walas were carrying weapons, I doubt if they were loaded. Why did he not fire at the rioters when in his full view they were destroying property, carrying out loot and arson? Or they were told not to fire. They why give them weapons danda’s should suffice. If a protestor can snatch away a weapon from him in broad daylight and his comrades stand as moot spectators. What does this show? That now from a banana republic we have become a bloody Kaddu republic?

The Army came out and within an hour protestors evaporated into thin air. Time and again it is the army that comes to the rescue of this nation. If one goes by the figure of the police big wigs floating in the state of Haryana can anyone justify this mayhem? What are the umpteen numbers of IGs, DIGs etc doing, chamchagiri of the political leadership. The people on ground who brought the situation under control were Colonels, Majors and our bahadur jawans. They organised themselves and moved out on their duty to get things under control. I say, why the Haryana administration didn’t hand over to the army in the first place. All these goons would have been put into the right place ab-initio.

If the last resort has to become the first resort then so be it. Why wait for things to escalate. The Army would have done this with minimum causalities. The riot leaders would have been identified, earmarked and on the cross wire of sharp shooters. One wrong move and a hole in the bum, second move and a hole in the head, period! Dera premi would have turned desh premi within one second. I pay taxes and these chaps have no right to burn my hard earned money. If they think they can burn national assets, then I should be given the right to put such miscreants on a pyre and burn them too.

It was the saddest day indeed for me to watch this tamasha of totally crippled State Government machinery. Media felt bad because media bore the brunt for the first time. Media can now ask for resignations of all and sundry. Media you need to now question the accountability of the politicians and every babu. Enough is enough. I now request the media to project the Armed Forces in the correct light of what they rightly demand. Premi’s have burnt their fingers. Panchkula and other places suffered for no reason but will anyone understand that the people who have taken an oath to save this country from external aggression and internal disorder get the izzat that they deserve, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!! (With due apologies to all the dhotiwalas, babus and khaki wardi walas)

JAI HIND

ONE BABA & FORTY POLICE

One baba has brought the North of the country to a standstill. 200 plus trains have been cancelled, 10 lakh potties on the road side and increasing every minute, as many plants and trees watered. 40 companies of CAPF mobilised, Army on standby, busses halted on the borders and so on. Air Force summoned in as I believe helicopter movement is on the cards. Poor Navy, they can’t mount warships on trailers or else they too would have been made part of a naval blockade in Panchkula. I am not ridiculing the navy but I am ridiculing the state of affairs in this country that just look at this person he can hold this country to ransom. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have declared holidays in schools and colleges till 28 Aug. Kya baat baba ji, where were you all these years. Police as usual is about to hand over the baton to the Army as situation may go out of their hands.

There have been a few more babas who were on my radar screen, one of them is languishing in Jodhpur jail and I don’t want to dirty my fingers typing about him. Then there is another baba who claims to have a third eye. He can somehow find out from smell of your burp the number of aloos missing in the aloo ka paratha which you fed to a black dog, on an amavasya, at the turning of the road near the kabristan. He can motivate you to distribute jalebis to all the diabetic patients. He can clear all blockages between you and your “kirpa” by trying to remember which place you belong, what khana or mithai or deity is famous in your hometown and then come out with weird solutions. Innocent people lap it up as the brainwashing is done by such ungodly men.  Hindustani today is just looking for solutions which are sasta and tikaau.

Well, today if you want to lead a colourful and peaceful life you either become a baba or a politician. No responsibility, tremendous fan following, catch the nerve of the janta, exploit the naive public, say anything and it becomes gospel, divert attention anywhere, exploit sentiments, give some jobs as your maintenance staff, money is not an issue as people donate, if they don’t they are made to donate for fear of God and dire consequences. Both ways the sufferer is a person like me. They make the rules, they break the rules, they tell me what to do and what not to do, and I simply follow. Why? because I am illiterate, if I am educated I don’t apply my brains, even if I apply my brains I am threatened of consequences, even then if I rebel I am one of the very few. Add religious and political fanaticism to it, like every political party today is saintly and holier than thou and every baba has become a politician. His voice for vote counts, so what is left for you and me is to follow them or be left out.

I was watching the type of people following this so called MSG. Either they were people who are senior citizens or they are the youth who are unemployed. I don’t say they are uneducated but are basically vellas. Who will leave the fields when the paddy crop is in full bloom? Who can leave their homes where there is family and cattle to look after? Who will join such a movement at the peril of his job? Who is ready to face consequences including death due to police action? They are people who have been completely brain washed or have reached such a stage of life where life and death doesn’t matter. Some youngsters may risk their lives for the compensation which their folks may receive after their death or injury.

Whatever said and done this trend is taking this country on a different turn. The path to attain moksha is given in all scriptures; the only thing is we go to the wrong people who interpret it for us in their own way. We in India are such blind followers of anything which is chanted with a mantra because our upbringing is such. Please, I don’t want to hurt any religion or sentiment. I just want to put across that we are blind followers of anything which shows us a ray of light or hope. We have lost faith in our own selves completely. I would say we go beyond that, moment we come out of the temple we start comparing our chappals and in case circumstances permit, we don’t hesitate to exchange ours in the very presence of our God. We make him witness to our crime and thank him for providing exactly what we needed. We donate an additional coin if the colour matches our dress. That’s what we are.

Our thoughts need transformation. It is time now when another baba may emerge. There is already one who started with yoga and now is marketing beauty soaps and shampoos.

Countrymen and women, let us not make matters worse, let us not lose lives. If this baba is upright and correct the courts will set him free but if he is not let him face the music. No one in this country is above law. In case the verdict holds him guilty just walk away from him. Who can’t make a mistake, we all are mortals. You would have made one in judging him as he did not reveal his other side to you. If he proves he is innocent then why do you worry? The inconvenience you are causing to the nation is tremendous. The loss that is being caused because of your blockage is unwarranted. Will your baba be “sachha” enough to foot the bill of all the forces deployed and all the destruction which occurs? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

FAREWELL MY FRIEND PROMOD

I read this heart wrenching news today that Promod is no more. A NDA Brigadier rose to be an actual Brigadier, hats off to you brother. Well for all those privileged people let me confess, we used to feel jay of all those who had one star* on their satchels. We used to admire those who had two of them and were called Generals**. In fact all of us still take a bow for those who had three stars and continued as Field Marshals***.

I and Promod were from the same battalion in NDA, he was in Alpha and I was in Charlie. Basically we clicked as we attended many French and English classes together. Promod was a happy go lucky person with dopey, sleepy, large but glistening eyes. He was fun loving, jovial and a spirited person who would win any ones heart. I am sure his nature was such that even if he would be angry he would not be able to show it. Well, what bonded us instantly was that we were smokers. Once I moved to India Squadron in V term, I met another Brigadier called G Prakash. Both these guys were class mates from Sainik School. My interactions with Promod increased as fags used to be available with me as a last resort. He only taught me where to hide them. He taught me how to smoke a Panama non filter till your finger tips and lips got burnt. In fact I got introduced to panama and got hooked on to it. My last empty pack of the luxurious Wills Gold went out of the window and saved me my budget imbalance.

This bugger was good at billiards, so one fine day I was introduced to the night billiards in India Squadron. But as luck would have it the DS of Air force caught us. We were given a stern warning and imagine an Alpha squadron chap went scot free in India Squadron as the DS was new. Then one fine day we all decided to have a nonstop billiards session. Sixth termers never gave us a chance during earthly hours, so we decided to do something at unearthly hours. So if I remember correctly, I, G Prakash (He is an Admiral now I suppose) Ajay another naval dope* and rest my memory fades decided to report sick. Reason we decided was conjunctivitis. Now how to ensure we look devastated with this communicable disease as one used to get 7 days SIQ (Sick in Quarters) for that. Promod suggested let us rub Colgate in our eyes and see the effect. I had never reported sick in NDA nor had been SIQ ever and it was close to end of term. I fell for it.

Dr Maj Mrs SK Singh looked at all of us sitting in the corridor of the MH and signed our SIQ slips without questions for a change. Knowing her reputation we were expecting to be told to attend all parades with closed eyes. With blood shot eyes all of us came to India Squadron smoked a fag each, slipped our SIQ slips under the door of the CSMs undie and off we rushed to the billiards room. The game started and to our utter surprise the DS body of India and Lima Squadrons landed up and shooed us away. Later we found the whole billiards room smelling of dettol and phenyl as we were told they got it disinfected seeing our condition. “Mokashi” the Batman used to wait with breakfast till almost 12. We used to quickly gobble bread, jam and eggs with a fresh plan, how and when to play the next game.

It was decided that we will now play night billiards; whole day we shall sleep and play at night. First task was managing blankets that we did with ease. Next was hanging them on the anteroom windows, with a little ingenuity we did that also. The game and fags began. We played and played billiards. The in offs and pots suddenly started falling in place. The long shots and flukes were perfected, the fouls and misses reduced drastically. We became experts in repairing tips of the cues ourselves. Game was top class. Company was top class. Time was ours. A jam session used to be on every day. We were the kings of billiards in NDA.

My room was on the first floor ante room flank, basically a safe haven for all the billiards playing stalwarts. So one fine day after being fed up having the same old cold bread, squished eggs, liquidy butter and jam in those huge tiffin’s we decided to “seko” our toasts in the morning. I had managed a heater from the helper on which he used to melt wax for our drill boots. Unfortunately the electricity went off. So another fag session and a decision of playing a twenty point game and be back to toast our slices. We peeled off the blankets and forgot to switch on the lights and the game begun. Suddenly there was shouting of AAG-AAG (fire), bloody hell my room was drenched as drenched could be. All of us were in pyjamas and shorts, nothing on top. DS body was lined up in my flank. My lock broken, as it is it used to be a piddly one? My heater with the squaddy and on the last day of our SIQ I got 14 restrictions for cooking in the room. We had left the toasts on the lid of the tiffin and forgot to switch it off while going for our World billiards Championship. The lights came on, we had left the toasts which were ready to be toasted but they got smoked and burnt down to cinders.

Promod and rest of the gang evaporated into thin air. I think MK Sandeep* was also there. I was marched up and till end of term I must have done 28 more restrictions. Well my dear Promod, we may not play billiards anymore but I fondly remember you as a super soul with a heart of Gold. Rest in Peace my brother. We shall miss you. A small thank you from me and LXVI course for all the lives you touched and all the friends you made. Cheers Buddy, wish you better times wherever you are and we shall remain friends for ever.

MY CHINESE EXPERIENCE

I have been avoiding writing about China and its recent mis-adventures purposely. Let me confess, I am no expert on China. Though we used to have an army pamphlet about China but I could never remember even one organisation chart of their units or formations. Reason was that moment I used to visualise them, all faces used to look alike. So to differentiate HU from HUI and JING from PING became a nightmare for me and I decided in case a question lands up in my exams, I shall just write “Ni-Hao” and leave it at that.

Their script always fascinated me. Their architecture fascinated me too. The “SHAOLIN” movies were my favourites. Jackie Chang was too good but the exaggeration of the drunken monk kind of movies made that fascination fade away. Their aerial tricks and their flying mid air fights were definitely a wow factor but were a bit too much to swallow. I could not watch those Kung-fu kinds of movies as everyone kept picking up fights for no reason. They could fight with a tea cup, a broom, or even a spoon. What I disliked the most was the sounds they made while fighting. I was more comfortable with dishoom-bhishoom stuff.

I used to wonder while playing cricket about a term called “China Man”. Well it was a left arm leg spinner bowling an off break to a right handed batsman. I am sure you would be confused like I was for many years. That’s the aim of this ball, to surprise the batsman. I remember Navjot Sidhu, “Sherry” was in the slips when YPS Patiala was playing with my team from Sainik School Kapurthala many-many moons back. They had this left arm spinner and Sidhu kept shouting to him from second slip, China maar China isko. I laughed as I knew what he was talking about. This boy bowled a china man a bit too short of a length; I went on the back foot and gave it a solid whack. Off it went for a four towards square leg. I winked at sherry. I never got a china man bowled at me in that match.

Yes, Chinese food still fascinates me. I was introduced to it while in IMA Dehradun in a small eatery on Rajpur road called YETI, if I recollect the name correctly. Slowly we weaned off to the basic Momo-Thuppa kind of stuff near Ghanta Ghar due to financial constraints as a GC (Gentleman Cadet). One always thought those people were Chinese. Later when I served with them did I realise that how real Chinese noodles were made. Lovely people they were and Tashi Deleg to all of them. We Indians now are hooked on to the Tibetan cuisine for sure.

Another incident of how far I could dig my soul into the Chinese military was when I was made the CO of a Signal Regiment in a war-game of a mountain division against China in Staff College. Firstly, I had no idea about the terrain in the East of India where this Dhoklam thing is happening. Secondly, my phobia of learning anything about Chinese Army petrified me like hell. Thirdly, I was a Mech officer, commanding a Signal Regiment almost killed me. The only Radio sets I handled were the ones fitted in my BMP or the ANPRC with a ten foot telescopic antenna. I knew if the instructor asks me even one question, leave alone Chinese tactics I will forget how to spell “signal”. Well, the great moment arrived and I had to brief a truck load of Directing Staff (DS) on a map about my role as a Commanding Officer of a Mountain Division Signal Regiment. One of the Brigadiers asked who amongst you is CO Signals. I stepped forward, sir yours truly. He said Noel we don’t have time; we give you five minutes for your briefing. I said sir trust me I will take only two because of enemy jamming. The DS burst out laughing and moved on to CO ASC battalion without even listening to me. I thanked my stars and must have smoked a pack of cigarettes after that, as I was feeling so goddamned relieved. You may lose a war if you read the “signals” wrong, isn’t it? I had won mine.

The recent intrusion in Chushul took me down memory lane when I was posted there. I had the privilege to climb the heights around Chushul to experience firsthand how conditions of 1962 would have been for our soldiers. While counting bunkers, I remember the doors used to be jammed due to frozen ice. The bunkers had to be aired for a couple of days to open up. Imagine how they would have dug those bunkers. Standing atop Pankha heights, the Pongang Tso staring at you like a vast ocean and the air strip appeared to be a highway of some kind. My head bows in respect to every soldier who participated in whatever capacity in that battle. It was indeed a humbling experience, an experience of a life time. The Trishul heights, the Spangur area etc were the most beautiful places I ever saw. My brothers who bore the brunt of 62 war fought with minimum strength, underrated equipment; clothing not fit for that altitude and weather but their morale was high, their spirits were dauntless; their courage was rock solid even when the enemy kept chanting Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai. Today one finds the saying painted on many stones, “In the land of Lamas, don’t be gammas”, is absolutely true.

Be that as it may, China is huge, China is tough and of course China is strong in every way. That should not deter us from keeping that country at bay. These incidents which are happening are not really what their actual intentions might be as I reckon. There is something more sinister to it.  We got to be prepared to take China on. Are we ready? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

JAI HIND & JAI KASHMIR

I got a chance to listen to the PMs Independence Day speech only late in the day. The phrase that caught my ears was “Na Goli se, Na Gaali se Kashmir ka masla hal hoga Kashmiri ko gale lagane se” and words to that effect (Neither with bullets nor with abuses can we resolve the problem of Kashmir; it can be resolved only by embracing them). Well PM Sahib, I have an issue here with what you said. On one hand you say that you won’t leave any “ATANKWADI” or his supporter, right. On the other hand you want to embrace Kashmiri’s some of them who are militants. On one hand you see a role of security forces; on the other hand you don’t want to fire a bullet. On one hand you don’t want to talk to Pakistan till it behaves as they understand only gaali’s, right. You also want to teach Pak a lesson for what it does in Kashmir. You want peace and prosperity in Kashmir without getting the elected representatives of Kashmir moving. Now you come out with this goli-gaali Jumla. I am now thoroughly confused sir, what do you mean and how do you propose to do what you say?

You want the Central Government to work hand in glove with the state government, right. If I understand correctly that funding to Kashmir that has been going on till now shall continue like hither to fore, right. Everyone will know the package you announce but no one will know how it will be utilized. The Kashmiri politician will know where and how it has to be utilised but the Kashmiri population you want to embrace will not know where the hell this fund has gone. The State government will demand more and you will give more from your benevolent funds that you have at your disposal. I as a tax payer and a contributor to your funds will never know on what scheme was this money spent on ever. Your FM will account for every “paai” he releases and announce it to the world but how much will be swindled, mis-utilised and seep out of the system, no one will ever come to know. I don’t have to remind you about terrorist funding Sir, which needs to be eliminated too.

I had seen border roads organisation working and maintaining most of the roads in Kashmir, if I am correct. Most of the infrastructure projects like the rail and major highways funded from the centre employ maximum locals, right. How much more infrastructure they require can someone give a road map? Why is the Kashmiri so lethargic? Why is the pace slow? Is it because the local contractors are slow? Or is it because of the sluggish attitude of the Kashmiri people? Or is it the threat to any project by the militants which slows projects? Is it lack of supervision at the governmental level and accountability of the officials? I have seen myself, people working on projects having cups after cups of tea, discussing everything under the sun, closing shop early to reach home before sun down. PM Sahib, can a reality check be done how work is done there? You are in for surprises, if not shock.

Do we have a dearth of infrastructure companies in India? Answer is no. Then why can’t they work in Kashmir, if Kashmir is part of India? Why can’t the labour be taken from rest of India to expedite projects ultimately an Indian is working on an Indian project. Why a company has to work at the Kashmiri pace which is like get up in the morning, warm up your Firan with a Kangri, wait for the blood circulation to increase, smoke a few biris till mood to work sets in, curse the world around, look for fire wood and gucchi the whole day and by 3pm pack up and head back home. Winter months as it is there won’t be any work due to snow. During monsoons the rains stop projects, rest of the months there is hardly a window to work and one has to catch up on gossip. If GREF can take labour from Bihar and build the Tangtse-Pangong Tso road, what is the problem in Kashmir. Is work the problem or is it the work culture? I believe no one is marked absent after all it is welfare of Kashmiris.

I say, catch hold of all the stone pelters and tell them to crack boulders for the next road project. Pay them the same amount they get for pelting. Give them food and shelter till a project is completed but make them work. Question is that is he willing to work? Will he contribute to the progress of Kashmir he has dreamt of? I further say, you want to agitate; you want to protest, do it after 10 years and during this time work dedicatedly for what Kashmir needs. Let there be power generation all over. Let there be cold storage chains professionally managed all over. Let there be best of fisheries, saffron and fruit production. Let there be a full scale furniture industry, woollen garment industry, fruit canning and pickling industry. Let train and plane loads of cargo be flown in and out of Kashmir. In case of landslides and road blocks, let everything go by alternate means of transport. Is it possible?

My idea may sound absurd, bizarre, ridiculous or even silly but it is an idea worth thinking of Mr PM. Make the representatives of the people of J&K accountable to their own people. Embrace the people once they are willing to work on their dream projects. Shake up the typical lethargy of the people and let them be handled professionally. Pay them when they work, pay them on the quality of output they produce. Let the security forces help them to create an environment for their own betterment. Weed away the “gaddars” and traitors. PM Sahib you will get jhappis if your vision is made into a mission.

Let tourism flourish. Engage locals to provide security to all visiting Kashmir. Let the security forces become friends of Kashmiri people. Help the forces change Kashmiri outlook towards India and life. Let prosperity come and then let the goli be only for Pakistan and the traitors. Let gaali be only for terrorists and their supporters and jhappi for the common Kashmiri people who have been torn apart from this strife due to utter neglect, lack of vision and transparency. Create a framework for them to accept the tri-colour from their heart. Give them the dignity they deserve. Your change of stance from gali to jhappi without goli will materialise soon. Take a decision, now!

Will I ever hear JAI HIND-JAI KASHMIR there, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

 

INDIA NEEDS TO UNITE WITHOUT A WAR

If there will be a war with either China or Pakistan or both in the near future, are we as a country ready to cope with it? The Armed Forces will do their best I am sure. What I am sceptic about are the people who are other than armed forces including me. Are they going to do their bit for India? I know this country always unites during wars. My question is will we unite as “Indians” without and before a war? What cost will we have to pay for this unity is the big question? Can we put India first? The consequences of war will take us back by more than 50 years. How will we plough back, the very thought gives me the shivers.

Natural calamities I can understand, do take a toll. What I am afraid of is the manmade disasters like goondaism, dadagiri, corruption, bribery, fraud, dishonesty in thought and action, lynching, stalking, agitations for reservations, etc as prevalent today. Why do we destroy national assets in case we want reservations? Why do we burn our transport and buildings if we want water? I feel in case of war some people still won’t change from doing such misdeeds. It needs a miracle to change our basic character. People will still make money by hoarding, by hiding things, by manipulating, by creating an artificial shortage of certain essential goods and services. War clouds can never be wished away but trickery and deceit can definitely be avoided for the sake of this nation. Chances are that the war clouds may not rain. However, in today’s times we better be prepared for a cloud burst. Death may fall from the sky as bombs during war. Enemy can target anything, so citizens of India let’s brace ourselves up for it. Let us join hands for the nation’s sake.

Let us be prepared for rationing and curtailing of our freedoms including the press. Rationing of food grains, fuel, clothing, transport, medical care, freight, railways, air space, internet, mobile telephony and you name it. Doesn’t it look scary? Doesn’t it sound outlandish? How will we function without internet or a mobile? How will it feel when military special trains will be given priority over super fast trains? How will it feel to live with black outs? There is a difference between power cut and black out. You will have electricity but can’t switch on lights. People will still switch lights on until a bomb will find their building. How will it be to live in trenches? How will it be when suddenly you are unemployed as your industry is obliterated in an air attack? Air raid sirens blowing, you shall be rushing to shelters? From your luxurious, chauffeur driven, air conditioned BMWs, you will be sharing space with 10 others in a hot and humid bomb shelter. How will it be when all facilities that one takes for granted are suddenly withdrawn? You will be checked, frisked and questioned. Your daily routes diverted and movement restricted. It will be difficult to imagine and unacceptable to most.

Let me ask another question here, how many of the able bodied men and women would volunteer to join the forces if need be? I will request all those who send mails and messages to change ones DP to the tri-colour on Independence Day and Republic Day to be ready to join the war effort. Saying it on face book and twitter is easy, doing it on ground needs guts. Trolling on social media is easy but assaulting the enemy on the battlefield is a tough job. To stalk a girl in Chandigarh is easy but to stalk the real enemy is never done the “Barala” way. Desh Bhakti doesn’t come from the free flowing ideas in JNU but it comes from within our Indianess. It comes from our soul and not from our tongue. Singing Vandematram and shouting Jai Hind is desh prem. Having tears in your eyes when lata sings “ai mere watan ke logo” is your feelings for the soldier. Standing up for the National Anthem is our duty. Desh Bhakti actually is when one understands the meaning of each of these compositions and slogans and inculcates them in ones lives and that is the need of the time.

I am ready to offer my services again if the nation needs them. We the veterans will definitely do our bit. I request all the corporate honchos who do lots of number crunching, graphs, pie charts etc to understand that all that is fighting on paper. All that may impress your bosses. All that may get you incentives. All that may get you various awards. If you people are such experts, please volunteer to do social service during war. Promise to be a sentry of a society at night. Promise you will not do any fraud whatsoever ever. Promise that you will not lie and fudge figures. Promise that you will pay your taxes truthfully for this country. Promise you will report every happening correctly as seen and not as perceived. Promise you will not back bite and back stab your fellow workers. Honesty has to come from within; unity has to be understood in its totality. Time now is to build “Desh Shakti”.

Be that as it may. Over the year luxuries of life have become necessities and we take them for granted as our birth right. I am sure my countrymen shall unite moment the balloon goes up. We have to anticipate things and be prepared mentally. We need to forget caste, creed, religion, region, language and any form of reservations. Bombs and bullets cannot differentiate any of these. We need to keep the independence of this country intact by doing our bit, war or no war. Will we? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

WISHING ALL MY FELLOW CITIZENS A VERY HAPPY 71ST INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAI HIND

RAKHI A FINE THREAD

It is touching gesture to see ladies tie Rakhi’s to people of the Armed Forces. There are so many who make lovely handmade Rakhis and send them across to soldiers guarding the borders. I salute this love and affection and this warm gesture. This is true culture of India. This shows all those who many not be directly or indirectly related to people of the armed forces show solidarity with an unknown person, on an unknown mission, in a God forsaken place to feel that people are with me, people love me and care for me. Above all he gets the morale boost that he has to carry out his duty even better as now he is duty bound to protect all those who have taken time out to remember their “God Brother’s”.

I have seen moist eyes with tears on the brims when soldiers remember their beloved ones and especially sisters. The tears are a symbol that we too are humans and have feelings and care when they remember folks back home. Tears are for sisters who used to tease them, sisters who have now got married and gone away, sisters who are no more walking the earth, sisters who were their best companions; sisters who gave all the instructions till one got married. Many of the soldiers don’t have sisters but feel a sense of pride that now they too have one. It is sentimental friends, it is moving.

Be that as it may, behind the brave face that a soldier puts up is actually a wax like heart. He might appear tough in front of the enemy but a small letter from home melts him down. A soldier when he sometimes comes across a child who resembles his younger sister or even daughter actually wants to lift her up and throw her in the air and catch her like he used to do back home but his duty prevents to show his emotions. His feelings don’t change even if that child is related to a militant or any other family. This I speak from my own experience while deployed for OP Parakram. My six month old child did not know why papa is going or where is he leaving for. She could never question me as to why do you have to leave me when I need you most. She could not even speak then. Every child I came across, I used to remember her and felt like hugging the child, to play, to blabber, to make the child laugh, tickle her just to get a feel that through this child I feel at home.

The oath that a brother takes is to safe guard his sisters and to keep them away from harm’s way. It does not translate on ground. Sisters are murdered, raped tortured and groped everywhere. Therefore, I ask this question why can’t this promise be fulfilled by the people who are is positions in the government to look after women in particular. Don’t the women of this country want freedom to move freely, wear what they like, study what they like, work in which ever shift they want to, make friends with boys and feel safe in this country? I have a feeling that it happens because my sister is my sister and rest of the ladies I don’t care. If anyone who dares to cast a dirty look at my sister, I will tear him apart but if the same thing when happens to someone else’s sister, I will leave the scene as why should I get involved in it.

What about ladies who don’t have brothers or fathers or husbands. What about ladies who cannot protect themselves. What about ladies who are infirm, or differently abled. Who will look after them? I think it is the citizens and people in politics who are responsible to give ladies the confidence that they are free citizens of this country. Therefore, the onus of repaying the commitment when this band is tied on a minister’s wrist doubles. He has to ensure that the policing set up and vigilance to protect ladies is top class. The politicians are totally accountable and responsible for their safety and freedom. They shall fail in their duty and promise of Rakhi, if they can’t deliver on women’s safety.

Ladies and gentlemen many of us have daughters. They will walk into this mad bad world as they grow in age. They will be career women, home makers, soldiers, sportswomen etc tomorrow. Why can’t we give them a tension free life, a free atmosphere, a country with a broad minded mindset, the freedom to feel as a privileged citizen of this country rather than a person, who constantly remains in fear of being ogled, molested or being looked down upon?

This can only happen when our temples of democracy decide that time now has come to change. Time now has come to ensure that this change in mindset is brought about in their constituencies. The way PM Sahib is concentrating winning hearts and minds of voters for elections; I would suggest this same team should also concentrate on safety and security of women. All elected representatives should take a vow that they will not allow anything to happen to any lady under their jurisdiction. For this what means and methods they want to employ I leave it to them. Remember dear sirs, the soldier will never let the women of this country down but this thread of love tied on your wrist should not be just symbolism, it should translate into action. Will the brothers listen? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

BAN EVERYTHING CHINESE

I have been seeing posts and videos saying that let us stop buying Chinese products. This Diwali we shall not use any lights or Rakhi’s made in China. Instead some people are emphatically propagating to buy pure Indian products only. Well, we have been hearing of make in India, made in India, made for India, made by Indians and many such slogans. The reality is that we in India do not make goods which match the prices of Chinese goods. What we make don’t even last as long as a made in China product. The quality in our products is lacking. Cost of our product is also unaffordable, thus forcing us to look for alternatives elsewhere. We Indians also have a tendency to buy products which have an imported stamp. It may be made in Korea, US or Timbuktu; we love to buy that stuff or am I conjecturing too much. This, the inner voice in you can only tell.

Let us see the car purely made in India. The poor Ambassador has finally died its own death. The old work horse of the taxi people and the Indian Army, Hindustan Motors finally shut shop. HMT watches, where are they? I wore one with pride many moons back. Today, we hear of Bharat-Benz, Maruti-Suzuki, Ashok-Leyland, Swaraj-Mazda etc. These names are related to a foreign product or are in partnership with them. So are many of the banks. The Fords, Toyotas, Mercs and Hondas are pure foreign brands. Computers too are assembled in India. Name a brand which is pure Indian in mobiles or doesn’t use imported products in its components. For industries many chemicals are ex-import, technology is ex import, raw material too is ex import. Lesser said the better.

Take apparels, take cosmetics, take any product and you will find a foreign hand in that. I am not propagating Baba Ramdev products, though I love his biscuits and Sarson ka tel but just food for thought that we love to enjoy all things foreign. How many of us wear Khadi? I am sure there would be many. Our markets opened up, our currency stood its ground and products which were unheard of in India now are available at affordable prices.

Take the defence equipment. Aircrafts are American, French or Russian, tanks are Russian, missiles from Israel; war ships and submarines are from Britain, Russia or France. Bofors is ex import, Tatra is ex import, BMP is ex import, most of our ammunition is ex import, special clothing is ex import, parachutes are ex import but our land is indigenous. AK-47, bullet proof jackets are ex import, but our spirit to operate all these is pure Indian. We just won the tank competition in Russia standing first amongst 19 countries driving and firing the Russian T-90. I salute all our tank men in black dungarees for this achievement. We adapt ourselves to any equipment very quickly and master its use.

If we talk of the trade deficit with China, it stands at around 46.7 billion dollars today. My goodness Gracious Lord, this must be many ship load full of dollars. How will we get out of it? How will we reduce it? How will we find means to balance it out? Well there are many economists who will work it out for us. The figure of those many billions appears as if India has to pay back China that amount. If we don’t pay we all are going to die by the Chinese torture method. The feeling this word trade deficit gives me is as if we are sunk and the burden to return that money back is my responsibility. Soon time will come when the atta we eat would be Chinese. As it is they are making artificial rice, eggs and vegetables. Well, I have the PM & the Industries Minister to look into the specifics of trade and the Finance Minister to pay for all that. Should I bother?

Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is we are importing more and exporting less. This doesn’t mean that we are not paying for what we are importing. Only thing is that we are not earning as many dollars as we should be earning through export. Let us start producing world class stuff so that it gets consumed within the domestic markets and meets the needs of our population and export. Today, if we even have to import dal, wheat and onions, isn’t it an irony. We have not been able to make cold storage chains to preserve our surplus. Our grains rot in FCI godowns and we talk of trade deficit.

Well friends by just boycotting Chinese products we are doing a lot of harm to the traders who have already paid for it. The item is already in India, it has been paid for because we only demanded it. Some trader facilitated it. We got things at price of dirt. The trader also made a profit. It did not hurt your pocket either and now suddenly you say that don’t but anything made in China. Is it fair? Let’s give a date after which all Chinese imports officially are stopped? Traders to dispose of items till a particular date, then take him to task. I say let us stop buying anything imported. Period!

Let us get after the government to set up a mechanism so that imported items are banned till the Indian mindset gets used to using and enjoying everything Indian. All trade deficits will evaporate. Today we export Iron ore. Is there a justification for it? Why this product can’t be used in house and iron made cheaper for iron and steel industry to flourish. Why do we allow import of scrap and kill this industry. Then as a stop gap measure we increase the import duty on iron scrap so that the domestic market picks up. This is only a knee jerk reaction with no long term strategy in place.

Well it is not as simple as I am portraying it. Can we exchange products for manpower? I don’t know. By boycotting things won’t resolve issues with China. By setting up a clear goal for use of Indian products vis-a-vis Chinese and other imported products can we sort this out?  China has banned whatsapp and twitter. Do it in India and see the results. Half of us will be on the verge of committing suicide if not murder. I have also seen posts on calculations of the number of products, revenue generated from it and how if we stop it will hurt China. Agreed, if you don’t buy from one shop then you have to have an alternative. Similarly, China will look for another client for its products. It definitely has the capacity to survive without selling to us. So let us make classy Indian products at affordable prices for the common man. Can we? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

PILGRIMAGE WITH A TRAGIC END

The modern definition of pilgrimage means an excursion or a tour? This definition fits in as a classic case as far as the Amarnath yatra of today is concerned. Like minded people, like aged people, people from the same societies and buildings, big families, people with one tour operator, all get together to go on an excursion to enjoy the picnic and darshan, killing two birds with one stone. What I observe today is that the voluminous numbers of people thronging to these places with very less civic sense and no love lost for nature and its serenity.

It was very unfortunate to see the Amarath Yatri’s getting butchered for not being aware of the procedures to be followed in a state which is on fire even with protection of so many forces. There may be more pilgrims who could not have finished their journeys as they may have been called back by their makers above. My limited point here is that can we be more cautious and alert especially while being in J&K and especially K. Security forces cannot be present 24×7 at every inch of the route. Let us not lose innocent lives anymore. The sense of achievement which comes after the yatra is tremendous. People feel that if it has been so far so good, it will be same till the end. If we don’t come back it is HIS will. Let us not become callous thus vulnerable and give militants a chance to achieve their aim.

Militants have embarked on their spiritual quest or pilgrimage in the name of jihad to meet their maker and be in HIS divine presence with 72 as promised. Their quest is for jihad for Kashmir, jihad against India, jihad against Indians, jihad against hindu’s or outsiders (Kafirs as they call the non believers), I don’t know. But one thing is sure that they are walking a very tight rope. One wrong step and they are sure to plunge to death, when alongside this rope there is a broad road of peace. The choice is theirs, their beliefs, their faith, their conviction which I cannot alter. I can only reassure them, that there are people in the olive green who will assist the terrorists to be relieved of their earthly journey very soon. The more you spread terror, the more you intimidate people, the resolve of security forces to dissolve you increases. Are you cowards listening? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION TO KASHMIR

I was listening to Mehboobaji on the issue of Article 356 and the flag of J&K. I thereafter heard various discussions on what she said, what she meant, what does it signify, what does it imply etc and made my own conclusions which I shall reveal as this article unfolds. Is she right? I doubt, but if she is wrong, then there is an issue of a very large scale brewing to explode. I am convinced Kashmiri’s can only give a solution for Kashmir. But are all Kashmiri’s on the same grid? Is the present J&K Govt on the same grid with the Govt in Delhi? I as a common man feel that communication is lacking. There is a weak effort to resolve what needs to be done. Calling for a plebiscite doesn’t work in democracy. When you madam represent the people of Kashmir, (if you really represent them), then tell us where do you stand and the measures you propose to stop this mayhem. Expecting only Central Govt to give solutions is passing the buck.

I say if there needs to be a plebiscite, let there be one with a question that do these elected representatives actually represent the voices and aspirations of Kashmiri people? If not then who are their real representatives, solution to Kashmir will automatically start evolving. Are these leaders of Kashmir capable enough to lead their people? The picture will start getting clearer. If war is not a solution and talks are the only solution then let us talk internally first. Today we are falling in our own trap, where the political parties of J&K especially of K, the separatists and the terrorists are taking advantage of our lack of clarity amongst us as to what to do, with whom, when and why.

Be that as it may, let Mehboobaji keep her flag and article 356 for the time being. Can she give out a road map to solutions to the Kashmir problem? Let her speak to the “stake holders” in our Kashmir, what they want and discuss with the PM that this is how it needs to be implemented. Let her, Omar and Farookh sit across the table with all those who believe in India as their nation and tell how are they going to seal the borders? How is she going to stop terror funding? How is she going to convince the Hurriat to forget Azadi and come under the tricolour? Let her give a method to convince and control the stone pelters. Let her government take over the internal situation of Kashmir and show she can govern and protect everyone fairly and effectively, rather than only giving the consequences of removal of the articles.

Yes the Central government should continue all its support like hither to fore. Let Mehboobaji give a manner she proposes for employment generation other than Sarkari naukris. Let her reveal plans as to how she will develop tourism, fisheries, agriculture, power, infrastructure, industry etc and set a time frame to address these issues to wean away unemployed youth from nonsense. Simply by sucking Central Govt of funds and resources and leaving Kashmir to be governed by God doesn’t work out. She has the mandate, she has to do it. She needs to create history. She has to have her intelligence grid going and sorting out those who throw stones or fire weapons or support such things, after all the J&K flag flutters today because the Tiranga flutters there, is there a doubt?

Let her come up with a method of utilising her state forces. CAPFs and Indian Armed forces deployed for the protection of the state may be utilised if she needs them. I feel we need to take a big chance if we agree to withdraw all central forces. Let Mr Rajnath and her sit down and plan with the civilian “Mehakma” how to police and keep every citizen safe from harm’s way. I would rather say it would be an ideal opportunity for the armed forces to take a breather. I know my military expert friends shall shoot me down that this will give the militants a breather to regroup and rejuvenate. So be it friends. Imagine by then all terror funding would have stopped. All people with separatist tendencies put in the clink, all hawala money choked, traced out and seized if possible. Infiltration as good as zero as the armed forces would be able to beef up the borders, all those infiltrating through the third country would be scared enough to take a chance to reach Kashmir alive.

Won’t police operations by the sons of the soil stop stone pelters? Stone pelters may not do so to their own kith and kin. Locals if taken on board will reveal most of the caches or routes to them thus bringing a halt to availability of arms and ammunition. Even if many of them take up arms, good for us. Now the forces can take them on without hesitation with definite information available. Moment militants engage security forces they will ensure they are dead meat. The residual militants thus get wiped out. Let it be deterrence for future militants. Let us give them a lose rope to hang themselves. Pakistan by then should be warned to be prepared for some roughing up with every breach and every cease fire violation. You do mischief, we would slap you hard, needs to be conveyed loud and clear.

All this needs meticulous planning, guts and decisions which can be game changers. The key issue remains getting Mehboobaji and gang to get on the job. Today, I find the home minister running up and down, political leaders visiting without reason, Army Chief meeting her for courtesy sake? Let us stop it. Today, there is a government, there is state machinery, there are the people who want peace but there is no strong will and clear intention to sort out this mess. Each day of delay is costing money, resources and precious lives. They are Indian lives, our people. Because getting martyred has become routine doesn’t mean that this should be allowed to continue. If every life counts, out of box solutions have to be found by Mehboobaji first and now.

I heard General Musharaff on a channel who clearly stated that Pak will do Kargil like operations again. He also stated that they call those people mujahedeen whom we call terrorists and this India and US need to understand, they won’t. He also was emphatic about CPEC which is already in advanced stages of construction. If it hurts India, Pak will do it. Let’s be clear then whom are we dealing with. All this people to people contact, aman ki asha chaps wake up. Indian Biryani is far better.

We need to sort out our internal Kashmir thing first and fast. We need the present J&K government on its toes besides being careful of Pak at all times. We have the wherewithal to make it happen. Mehboobaji aur Modiji, Abhi nahi to Kabhi nahi, will you please take note of it, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

BATTLE TANK VERSUS WATER TANK

As a kid I remember when Dad used to take us to an Army cantonment we used look at every piece of military equipment in awe. My kindergarten school had many army kids and they used to come in those old TMBs (Tata Mercedes Benz) or SHAKTIMAN trucks modified as school busses. We could spend hours sitting on our haunches imagining what all attachments it used to have, like the pick axe, the shovel, the jerry cans, mule tanks etc. Some trucks had winches on their front bumpers. The numbers painted on them used to be a mystery especially with an arrow pointing upwards. We at that time had gone through a phase of the war of 1971 with Pakistan so as boys our basic game used to be fantasising using all the military equipment we had seen in our lives to defeat of Pakistan.

I subtly remember while passing through Jalandhar Cantt there used to be these Pakistani Patton tanks at the entrance. I cannot describe how proud one used to feel just looking at them as Indian Army got these as war trophies. Even till today if I happen to pass by military equipment displayed in any town, I make it a point to have a look. I remember having clicked many photos on the tanks that used to be displayed in front of Sudan block in NDA. The feeling of elation and a sense of pride that crosses your mind moment you see a military convoy passing by is indescribable. One has seen many of them as a child, huge guns in tow, all covered with tarpaulins. Even one saw many military special trains passing by. One always waved to the faujis and wondered is war imminent. I used to long to be part of them, as I wanted to live that life on a train, with a tarpaulin tent made on a barrel of a gun, eating cooking and yet cheerfully waving to us going towards the border.

We used to have military equipment displays in school. One used to speechless when an NCO used to describe an Artillery gun or an Air Defence Gun or an APC (Armoured Personal Carrier) of the BTR-60 kind or SKOT. Heavens used to break loose when a KRAZ with a 130mm gun in tow used to come for a demo deployment. Though one could never understand the words of command but the whole process used to leave our jaws open. I clearly remember touching those practice rounds and getting bewildered at the size of the 130 mm shell. We even used to follow those tyre tread marks of the APCs. One could never imagine that APCs can fill air in them from inside. One used to think of one’s own bicycle, if this could be possible. The way the baffle plate used to go up and the propeller used to be exposed at the rear. To imagine that this huge beast could float was pure fiction. Though, I later joined an outfit which had both the BRDMs and BMPs as my bread and butter.

One really dreamt of joining the forces as a child. The starched dungarees with big pockets close to the knees were something fascinating, crisp uniforms, shining stars, glistening equipment everything used to mesmerise us. The wooden pointer with a white tip in a pocket on the shoulder was awesome. I even remember going through every detail of an army ambulance. One was very impressed by the fans inside as one had never seen them in cars also that time.

Today, during Republic Day Parade, the main highlight is the equipment that the country displays. It gives an inherent sense of security as the commentator gives the description of the various tanks, guns and missiles. The mind starts appreciating the skills of the pilots who do formation flying, or refuel midair, or do a vertical Charlie right in front of your eyes. Your mind doesn’t register when you hear that all these aircrafts have come from faraway air bases like Pune, Delhi Ambala etc on a precise call and accurate time. How can one stage manage a machine moving at double the speed of sound to fly past exactly when the last marching contingent has just saluted the President? Well friends, the coordination, the discipline is mindboggling and that is what impresses us.

The marching contingents are no less matter of pride and honour when all those Gorkha hats tilted at just the precise angle do an eyes right. The “turras” of the pagris suddenly appearing broadside like a peacock displaying its feathers is an awesome experience to see. The front foot lifted higher than the shoulder and dug in the tarmac for Dahine Dekh (Eyes Right). The dipping of the tank barrels and turning towards the President as a mark of respect is mind blowing. The commentator when he starts listing out the decorations of each passing contingent, one is really baffled to hear what mettle these people are made of. Yes one does get a lump in the throat and moist eyes when a widow of a brave heart comes to the President to take a medal which her husband won. It is heart breaking on hearing the citation about his bravery. Ones head bows down in respect and gratitude and a small prayer to thank the martyr that brother because of you we all are alive today.

I do not know what JNU people are made of. I am sure they would be more patriotic than all of us. Fortunately or unfortunately I too am a graduate from JNU only thing is my campus was in NDA. I wish you guys learn to make peace and also learn to be prepared for war. All those who oppose a tank being displayed in the campus deserve a water tank to remind them to save water. Please take inspiration from water tank and debate whether we stand by our Army or otherwise. If installing busts of personalities they want to emulate satisfies them, so be it. I only have one request friends that please ensure that no bird droppings are seen on those busts. Ensure every student knows whose statue it is and what he did in his life time. Please make sure that at least once a year you all go and salute this great man rather than sitting under the shade of the statue and make plans of how to create the next kanhiya like episode.

I having served my motherland more than 20 years in the Army would request you if you are so interested in history and are so vehement against putting a tank, kindly put a bust of all Param Vir Chakra winners with space for more to come for a change. I am sure they too shall form part of Indian history. These war heroes have definitely given you the freedom to attack your VC to fire verbal salvos towards him with words which neither have direction nor will meet any target. Will they ever understand why we say Jai Hind and Bharat Mata ki Jai, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

 

THE “WHY” OF J&K

It was nice to hear that a few of the HURRIATIERS have been arrested and put in the clink. How far all the separatists are united is not known but this move is surely going to bring those birds of the same feather together. Mehbooba ji has not commented till now and let me assure you Madam that at this rate of arrests people that you were insisting on to talk to or the stake holders, you will find their numbers dwindling and reducing. Time may not be far when you too may not be invited to any talks yourself as I find representatives of people of J&K not involving themselves with their people the way they should. Hope my perception is wrong.

I have a question for all the political leaders of Kashmir that why can’t you convey the will of your people and work out solutions for them. If you are doing so why is J&K burning? Are actual issues being discussed in the state assembly or are you all there to wrestle with people like Engineer. Are you and your people on the same grid? Rather, are you politicians with us that is India in the first place? Once that is established rest will fall into place. If you are not with India then what are you doing as an elected representative is the next question? Don’t give us long stories of disputed territories and points of view, either you’re with India, if not you should be considered to be with Pakistan. There is no question of any kind of freedom or independence. If this frame work is clear, then there would be some point to discuss. If not then you know where the LoC is cross over and start a movement from there. Take all your supporters and sympathisers along, after all there you will also get support of all kinds from your “napaak” friends. Here you may not get a chance to talk as openly.

The other question which keeps bothering me is that who is actually looking after Jammu & Ladakh? As I perceive it, when the darbar is in Srinagar, everyone is working for Kashmir, when it comes down to Jammu; some attention is given to Jammu. Kashmir still remains the main focus. Where does poor Ladakh go? The centre is only helping out Kashmir. Jammu and Ladakh get the left overs. Why do I sitting far away from the state get this feeling? It is because of no media coverage of Ladakh or is it what I hear and read becomes my perception. Am I conjecturing too much?

Be that as it may, Pakistan is going to keep injuring us is nothing new I am stating. When are we going to start lacerating it is what I want to know? The whole issue with Pak is about Kashmir and the people who suffer the pain of Paki inflicted injuries are the people of Jammu and the armed forces. For Kashmiri’s it is death for their cause I suppose. Why? Till the time we don’t give a clear signal that you scratch me and I will tear you apart we will continue to suffer. Gangrene has to be induced in Pakistan so that a portion of it is amputated. The viruses it keeps sending this side leaves us nursing and licking our wounds leaving Pak unscathed. This needs a paradigm shift is thinking at the PMs level. Sooner the better!

All those people who show dissent towards India should be put in the clink and investigated. All his links and lineage should be exposed. All politicians having any connection with the militants/separatists should be dismissed from public service. Why I say this is because with the passage of time the clot in the artery which could have been dissolved initially has already seen a bypass. The clots have appeared again and may need a change of heart. One thing is clear that if Kashmir is our heart, then it already has suffered many heart attacks. The centre is pumping all it can to keep the LUB-DUB going. If now all the blockages in terms of Hurriat etc and not removed and the inoperative valves in terms of the J&K government are not made functional or replaced and the tensions which Pakistan generates leading to this heart condition if not eliminated, then chances of survival are bleak.

For the Armed Forces J&K is as good as a domicile state. All of us in uniform have had at least two to three tense tenures in the state. Not a single day used to be without some action somewhere. If we add our tenures of Ladakh including Kargil and the Glacier, people would have stayed half their lives in service of J&K in whatever capacity. If I reflect on what I did in Kashmir in particular, was only winning hearts and minds but still lived in fear that there would be an IED on my route, I could be fired upon from any direction, people would turn hostile towards me etc. I kept feeding and treating ailments of villagers. I kept labouring to make playfields and schools and the end result is that we still have gotten nowhere. All of us did our best, all of us went to each village, met each headman, maulvi, teacher, infirm, old, ex militant, you name it. All of us loved those small children who came to us. Has it really done any good, or is it that the Kashmiri people just took advantage of all of us?

The simple Kashmiri people are now no more simple people now I think. I know, they all need jobs, money, a decent living, education, growth in agriculture etc, but none of it is happening. The “why” of it is still a mystery? Can someone find answers to this why? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

PAY COMMISSION AND ARREARS

Effects of the seventh pay commission have percolated to the political class. The pay of an Undersecretary may be more than the MP now. How can this be palatable to the Mantr ji? I heard one of the MPs saying that we have to maintain three houses, one at Delhi, one in the constituency and one own home. Government needs to pay us for the taam-jhaam therefore I need a pay hike. How is Jaitley ji going to get this money is his baby. Who all will be squeezed is the FMs problem? The FM is looking towards me, why me sir? Get hold of Malya and gang please.

Let me tell you how I felt after the implementation of various pay commissions. Initially, I felt elated and jumped up and down my bed on receiving my pay slip. This happiness used to last a very short while, around six to seven months. Then inflation used to catch up and we were back to square one. We turned back to looking at the prices in the menu card first and then deciding what to eat rather than the other way around. I remember I had to compromise while buying my first car. I was falling short by 25000 and had to pick up a non AC one. No regrets though, we drove it like hell and she was my darling for more than ten years.

I remember my rank pay got stuck as there was some issue way back in 1987. I had picked up as a Barsati Captain in 1987 with just two years of service. The rank pay then was 200 if I remember correctly. In those days mess gave us khana and mess was home so pay never bothered me. Later I got married and got posted to high altitude. There, food was plenty, expenditure was negligible and the bank used to be our unit Baniya and his famous note book in which he used to write every hisaab-kitab our pass book. I was in Ladakh then and baniya used to get us all what we needed. My only expenditure used to be on fags. In those days the DFR dollars used to come in handy. Another bank used to be the field cashier. I remember carrying lots of field cheques to Leh for many officers when on pay collection duty. I had to cross Changla pass many a times to get pay.

Soon I got posted to a place near Dehradun. One fine day accumulated arrears with pay around 40,000 got released in 1992. I almost jumped through the roof. I showed my pay slip to my wife, she too rubbed her eyes at least 20 times to see whether the figure had a comma or a full stop after 40. We started making plans as if we could buy the whole world. My wife said save half of it, so next day I went to the field cashier and withdrew the money. He gave me bundles of 10 rupee notes from the RTC. I rushed straight to the post office and bought NSC certificates worth 20000. In those day’s money used to double in five years. That was my first and last investment for more than 3/4th of my Army service.

I carried the rest of the bundles in my brown VIP briefcase, with a suspecting eye on everyone. I laid those 20 bundles in front of my wife on the small coffee table and asked her have you ever seen so much of cash in your life. I still remember I could hear her heartbeat sitting across the table. Well, like a chivalrous man I said all yours and she picked them and hid them in the cupboard under her third sari, well that was all she had then. We bought a new lock for that cupboard and watched it every night. We used to bring out the notes sometimes and count them and as luck would have it I always either counted one extra or one less. Then she used to recount it. I used be sent back from parties to go and see if the house was ok. I used to quietly go down to the bar. Refill my drink, come and say all is well. We were posted in such a remote place where leopards used to visit our quarter guard not far from our house quite often.

Well, next weekend I put my name on the bus to Dehradun and we had made up our mind to buy a VCR. I had just bought a BPL-Sanyo TV and this would compliment it. Moment we touched Doon we hired a taxi to Mussoorie. On our return we went to this big VCR/TV shop close to the famous “Moti-Mahal” restaurant. We picked up the best one which cost us around 14000. We asked for a guarantee, the shopkeeper said there is none on imported stuff. In case something goes wrong we shall repair it. I told my wife let us take a chance, she reluctantly agreed. From there we rushed to Kumar sweets at Ghanta Ghar and picked up “Ras Malai” and stick jaws. We were going to stay with one of our relatives. First thing I told them that tonight is movie night; get as many cassettes as you want to see. We finished dinner and inserted the first movie. My happiness knew no bounds as the clarity of the video was impressive. I told my wife to get the sweets to celebrate our moment of joy and we gave everyone a bowl of Ras Malai.

Believe you me my heart sank as the first spoon of the tasty Ras Malai went into my mouth. I saw smoke rising from the brand new VCR. I jumped and switched it off but by then it was too late. I looked at my wife who had turned into a statue. That night was the longest night for both of us. We would have kept awake watching movies with the family but that night we were consoling each other as tears of my wife were unstoppable. We had a quick breakfast and caught the first Vikram to Ghanta Ghar and by 9am we were at the shop. The assistant came at ten and half an hour later came the owner. He saw our faces and understood and I meekly said that the VCR got burnt. This man was cool and said chotu get another one from the attic. My wife said no we will take a VCP instead with a proper bill and guarantee. I had no choice but to agree and bought a KRISONS VCP. We were sceptic but it gave us fantastic service till the VCD mania took over.

Hard earned money can become hard burnt money in seconds. That was a lesson for me in life and I carry it with me still. Nothing without a bill otherwise be prepared to take a chill pill. Are you guys and gals listening, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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