Monday, April 25, 2011

Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh MVC - An already forgotten hero?

We have, yet again shown to the World, that we Indians are an ungrateful Nation. Because time and again, we have forgotten our National heroes. Those, that put their lives at peril to guard the frontiers of our Country, and made sure that we live - independent and free, each day.

One such soldier of the soil - Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh MVC - also the Maharaja of Jaipur, fought brevely for the Nation, during the 1971 Indo - Pak war. So bravely, that the Nation decorated him with India's second highest gallantry award - the Maha Vir Chakra. Yet, when he died on April 17, 2011, his death went cirtually un-noticed amongst the cricket, the scams and the other problems that took precedence in this insensitive Country.

Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur was born on October 22 1931 to Sawai Man "Jai" Singh II (Maharaja of Jaipur from 1911) and Marudhar Kanwar of Jodhpur, the first of his father's three wives (who would die when her son was 13). Given the nickname "Bubbles" by his British nanny because of the gallons of champagne consumed at his birth, Bhawani Singh became 39th head of Kachwaha clan of Rajputs and Maharaja of Jaipur following the death of his father, Sawai Man "Jai" Singh II, at a polo match in Cirencester in 1970.

The Crown Prince was educated at the Doon School, Dehradun, and later at Harrow. As a young man he chose to join the the Indian Army. He was commissioned into Indian Army in the 3rd Cavalry regiment as a Second Lieutenant in 1951 and was selected for the President's Bodyguard in 1954 and was with the country's first President Rajendra Prasad till 1963.Later he was posted as Adjutant in the Indian Millitary Academy.

He joined the Parachute Regiment and becoming commanding officer of the 10th Parachute Regiment in 1968.

The Indo - Pakistan war broke out in December 1971. Bubble's account of courage and bravery, typical of true Rajput blood can best be described in the citation that he received along with his Maha Vir Chakra:

"His Highness Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur of Jaipur commanded 10 Parachute (Special Forces) during the 1971 Indo-Pak War as a Lt. Col. On the night of 05 December 1971, he led his men deep into the enemy territory and for four days and nights, with complete disregard for his personal comfort and safety, made skillful and relentless raids on the strongly held enemy posts at Chachro and Virawah. His inspired leadership and personal courage led to the capture of large areas of the enemy territory and created panic and confusion among the enemy, forcing them to retreat, leaving behind large number of prisoners and equipment.

In this operation, His Highness Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur set an example of personal courage, exceptional qualities of leadership and devotion to duty in the highest traditions of the Indian Army and was thus honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra."

'Bubbles' retired from the Army and later served as India's ambassador to Brunei. He was bestowed with the rank of Honorary Brigadier - a rank that he held till his death in April this year.

His passing away went virtually unnoticed in this Country. A true Rajput, a brave and fierce and above all - a loyal Indian soldier, will sadly fade away in the sands of time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pictures to make you feel good....

Sunset time over the river Rhone, in Lyon, France

Sunset over Brussels, Belgium, June 2009 (Time 9.45 pm)

Sunset over river Liffey – Dublin, Ireland, August 2009

Carnival in Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2009

Sunrise at India Gate, September 2009

View from atop Raisina Hill, September 2009

“Remember - upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all”

The title of this post is a well known quote of ‘Alexander The Great’ . Very apt - at a time when a good part of the Country’s population has been swept with the sentiment surrounding Anna Hazare’s ‘fast unto death’ as a means to force the Government to get the Lokpal Bill moving.
People of all age groups and from all walks of life came forward to support Anna Hazare’s battle to eradicate corruption. All these people are convinced that all Netas and Babus in this Country are completely corrupt, and all Indians have suffered at their hands. This is the time and the opportunity to being them to book. So all these people gathered at India Gate, shouted, cursed the corrupt politicians and the government, raised slogans. And when the Government ‘gave in’ to the demands of the fasting Gandhian, it was victory for everyone ! According to this group, something really good had happened, at least a beginning, and now there was hope.
“How naive people could be?” – I had thought then, and now. Where does corruption start? And who is responsible? Is it only the bribe taker? Who pays bribes to the Neta or the public servant? It is the citizens. We pay bribes to cut through the long and painful red tape. Or we pay bribe when we err on the wrong side of the law, and want to get away scot free. Corruption is a two way street, isn’t it?
What Alexander The Great said, was in a ‘millitary’ context, but the principle fully applicable to civil society. Simply put, unless each one of us does his own small bit, the society at large will not change. And each one can contribute in many ways. Here are some
  • Use the power of your vote to elect only those politicians who are honest and capable. Reject those whose character is questionable.
  • Respect and obey systems and laws. Even if this means delays, harassment and frustration.
  • Stop considering dishonesty and unlawfulness as something smart. Look down upon those that display this behaviour in society.
And last but not the least – lead by example. For it is we who have to change – not any nameless, faceless villain amongst us.