Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Captain Mullah was commanding a sea vessel of the Indian Navy - a frigate "INS Khukri" during the war. His ship was part of a squadron that was tasked to seek and destroy Pakistani ships and submarines.
On the night of December 9, 1971, INS Khukri was hit by torpedoes fired from a Pakistani submarine, and started sinking. Realizing this, Captain Mullah ordered to crew - some 300 officers and sailors - to abandon ship. He also realized that many men were trapped in the sinking vessel below the deck.
Unmindful of this personal safety, and choosing to stay with the ship when he could have opted to save himself, he took it upon himself to personally supervise the rescue of the trapped men.
As Genl Cardozo related the story - "being the man that he was, he knew that it was not right for him to save himself while his sailors went to a watery grave".
In those final moments when the ship sank, Captain Mullah helped as many as he could, staying on the bridge of the ship till the end.
The INS Khukri sank some 45 nautical miles off the coast of Diu. Captain Mullah went down with the vessel he commanded, and laid down his life. In the words of Commandeer Manu Sharma, a batchmate of Captain Mullah, and one of the crew of that ill fated ship that night, had been forced to jump off the ship, by Captain Mullah, and was swimming to safety when he caught the last glimpse of the "Khukri" In Sharma's words - "`The bow of the ship was pointing upwards at an angle of eight degrees and sinking slowly. I got a glimpse of Captain Mulla sitting on his chair and hanging on to the railing. He was still smoking a cigarette."
Captain Mullah's last action and behavior were seen as an act of gallantry and courage in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Millitary forces. A grateful Natione awarded him the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.
Why did Captain Mullah choose to go down with his sinking ship and meet his watery grave? Was it some silly, centuries old Naval custom?
Many have attempted to explain why Captain Mullah gave up his life by choice when he could have save himself easily.
Major General Ian Cardozo who authored the book "The Sinking of INS Khukri -Survivors' Stories" described Captain Mahendra Nath Mullah's action -
"Captain Mullah's story brings into focus the outstanding character qualities of a man that sets him part from other mortals. The manner in which he died upholds the highest the traditions of the armed forces and exemplifies the upper limits of cold courage. He believed in the old Army motto - that the nation comes first, that the men he commands come next, and his safety comes last. This naval officer made this come true and made it an example for all of us to follow. In this brave and heroic action, Captain Mulla teaches us not only how to live, but how to die"
Ameeta Mullah Wattal - Captain Mullah's elder daughter, who was but a teenager when she lost her father says this - "I have often wondered what made my father decide to go down with his ship after it was torpedoed during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Did he do it because he wanted his name enshrined in history books as a man of valour? Did he do it because it was part of an old archaic naval tradition, or did he accompany his ship into the sea because he felt it was the right thing to do?"
Ameeta was perhaps right. For Captain Mullah - this was the only right thing to do..
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
A General remembers (Excerpts from General Sundarji's book -"Of Some Consequence - A Soldier Remembers..."
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This has been contributed by an old School mate David Conquest who lives in Australia.
"The Commonwealth Games are apparently under way. Not without
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
And if things do go wrong, guess who's always be blamed ? Yes - the committee..!
Sex is certainly not a Commonwealth sport. So how come..??
The key drivers of such fast "consumer off take" apparently are - more than 7000 athletes in the Village, a lot of time at their disposal, and many of them knocked out - (pun unintended - I mean they are out of the sporting events which they came to participate in) in the early days of the Games.
Well - the athletes are enjoying themselves. We are the good hosts, as ever. And the condom Company's sales team will have a good month to report.
Everyone's happy. And I am not complaining either. All I can say is - "Play on - safe"
Monday, October 04, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Less than two weeks to go. Teams from some Countries are already here. Is Indian ready - for what is easily one of the biggest events she has ever hosted in her history? An show that every Country would pride itself in putting up. A show that every guest attending would remember for a long, long time...
Less than two weeks to go. Construction in stadia and the games village is still incomplete. And whatever is supposedly complete - some towers in the games village which houses the living apartments for the participating teams - have been clearly and unambiguously been certified as 'un livable'. Because animals are roaming around inside apartments and 'shitting' on top of the beds. Electrical systems are faulty and therefore there is danger to life.
Yesterday, a foot bridge meant to be used by the team members and officials collapsed, injuring 23 people.
A foreign journalist manages to purchase explosives - enough to organise 200 different explosions, stuff all of that into a large suitcase, and then slips in, into the games premises. So much so, for security, two days after a firing incident in which two foreigners were injured, and the message from a terrorist organisation clearly stating that the Games will be targeted.
Amongst all this, the Organising Committee, The Minister for Urban Development remain shamelessly unfazed. Jaipal Reddy termed the bridge collapse as a 'minor incident'. In his definition any incident in which people didn't die, is minor !
Bhanot - a senior office bearer of the Organising Committee dismisses the mess in the games village by stating the standards of hygiene are different for Indians and foreigners. Let me ask him - how would his Indian sensibilities respond when he checks in, into a hotel or a guest house, and finds dog poop right on top of the bed? Or when female members of his family look out of the window and see the staff urinating in front of their eyes? Is all of that fine with him, because he is Indian?
Indian hosted the Asian Games in 1982. And we put up a damn good show, by any standards, thanks to an organising committee who were bothered about India's reputation and prestige. The OC was led by Rajiv Gandhi and supported by two of his everyday political supporters - Arun Nehru and Arun Singh.
The story goes that one evening, just two or three days before the games were to begin, they got to know that the roof of one of the stadia was leaking. The three of them mobilised a team, and stood guard the whole night, and left only when the problem was fixed.
Twenty eight years have passed between then and now. And the extent to which our character, values and sense of responsibility as a Nation, has eroded is evident to one and all.
While all of us wait and watch, what's left now is one by one, teams will take a decision and not attend the Commonwealth Games 2010, because they are being hosted by India- a land, where a guest is supposed to be regarded as God.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
(This blog post has been adapted mostly from the book titled:
"Leadership in the Indian army: biographies of twelve soldiers"By Major General (Retd.) V. K. Singh)
Friday, September 10, 2010
But then I also wonder at Mr. Satyendra Garg's decision about imposing a fine. To me, it is unfair. There would be a handful of drivers, who are totally insensitive and do not move out of the way, when an ambulance or a fire engine wants to pass. And such drivers should be punished.
I am certainly not insensitive. But I have a problem with this decision taken by the police.
This is the normal scene on a typical road, at practically ANY time of the day. I travel on such roads daily, as do thousands of drivers. Just for a moment, imagine you are the driver of any one of those cars you see in the picture. And imagine that there is an ambulance or a fire engine behind you. ....
My question to you is - HOW - do I move out of the way to give way to that emergency vehicle? I along with others am 'packed' like sardines on this road. I cannot move towards my left, and I certainly cannot move to the right.
Where do I move??
Mr. Garg - I would like you to look at this photo also and answer my question please !
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Lately, there has been a lot of debate about he dilution of the 'Armed Forces Special Powers Act' of the AFSPA as its popularly (or infamously, now) known. The people of Jammu & Kashmir, as well as the State Government are strongly lobbying for dilution, repealing or at least diluting this Act. Others - champions of human rights, NGOs and so on, have also found opportunity to 'drift with the flow'. The Army, on the other hand feels, that rather than diluting the Act, it should be made even more stringent, thus enabling the Army to be more effective in dealing with the task that it has been entrusted with - that of fighting insurgency.
There is however, one dimension to this issue that sadly gets ignored always. In recent times, it is the Army that gets pulled in, at the drop of the hat, in almost any kind of civil emergency situation. The kind if situations that our soldiers are called to help in, are communal riots, natural calamities - floods, tsunami earthquakes etc, and now on a kind of permanent basis - counter insurgency.
It needs to be emphasised that the primary role of the Indian Army is to guard the frontiers of the Country. And, in a situation where the enemy States act in a manner that threatens the sovereignty of India, the Army fights to ward off any such threat, and this might mean killing enemy soldiers.
Considering this role, every single jawan or officer recruited into the Army, is trained from his first day of existence in the force, to fight a war and kill. For that is his 'raison de etre' in the Army. Over a period of years, his entire mental and physical make up, his psyche is that of a warrior.
Any Government however, will not hesitate even a little, in taking a decision to deploy the Army in situations where close civilian contact is warranted. In many such situations, the Army is helping out civilians from 'near death' situations.
And why does the Government trust the Army more than the thousands strong police forces and the para military forces? Because the Government knows that because of the strict code of discipline and chain of command, the army is the most effective in all such situations. This was also the reason why the Army first got deployed to fight insurgency and terrorism. The army did not want this, because this isn't the role of the Army. More importantly, this is certainly not what an average army man is trained for.
And when in the process of fighting terrorism, there is collateral damage by way of some civilians becoming causalities, it is the same Army that is blamed squarely.
Isn't this unfair?
It isn't the Army that's doing anything wrong. Its the political decisions that are all wrong.
The Army is tired of doing jobs that it wasn't expected to do. So therefore, by all means, repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. But at the same time, pull the Army out of all such situations, where you first depend upon them and ask for their help, and then blame them.
Its time the the para military forces - thousands of jawans, move in, to take over that job that the Army finds itself 'reluctant' to do. These jawans need to be trained, properly equipped with arms and weapons, and then deployed. If necessary, raise a specialised force to combat terrorism. But for God's sake, leave the Army out of this.