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)

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

THIS WAY TO KASHMIR

 

The Army officer who tied up a stone pelter in front of his jeep became the talk of the town. The only people who did not like it were the Kashmiri people and the peace nicks for Kashmir. 9 soldiers: 1000 plus mob is some ratio. Are the Kashmiri’s justified to stop forces from doing their polling duties? Was it fair to attack nine people, who under orders “not to fire” and could not have extricated themselves without help? Would the loss of nine lives solve the Kashmir issue? One thing was sure had they been left to fend for themselves and they would have come back in body bags? The worst kind of death is dying while not facing the enemy. To add to the tragedy is when being fully conscious of pain, of being hit repeatedly over the same wounds above all one knows that he is losing blood which will lead to sure death if not evacuated. Was it fair to send people for such duty with their hands tied behind their backs and guns on their shoulders as if carrying batons? These Kashmiri people were nothing but barbarians. If they did what they wanted to do then what our officer did was well within his rights to save his comrades. Choice was to save nine without loss of life or open fire to disperse the mob. Thank your stars my Kashmiri friends, you live today.

I scrolled the dictionary to find out what weapon could a stone be classified into. As per the oxford dictionary “a missile is an object which is forcibly propelled at a “target”, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon”. So rather than calling these people stone pelters they are missile pelters. I also know mob mentality is the most difficult thing to control. One idea, one spark, one thought converts a peaceful protest into a riot. One instigator is needed to trigger the process. One person can change the entire complexion of the mob. I see the Kashmiri’s have decided that the Indian forces have to be stoned. This implies that now the forces too need to change their tactics. If need be more force will have to be used and if the consequences are death of a few Kashmiri’s for their unruly conduct, so be it. One cannot take it lying down always and every time. Troops and their safety come first always and every time, especially while handling such unruly trouble creators.

Why should there be any death? Can any Kashmiri politician reply? Are they responsible in any manner to this nation and to their electorate in particular? They eat out of the Indian plate and chant slogans of Azadi. Is it justified and fair? Either don’t eat out of our “THALI” or don’t make a hole in it. They want subsidies, they want freebies, they don’t want fellow Indians to come their land, they don’t want infrastructure to connect them to India, don’t want Indian security forces, want autonomy of every kind, don’t want to come under the Indian flag, don’t want to part with the so called constitution of J&K, want to keep article 370, will continue to harbour, feed, support, hide, shelter, guide, protect, give refuge, and shield people who in their myopic view will get the so called freedom from a country so big that its many states are bigger than the country where militants come from. They also expect to defeat the Indian armed forces which are many times the size of the armed forces of Pakistan. If they think that a nuclear threat looms large and will be initiated if war is proclaimed due to Kashmir. My foot!

What do Kashmiri people actually want? Is it Azadi? OK Granted. Leave India and go take asylum where ever you want to. Want to join our Kashmir to Pakistan? Forget it. At least whatever is remaining with us will remain with us. Whatever has been grabbed from us will be taken back shortly. Whatever has been handed over to China by Pak will definitely be negotiated as and when the atmosphere and the time is right. But if you guys think that Kashmir can be annexed and made into a dreamland of yours with the support of any one, my second foot.

Do Kashmiri people want to avoid unnecessary loss of life? I am sure the answer is yes. If so then cooperate with the Indian forces and government Allow them to do their job which they are meant to do best. Let there be a democratic process. Stop the anti-India policy, stop running parallel governments, If you want to prosper with increase in tourism let infrastructure be built, let the abundance of fruits and flowers be an economic enhancer for your land, allow access to companies supporting agriculture, horticulture, pisciculture, white revolution, canning, jam and pickle making, cold storage facility providers, wood industry experts, animal husbandry and forest researchers from rest of India. If you want jobs, educate your population. Come progress with India. Hope you understand the logic.

The present Kashmiri political leaders and leaders of Hurriyat now stand exposed. Their antics now lay bare the way they are fooling everyone in India and themselves. They can now no longer sustain their pseudo stand. They cannot face you people thus stay in the confines of their homes. They do not believe in your cause so do not allow their children to be part of any protests. The only things they understand is that keep these cauldrons boiling and enjoy all the fruits that are pumped in to keep the fire lit under this cauldron of hatred. They are the ladle, which keeps stirring the bitterness within. They are the people who can keep telling the world what should be done but can’t do a fig themselves. They are cheating and leading you to hell. The sooner you guys emancipate yourselves the better. I am fed up of paying taxes which is either pocketed by these politicians or flow down the Indus and Jhelum wasted in giving away subsidies. You have been spoilt because we are giving you fish rather than training you to catch your own. Had the Indian government been strong enough to set the tone and tenor right for your state, it would have remained “jannat”.

How many generations will fight this war with us Indians as you call us? You haven’t got many generations left if you don’t understand peace. Allow all communities to live and let live. Pundits yearn to go back home. Let good sense prevail, give peace a chance and give India a chance to help you develop. Ladakh and Jammu are getting step motherly treatment courtesy you. Indian armed forces are adding to the body count for no reason. This is getting beyond tolerable limits. Time now is ripe to choose either this side or leave us alone and migrate to the land of your friends’ philosophers and guides. You will be welcomed very warm heartedly, given a royal treatment, fed, clothed and settled like their very first class citizens. If not then they may tie up a bomb laden waistcoat around you to meet the promised virgins in the name of the most holy. Is it understood? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

LAL BATTI BAND

It is not surprising that it took the PM of this country to pass orders to stop using the Red Lights in this country. I only saw everyone who had this privilege continued using it unabated till the time it was officially withdrawn from them. Who would like to give up this small privilege? Not me, but poor me many a times did not even get a mode of transport fit for my rank. That I shall discuss subsequently. Will this have any effect on anything? Will things change? Will as the PM says I as an aam aadmi get any privileges? I have my serious doubts but well begun is half done sir, at least someone realised that the colour of light indicated the “area” affiliated to the colour of the light. One could use it after paying its owner a price mutually fixed including the “dalali” without which nothing moved in this country. I just hope it won’t be there anymore.

I remember as a 2Lt and a young Capt I was many a times detailed as a LO to all and sundry who visited that God forsaken place called Jaisalmer or JA-SALE-MER as we used to affectionately call it. Initially it used to be fun, as it was good riddance to the rigors of the unit routine but soon one realised that friend you are so often detailed not only because you do your job seriously but some people are royally trying to screw you. The task started from receiving a General at the airbase. I was lucky to make friends fast with the folks in blue and became a familiar figure with the ATC staff. They had so much confidence in me that in case of emergency they expected me to land a few flights too. Well, good old days they were.

A mess detachment needed to be deployed in the MES IB for the General plus a Ceremonial Guard besides a “sahayak” as he was known in those days. There was this MES guy called Gambhir Singh as the IB in charge who would not move irrespective of the colour of light on the car or the rotating red lights of a chopper. One mess detachment had to be at the air field under an L shaped tent for the Gen Saab to get off and take a leak. The tricky part used to be putting up a squarish kanat with a funnel adjusted to the correct height of the visiting dignitary or else it would appear to have drizzled in Jaisalmer looking at the sprinkle on his shoes. The ATC guys and gals detested this part, as all this “Maikma” used to come up right in front of the ATC and they always used to crib that they are being made witnesses to indecent exposure. From that height and their powerful binoculars they could see that there used to be no balls as attachments.

Our waiters didn’t know whether to hold the tent or the tray covers as the rotor downwash used to make sandwiches take off to pilots sitting in aircrafts ready for ORP (Operational Readiness Patrol). Buggers never thanked me though. The pilots of the helicopter and our dear Generals used to appreciate the crunchy veg sandwiches. I never had the heart to tell them that the crunch was not from the freshness of the cabbage leaves which were placed in lieu of salad leaves but from the sand particles from the dust storm the chopper had raised thus sand got sprinkled abundantly.

Well the story begins before the VIP visit as invariably a black Ambassador Staff car with a red light was made available to this one starrer a day prior to the visit. I used to switch the damn red light on even during mid day when the sun is the brightest and the temperatures used to be in the range of 42-50 degree C. The roads used to be lonely; the only thing staring at you was a passing camel with a sarcastic smile, trying to say that look you idiot, save electricity and switch the damn light off.  The poor camel didn’t know that this light runs free of cost. What a privilege it used to be! I used to dream one day that I too should have one.

The worst used to be when one had to go and check are re-check the MES IB in that scorching heat and the unit used to give a DR (motorcycle). They ensured that out of the 27 odd jeeps and jongas in the paltan none could be spared for yours truly. Worst was the sun protection one had to wear as special equipment issued which was a Second World War helmet. It used to be well covered with camouflage cloth cut away from my discarded combat dress, covered with a net and patched up with brown, green and khaki garnish cloth. The camouflage was important as any Pakistani flying aircraft may notice 2Lt Noel Ellis has left the unit and needs to be raided. No one realised, that the helmet was the first thing that fell off as there were four sandy patches to negotiate before reaching the IB. One never reached without sand inside the most interior parts of your dress besides one became hard of hearing as the sand clogged in your ears from the fall made you deaf too. One never had to use make up, as the thin powdery layer of sand ensured one was ready for a shoot anytime. I wish I had shared this secret with Dimple Kapadia when she was shooting for Rudali.

I remember very well that this lal batti culture was prevalent in the Army too. Every CO of the fraternity I belong to had a Number one gypsy, Number two, open gypsy, hard top and a reserve jeep. All had lal battis. I remember accompanying many of the “Old men” from various recces and training events way past mid night in the deserts. The damn flicker of that batti did not let you doze off even if one was three pegs down, on a lonely desert stretch followed by a broad four lane road with no traffic. The irony is that at the Cantt gate the vehicle was stopped & checked for the occupants thoroughly.  Though in addition to the red light, a long board with the appropriate appointment also used to glow below the wind shield, “COMMANDANT” in my case. A pennant (flag) on the side indicating that he is the top man didn’t make a difference to any villager, cow on the road or a truck driver who happened to pass by. But heavens used to fall on the driver, the Technical officer and the Adjutant if that Lal Batti didn’t glow. I used to be often admonished for not ensuring that the damn red light “not work” in fauji parlance as I held the two latter appointments several times.

Well, the lal batti may be band for now, but the people who misuse this lal batti need to come down to mother earth and behave themselves. Here I am talking about the politicians who have welcomed this move. I know in my heart that even without this lal batti the fleet of vehicles that surround them will devise a new method of bulldozing their way through. I know for sure that traffic lights will be manually controlled for these people. I know ambulances’ will still be delayed or halted for the VIPs without lal batti’s to go through. I know that there will be no change whatsoever in the attitudes and nature of people performing duties for them.

I have a suggestion for them; please start using a yellow flag, a huge one at that to indicate who is passing by. My uniformed and veteran fraternity will get the pun as they have buried a lot of it in the deserts where the yellow flag flew. Dear Netas please do something to improve your image and functioning without red lights and fast. Make do with lesser vehicles in your fleet, give space to me the common man. Will their dimag ki batti ever glow, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

NETAGIRI MUKT BHARAT

 

Moment the word Neta flashes across my mind I see someone who is dhoti clad, wearing sandals or chappals, a topi, adorning a typical half sleeves jacket folded hands kind of person. What impression I carry of a Neta is my thought of today. I have nothing against the dhoti or topi or any person in particular, but just a typical Neta as I perceive it. You can add or subtract from the long list I mention, so read on.

Neta means only Bhashans to eat free rations. Neta means a person wearing marigold garlands. He has hair protruding out of his ears. Neta means a person surrounded by chamchas, chelas, chapatas. Neta means a person whose secretary, driver and a white ambassador with lal batti follow everywhere. He has a big paunch, a big appetite for everything from notes, to votes, to bribes and ghoos. He likes free food and all the freebees he can get. Neta means VIP culture. Neta means surrounded by body guards, more the body guards bigger the Neta’s status. Neta mean meetings followed by meetings with nil output. He makes only false promises and raises false hopes. Neta means someone who backtracks from his words. He symbolises mudslinging and washing dirty linen in public. Neta means dharnas, loud speakers, andolans, jaloos, yatras, morchas, showing aksrosh for no reason. Neta means fraud basically.

These Netas just cannot salute properly. They often pick their nose in public besides picking faults in everything while in opposition. Neta means jumlas and bak-bak. It also means free foreign tours on sarkari planes and sponsored helicopter rides. Neta means hogging the limelight. Neta ensures traffic diversions. Netas means lines of bouquets which he doesn’t even appreciate or looks at. He will show folded hands and victory signs. Neta means huge shamiyanas, posters, banners, flags, bus loads of vela people in big pandals. Netas mean police bandobast. Neta means sprinkling of water, red carpet and rows of flower pots, Neta means khadi and starched dresses. Neta means dhamki, threats from his goondas and bouncers. Neta means a fleet of cars. For me Neta is actually just a symbolic figure craving for media attention and waiting to give a few bytes. God only knows how Neta’s garner support of the people and get elected. Neta is just a Neta without any meaning of the word.

I do not know how many will agree with me on my typical description of a Neta, which politicians call a leader. For me a leader is a military kind of leader. A leader is trained to lead. He is well educated. He takes quick decisions. A leader is an epitome of honesty. A leader shows unflinching integrity. He has an unwavering loyalty towards the naam of his nation, namak that he eats of this nation and the nishan (national flag) of this nation. A military leader is duty bound to maintain the sovereignty of the country at all costs even at the peril of his life. He takes an oath to protect the country against any external aggression and internal disorders. A leader leads by personal example, his conduct is par excellence, and his behaviour is balanced and mature.

A leader knows how to overcome fear; he instils hope in his men even in impossible circumstances. A leader’s mere presence gives confidence and boosts morale of his men in trying circumstances. Even if wounded he keeps guiding his men till his last breadth. A leader brings with him a sense of pride, honour and discipline. He practices basic courtesies and etiquettes. He shows respects towards women. He stands by his men and encourages team work. A leader is man enough to accept his faults and humble enough to promise to improve. A leader relates with his men, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, region, language or affiliation. He learns their language, he prays with them, he eats with them, goes hungry with them. He cares for them; he cares for their families and children too. Above all he makes relationships for a life time. He has the courage of conviction to call a spade a spade. He never gives up; he motivates his men in the thick of battle and relaxes with them in peace.

A leader puts the right man, at the right place, for the right job, at the right time. A leader continuously does SWOT analysis of his team, redeploys resources and men accordingly. He takes chances, he is adventurous besides he has foresight and anticipates bottlenecks.  A leader takes initiative. He is bold fearless and dauntless. Above all a leader is just and kind. A military leader is compassionate. He trusts in his subordinates, he believes in his command with his life. He is capable of punishing if need arises. Above all the leader remains cool, calm and composed in challenging circumstances. He laughs with his men; he maintains his sense of balance and encourages a sense of humour to keep his team going. He believes in camaraderie. He loves challenges but never lets his men and country down. This Military leader is human, down to mother earth with little or no expectations from Netas. A military leader delivers whenever called for a Neta only delivers speeches.

What do you find in common in the political Neta and a military leader? The answer is a straight, nothing. Just because some Neta, in some dharna brought in “reservations” the consequences of which we are still bearing, do we call him a leader? Yes in the freedom struggle of India I won’t doubt those legendary leaders. They fought for India’s independence. Will you call a Neta a leader because of his ability to do a rail roko kind of an agitation? The consequence is that today at the drop of a hat one can block the railways and put half the country to discomfort and inconvenience.

Just by shouting hai-hai, zindabad and murdabad does it become a yardstick to become a leader? Just by showing posters and banners does one become a leader? Is by disrupting parliament one passes as a leader? What are the qualifications for a Neta to become a leader? Does his family lineage give a licence to be a leader? Does good oratory give a guarantee of being a good leader? Does wearing khadi and a topi of whatever colour give an assurance that he is a leader. If he can polarise the public, can that be a benchmark of a good leader? Well I can keep asking questions there will be no end? I now am convinced our netas are not leaders. These people are good only at nautanki. They become netas with false lures and promises to our gullible janta. They are just netas as a name and appearance, not netas by their work and qualities. Their selfish interests are supreme the nation is someone else’ baby.

A Neta is supposed to be the front runner but in India it means the opposite. How are you Neta’s going to change your shoddy image? I leave it to the netas. One more request to the military leaders who have political ambitions, Sir’s kindly you don’t become “Netas”. We want to see you spearheading this nation to greater heights, with military decorum and precision. Like the BJP wants to see a Congress mukt Bharat, I on the other hand will definitely want to see a “Neta and Netagiri” mukt Bharat? Will I see true “leaders” governing my country in my life time? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

BY

LT COL NOEL ELLIS (RETD)

15/III/2017

Rumours were one thing which we were told to stay away from while in the forces. Now that I am a veteran, I can at least hear rumours and get carried away by them. I saw RM becoming the CM and another CM being considered to become the RM. Well, Mr Parrikar is already on his Goan beaches but who will fill his void is the rumour. Personally, I have nothing against anyone but technically I can guarantee, if a person of non defence background can do the job of the RM then I definitely can do it 439.09% better. If not then Ghasita Ram Halwai will also fit into the job. The PM is now pushing this country’s luck too far to dream of the unthinkable. My apprehensions will be confirmed that “andha bante rewri apne apne ko de”. Irony is that my armed forces will now have to “reinvent” warfare once again if this rumour is anywhere near to be true.

As a CM of a state he may be doing wonders but at the national level if the PM is seeing the potential of putting some CM as the RM then there must be something in him. My issue is not with this person, but what I am going to ask the PM is that he has a few well trained armed forces veterans, duly elected and rearing to go to do something for the armed forces. Then why has he not thought about them. I talk of Ex Army Chief, Gen VK Singh and Maj Gen BC Khanduri. Gen VKS is looking after foreign affairs well and Gen Khanduri has been a CM of a state, with an illustrious Army career, as also a fruitful political tenure in his kitty. With their experience as ground soldiers could there be a better choice to be RM of this country. Many veterans also wear the political caps, so if the cabinet of ministers could be shuffled sometime back, why can’t RM be a veteran that too with firsthand experience?

I can understand that the parliamentary committee decides who gets which portfolio but may I know from the PM what the criterion is for RM? Who decides such an important appointment? The RM is virtually on the mat answering for all shady defence deals. He is fighting war, terrorism, insurgency, shortages of men, material, equipment and ammunition from the deserts of Rajasthan to the icy heights of Siachen? Well, I won’t quote Field Marshal Sam Bahdur here who knew that they don’t know the difference between a guerrilla and a gorilla, a magazine and a magazine, a gun and a howitzer. Will a netaji know the difference between a phased array radar and an over the horizon radar, the difference between LC and LoC? He won’t know the difference between the Radcliff line and the McMahon line. He might know the actor Mac Mohan as Samba of Sholay fame. He won’t know the difference between the hitch knot and a reef knot and he would be dealing with submarines of the nuclear kinds. Will he know hand and flag signals? I am sure he would know light signals as was done in the movie Titanic. Would he know that there is something called a rotor down wash or nape of earth flying? Will he know that the most important nut in a helicopter is called the Jesus nut?

My questions continue. Will he explain the difference between a two men trench and an LMG trench? Will he understand a crow bar, of course he would know of a crow and a bar girl. Will he know the difference between a safety catch and a safety match, Shikari position and dhava position? Will he know chizen 6-S aur ek-M ki vajah se dikhti hain? Will he know what a bridge head is? He may know an ex girlfriend called Bridgett all right. Will he be able to pronounce Taknakpaktso? Will he know the difference between “tashi dileg” and “julle”? I am sure he must have seen this movie called Julie 100 times. Navy guys you better avoid saying “aye-aye” sir, or it may be misconstrued as saying something about his mom in Marathi.

He might be navigating on the GPS of his mobile phone alright, but can he indicate targets seeing through his Eye ball Mark-II. Can he tell me as to how many degrees are there in his hands? I hope he doesn’t refer this to his geometry teacher or a palmist? In defence there is no politics. Things are either black or white. We don’t like the shades of grey. We identify friends from foe. We love our friends and eliminate our foes. Yes, the only thing we don’t know is politics of any kind.

If the qualification of the defence minister is to sit in south block and just sign deals, then I am the best person. I can assure you, the Finance Minister will dread coming in front of me because I shall sit right in front of his office till he gives me funds. The transport minister will have to stop all projects and work on the border roads till the time I am satisfied that all posts and my last man is well connected. Pakistan will tremble because they shall be getting 10 times the dose of each cease fire violation. All the fodder that the media gets about food not being good, shahayaks etc will be sorted out within days of my taking over. All welfare schemes for the ex-servicemen would be implemented within the first year. War widows and orphans would be my personal responsibility for which I shall create a special wing in my ministry. All cases in any courts pending will be sorted out on priority and no one will be begging for his rights. Yes Mr PM, all my manpower in terms of officers and men will be made up even if I have to make another Indian Military Academy and National Defence Academy or both. Defence of my country and morale of my men will be my first priority always and every time. There will be no income tax for any fauji, serving or retired whatsoever. If kissans and doctors have this privilege so will we have it? If you won’t listen to me, I will sit in front of your office Mr PM till you condescend to the needs of this RM. Do you have the guts to take me?

I know the answers to all questions I asked above. Be rest assured Mr PM I will do it if I have said it provided you give me a chance. We are waiting for the promised ache din. Sir, you have qualified manpower for the most coveted post. If you don’t appoint them, then I am available. They chose to become dhotiwalas to understand the political system and are now waiting for you to give a nod. If you don’t appoint veterans, then may I request all veterans in the present cabinet to resign? Will they? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

DEFENCE MINISTRY OF INDIA IS HEADLESS

The lotus has bloomed at many places this Holi, the hand shook hands with some, the broom failed to sweep, the cycle was damaged beyond repair and the rest is history. What has been gained and what has been lost in these elections that time will tell. I wish the parties all the best now to fulfil their dreams and desires to take the states to new horizons. This was obvious in pre poll bhashans, now I would like to see that whatever you were unhappy about improves drastically. I know it will need time, but I am an impatient voter. I have brought you in for a change. I voted for you for purely selfish reasons. I look forward to see Achhe din, from all the parties which will make governments. If you guys fail me, I will have no choice but to bear with you for the next five years otherwise I shan’t give you another chance.

My issue today is how can national priorities be less significant than the party priorities? How can the nation be left into a lurch in guise of peoples need, for whatever reasons. Well let me put it point blank, because I am from a defence community which bears the brunt by losing lives in line of duty every day. Yes friends, I am not happy with the decision of moving the defence minister. Imagine, in one day a man who was responsible for everything related to defence will suddenly now go back from where he came. All the hard work which he might have put in, all the policies which he would have evolved, all the decisions he would have taken, the style of functioning which he would have brought in for the working of the defence ministry would change overnight.

The people of Goa have decided that he should be the Chief Minister. What were the people of Goa doing till now? Let all of us from the armed forces also send a petition to the PM that the country’s defence is more important than one state. I cannot list out what Mr Parrikar has done for the forces since taking over which the Chiefs can answer better. In fact they should be the ones who should be consulted whether it would be prudent to move him immediately.  On the other hand it was quite surprising that India did not have an exclusive Defence Minister till Mr Jaitley shifted to pure finance. I am upset, how can we be so casual and callous about a post which is involved in real battle day in and day out with both the internal and external enemies. We have deals in the pipe line which no one else but the defence minister would have lined up. There would be policies which would have been worked out in great details which the new incumbent would take at least a year to understand especially OROP and details of 7th pay commission (selfish me). There would be Secrets which would only be known to the defence minister and now it would be known to another minister and in case he too changes then one can understand how many ears would know and how many mouths will speak. Official secrets act is good for just signing on the first on Jan every year that’s all. Defence deals can be done by bureaucrats, minister saab was just a stamp it appears.

Politics and especially this kind of politics increases my dislike for the people who do it. I am convinced now that the arrogance of winning is getting to the head. I have to be prepared for such decisions which now will be taken more often. Who am I to even think of questioning it? Had BJP not got the desired number of seats which they got today in Goa, could they have dared to think of making a government? Mr Parrikar would have continued to be defence minister. Today, the defence ministry is headless. Had the PM been so much in love with his desh and desh wasis he should have first announced that who will be the replacement of the defence minister. Goa is not running away to the Portuguese again but every second delayed in terms of a defence decision will surely lead to some enemy taking advantage of the situation. I wish this contingency should have been thought out well in advance. Before firing India’s defence minister to Goa, a successor should have been geared up. I hope now someone with a defence background is put in that chair, enough of tomfoolery.

Politics if compared to Holi proves by the end of the day one cannot make out the real face of a person. That is what I see happening at the highest political level. People are changing colours so fast in the name of party and politics that the real intention of the face and person is getting blurred. This nation cannot progress if we do not grow above party politics. India is being harmed like hell in the name of what people want.  Politicians in power are being too self-centred. What the neta’s want; it is my party, my win, my man, my ideas which are being plastered on the common man forgetting why we became national leaders. I conjecture the aim was to get in more members to the Rajya Sabha and votes for the presidential Electoral College so as to bring in your man as President of this country. For this the PM and his cabinet camped away from the real place of work for days. Aim achieved, bills will now be passed faster, our men will be in the highest positions, colour of the mask does matter, colour of the scarf does matter, the man behind the mask need not matter.

All these are my apprehensions folks; I am seeing a change in the Indian polity, which is definitely required. I know to take tough decisions; the colour of the party dress has to be the same. I also agree that some decisions may not be palatable to everyone like this one of side stepping the Defence Minister for selfish reasons as I see it. I would only request the PM, that sir; defence is no joke, nor child’s play. Kindly be serious and let us not leave the defence ministry headless. Such appointments should never be touched even if party pressures force you to do it, otherwise comedians can also fit the bill of the defence minister. Will you get the deeper meaning of what I plead Mr PM? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

MY BLOOD IS STILL OLIVE GREEN

“Shaheedon ki chitaon par lagenge har baras mele,
Watan par marne walon ka yahi baki nishaan hoga”

Well, jo watan par mit chuke aaj unhe koi poochta nahi, par jinhone watan par mitne ke liye kasam khayi thi aur aaj seva nivrit ho chuke hain unko kab aur kaun poochega, is the question which is eating me up from inside. We as a community are left to be seen only for our march past skills on the republic day. A few of us who still live with those small little roundels on our chest are left with half a clap by the crowd which is sitting along the Raj path, as everyone is busy either checking the parade menu, or is distracted by a flying aircraft, or has his attention to spot some VIP. Most of them are busy holding on to their seat and one for his relative. The parade continues to march past even if it rains, but the crowd runs for cover or the nearest umbrella which they can find. So friends of the uniformed community, including veterans, let us not live in a make belief world, the ground reality is that everyone is too busy with his own life and priorities. Unfortunately, after the parade even national flags are thrown on the road side. If one has a spot quiz, 90% of the people will not know the marching contingents that participated, leave alone the types of tanks, missiles or radars on parade. If you will ask them who was the parade commander? You are bound to draw a blank. Yes, they might tell you how many riders were there in the motorcycle display, or how much they enjoyed a particular state tableau. Yes how many horses did potty will be answered without hesitation. Why has this thought run across my mind is what I want to share with my friends.

Pakistan is said to be bleeding us with a thousand cuts, but now our own media is bleeding us with 1001, I feel. The nation stands behind us we know and are convinced, but is the media with us? I am very unsure. Reasons I shall discuss as we go by.

I got back from our weekly shopping yesterday around 9 PM, so decided to see the news. Moment I saw Gen GD Bakshi on a channel I paused to listen in. I found all the Lone’s, Rashid’s, Dar’s and a couple of more Kashmiri’s in the thick of battle, ganged up together trying to pelt words which were deadlier than bullets at our General and a Major. How they spoke to the veterans and about the country was not palatable to me at all. I felt hurt as they left me bruised and battered, mentally if not physically. The dissent mongers continued unabated with the same old rant, courtesy our democracy, and free speech. I find them now openly accusing and abusing our armed forces for all the chaos there. I really got cheesed off and switched off the TV to think that why we the veterans are allowing these media channels to tear us apart. If media is so passionate about the country, then why isn’t the whole media in Kashmir to see and report the other side of the ground realities? TV studios are fine, who stops them to expose who is at fault from ground zero. Let investigative journalism be seen.

A few days back a jawan committed suicide, reason was media. Poor guy spoke something, which was recorded by a journo, without his knowledge and the result, one family devastated, one regiment broken, one trained soldier less for falling prey to media. We have journalists, who have the audacity to debate what our army chief should say or not say. My foot! They have the cheeks to question his choice of words, my second foot! Well thanks to free speech and your democracy again. They are the ones who go hammer and tongs after our Ex Air Chief for the chopper scam. Where does their morality and love for the forces evaporate then? One damn recruitment paper for other ranks is leaked it becomes news headlines where as things like vyapam, the Bihar cheating cases are ticker news not even headlines.  People of the Ms Dutt fame rose to lime light from the Kargil conflict, now sympathise with a terrorist called Burhan Wani in garb of balanced coverage. I wish I had a third foot. A jawan reports bad food being served, such news and debates continue ad nauseam. We as a community are just stay mum. What do these journalists know how we keep ourselves fed and why do we starve in certain circumstances? Will they know when an encounter is on, food and rest are priority 99? Just because they have a licence to yap, they find us as easy targets because we are straight, simple and forthright people. Shame!

Till today the OROP agitation continues at jantar mantar without any breach of disciple? Have you heard more than half a word in the last one month on any channel? Is it because the government has gagged them? Is the media shit scared to go against the government? Then they say they are not paid media? If the media thinks it is so powerful, or can change things in the country then stop covering the rallies of the PM. Have you guys got the guts? Stop covering any poll campaigns in any state, your channels will be declared bankrupt in two days. Stop sensationalising and covering wailing mothers, wives and children of martyrs, I would suggest go and find out who was responsible for this soldiers death. Expose to the nation the real nexus of this militancy and terrorism. I feel heartbroken when I see those images, I feel pained when you shove the mike into the mouths of shattered mothers, wives, friends, and children. Questions like “Aap bare hoke kya banoge”?  It is easy to interview Burhan wani’s father, but leave alone the father of a soldier who has just lit his son’s funeral pyre.

You people do not know what paces every man in uniform has to go through. You people will never understand the pain with which a person turns into a veteran on one fine day. Remember you friends of the media, we still have the colour of our uniform as the colour of our blood in our body and I proudly say my blood is OLIVE GREEN. How many of you have sent your children to be part of the armed forces? Though, some of you are children of armed forces fraternity alright. Today, every time I see the national flag, I first salute the “Nishan” of this country of which I still eat “Namak” by virtue of being a pensioner. The “Naam” of my nation comes first always and every time. So what I have grown old and weak. I may walk with a walking stick or on a wheel chair but I still feel proud to display medals on my chest. I still do not dither to motivate young minds to join the uniformed community at every opportunity I get. I am a veteran, I have done my duty for my country, and I shall continue doing so till my last breath. Will you guys of the media now leave my community alone? We have a herculean task of keeping the integrity and sovereignty INDIA to maintain. If we falter on our duty, you guys will be extinct. Yes, we can do mistakes, and admit it like a man. We are punished promptly because my system cannot stand defaulters. Is that the same on your side? Then why am I treated as a third rate citizen to be pitted against separatists, terrorist, militant supporters, Pakistani loyalists, and people with anti India sentiments by you all.

My humble request to you all is to get hold of the real culprits of this nation, expose them, and tear them apart. You actually know the culprits. Use them as your cannon fodder if you really want this country to reach greater heights. Do not make us scapegoats and please do not fire guns from our shoulders. I won’t curse you as you are my fellow countrymen, but are you going to listen to the plea of this Unknown Soldier? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

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