Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: BSF

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

DEATH OF KASHMIR

Time now has come to let go of Kashmir or whatever is left of it. I say this with a heavy heart because my blood boils at every drop which falls. I also express my heartfelt condolences to all those associated to Lt Fayaz. I too get associated with him being an Ex-NDA. Above all he too adorned the Olive Greens of which I am as proud still even after having hung my uniform ten years back.

I go back to my piping ceremony after I had taken oath to serve the mother land by land, sea or air, where my Mom and Dad’s joy knew no bounds that their son is now part of a different clan. The glisten in their eyes, the tears which rolled down my mother’s cheeks, the hug which my Dad and brother gave as if to say, now we have given you to India, fare well, and keep the honour of our family and this country supreme always and every time. We brought you thus far and now pave your own way forward. The burden of that one pip on my shoulder was really heavy but a dream come true. I am sure all of us who have stepped across “ANTIM PAG” (final step)would relate to what I say. Imagine all dreams of the parents of Fayaz got shattered, all dreams of this young man crushed, never to be fulfilled again. 2nd RAJ RIF lost a future leader who was about to start his journey. Sad indeed!

I can imagine what tough life this young officer would have had. I can imagine what his parents and family would have gone through to make him an officer. I can also conjecture that this would have been their greatest fear that how the anti India elements will treat their son when they come to know that he has joined the Indian Army. How his parents must be shivering at the thought of any harm coming to him. The harm came and today he sleeps in peace. Fayaz was about to embark on journey but was shot in cold blood by these barbarians. The murderers achieved their aim. However, now the Army has to achieve aim plus. Firstly, they must find his killers and eliminate them at the earliest. Secondly, to look after the bereaved family the way the forces look after any martyrs family. Thirdly, motivate at least 100 more people of his village and surrounding areas to become officers of the forces so as to give a shut up call to these HIZB dastards. Fourthly, give all armed forces personnel proceeding on leave adequate protection from the evil hands of terrorists. It may have an additional burden on the battalion deployed nearby; well it now should be part of the SOP. Fifthly, to get the intelligence network going to find out all overt and covert supporters of these monkeys and eliminate them as also instill fear of God in them so that they dare not try anything like this again. Lastly, get hold of the parents these cowards & their supporters and keep them under pressure to surrender.

I saw and experienced firsthand the people of Kashmir just after elections of 1996. I think the mentality has not changed much since. Hatred for the armed forces did exist then but they feared the army gun. The hatred continues today also, however fear of the gun has gone as CAPFs and police have weapons but cannot and do not fire. Kashmiri’s fear militants as they not only fire but take their women to bed at will by pointing their weapons. Kashmiri’s now pelt stones as weapons and shield terrorists besides hampering military operations. Do we draw a lesson from this? Covert recruitment and brainwashing of young minds was being done then & it still continues. Common Kashmiri feared death by the security forces of their kin who had joined militancy or had gone across for training. Today, recruitment is done openly thanks to the political mis-governance over the decades. Size of population has increased so rapidly that the parents find it as an alternative to employment as they get food for the family. It has been proved that they get paid for both stone pelting and being a militant or a militant supporter. Only thing that has not changed is the ineffective politicians of Kashmir who have only done Haqumat on Riasat-e-Kashmir. They just want funds in whichever way and yet never had a concrete solution for Kashmir.

If you take a Kashmiri in private, he will talk to you like a parrot and if you talk to him in public he would act dumb as a dumbo. He may not even recognise you. You call a Kashmiri to your post he will get half the village along in tow. Out of which half would be chest beating women as if the heavens have fallen on earth. You go to a village, kids will line up as you are the toffee uncle. They will peep trough every balcony, follow your patrol like a shadow, and take you to the maulvi’s house or the village headman’s house. Moment you halt and speak to one, they all will just evaporate.

I remember very vividly that a suspect was picked up by my battalion and was taken for interrogation. My company being the closest was sent to cordon and search, especially his specific house. On reaching the house, it happened to be one of my informers house. This person was really innovative to earn money and toiled like hell. He worked on the local hydel project 15 kms from his village. He ran a tea shop on the hydel road. He ran a vegetable shop in his village. The vegetables used to come from Srinagar by the local bus and dropped at his tea shop in Kangan as it became an unofficial bus stop. From there he used to lug it on his back. Even my post used to get home delivered boxes of tomatoes. People around had turned purple with jealousy from this guy and his family. His son in law and daughter used to run a tailor shop in the village. Wife ran poultry and a dairy. He used to take leave and go into the walnut jungles to get “Guchhi” a kind of very costly rare variety of mushroom. To fix this man people connived and got his son in law arrested for possessing a weapon. They almost shattered that hard working family on behest of an influential Gujjar politician in that area.

I drifted into nostalgia once again. The militants and their ilk cannot stand people who are well settled and have jobs. Fayaz I have no words to express my grief brother and I feel sorry for the politicians of Kashmir as none of them have uttered a word for you. People perhaps could not attend your funeral as they would be taken as supporting the Army, never mind. The Hurriyat has gone underground as they don’t care for Kashmir anymore. At this rate death of Kashmir is eminent so India it is high time we part ways with them. Jamhuriat never came into being, Kashmiriat is non-existent, Insaniyat is too big a word for the Kashmiri people to understand, so let them take azadi and go to hell for all I care. They are not worth it. Every drop of blood fallen on Kashmiri soil of any Indian will pinch and hurt me and we can no longer bear loss of our colleagues falling to militant bullets. PM Sahib let them go. Let them become “gulam’s” (slaves) once more. Within one year they will ask for azadi from the other side too. We should let Kashmir die or should we continue to live with the rot, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MEDIA SHALL NOT DICTATE WHAT MY ARMY CHIEF SHALL SAY

 

Had there been any national priority for Kashmir the Army Chief would not have said what he said. Had Kashmir issue been resolved 50 years ago he wouldn’t have been saluting coffins of his fallen comrades. Had the political leaders irrespective of any party had the will to resolve it, its resolution could have been done before this god damn militancy crept in. Had the politicians of J&K and India been serious about the matter, Kashmiri Hindus would have lived on happily in their homeland? Had Kashmir been on any agenda, Security forces would have remained in the role of guarding the borders and left the law and order situation to the J&K Police and other state organisations. Had this state been a national priority, there would have been no interlocutors required in the first place as no conflict would have been there. Had Pakistan been seen as a national security threat and enemy number one ab-initio, it would have been sorted out once for all after the 71 war? Had the politicians acted in time, Kashmiri youth would have never crossed over to the other side? Had INDIA been in focus, this separate flag for J&K, darbar moving up and down, separate constitution, article 370 would have been under the Indian national flag and Indian constitution.

Had politicians been serious ever, Kashmir would have remained a paradise. Still there is time, nothing wrong in sorting out the Hurriat, militants, abettors of crime, stone pelters etc. Had there been employment on the agenda, people would not have been on the streets. Had there been education on the schedule, people would think before they act and react as they do today. None of the politicians have done anything to control such mobs. They just condemn it, condone it and sit in their walnut wood houses and watch the tamasha, and wait for a Devine force to sort their state out. If the politicians can’t the army and other forces can, if need be will do it also. We are the means and not the end, if political solution is the solution, then let us get their asses moving and be done with it. Too much blood has been wasted, too many lives lost with no result in site.

These Kashmir’s are so innocent that they don’t carry guns, but carry missiles in forms of stones to target the forces. I agree they don’t want security forces amongst the villages of Kashmir, but why do they hide militants with guns amongst them? Why do they send them across for training? Why do they guide them into our country? Why do they pick up guns in the first place? What motivates them to be in contact with their Paki handlers? Why do they accept funding from Pak? Why the thought of peace eludes them? They have been told that Kashmir is integral part of India, matter ends, if you are going to keep protesting and being violent, you will be dealt with accordingly. Too much of spoon feeding, subsidies, grants and aids have been frittered away for these people only to add to the score of body bags of the armed forces. If you don’t want to obey the law of the land then be prepared to be disciplined as the land decides within it means to make you obey the law.

So what if you are further alienated? So what if you are beaten up, if you don’t behave? So what if every man who conspires with a militant is put in the clink. The path to set you people right has been correctly given in the tone of the Army Chief. It is mutual give and take, you behave, and we behave too. You try and do funny stunts with the forces. We have stunts that shall scare the daylights out of you. Don’t force the armed forces beyond a point. Like you feel you have had enough, so have we. You talk, we talk, but forces don’t politicise. We are fighting a proxy war, an asymmetric war, an insurgency of kinds, militancy so to speak, we are dealing with terrorists with weapons, which you abet, nurture, support, feed, sleep with and fund. What mercy or leniency you want then from the Army? You stop it; we have no issues at all.

I saw in a news paper which had thrown a few questions. Why are the youth so enraged? They are enraged because they don’t know about and don’t want peace. They are enraged because they don’t see and understand that there is life beyond stone pelting. They are enraged because the politicians, separatists, and militants are inciting them; they are enraged because they don’t have either jobs or self employment. They are enraged when subsidy in any form is curtailed. They get enraged because they are uneducated. They are enraged because they were not handled properly when the time was correct. They are enraged because their politicians have failed them completely.

Why are they unafraid of dying? They have nothing better to do but to end their life, that’s why. Every family has so many children from so many wives that looking after them is so difficult that it is better to send a few to die. If one is without a job, without education, cannot earn a living, it is better to die and be of some good to the family as the state government will come rushing with all sorts of aid. Because they have been brain washed to meet the 72 virgins in heaven, where as they miss out on even one on earth. Who will give his daughter to a militant, or an unemployed man? So it is better to die a virgin yourself. At least you will be saved from all mundane issues. That’s why.

Why are the women unafraid? Women are unafraid because too many human rights groups are making a living by supporting them. It is well known that security forces invariably avoid women, so when men get beaten they enter in the fray as shields. Women also get a chance to show solidarity with their brethren for the so called cause. Women take undue advantage of the situations also. I have faced it, while on a patrol my operator asked a lady for the village headman’s house and she started beating her chest and cried rape-rape. When asked, what is rape? She said talking to army men is rape; we had a hearty laugh and moved on.

Why is the Valley back in a phase where local Kashmiri militants outnumber the foreign terrorists? This question should be asked to the politicians and not to the security forces.

Why is an entire population alienated? This is because they don’t want peace. They want to live alienated without understanding the consequences of “Azadi”. Pakistan is on the verge of a catastrophe, it can’t look after its own self; Kashmir’s are unwilling to understand this. The politicians add fuel to the fire by doing sweet nothing and eat away the funds meant to help these people. They are alienated because article 370 says they are Kashmir’s and not Indians. They don’t recognise Government of India because they have been given a lose rope too long. Let there be businesses like all other states, why this special status. Let all politicians who support militancy or Hurriat be shunted out, population alienation will stop automatically.

Well, General Rawat, good that you spoke your mind and we are with you. I would request you to keep giving your mind from time to time. To hell with our media and their ilk, their war rooms are in air conditioned studios with one odd reporter 100kms from the incident site. They just keep looking out for creating controversies. They are paid which is proven beyond doubt, English, Hindi, vernacular makes no difference. They are parasites and create sensationalism only. So Sir bash on regardless. Let us reduce our body count to the minimum. Let us sort out these unruly guys nice and proper so that they never take PANGAs with us. Militants need to be eliminated, and Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson not to dare venture towards our side of the LOC. In fact let us rewrite the maps sir and have the old International Border (IB) restored in your tenure. Once done all other the issues will be sorted out once for all. Are my countrymen ready to support our Army Chief? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

DAAL TADKA MAAR KE

 

I was born in B Company, 5 Platoon on commissioning into my battalion. We were in Jaisalmer of all the God forsaken places where a goods train of water used to come from Jodhpur many-many moons back or else one had to do dry cleaning. Anyways, by the time Bhindi used to reach us, it would be bhindi dry, Palak used to become palak fry, cucumbers were already crushed to a salad, lauki used to be lauki juice, dal used to be all stones, and any curry made used to be full of the golden sands of Jaisalmer. The day the train used to get late the whole supply chain used to go for a six. Luckily they found the mystical river called Saraswati, which had its underground connection till Sangam at Allahabad flowing deep below Sanu about 20 kms from Jaisalmer that we started getting the purest form of drinking water. Well, all this I am telling you to make you understand that times were harsh, communications were bad, train services were few, bus services were negligible, roads and rail tracks were invariably covered with sand, thus commuting was a big issue. Hence getting any sort of supply, dry or fresh was dependent on the “Majboori Express” the only train running between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. Let me narrate a few stories of those times and then we shall talk about the video gone viral about the BSF jawan. By the way there used to be just one battalion of BSF stationed there in 1985.

My CO was very particular about the food, we the Second Lieutenants’ were the official tasters for the langar. Invariably one was the duty officer, or was detailed to check guards for a snafu done. May be sometimes when one forgot that the tooth pick stand of white metal in the mess which looked like a wild boar ridden with bullets was presented by Col Thorat or Thimmaya, I still can’t remember, though our senior subalterns tried their best by giving us additional guard checks. We used to love checking khana, as the officers mess khana was made by a Cook “Nair”, and it was more inclined towards the Gods own country taste. I preferred the desi langar khana, and mostly it used to be Dal Soup. A glass filled with dal, and about an inch of tadka with caramelised onions floating on them. It used to smell marvellous and used to be tasty like hell. My fauji friends will be able to relate to it I am sure. For a youngster like me, food of any kind and at any time was most welcome. This much was sure, we all took great interest in everything our men needed and food was always one of the highest priorities as far as welfare was concerned.

There was this old Punjab Regiment sardar chap called Parsan Singh, a Naik at that time and a driver by trade. His personal stove, a pure brass piece, was always impeccably clean and glittered like gold. I one day asked him why does he keep a stove in the first place and then the way he used to rub and shine it with sand, it would become invisible in a few months time. This man was a “pahalwan” basically, and his diet was way beyond your and my imagination. He used to make a special tadka, that too in pure desi ghee from his pind on this stove over and above the tadka which the langar used to put in the dal. Well, his barrack was next to the langar and we always found time to socialise with him while his stove was brewing this tadka. With a jerky Ram Ram he used to offer a little bit out of his degchi of dal. Let me assure you folks, I haven’t had anything like that ever in my life. The dal used to taste like manna. His mukki mar ke payaz along with it used to be ultimate.

This man had another issue and that was drinking tea. Mind you, you may be on a recce in a One tonne, three ton or a BMP, the moment the vehicle stopped anywhere in the wilderness, out used to pop a hand from behind the drivers cabin, in that typical kaanch ka glass and he used to say in chaste punjabi, “Saab Ghutk Cha pee lo” (Sir kindly have a sip of tea). The terrain did not matter, the bumps were passé, the jolts didn’t bother his concentration, Parsan, his stove in a bucket, and holding on to a degchi with soottar (cotton waste), the pot was kept on the boil, and saab always got the hottest of tea in the coldest of winter. Parsan Singh I can never forget you.

I also had one deputation with the PINJAs (means brother in Tibetan). One day while on a long range patrol of about 21 days, I was fed up of eating that damn tinned tuna for breakfast lunch and dinner. One fine day, as it had snowed heavily the previous night our departure got delayed. I entered the langar arctic tent and there I found something cooking. I told them why don’t you give this stuff to me to eat? They said Indian Army walas don’t eat this. I said I can eat anything which moves but not tuna. They reluctantly offered me that concoction. It was the tastiest Khichri I had ever eaten, made of Sattu, bichoo-booti and yak meat. This was at a pass called Ya Ye La, 15000 feet above sea level, about 45 kms ahead of Chushul towards Chumatang. Friends it was the most delicious, freshest, tastiest, appetising, yummy, lip smacking meal I have ever had in my life. From that day onwards I too became a pure pinja as I ate yak like them.

Well let me tell you about another deputation of mine where as a company commander I was authorised a cook. We had been pushed out from down town Srinagar into the anti infiltration role, and I was close to a lake called Ganga bal. Well, my troops were Nagas, Gorkhas, Assamies basically the hilly tribes. I being a pure Non vegetarian had a ball with them. On returning from a ROP, we used to get pigeons, all courtesy their catapults. Well, if luck favoured us while going through a village, one odd hen or a rooster was bound to be eliminated if not a militant. The best part was when these bakkarwals and gujjars came up. The leopards and tigers used to injure their animals. They had no choice but to abandon the lame animals. Invariably they used to hand them over to us, and I and my company used to have liver fry quite often. Moment there used to be a commotion in the gujjar camp, my cook used to be the first person to start sharpening his knives. I told him one day, it is a militant attack, he said no worries sir, we shall bar-be-que him too. Hari Prasad god bless you, you made the best of khana for me, even my wife will certify that.

Let me narrate you another anecdote. I was sitting outside my log hut, basically a cattle shed and watching a “barasingha” and its little one crossing the river. I was basking and causally asked hari do we have bread? He said yes, so I said make bread pakoras for me. Abhi lo he said, and within minutes I had a hot cuppa tea and a few bread pakoras for breakfast. The taste seemed odd but I hadn’t tasted bread in ages so enjoyed it and went off on my routine. By the evening it was hell for me. My combat pants were going up and down like the breach block on rapid fire. My loose motions had reached that proportion. I was in pain; the nursing assistant gave me all sorts of medicines. Next morning it was time for the drip to be put. I asked hari was the bread old, to which he meekly replied nahi sir, it came when we were moving to this post. I asked how long back we established this post, and the typical gorkha answer “hujoor ek mahino ko lagi”. I said bloody hell, and told him to show the bread to me. Friends it was green with fungus, but it was officer’s rations and how could he discard them. Sincerity, thy name was Hari. Well, I became Ok moment I smelt liver being fried in the langar.

Well, I rather not comment on the BSF video. Yes, there is something definitely amiss there. Is it the morale? Is it the man management? Is it the welfare? I leave it to them to answer, but I can assure you, we never went hungry, even when we had to live off the land. God bless our Army, they take good care of the men. Will BSF start introspecting and learning from this very important issue raised by this havildar? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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