Defence Minister – Noel Ellis's Official Blog

Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: Defence Minister (Page 1 of 3)

ELECTION TIME IN PAKISTAN

 

 

ELECTION TIME IN PAKISTAN

 

Pakistan has been the focal point for India in all its activities related to military and international diplomacy since independence. If we could have had some understanding to live in peace, our countries instead of wars would have made lots of progress. Major chunk of our resources & funds are diverted towards Pak sponsored insurgency in J&K. The additional security forces which have to be deployed to keep that area sanitised are at what cost. Money which is pumped to keep that state running is not hidden either. Unnecessary body bag count of soldiers is increasing and the futility of Kashmiri graveyards getting filled needs to be understood.

Had there been political stability in J&K we would have definitely seen jannat by now. Had New Delhi tackled the Paki game plan befittingly, things would have been different? Actually, had we been serious about sorting this issue, we would have saved our exchequer of millions. There is still time and a ray of hope. Let us bring stability on our side of the border half the things will fall into place. Military is always there to assist the nation and J&K in particular.

One thing that comes to my mind is the “political instability” in Pakistan. It is so prominent today yet still they are able to derail and destabilise the Indian idea of Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif has now fielded his daughter Mariam to contest the forth coming elections. Will she deliver, my fingers are crossed. Bilawal is just a scapegoat. Imran Khan is growing old by the day and his chances are 50-50 this time. Gen Musharraf has withdrawn from the political scene as he knows that it is better to stay away before he is executed for treason. It is curtains down for him.

I was just thinking of another political “budding star” called Hafiz Saeed’s (HS); instead of gunning for his life, let us support him to become the PM of Pakistan. Pakistan as a country is imploding under all kinds of pressures; he will help speed up the process. Gareebi and gurbat are the buzz words for that nation. Let this man come and hasten their disintegration. We know his mindset towards India so we need to be prepared. Let their military takeover, we know how to deal with enemies then.

If HS can be the messiah for Pak, I think we should let him be. Before he will sort out India, China will sort Pak. I was listening to various panel discussion on You Tube about the CPEC and the way the Chinese are changing their demography at a very fast pace. Pakis are providing security to the Chinese to construct this project on their land. Pak has taken a loan from them & are not capable to pay even a portion of the interest back. Chinese are thrusting outdated technology and old power plants along this road. China ensures that only they shall supply coal for power. Let Hafiz Saeed sort the Chinese and the Baluchi’s out, if he can. What will his military eat to save the country from the debt trap then? “Grass”, which Bhutto promised, they will eat to keep India bleeding?

As far as HS support to various jehadi’s is concerned, yes that would be our worry. Our security deployment and policy should flow from that. We also need to sort out our noise makers like Hurriat. Let us offer their services to Hafiz Saeed, that here we present to you people who are hell bent on disintegrating our Kashmir. Take them in your fold and give them Azadi, while we stabilize Kashmir alongside. If love is what Kashmiri’s want, let us give it to them. If affection will help ease their pain let’s give it to them. If they need to work to earn a living and prosper, let us provide them opportunities all over India. For that they have to keep an open mind and move out of the valley.

Let us give Kashmiri people the opportunity to use their natural wealth & encourage tourism. Sustenance on subsidy and sarkari naukri’s is no solution. Youth of Kashmir have to go out to work and not survive on stone pelting money. Set your agenda for peace dear people and implement it. Once peace is restored, rest won’t be an issue. Sitting at home and thinking anti India wont resolve anything. Give peace a chance. No harm giving it a try, prosperity will automatically come.

Let me assure our Kashmiri friends, if you still don’t see the Paki bluff then things will keep worsening. The world knows that in Pak there is only corruption, adulteration, mismanagement, mis-governance, loot and instability besides they blatantly lie too. They themselves are not clear about the vision of their country. Can HS and gang absorb you people to their folds and give you what you dream of? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

PAKISTAN MUKT BHARAT

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

INNOCENT TERMITES

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY HOME IS OPEN FOR YOU

 

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“HANS KE BOLA KARO BULAYA KARO

AAP KA GHAR HAI AYA JAYA KARO”

                                                                                            -Gazal sung by Jagjit Singh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CANTTS ARE FREE FOR ALL

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FIRE TO CEASEFIRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PM ON FAST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE ANGER WITHIN

The day guns fall silent on the LoC would be the beginning of progress in both our Kashmir and Pakistan. The day the thought that jihad for Kashmir has to end, peace will prevail. The day the separatists of India decide to change their mind to stay with us, harmony will return to Kashmir. The day Government of J&K allows and opens up to the idea of doing free business, setting up factories and industries, Kashmiri people will get employment and flourish. Prosperity is the key to elimination of all dissatisfaction and alienation I feel.

I was watching one video of Hafiz Saeed where he was telling Donald Trump to go climb the nearest tree. Then he talked about life after death and jannat which he and his associates will get if they sacrifice their lives for Kashmir. Well, lesser said the better about such people. Till the time such like people walk the earth, the dream of peace, progress and prosperity can be laid to rest.

Well, just blaming him and his ilk will not get us to any solution. Awakening of Kashmiri people is the solution. The day they understand that destruction will lead to more destruction, things might fall into place. India’s war preparedness has made no difference in Pakistan’s attitude. Three wars and unlimited skirmishes on a daily basis including holding on to a piece of glacier where men die more due to inclement weather is no justification for peace. All of us who serve there know that many will not come back but still we go. We also know that many of us will not be recovered for years and our families will wait in hope that someday we will return from our graves frozen in eternity.

The centre has been helping J&K monetarily & militarily since decades. The reciprocation of this gesture is never seen by the rest of India. Roads, rail and other infrastructure should now be looked after by the people of the state but security forces have to be deployed to escort their own convoys. Bridges of love and tunnels of affection are nowhere to be seen.

The only thing I observe is apprehension, as to what next. This is the feeling in both, the Kashmiri’s and security forces. Every person in the forces is counting the number of days of his tenure. He doesn’t have a choice to refuse unlike many other organisations. He does his job to the best of his ability and wants to get back home at the earliest. Who would like to stay with unfriendly people? Similarly, it is for the Kashmiri’s. In case they find the forces too harsh they construe a plan directly or indirectly to cause harm. Overall this is a cat and mouse game going on. Fact remains neither the security forces are happy nor are the Kashmiri people.

If I am observed from the first ray of dawn to last at dusk, at odd hours I am mustered and questioned. If my privacy and freedom is curtailed, if my movement is restricted, naturally I will have that revolting feeling. To top it all, if someone from the village gets killed by the forces. He may be a militant or otherwise, emotions flare up. Result is stone pelting. Now, the security teams deployed come under constant surveillance. Each and every movement and routine is observed and passed on. Result may lead to an ambush or an attack on the camp.

Today’s Kashmiri generation was born under the barrel of the gun. They don’t know what free life is. They are used to restrictions of all kinds. They are afraid, scared and terrified from within. However friendly the forces may appear but the anxiousness due to the uniform and gun does not let them be their normal selves. They hear stories from their elders who naturally glorify their own kith and kin. They also hear stories of atrocities of the forces which may be exaggerated, hearsays and even lies. The child is confused and he doubts his own existence. What should be done to minimise his pain and hurt to his psyche? That is where the solution lies.

Pakistan keeps adding fuel to the fire. Open borders and inhospitable terrain facilitate movement of people. The trust deficit between the state and the centre remains. Just by giving money solutions can never be found. Just by policing and counter insurgency grids bitterness will never go. Stoning the security forces will not help their cause either. This only aggravates the anger in the security forces. Pelting is done for the same purpose to incite and solicit a hard reaction. It’s a psychological game to be understood in its totality.

I too get carried away when a security person gets martyred. The rage inside me tells me to act against all those who were involved. Like my annoyance shoots up so must be the case in Kashmiri people too. How many lives need to be lost to end this anger within? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY RELIGION IS SAFFRON WHITE & GREEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CONDOLENCES ARE NOT ENOUGH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FAUJI DRIVERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MATTER OF AN INCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

10 MILLION DOLLAR MAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE GREAT INDIAN TAMASHA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PRIME MINISTER OF GUJARAT HAS WON

I have a basic doubt, what is the difference between elections and democracy? I fully understand that the elections are a means to elect candidates to run the democratic process. However, I have now got confused, why we are mixing up the two. The electoral process has its own importance and democracy is a way of governance adopted by the people of India. Then why have state elections become more important today that the PM and his cabinet congregate in Gujarat lock, stock and barrel for days on end leaving their primary jobs.

Parliament, our temple of democracy, was abandoned in a way. If I put it across crudely, to hell with parliament! We shall get hold of its agenda in the coming sessions. What goes of India if sessions have to be cut short, postponed or even cancelled? Parliamentary proceedings will be stalled by someone as usual, so what is the use of wasting time sitting on those green or red cushions and walk on the same colour carpets depending on the house you are a member of. India is resilient, Indians can wait, India per say is not a priority during any state elections. Is this the whole idea of democracy or is this a kind of making a mockery of it?

The pradhan sewak, becomes the pradan bhashanwala. The same old rhetoric, the same old jumlas, the same old brain washing technique is applied to influence the public. Results show the effect. I still don’t know who are the actual contestants is Gujarat. The only one I saw was the PM. He is fluent with the local language, terrain, intricacies, feelings, sensitivities of the public no doubt. Does that mean he should neglect his basic responsibility and only pay heed to states undergoing polls so that by hook or crook his party wins? I am in total disagreement on this.

My argument can be shot down saying all official papers and documents were signed during election time. However, the impression I get as a common man is that every minister is on temporary duty to Gujarat, on the government’s expense. The dak from Delhi must be transiting through air, land or sea along with connected personnel. Tickets of Rajdhani’s and last minute air tickets must be costing the exchequer some amount. All the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) quota seats of the railways must be blocked for travel conveniences’ of such staff. Imagine when the heads of important ministries like Defence, Finance, Law, Textile and many others have pitched their tents in Gujarat?

Be that as it may, it hardly matters to mantri ji as things in India can wait till cows come home. India won’t run away anywhere. Even when Pakistan slaps us daily, elections are priority one and democracy will decide how to act against Pakistan in due course of time. Today, BJP netas would be in their party offices in party mood, enjoying one more holiday. Crackers will be burst. Supreme Court will not object to the pollution they shall create today, that’s another irony.

I consider it the failure of the states politicians to allow the central govt getting involved in their elections. Definitely they can go and cast their vote if they belong to a state but it should be on proper leave of absence and on their own money. No one has the right to fritter away the tax payer’s hard earned money. So what he is the PM of India? If he is doing it for the nation, I have no objections to it. If he is doing it for his party then he might as well use party funds only. I consider it a narrow minded vision of interfering in state politics from where he rose to such an esteemed office. For me the nation comes first always and every time; state will automatically be looked after if national interest is supreme.

In the army, if I belong to a battalion then that affiliation will stay for life. After I command my unit (like you became the CM of your state) I get promoted to higher ranks and responsibilities, I cannot get involved in the units day to day functioning. I can go and motivate the unit alright but I have no right to meddle into their day to day functioning. PM saab you now are a “General” of India, please remain at that pedestal. Let the people of the state decide whom they want to be governed by and not by whom you as PM recommend. Mota bhai, tamne samjan padi? (Have you understood elder brother?)

Can we have a new legislation through a “democratic process” of non involvement of PM and his cabinet in state elections? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

WAY AHEAD FOR OROP PROTEST

I have these mixed feelings when I see Gen Satbir crying hoarse on TV. Sir, I too being on your side of Suez can feel the pain. I am thankful to each and every veteran and veer nari who has given even one minute for the agitation for our OROP. My hats off to you all for sustaining these 860 plus days which has seen many seasons change. The only thing which didn’t change was the dauntless attitude of all you people who sat in unison for our brethren. Sir, I salute each one of you for your spirit and courage shown for this cause.

I can only with folded hands plead to you sir, please do not highlight this in the media. They just want a story for breaking news and pass time on debates pitting soldiers against soldiers. Media and the politicians will have the last laugh watching and debating our plight.

The Armed Forces are a different breed in many ways. It has been amply proved the way veterans conducted themselves exemplarily by not going violent and abiding by the rules. Then why did we not vacate that place in the first go itself. Sir, I feel, we let ourselves become objects of ridicule by waiting there too long to be shooed away.  We are supposed to be Gentlemen first and Officers later. Somewhere we got mixed up.

There are no free lunches after we retire, isn’t it sir. So if the Ramlila grounds were asking for whatever amount per day, it was their right. Why were we showing our Ex-serviceman card to them? Are we looking for concessions or are we expecting a waiver of fees being an extra special category of people? That’s not going to happen. I can understand that what was passed in parliament and what we have got may be at variance but isn’t that we need to be thankful for. Whatever is left we can always put across in a manner befitting our community.

In good old days, when did we have everything that one needed Sir? Manpower was always short; equipment was off road or deficient; Ration, lesser said the better; state of accommodation was pathetic. We kept cursing the higher head quarters for lack of funds. Everything fell into the category of “manage”. Every year we were told to cut down budgets; consumption of fuel was curtailed; ‘A’ vehicle mileage kept reducing; administrative requirements kept increasing. A time came when Havildars were doing standing duties. Didn’t we live then? An officer below major’s rank was not even authorised a cooler. Officer Messes used to be flooded with officers; today they are rarities to be found. We in those days never lost our balance and sense of humour. We did crib like hell but made jungle main mangal.

Well, slowly and steadily our equipment was made up. So I am sure the same would be for the OROP. Why do we have to be so adamant and stuck? I concede that had you not started this agitation, we wouldn’t have got what we got. This doesn’t mean that unless we get what we think is correct, we keep protesting and fast unto death. I saw officers and widows being put to discomfort. I felt sad.

We are not politicians and not aware of the political game plans. They have the patience to wait and we don’t. They can make us cry and won’t budge. Tomorrow, if the parliament decides that pensions will be halved, would we protest then? Day after tomorrow the parliament passes a bill that there would be no income tax on pensions, will we still protest. One fine day the government decides that everyone will serve only five years, no pension and no other benefits, what will we do then?

Be that as it may, Sir, time is ripe for mid course correction. You don’t have to reveal your cards now. Let us do a tactical withdrawal, sit together and prepare a new plan to assault the perceived “enemy”. Shoot to kill is not working then let change tactics but let us not make ourselves the centre of scorn to be mocked and used for target practice by media and politicians. If we want to fight politics with politics like a tank versus tank battle, then let’s leave Jantar-Mantar and organise ourselves politically. If AAP could do it, we are definitely capable of being sabka BAAP.

I wish half of these days were utilised to reinforce, restructure, reorient, reconcile, recoup, reconstruct, re-crystallise our thoughts, resynchronise our effort, re-synergise our focus, rejuvenate, reconfirm our faith in our effort, revitalise, recapitulate, re-examine our lacuna, revitalise our energies,  reinforce our demands, resettle our nerves, resurrect our image, reformulate our plans, re constitute our ORBAT, rededicate ourselves to revolutionise our efforts and then renegotiate with the Government from a position of strength so that they cannot refuse but to condescend to our demands. Does it make sense to any one? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SANTA TO GIFT OROP TO VETERANS THIS CHRISTMAS

Yesterday was the blackest day in my life when because of the Green Tribunal many of us who adorned the Olive Greens, Whites and Blues for the best part of our lives were evicted, manhandled and transported in the shabbiest manner from Jantar-Mantar. They did not spare even the ladies who lost their husbands in service of the nation. Well, in garb of the Supreme Court orders, where only “your honour” work, the police did the most dishonourable thing. They had no choice but to obey orders, so be it.

Law is equal for everyone, isn’t it?  So, in the same breadth had OROP been given the way it was envisaged and passed in the parliament, as it is given to other Government services, there was no reason for the veterans’ to sit for more than 860 days and demand parity, as if we are beggars.

Be that as it may, there are two ways of doing things; one is the gentlemanly way which has been exhibited by the veterans’ community till date. The other way can now be something how the Jat agitation or the Gujjar agitation was done. We have always given our services in “Aid to Civil Authorities” whenever the need was felt by the nation and when the civil administration had completely failed. Do we need to prove that you guys have been failures time and again as far as running administration is concerned during time of crises? I am sure the community which already has OROP needs to justify why they deserve it and why ex-servicemen have been deprived of the same for so long.

This nation is constantly facing external and internal enemies. We understand what the government must be going through to sort out issues internationally and regionally. That is why we are agitating peacefully. We have borne the brunt of external aggressions and internal disorders by laying down our lives in service of the nation with no questions asked. Here you treat us so dismally. Though we do not adorn the uniform anymore, we are capable to fight for our rights in a different manner. Will it be acceptable? The government is pushing us to the wall and time now is ripening for retaliation. Hope the time never comes! If the Government can speak to terrorist organisations, what wrong have the veterans done?

We have till now been fighting for the Izzat & dignity which is due to us. Now why should we hesitate to fight for our well deserved money also? We should get our dues or be capable to extract the same any which way. If the government gives it upfront, we have no issues, if it doesn’t then be warned that we have the acumen to do things differently. Say, if we disrupt Delhi for the same number of days as this agitation, there will be utter chaos in one day only. If need be let there be bloodshed on Vijay Chowk. Let the President who passes by it every Republic Day and there after enjoys beating the retreat ceremony at the same place should feel jolted to sit on the blood of veterans who always bore true allegiance to the Tri-colour. Let him also realise that it is time for him to intervene, as we the veterans have no choice left but to look up to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces for his personal indulgence now.

Spending time on holidays with jawans is appreciable Mr PM. Madam RM, I had requested you to at least go and meet these veterans once. Had you done it, this stage would have never come. I wish it happens that instead Generals you put civilians as the commanders. Can the Chief downwards till Brigade Commanders be civilians? Chose your best Mr PM, let us see then how the integrity of the country is maintained. I know my argument is preposterous but I am convinced that we will be given OROP within two days. Let us see equal sacrifices from all those who are bent upon to block our right.

In the true spirit of the uniformed community, I think the Prime Minster should be contacted to give veterans an audience and explain to us the reasons for delay in implementation and why the deviation from what was promised in parliament. Let the RM be in attendance which I think can be arranged.

Christmas is coming, so one national holiday should be spent with the veterans. Hope PM becomes Santa Clause for us. The Presidents’ bodyguards could be requested to loan a buggy and some horses instead of the sleigh and the reindeers. Let him come dashing through the Delhi fog, on a one horse open sleigh and wish us Merry Christmas and grant us the correct and well deserved OROP. Will he? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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

© Noel Ellis

 

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

© Noel Ellis

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!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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