Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: ARMY

GT ROAD RENAMED NOEL ELLIS ROAD

Someone said uproot the Taj Mahal, thereafter people came up with an idea to demolish the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament. Then a few suggested the Red Fort too should bite the dust. I am amazed at how people think and add fuel to the already lit communal fire. One thing is clear, the way we are trying to tamper with history it will definitely have consequences.  What Aurengzeb did or did not do is not the question but had we Indians got the guts we should have not allowed him to invade us. Had we been united then we would have not allowed anyone to leave a landmark or any legacy. We aren’t united even today thus not learning from our history.

Be that as it may, I was thinking why not rename the Grant Trunk (GT) road. It was named Sher Shah Suri Marg once. Who was Mr SS Suri? Please dig into the history books to find out don’t ask me. A Punjabi song popular amongst truck drivers about the road were “GT road te, haye road te….” Bus drivers used to believe in, “Chak de phatte nap de killi, subha Jalandhar sham nu dilli”. I remember traveling this route by road as well as rail as a child and it used to be the most prestigious route called the NH-1 from Lahore to Calcutta. I have seen this road transform from a road to a Highway and that is history.

There was no direct bus or train service to Delhi from Kapurthala, my residence. The nearest place to get a bus or train was Jullunder now Jalandhar (change in history). A small bus stand on GT road Jalandhar used to be congested like hell. To identify a bus going to “Garha” village or Delhi was difficult. If the bus had its chassis bent, torn silencer, splattered with mud, doors missing, broken windows, hanging head lights and the radiator glaring at you over a half hanging fender one could assume this is a local bus. A nicely painted, well dressed driver, Jalwa horn blaring, cushioned seats, freshly cleaned if not painted body; with lots of hanging jhalars all around the bus was an indicator that this could be a long route bus. Of course the shout in short bursts, Dilli-dilli-dilli-dilli. The conductor used to make it very clear “Rah di sawari koi na hove” (passengers getting down enroute need not mount) and mark my words Phillor and Phagwara people were dropped only at Ludhiana.

GT road was broad though but did not have dividers in between then. I have seen it grow from two lanes to six lanes and to what it is today. There were hardly any flyovers. In those days buses and trains used to race side by side. Closer to Ludhiana somewhere near Dhandarikalan, “keenu” used to be a new citrus fruit introduced those days. The long route busses used to stop for a quick drink of freshly squeezed malta or keenu juice.

Ambala Cantt used to be a major junction and the trains used to halt long enough for dad to rush to Puran Singh da dhaba and get fresh mutton curry and tandoori rotis. From there reaching Delhi was either from the Meerut-Gaziabad route for Old Delhi or the Kurukshetra route for New Delhi. We mostly travelled to Old Delhi. Moment one heard the heavy sounds of those typical clangs and bangs on the common rail and Road Bridge on river Yamuna hugging the red fort walls one knew “Ab dilli door nahi” (Delhi is not far away). If history has to be changed then the Bombay-Ferozpur Frontier Mail and Delhi-Amritsar Flying Mail also need to be re-named.

Why not change its name into Akbar road, no-no not the Azeem-O-Shaan Sahensha but our very own indigenous Akbar saab who is now an MP. With no offences meant sir and no religious flavour as till date I am confused who was Akbar’s son, was it Babar or Humayun or neither. My history is pathetic as it is. I always get mixed up with the fathers and sons of that era. With the present generation they won’t even care to find out who was who and we talk of changing history.

Why not name it Noel Ellis road? Half of India will not be able to pronounce it first of all. The only qualification I have is that I am a common citizen of this country. Why history can’t be created by renaming a road on the “aam admis” name. Why do we always look up in history to name things after all those oldies, or all those political figures? Well, freedom fighters too now are being felicitated at many places. I gave my youth too for keeping the country’s sovereignty in tact by serving the motherland by being part of one of the finest Armies of the world. Yes people may say I am living person. I will argue lets create history by not naming something on somebody who is already dead.

These days I find only polarisation and hatred being spread. I do not accept it as a citizen of this country. All those who try to change history will become history themselves.  Today’s generation cares two hoots whether you name a road or a building on anything. We are a modern India so changing ancient history won’t work Mr Dhotiwala. Can you guys grow up? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

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!!!!!!!!!!!!

IS INDIA ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Bechare Modiji is in a catch 22 situation. Where to start and where to finish? What to do and what to leave? I applaud his efforts of making a beginning but his efforts need an equal thrust down the chain. Unless the states and center sit together on one national agenda, one national priority then only it will be possible to chalk out a path. All citizens have to chip in and be on the same grid.

With all that I see, read and hear, it appears to me that our industries are in a mess, trade is in a soup, railways are derailing, women and child care no one cares, farmers are left in wilderness, defence of the country is short of manpower and equipment, terrorism and militancy are never ending. On the surface things look calm but the undercurrents are giving a different signal. Why is my perception like this? Why do my senses infer everything is not right? Why am I uncomfortable with the way things are? The common man is perturbed. He is unsure of his future.

Unemployment and job creation are mismatched as on date. What can a youngster do even if he is educated? The political game plan of dividing the people of this country is leading us nowhere. Plus our religious fundamentalism and intolerance is adding fuel to the fire. We are becoming our own enemies; appears to be path of self destruction.

Be that as it may, if the PM says that he is satisfied with his efforts, definitely he will have the overall picture. I am sure he will reveal it in one of his “man ki baat”.  Money is not the issue I suppose for the government but money cannot work on its own. People who are responsible to distribute the resources and money have to show accountability.

The underlying factor is the sincerity in effort, good governance, close monitoring, no corruption and no shortcuts by one and all. If we could stand in queue for our turn to get money from the ATM after demonetisation, we need to be prepared to stand in line for everything else. We need to have patience in this world of internet and twitter. We need to have the will to sacrifice our luxuries for the sake of this nation and its future. We have to think India first.

I can give this moral lecture because of two reasons, firstly because of my background and training in the army I know what discomforts are and how to overcome them. Secondly, I am financially ok even if I have to live on simple dal-roti. The rich will never feel the pinch but what about the poor, middleclass, unemployed people who are running from pillar to post for their living? Petrol and diesel prices add to their woes. The farmer who provides us food is dying a slow death due to lack of support. The Defence is facing an external enemy on multiple fronts is also involved in the internal aggression needs full government backing. Our education system is cockeyed with multiple types of education, multiple fees structures and barriers due to the federal system in this country. Our huge orchestra is playing in a concert with many instruments out of sync and out of tune thus producing only noise which is clearly visible in parliament and news debates.

Red tapeism still exists. There are multiple rules and regulations for the same thing. There are laws but getting justice is difficult. Justice gets delayed that it is almost kind of denied. Corruption in government departments is still rampant. A common man has to grease someone somewhere up the ladder in cash or kind or through a third party. Bribes are camouflaged when they change into Diwali or New Year gifts; people stay on the house with family in resorts maintained by companies, provision of chauffeur driven vehicles on holidays, booking of air tickets etc at the corporate level have become the new normal to oblige and get things done.

Basic health care doesn’t find a place in our national priorities. People die, children die, makes no heads roll. The pathetic condition of the stinky, dirty, filthy government hospitals makes you wonder whether you have come here to be treated or come here to fall sick. Conditions of public toilets & toilets in schools are no better. Policing is under pressure too. They don’t know whether to listen to their political bosses or face the consequences of disobedience. Women are unsafe, schools are unsafe, hiring domestic help is unsafe, filing an FIR is a task in itself besides harassment of the common public never ends. Thus faith in system is reducing.

I kind of feel upset about the whole scene in the country. The beggar on the railway platform, the leper on the red light, the small child selling national flags on the footpath would never know that he too is a hero in his own way. Though they shall live and die in anonymity. This person will have a large enough heart to feed two street dogs. Push your car without charging if you are stuck, eat the left overs which you throw away in dustbins and still proudly salute the national flag because he considers himself an equal citizen of India. He too hopes for achhe din. It is another matter how we treat them.

We have now got to shift focus to nation building. A road map needs to be laid out and we the people have to get involved to implement it. I suppose the vision is there but the will to implement it with all sincerity is lacking. Am I the only one feeling this way? 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

 

BLACK SHEEP OF BABA

The BRRSI verdict is going to be out anytime now. Which side the verdict is going to go is quite clear from the bandobast that I see in and around Rohtak. It has been turned into a fortress of kinds. Imagine what difficulties the common man must be facing. More than hundred companies of forces deployed. Army is on standby in case of any eventuality. Dera is being evacuated with streams of followers exiting, most of them ladies that too senior citizens. What were they doing inside intrigues me? What will be their future? Neither BRRSI nor they themselves know.

What was so much of manpower doing inside the camp? They were producing nothing except CO2, H2S and manure. What education was being imparted there, God knows or was he conducting brain-washing sessions? I believe he castrated many men which I heard from testimonies of people who escaped his clutches. Well all this needs to be investigated. I would like to know the status of his real sisters too. Was the motive to have castrated males around his close cordon to save his sisters from the wrath of what he used to do to the other female disciples? Were the sisters aware of his adventures? All this is shrouded in mystery. His bubble has burst and many lives saved.

I am not sure if every follower who is leaving the camp is being properly docketed, their names and addresses etc. How long were they there? What all did they see and do in the dera? I could see that most of them are poor and basically the Punjabi speaking community. I was not aware that there were so many grades in the Punjabi society. Yes, once upon a time mom used to scare us that behave or else Nihang baba will take you away. I happened to visit Beas once as a kid and was quite surprised to see another massive Sikh establishment so close to Amritsar. A breakaway from the main stream I suppose. One was only interested in the tasty subsidised pakoras and langar food in those days. I know of people who turned vegetarians, non smokers and drinkers as they were going to take “Naam”. One never questioned that, as that was beyond my purview of things and still is. For me a Punjabi was a friend and jiggrey yaar, which sect, which guru he followed made no difference to me.

I have been explaining to people the difference between Catholics and Protestants often. In Protestants there are Methodists etc.  For a normal Indian a Christian is a Christian, that’s it. Similarly for me, a Sikh is a Sikh, a Hindu is a Hindu and a Muslim is a Muslim. To be frank Christianity is the most divided religion on earth today. People have modified the ways of worship that is all. Anyone who could convince a few people, lecture about the goodness and wellness of being close to God, show some spirituality, do some kind of miracle started to have a following. From one mouth to the other, one neighbour to the other and the chain continues. I would say that slowly these babas and babies become so influential that they gave targets as done in ponzy schemes. Besides, the insiders were threatened with dire consequences not to open their mouths. A person who has no other job, who is getting food, shelter, clothing and a safe place to stay with all facilities would rather play safe.

I am reminded that once I had gone to Mount Abu for a holiday with my family. Moment I stepped out of the bus a person approached me and handed me a pamphlet about “Bhramakumari’s”. I politely requested him not to pester me. Next day we took the tourism bus and the first place they plonked us was their ashram. Nice, neat and clean, nothing religious, a few ladies and a few gents dressed in whites were moving around. Then we were made to sit and listen to their story. Well, I was not impressed or interested in it at all. It was rather a pain to wait for the thing to get over as we were more interested in site seeing. Moment we came out, again a person approached me and asked me when you are joining the thing; I got cheesed off and told him to buzz off. I moved on and enjoyed the rest of the day culminating at the sunset point. I am not sure what those ladies follow or preach but I do not appreciate being indoctrinated into anything forcefully.

Well what I gather from the social media is that when one is oppressed that is the time when one is most susceptible and vulnerable to be carried away. Moment one finds solace, one tends to drift away under the wings of such frauds who promise peace of mind. Moment one starts believing in it you are done. The baba who gave you comfort latches on to your mind and exploits you, once you give in you are gone and there is no turning back. Thereafter, one cannot stand anything derogatory against the guru. Had this issue been nipped in the bud in 2007, things would not have taken such a drastic turn.

My only wish is that this man should be charged with treason. Every inch of his land and property anywhere in India should be sold off and all the losses made up. Let there be a law that any cult, any baba, any baby, any maa who thinks that politicians can be put in their pocket would be put in the clink. I also want to inform all politicians, dare you become black sheep of any of these God men and women for your political gains and donate even one paai of my had earned money from public fund to them, then you too should be booked for treason and impropriety. Will it make any difference to these baba’s and their black sheep, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén