Noel Ellis's Official Blog

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

Category: VETERAN AND WAR WIDOWS (Page 1 of 2)

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

COMMITTEE OF VULTURES

I watch discovery channel often and have seen vultures patiently waiting perched high on trees or hovering high above in the skies looking out for the slightest hint for their daily kill. The word patience is their biggest weapon. They do have talons and sharp beaks but their greatest ability is to wait and wait for their prey. Another plus point is their eye sight and smell. Soaring high up, they can pick out tiny movements on the ground. Their communications are fantastic as they can relay the presence of food so quickly that other vultures in the area gather for a feast. Finally, no one in a venue (group of vultures as they are called) goes hungry.

Another thing if you notice is that they can snatch food even from a pack of lions. They know how to divert their attention and pick up whatever they can as the lion pack splinters and runs to chase them. One team is agitating the lions to attack, while the other patiently waits for the lion’s patience to run out. Once the lions separate, it is a feast for these feathery creatures. They will hop, dance, fly, skip around and spread their wings to show dominance but patiently with no signs of hurry. Moment lions lose patience, the vulture wins. Lions in their greed try to shoo them away, they cunningly steal their meal. That’s the game they are good at. Politicians and babu’s are just doing that to us.

We the ex servicemen are like a pack of lions. Everyone wants to be the Alpha male. The one who started the pack, tried to keep all together but unfortunately when patience ran out he went looking for greener pastures. His efforts went in vain. The so called vultures kept encircling, they kept waiting for you to splinter and splinter we did. The recent developments at a veteran’s rally showed these signs. This implies that we shall fall prey to the vultures.

Haven’t we been taught in our basic army tactics to wait for the enemy to come in our effective range? Opening fire too early cautions the enemy as well as reveals ones location, giving a chance to him to either change course or tactics. Opening fire too late allows the enemy to run over your defences. We started our campaign to fight the government asking them to restore our Izzat and now have landed up not only losing our Izzat but also our credibility and integrity. Someone kept waiting for us to fight over the carcass. Now the vultures are going to sit back and enjoy our kill. They will laugh at the tamasha we created. Sad but true.

The whole nation stood by us and still does. The nation will never stand for the greedy. We had a case in point and were in a win-win situation. Today, we lost the plot completely. Why we lost the plot was because we were in a hurry. We wanted things in black and white. We forgot we were apolitical people, we forgot the main cause why we were agitating, we forgot that someone has understood our tactics and is waiting for us to make the first move. The enemy never revealed anything. We showed movement to draw fire. The enemy now will take pot shots.

As a veteran I followed OROP agitation closely and still do & my salutes to everyone. I wrote about their yeoman’s service too. I feel heart broken when my own brethren show signs of dissent and discontentment amongst each other. The values and traditions we imbibe as soldiers are long lost in today’s behaviour. Is it for personal gains or there is some other motive to it, is a matter of time to reveal? I have to have some patience for that.

The politicians formed a one man committee to look into the OROP grievances. Where did it head, God alone knows. By the way, a group of vultures is also called a committee. When the vultures feed together they are called a “wake”. Well, they “wake” when we sleep. They pounce when we let lose our guard. Though it is a myth that they encircle their prey flying high but in reality it appears that they do so waiting for the opportune moment to make a kill. Actually they wait to see signs of infighting amongst animals. They don’t waste time then and swoop down to enjoy the booty. Once on the prey, they gorge out each piece of flesh.

A few ways to keep them away is by never show you are weak. Keep on your vigil. Have patience.  Raise an alarm when needed and stay with your “pride”. Collectiveness gives unity and strength. Don’t waiver from your path; keep moving as a herd which will always keep you safe. Do we ex servicemen draw any lessons from the animal world? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

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

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

ANOTHER HAND OF CARDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

7000 CRORES

Philanthropy means the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by generous donations of money to good cause. The synonyms are: benevolence, generosity, humanitarianism, public-spiritedness, altruism, social conscience, social concern, charity charitableness, brotherly love, fellow feeling, magnanimity, munificence, liberality, largess, open-handedness, bountifulness, beneficence, benignity, unselfishness, selflessness, humanity, kindness, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, compassion, humaneness, patronage, sponsorship, backing, help, historical alms giving, literary bounty, bounteousness. The interpretations could differ, but the spirit remains the same.

As I was going through the news on the net I read somewhere that a family is going to donate 7000 crores for their philanthropic activities. My goodness Lord, firstly I am feeling tizzy hearing this amount. Secondly, I think if these notes are in 500 rupees denomination then it would be more than 14 crore notes itself. Number of Rs 500 notes needed to have a value of Rs 1 Crore = 1Crore/500= 200000. Weight of 1 Rs 500 note =1.15g, total weight of Rs 1 crore in 500 denomination = 200000 x 1.15=23000g =23Kg. Therefore 7000 crores x 23=161000 or 161 tons, if an average truck carries 20 tonnes, means 8 huge truck loads. Size of a 500 note is 66mm x 150mm, so if we lay them head to head in piles of 5 lakhs each means 140000 bundles means it is 210000 km. The distance to the moon is 3844000 km and circumference of the earth is 40075 km. Baapre! Well you can figure out the ratios on your own. My mind is boggling and boggling and eating circle after circle.

Be that as it may, if I divide this 7000 crore in my 125 crore deshwasis, we all shall have about 56 crores each in our kitty. Achhe din a gaye samjho. Leave alone the promise of 15 lakh in each account you can distribute 56 crores each. Half of India as it is doesn’t work because of berozgari, now we shall make sure the working India also stops working. Everyone will go sit and wait to finish his or her 56 crores. Even if I say I will spend 1 crore a year, at this stage when I am well past 50 years of age, I better double the spending, God knows how much time I have at my hands. A new born can live with his parents till 24 and then add another 56 years with a crore to spend a year will see him through till 80 what else does one require.

I have one question though, how much Izzat can we buy in this huge amount. My answer is zero. Izzat cannot be bought it has to be earned. Why I say this is because the people who are fighting for their Izzat to be restored need a very paltry sum from the government. The old and tired veterans need to go home as they have spent their time in hell already. The lucky ones came home and the luckier ones came back draped in the tri colour. At least they are not witnessing treatment which is being meted out to their own brethren by their government for whom they sacrificed their lives and limbs. Government may never understand Izzat, Pride and Honour, how can they understand benevolence.

Well, I am sure this amount will be a drop in the ocean for a country which is exploding from all ends. There is so much of pressure on every system that every bit contributed towards a good cause should be welcome. From infrastructure to health; from education to agriculture, from population to environment, you name a thing and we are bursting at our seams uncontrollably. We are refuting norms, throwing garbage and drainage, sewage, spewing toxic smoke everywhere. We are just living our lives and who cares about the future. If all this money is spent judiciously on a sustainable and maintainable model then I would say it would be worth it.

I saw a scheme called dial 102 for ambulances collapse. Today, most of the ambulances are rotting in junk yards in most states. There is a patient mafia, (patients are created on paper), fuel for the ambulance mafia, a telecom mafia connecting calls on the ambulance help line numbers. The issue is not the dearth of ambulances, it is the dearth of will to run and maintain them. The hospital infrastructure and cleanliness should be the top focus. The free availability of medicines and tests should be a fundamental right. They should be cheap and affordable for all. Ambulances need roads to run, not pot holes to negotiate and traffic jams to wait to clear. They need trained paramedics, even if they are idle most of the times but they are needed at crucial times, like the Armed forces.

Schools and schooling need to be sorted out. Education system needs to be focused on. Vernacular needs to turn to national education system and that should be internationally accepted. Food needs to be in good supply. No man or dog should go hungry in this country. Why should people beg? Why should they do menial jobs? Why can’t we have sustainable drinking water and electricity through out. Why farmers commit suicide? Why can’t we have non polluting industries and vehicles? Why can’t we have non corrupt people in all government machinery? Where are we lacking and why are we lacking in these? Is it because of lack of money and funds or its misuse?

Well, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind and that is the will to do it for the country. What I have written in jest about the length and weight of the currency and the distribution to individuals is not the issue, my calculations may be grossly wrong. The issue is that sir; either you sit with the government and address your benevolent issues through them or let us shut the government and start only charity to sustain this country.

I am not sure the causes you will take up, the states you will cover or for that matter people whom you are going to touch with your charity but promise me one thing sir, let not one pai get into the hands of the corrupt. Let this money be spent what it is meant for and not for getting files cleared to start your projects. Let this money be spent on the real needy, I beg of you, teach the needy how to fish and don’t start serving them fish.

I can assure you many veterans would love to join you to take your cause to its culmination. Take them on board sir, for it is difficult to corrupt them. Take them for their honesty and administrative skills. They shall not let you down. Mittal saab, I need 56 seconds of your time to read this article, will you be able to spare them, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

THE BEST CAREER

As I sit back and look at the journey of my life, had I continued in the Indian Army, I would have retired at the end of this month. In the civil where I work with now, I may go on for another 6 years if all goes well. Well, I am not sure will I be able to last that long because of my nature which does not go very well in civil, which is to take a stand for my subordinates or for something which my conscious does not allow. Well, this attitude has cost me my job many times. I still continue to bash on regardless without bothering about the outcome.

This brings me to a question. Which is the right profession then? What can be termed as a satisfying career? In which job can you keep working till the day you like, keep earning and enjoy the best of life? Is it the forces? The answer is an absolute no. Is it the corporate? My answer is an absolute no again. I find two professions which might fit in the bill. One is to become a politician and the other is to become a holy man.

Be that as it may, the thought that triggered me to write this piece was the way armed forces are being used in the country today. It has been proved that the forces will come to the rescue of this nation for anything and everything including building a foot over bridge or cleaning the mountains besides all that we keep doing routinely in Aid to Civil Authorities. Why do we do it so professionally? It is because this comes from the ethos the men and women in uniform imbibe in them.

The simple formula we follow is Z-KIT-BM. The landmarks (Zamini Nishan) are given to get familiar with the terrain and area of responsibility, the information of both, own side and the enemy is given in great detail (Khabar dushman ki aur Khabar apni), the aim (Irada) of the operation is made crystal clear. It is short, crisp and precise. The modus operandi (Tarika) is then told so that no doubts are left lingering, including various contingencies. Thereafter, we discuss the administration (bandobast) and finally are the communications (Milap) between all parties participating in the operation.

Last but not the least we also synchronise our watches (Ghari Milao). This is the most important ritual, as we do things time bound. We then get to work even without orders. In case our leader becomes a causality or is not available, the next senior assumes his position automatically. We work, we rest and we get back to work again amidst all chaos till we achieve our aim as given out in the Irada. We fight till the last man last round, if rounds finish we get our bayonets on, if bayonets break, we don’t give up even then, we use are bare hands to achieve the aim even if we perish in the process. That’s our culture.

All this I do not see happening in the civil. First, I find the main aim is “paisa banao” (make money). Second, is to paisa bachao (save money), by not paying well and cutting down on salaries, amenities and manpower. To achieve greater heights the formula becomes lick, lick and lick. Butter every side of the toast. The formula used is, “KAAM NA KARO, KAAM KI FIQR KARO AUR FIQR KA ZIQR APNE BOSS KO ZAROOR KARO” (Don’t work, just worry about work and keep telling your boss that how worried you are) is the key to success. Secondly, for any fault, blame all and sundry rather than own up responsibility. Make someone the scapegoat. Let truth never prevail. If caught, run away or go to court.

Sit long hours in office twiddling your thumbs. In fact your boss does the same but apparently it should appear that you are the most sincere employee. Bring a pin and describe the process as if you bought an aeroplane. Discuss it repetitively in all meetings the efforts you put in to research about it, the hurdles you faced in the selection process, the difficulty with which you could convince people to pass your budget, not to forget how many mails you sent and the paper work you did. How you almost visited the vendor, got the pin loaded and followed it through every octroi post. Blame the delay on the non cooperation by some who did not give a crane to unload this pin especially if you hold a personal grudge against him. At the end expect a complimentary mail for you to keep in record to show it during your appraisal. Life actually sucks.

The profession of babas and baby’s I don’t have to discuss. Politics I don’t know and about politicians I won’t utter a word. One thing I may like to tell the people who run this country is that, Sirs, if you don’t make the profession of the Armed Forces the best career option in this country, if you don’t give the serving and the veterans their dues and Izzat, then your profession will be jeopardy someday. Politics as a career is alright but will you be able think beyond the petty politics and pay heed to the writings on the wall called “Khabar Apni”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

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

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

MY NEW DEFENCE MINISTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

INDIA NEEDS TO UNITE WITHOUT A WAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAI HIND

HOW DARE YOU TARNISH MY ARMY CHIEF’S NAME

It was the saddest day in my life to hear someone calling my Army Chief a thug. Well to be frank Mr DICKSHIT (D-S) you have stooped to the lowest low in my eyes and in the eyes of my fraternity. A man who once falls from grace will never be able to change my opinion about him. As it is I somehow cannot tolerate the political class and you have ensured that I stick to my view. I do not know your educational qualifications or your political achievements and I am not interested in them either but you be rest assured you need to be paraded on Republic Day on a donkey with a blackened face, sitting facing the Rashtrapati Bhawan with a garland of boots soaked in muck. With every beat of the drum you should be hit by the butt of a rifle by every marching soldier.

Every man in uniform has to not only protect himself from enemies across the borders, besides insurgents and terrorists but from anti-India citizens like you also. Who needs enemies when we have people like you within? I don’t care which party you belong to or what political affiliations you have. I don’t want to know what your frustration is or against. I don’t want to even understand your point of view at all now. I don’t want any clarifications either. If you still continue to justify what you said then please walk across the borders to the west. That is where you belong and moment you will turn back to return the Indian soldier will make so many holes in you that even the vultures will refuse to do what they are supposed to do.

Mr D-S you have questioned an institution of our Nation. He is a person who safeguards this country’s integrity and sovereignty. You have called names to a person who ensures that you have a bloody pillow under your head every night. Just because you have become a politician, just because you were elected to some parliament that you have grown beyond your boots to make such uncouth comments about a man who if mobilises his resources is capable of obliterating a country form the maps of the world. You think you can open your dirty mouth and get away with treason. How dare you even think of uttering such statements in your dream? Same goes for all those politicians and peaceniks who are yapping on the same lines.

Please leave politics now, as moment I hear your name my BP shoots to 240/160. It is politicians like you who have treated us soldiers like cannon fodder and we like bloody fools have been sacrificing our lives for ungrateful people like you. I hope you know that a group of monkeys is called a congress; I shall go further to say a group of buffoons if not baboons also mean the same. Don’t mind my saying so, because I am so deeply hurt by what you have said.

I have to also tell my media friends, yaar please, why you take statements of people who cannot even spell the word gun? Such people do not know the meaning of oath; leave alone the contents of the oath we the people of the forces take. Such people are capable of only disrespecting our national institutions and flag whereas media should see how our “NISHAN TOLI” carries the national flag (Nishan of India) with utmost respect and dignity. Such people may only know a fish tank and will crap in their pants if a battle tank fires. These people who express such opinions without understanding the gravity of what they are saying are the biggest holes of the shitty kind. So dear media you may now show solidarity with the Army and Army Chief alright but the damage has been done. Why don’t you shove mikes in the suggested hole I mention of such people? Don’t make a mockery by running tickers, headlines and debates on such matters which demeans the forces further. Don’t make us news fodder; we deserve better treatment if the Media really has any respect for its Army Chief and Armed forces.

There is a saying in fauj that once you press the trigger the round is fired. It cannot be brought back. Either the bullet hits the target or misses it but if it hits the wrong target shit flies and here you have Mr D-S and his ilk flying in all directions; stinking and spreading disease. A person who has no idea how we as a fraternity work has no business to air his opinion. He is free to express his outrage against the Modi government. He may express his disagreement about government policies he doesn’t like but his lowly opinion about the highest rank of the Army cannot be accepted. He is no one to comment on such respectable people. I think it is for the same reason that diapers and politicians need to be changed after some time, time has now come Mr D-S.

I feel humiliated that 22 years of my life I protected people like you. I think this freedom of speech and freedom of press has gone too far. You are worse than a rapist Mr D-S, verbal rapist to be precise. I can only say, you are worst than a thug, who has tried to cheat the nation by uttering such words. You need to be sacked from the Indian political scene with immediate effect. You should be tried for treason, tied in front of a QRT vehicle till such time the militants get their aim right.

I salute Gen Rawat for leading our Army as a thorough bred professional. Sir, Bash on regardless. I also request the “congress” to remove this man for shaming the impeccable institution such as the Army Chief who has such a great responsibility towards the nation and has been delivering it always and every time. Will this D-S realise the damage he has done, I wonder!!!!!!!!

 

I LOVE DR ROY BUT NOT THE MEDIA

 

I still remember the good old Doordarshan days when the same bearded man used to present “The World This Week”. It used to be a treat to listen to him. As time went by we used to wait for a cassette of “NEWS TRACK”, which used to come free with the yearly subscription of India Today. Besides the news coverage it was more to watch Madhu Trehan. Madam please take it as a compliment. The shape of news, views and discussions changed over the years. One can call it an evolution of the fourth estate. From gagging of the media during emergency and what it is today, it is a total transformation. We now have big fights, we kick each other left, right and center, and we also have to bear with the noise hour. There was one guy who used to be the devil’s advocate too. Mirch, masala, fresh tadka is the only way for any news channel to survive. I have had my share of love and hate kind of relationship with the way media is doing its job. I stopped watching WWF fights on news debates long back as the whole time it appeared fake, cooked up and playing to the galleries. What I want to highlight today is how a media house can be so pious and holy that they are feeling bad when they have been raided by the IT department.

“We the people” today are very much aware how the media houses function. “Sold” is a mild word is the general perception. However neutral they may claim to be, however outspoken they may assert to be, however frank and honest they may say they are, however candid and blunt their opinions may be, however fearless and daring news feeds they might deliver, however loudly they may outshout the co-panelists’, however they may claim to get the highest TRP ratings and eye balls from figures plucked out of thin air, however smart and good looking newsreaders and debate conductors might be. I am convinced as a common man that every channel has an agenda; every channel wants to claim they broke the news first. Thank God they are not deployed along the security forces otherwise they may stake claims that they are the first ones to shoot the enemy and the terrorists.

Here starts my bone of contention, Dr Roy not with you but with the media as such. It is the way media people have degraded the armed forces by airing whatever media thought is right. Earlier I never used to see any retired defence personnel on TV but then a new trend in journalism started. Many retired officers joined the ranks of media houses and used their links and pinks to get as much information they could for news to sell. There came a time when the newsreaders were in bunkers when the Kargil war happened. People were covering ground zero in Afghanistan. Ex Indian Army officers were invited to the glaciers, aircraft carriers, submarines etc. With this exposure and intimacy to the forces grew and matured. Then some channels in the garb of freedom of speech started tarnishing the armed forces in public. Here I started to veer off the news and the anchors conducting such shows.

Well, if you can put the armed forces to scrutiny from the chopper scam, to intelligence failures, to tactical mistakes, to human rights violations, to ketchup Colonels, to booze Brigadiers, to date of births issues, to equipment and procurement scams, to watery dal, to encounter killings, to eliminating the Burhan wani kinds, to tying a stone pelter to the jeep, basically after getting a foothold into the military environment and to try and sneak into all matters military which the media have no business to open their mouth about. This has resulted in so much of morale shattering air time that words cannot describe. So why there is an issue when media is being scrutinised under the tax mans lens.

NDTV has put out the news that it is political vendetta because a BJP spokesperson was shooed out of one show. Well, so be it. People like Brakha Dutt when she was with NDTV went to cover the poor school teachers kid called burhan wani and the plight of his family and various other people affected by pellets and bullets. She made her career covering Kargil war sitting with Capt Vikram Batra saying “ye dil mange more” to shoot to fame. Well, it now pains me to see the way news anchors have torn apart our army and Army Chief when he said what he had to say about the militants, stone pelters and their supporters. I think the media has grown too big for its boots and such raids serve them right. Media needs to be put into place, let it be Dr Roy or any media head for that matter. Who is a congress supporter or a BJP supporter is not the issue either? The issue is who maligns and tarnishes the image of the armed forces. Yes media may claim that they have done many welfare programmes for the armed forces. Well let me tell you it is no big shake to get Priyanka, Priety or Anushka to the operational areas. They are kids of the forces and they will oblige anytime to boost the morale of the forces, maybe at their own cost unlike your sponsors.

I had been following the news channels which used to bring the Pakis for debates in the prime time. Initially I enjoyed when many of our panelists’ gave them a good amount of bashing but soon those guys got the hang of it and gave it back. They had the audacity to call my country and its Prime Minster names, thanks to the media. We were abused and threatened by those pipsqueaks, which was again not palatable to me. All this was done in the garb of a balanced debating. The amount of disservice that can be done to this nation and the way they abused our decorated veterans was pathetic the least I can say. Enough is enough.

Well, I am not in favour of such a free press where any news anchor can speak poorly about the armed forces or admonish a member of parliament or a politician live on air. These MPs sit there and can do nothing about it as they cannot take “pangas” with the media. Well, Media people, you may show your arrogance, misbehaviour, manner less attitude etc to the politicians but kindly leave the people in uniform and veterans alone. We toil for you so that you can air your programmes, remember that. Media doesn’t save the nations integrity; it is the man on the border who does. You may fire your bites on air but the person who faces the enemy’s bullets with petty perks and privileges’ remains in the background and anonymity. He is asking for his well deserved one rank one pension which you people have just not given any coverage because it didn’t matter to the media. How sad! I suggest the government should raid all the media houses today and tell them to take a swallow of the same bitter pill they have been dishing out to the forces. Will the media act responsibly in future? I wonder!!!!!!!!

A FEW DANDAs THEORY

 

A couple of day’s back I received a message from one of my groups to stop subscribing to the Hindustan Times from the first of next month. Reason was that the paper questioned the Army Chief commending Major Gogoi. Well, if one felt so strongly then why didn’t they stop subscribing from the same day. The same thing happened when TOI carried a news feature questioning the Army a few years back. The paper’s circulation may not have taken a dip except from a few of the uniformed community. There was another instance when the Indian Express carried a feature where they declared that Gen VK Singh almost did a coup by moving a few Mechanised columns from Hissar and a Company of paratroopers towards Delhi. The same sentiment echoed within the services community. Did the appeals have any effect, God only knows?

Well, as far as I am concerned I am off the news papers. Not worth wasting my time as I have better things to do. Thanks to the paperwala who now has shifted his business to selling vada-pav and Kanda-Bhajia, as he also realised the futility of feeding garbage to so many people. For a few days I had difficulty in doing potty but now I am relieved from one more addiction after I quit cigarettes and liquor ages ago. I have quit newspapers too. My bai has been complaining though that there is no raddi in the house. Well, I promised her I shall buy her enough “raddi” from the market as and when she misses the ritual to sell.

Be that as it may, I am now getting a feeling that I must quit viewing news channels too as I observe that in the garb of freedom of press and speech they are taking the nation for a ride. One Major Gogoi has given them so much fodder that they can generate debates on the jeep incident till cows come home. Even the Auto show programmes have now started telling us that they will henceforth provide seat belts on the bumpers of the jeeps for all stone pelters in future models. They are promising ergonomically designed bumpers for their comfort with provision of water and airbags in select models, just in case the jeep meets with an accident. They are also looking into the comfort level of this person as he or she may have to sit there from five to eight hours continuously. The auto companies now are in competition to have warning boards placed on bonnets with press fit alphabets in English and Kashmiri. However, they have yet to find a solution if that man has to go for a natures call while in that position. The textile designing firm making “firans” have been contacted to provide adequate holes at the correct place for the same.

Yaar you press walas please understand that rape, murder, beef, moral policing, adultery, corruption, mis-governance, pilferage, politics, cow-vigilante, politicians, yoga, bureaucracy, porn, internet fraud, railways, liquor, transport, poverty, roads, youth, shipping, coal, drugs, industries, education system, etc are some of the subjects that should get you better TRP ratings. Leave the army alone please. They are the last bastion for this nation and in Major Gogoi’s case; he was called in as a last option as no other means were left. He did what he did and if need be will again do what he is supposed to do. It was an SOS call, when everyone else failed to respond. To all the peaceniks please question the politicians for the mess they have created. Army is a means not the end. Politicians are the ones who made the ‘Raita to failo” and now you want the army to clean it with a broom, which doesn’t have a “Danda”. My foot! If all these peace lovers can go to Kashmir without Army protection and speak to them and convey to the Indian government a definite solution for Kashmir like they suggest on news debates so vociferously and boisterously. I will give them all a Bharat Ratna straight away.

In my humble view, a solution is possible if we have a few “dandas” given. The first one is to the Pakistan. Shove it so hard that they do not henceforth allow their soil to be used for any terror related activity against India ever. The way they support the Kashmiri struggle, by training, funding and supporting these vermin should never occur in their minds for generations to come.

Second danda needs to be given to the politicians of both J&K and GOI. The most troubled areas are in Mehbooba’s constituency, she knows every detail and I have a gut feeling she is covertly supporting all those who want freedom from India like she used to do earlier. Her silence on all issues in and around her constituency is ample proof for that. If that be so, let there be Riasat-e-Kashmir, Riasat-e-Jammu & Riasat-e-Ladakh for actual Kashmir management. Time now has come for a Danda to be given to all those who bicker and create trouble or think of pelting a stone. Danda to the Hurriyat with immediate effect; either put in jail or deported to the country of their choice. Stop making a hole in the plate in which you are eating from. All funding stopped, period. Danda needs to be given to the GOI too. With such a mandate if not now then when and who will scrap article 370, bring them under one flag, one constitution and all judgments of courts be made acceptable there. It is now or never.

Another danda to the media to stop lowering the morale of this one apolitical institution called the Indian Army. I know they have military experts with contrary views but give the forces a break. The sentence “with due apologies” is now well understood. Stop apologizing and stop questioning the uniformed people. You run news channels because we protect this nation and give you the freedom to air your views. So limit your views to the suggestions I gave, leave us to do our job. We know how to do it and we do it to the best of our abilities; fearless and dauntless even after hearing such negativity the news channels spread. You can be rest assured, we shall not be intimidated by the press or the peaceniks. Army is not meant to carry weapons for show. The Army fires and fires for effect should be clear. You want one chap tied on a jeep to save hundreds of dead, or you want people dead. Choice is yours. The protesters can keep protesting, next time they throw one stone, one bullet should be fired at them. One news channel creates a negative hype; the second round should be towards them. Enough of this bloody nonsense!

From the two nation theory, let us have a few danda theory implemented in J&K straight away. If it is we the people who have to decide, then so be it. If we are going to let Pakistan meddle and fiddle with our peace, choice is again ours, if the government wants to wait for a miracle to resolve this issue then let us wait for me to become the PM. Will it be OK, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LEARNING AS YOU GO

I was a happy go lucky chap in school interested in everything co curricular. I had no particular aim in life as such. Then one fine day my “brainwashing” started. I was in a school which wore a uniform, had a kind of military discipline; it also had strict teachers as also officers of the Armed Forces such as Colonels, Squadron Leaders, Flight Lieutenants, Captains of the Indian Navy and Army above all my dad was more OG (Olive Green) than OG can be. I was made to focus on only one thing and that was NDA. So I actually got used to this indoctrination technique, where everyone you met did not ask you how were you, but how well your preparation for NDA was. I did not disappoint anyone as I joined the illustrious institution.

My second makeover was done in NDA. Whatever shades of the civil life was left in me got converted into becoming a cadet? My morning prayers used to start with I love my country and continues as such. This cadet could manage a cup of cold coffee to a bicycle valve, a KD (Khaki Dress) to a raincoat out of thin air. I could roll in my sleep and crawl while resting, eat doing a head stand. I could dance without music and enjoy my supper in empty plates. I could produce a pen and paper even while wearing an under wear, though we hardly wore any. I fought daily battles with bedbugs which is a torture technique I mastered. I could let a bee or a fly sit on my nose without scratching or swatting at it. I could blow hot & blow cold in the bathroom sessions; I could roll up hill and up a staircase. I could jump in blind wells of the “Charlie” kind. I could navigate with no map in all out of bound areas. My nose was so sensitive that I could detect a fag three squadrons away. I did “Savdhan Chal” to every scooter, car, horse and dog on a leash. I could watch movies with my back towards the screen. I could run fifteen miles between dinner and lights out. I could beat Shivaji in climbing Singharh fort. I could sham, I could pill, and I could feign the biggest limp. I could improvise conjunctivitis with paste rubbed in my eyes. I could sleep 25 hours in a day if I had the choice. I could only keep awake if a lady teacher took my class. Overall, I was brain washed in such a manner that I forgot who I was. It was surprising they conferred on me a graduate’s degree at the end of it. After all I was on a journey to be in the noblest profession.

My brain washing continued in IMA. Well, I was promoted from Cadet to Gentleman Cadet. You learnt the honour code, you learnt military law. One mastered the art of disguise, not to camouflage for battle but from the Drill Ustad to go to Dehradun to meet some girls. I was drilled hard to keep the integrity of my motherland till the peril of my life. I promised to go where my duty needed me by land, sea or air. I pledged my life to the nation and the tri colour, to keep it safe from all external aggression and internal disorders. I was put through my paces of everything what I needed to lead men to battle. I was conditioned to keep the safety welfare and honour of my men foremost always and every time, the honour of my country  came next and my own safety and comfort came last always and every time. I was now transformed into becoming an Indian Army officer, young, full of josh, rearing to go.

I joined my unit in the deserts and was conditioned to become a desert fox. I was trained to not only fire weapons but to strip a vehicle apart and put it back together again. I was accustomed to learn to change oils, open a BMP track, taste petrol or diesel depending on the flavour of the day. I could munch on sand with food, and live on limited water. Above all, I was hardened to be happy in all circumstances. I was skilled to be a jack of all trades. I was supposed to know what a pink Gin was as also a Molotov cocktail; I memorised names and numbers of everyone in my Unit. I could fill a 3008 or a 958 as if writing letters to my “would be”. I learnt to ride a camel and drive a BMP as a second profession. I could communicate with hand, flag, radio, eyes, bird calls, and you name it. I was taught to remain silent and avoid even the rustle of my clothes. I was tempered to walk in the sands survive in the heat, snow and jungles. I was determined to eliminate the enemy before they get into our side of the border. I was at ease to look after the ladies as well as children, I was told to be compassionate and kind. I was taught how to live and work with the men; overall I was made into a unique fighting machine, tough, resolute, upright, caring, honest, dedicated, and professional, a man proud to adorn the uniform, a man proud to lead his men.

As I led my life’s journey I learnt cultures from the north to south, east to west of this country. I learnt to ski with the same ease as I could jump with parachutes from all sorts of aircrafts. I mastered the art of being a champion rock climber. I mastered many languages including three of foreign origin. I soon became a professional logistician during near war situations and moved everything by rail, land and air including the dogs we befriended at our posts. I learnt to balance between private and professional life. I learnt how I could live without my family especially my child whom I could never see taking her first steps or when she started to talk.  I was sent to the Capital where I saw the highest offices of the government of India function. Overall, my indoctrination continued unabated.

I one day brainwashed myself to revert back to the civvies streets. I let myself to be trained again at India’s finest management institute in Ahmedabad. I prepared myself that hence forth no lunch is free. Privilege to get a gypsy at the railway station with a glass of tea won’t be there anymore. I will have to stand in queue if I want to pay my bills. I must re-learn to ride a scooter, buy milk and vegetables. I brainwashed myself to iron my clothes and go to the market for a haircut. I prepared myself to wash my own car, polish my own shoes and shine them better than while in service. I just transformed myself to now live with and live for my family. I geared up that now my priorities in life are different from what they used to be but I shall continue with India first and a veteran for life.

In a life span of 54 odd years, I would have adapted myself to 54 types of places, circumstances, living conditions, bosses, situations, state of mind and state of affairs; basically I learnt to remain cool under any circumstances that life can throw at me. My blood and DNA will always remain Olive Green. Will I keep learning as I go? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

SOME MEMORIES OF MY VALLEY TENURE

 I reached Sri Nagar transit camp anxious as anxious could be, in March 1997. I had been posted to Assam Rifles deployed in the valley, in Dr Abdullah’s constituency. I had no clue what was in store for me. I reached the battalion HQs in the afternoon, went to the COs office for the initial introduction and before I could say Major Noel Ellis I heard two deafening blasts which rattled all windows. CO said “welcome to the valley”. I heard footsteps, thuds, orders being passed, rifles being cocked and all sorts of shouting and this old man sitting coolly talking to me. My hands full of sweat, my heart beating like a train on the tracks; my worst fear was that I did not even have a weapon. He finished his short talk and told me to meet the adjutant. I saluted and zig-zagged my way out of his sand bag filled office cum living bunker.

A jawan handed me an AK-47 as I exited and told me sir first left is the Adjutant. Adjutant Saab being the company commander has gone with the QRT, till then familiarise with the weapon, he said. I looked at my AK; it was Rambo style with a double magazine. I quickly acquainted myself with it and felt confident and safe. I wanted to count the bullets as a ritual but what the heck I said. Adjutant, on return said hello sir welcome to the “Naga Hills” Battalion. In another hour you shall be leaving for your company and in the same breath told one guy to get some garam chai. You will be attached to F Company. I said under my breath WT ‘F’. He called up the CO on radio, “Alpha 3 for tiger, two RPG round attack by militants in apple orchard, QRT dispatched, retaliatory fire carried out, all safe and OK, suspected militants ran away, DELTA and BRAVO Company gone for Shikar, over”. CO replied “Roger out”. I was speechless in fact quite dumbfounded as to what was happening.

Adjutant said, chalo sir, chai thandi ho gayi hai (the tea has gone cold). I didn’t have a heart to tell him my hands and feet have gone cold too. At 4.30pm in the month of March I was sweating like a pig. He says sir, fiqr not (don’t worry) this is routine, come lets go to the telephone exchange if you want to speak to Mam on STD. There were no other means except letters to communicate at that time. In case you can’t speak now plan a patrol to battalion HQ one of these days, he said.

This was my reception in Kashmir. I reached my Company. My senior JCO, a Ghurkha of the purest kind told me “Hajoor” (sir) you shall be my understudy for operations till you get the hang of it. He was getting ready for an area domination patrol, I joined them straight away. I wandered the country side like a ghost who walks. We walked quietly into the night, we halted to do our listening drills, cursed the barking dogs, observed for anything unusual. We also did speculative firing at fleeting shadows.  First night of my bedding in the valley was fun; I fired a few bursts and now was fully battle hardened “convert” from Mechanised Infantry to pure Infantry.

Within days we were moved out of Srinagar. My post was in a village 8 km off the road to Leh. I came across this man named “Lassa” (name changed). The post used to be midway between his village and the main road. He invariably used take a break while returning home in the evening with his heavy sack of vegetables. He used to sit at the IN gate, stretch his legs, take a swig of water from the stream and then move on. We used to keep an eye on him. One day Lassa broke his silence and spoke to me and there after we developed a bond and he never passed by without a friendly chat. His son in law used to accompany him sometimes. The son in law and daughter were running a tailor’s shop in his village. His wife looked after the vegetable shop, “Guchhi” (mushroom) collection, poultry and a dairy. He ran a tea and vegetable shop at the hydel project. They all were a very hard working and enterprising family.

One fine day his son in law was picked up as a suspected militant and my company was sent for a search mission to his house. Lassa’s daughter was in labour about to deliver a child. Here I was breaking his walls searching for weapons. The shrill shrieks of the ladies clearly conveyed that we had been sent up a wrong gum tree. Some ladies expressed a desire to meet me. I granted permission. I knew no Kashmiri; they didn’t know anything but Kashmiri, we spoke in sign language. They pleaded if I could wait till the delivery. The girl was in trauma since her husband had been picked up. I ordered my boys to pause and just as a kind of blessing I said to the ladies, don’t worry everything will be fine, this girl will be blessed with a baby boy.

We all heard the first shrill cry of a baby which broke the silence of the night. Two ladies came running carrying a bowl of jaggery. Saab your tongue speaks the truth; you will live a thousand years and blessed me. Lo and behold a boy was born. I looked up to the sky and thanked the Lord. I spoke to Battalion HQ that we had picked up a wrong man. HQ radioed back that they were releasing the son in law. I announced that and the men folk came and surrounded me. They lifted me on their shoulders and danced. My AK cocked; with me bouncing on their shoulders was unheard of. My jawans bewildered as I gestured to them to let me go with the flow. The headman spoke, sir he has been made a victim of Gujaar-Kashmiri political rivalry. It was something strange and shocking to me. Next day Lassa brought his son in law to my post and hugged me and said sir you are my saviour. I hope someday I get to see his grand child and give Lassa a “jadoo ki japhie”.

Life in the valley is tough for the security forces and Kashmiri’s alike. Politicians are responsible for this mess is absolutely clear? Army definitely has a role, CAPFs & police too have a role but Kashimiri’s have a major role if they want peace. Will the politicians at the center and J&K in particular ever play their role? I did my bit, will they ever do theirs, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

DEATH OF KASHMIR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECISION OR INDECISION

One more Paki attack, another assault at our sovereignty, more bodies mutilated, a few more widows, more humiliation, pressure by politicians and peaceniks to show restraint till it is right time to resume talks, some pause before retaliation, some more salutes to the martyrs, some more friends draped in the Tri colour consigned to flames, some more media coverage, only kari ninda,  hectic parleys behind closed door in Delhi,  party spokespersons on  TV channels with verbal diarrhoea, more frustration for the Commanding Officers who may have been sacked by now, just some more of the usual stuff as we are now used to it in India.

I am not sure if the PMs agenda is sab ka saath. I find there is hardly any saath with the armed forces. Sir, what wrong have they done if I they have chosen the profession of arms? People can be safe in their beds every night, read stories to their children even if they come back late. But all those who sleep in their beds because of us including you, do not treat us the way we should be treated and looked after. We obey orders, right or wrong we don’t question. We charge at the enemy with full consciousness that these could be the last few moments we are breathing without a second thought. We forget we too have families. We keep the nation first. Even if wounded, we ensure that our comrades’ reach to safety before it is too late. We carry our dead and wounded out of battle at the peril of our lives knowing that risking our lives for a fallen comrade may lead to death. That is the spirit we function with. Where is this spirit in the political and bureaucratic circuit? We feel betrayed when we don’t find your saath. Is it because we are not your vote banks?

Decision now is delayed from your side Mr PM, if you want vikas then two things we need to sort out straight away, one is Pakistan and the second is Kashmir. Vikas of this country is directly proportional to the strength you give to the armed forces. The way you develop and nurture your armed forces will pay you dividends. I am not making this up, you may see the world history and realise that the more powerful you are militarily the more people respect you across the world. Our senior generals have been crying hoarse to change gears. Too long the vehicle has been idling in neutral. First of all let us have a Defence Minister who understands D of defence. I would rather say have a person who may not know politics at all. If people without defence qualification can look after defence or finance then I have no doubts that a person with a defence background will definitely do a better job. Just get your finance minister on his toes to allocate what is needed for the forces.

We are just past the half way mark of this government’s tenure. I am sure there would be someone keeping a count of the body bags vs infiltration bids foiled vs cease fire violations done by Pak in this period. I am not counting the violence and this latest spate of separatism in the valley. Mr PM let me be frank, if there has to be an all out war or even a localised action with Pakistan, give the orders now. My apprehension is that you may delay this decision till as late as you’re campaigning to start for the next elections. I can assure you I will not vote for you if my prediction is true. You scored enough points in the UP elections on the surgical strikes; I feel it is unfair to gather public sentiment to win elections firing form our shoulders. Let me in the same breadth tell you, because you had unflinching faith in the armed forces to deliver during surgical strike you got the guts to give a decision to let us go. Remember, we are reliable and respectable people. We don’t do politics on the lives of our men. We do what we say and say what we mean. We don’t ask for votes, we don’t want cheap popularity, we just want decisions. We want your backing; we want your support to sort this menace called Pak. Kashmir being purely political, we leave it to you and your ilk.

The hurt caused by the wounds given by the enemy heal in due time, though some scars are left to remind us of the duel we fought. The scars caused due to indecisions from the head of “our own family” are far more hurting. India has paid a heavy price till date for indecision of various governments and needs to recover every inch of ground lost and every paisa that we have wasted in this proxy war. The cost of war has to be borne by us. We have already paid too much interest over the years; time now is ripe to settle the “principal” once for all. Few militants gave our MPs run for their money when they attacked parliament. They sent complete forces to the borders for one year just to count the sand dunes it seems. Kargil happened and we had to win what was ours back at such a heavy cost. We pardoned them in 1971 & 1965. Enough is enough. Let take back what is ours in 2017 as was decided in 1947. It is now or never. Armed forces are ready but are the dhoti and tie walas ready?

I am not a war monger but my heart aches form everyday news of my comrades falling in the line of duty. I as a veteran today have a feeling that if the indecision to act against the enemy keeps prolonging, frustration within the forces will reach its peak, tolerance levels of the forces will go down. Consequences will be that there could be fewer people joining the forces. There would be more martyrs than the living to be saluted. The rogue will keep showing us a thumb every day and we will keep taking it lying down. This may also lead to a collapse of a well oiled, obedient, disciplined, uncomplaining, professional, fearless team of dauntless men and women of the Armed Forces.

If the relationship of the forces and the government has to continue like this then there is a famous quote stating “We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.” Will you prove me wrong Mr PM, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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