Thursday, January 31, 2013


A Mark of Honour
at his home in Alappuzha - Photo by Jackson Arattukulam

It was 1987. General K. Sundarji was in Pune, briefing senior Southern Command officers on the Fourth Pay Commission, when a lowly captain asked an uncomfortable question. He wanted to know why his basic had actually gone down, after the rank pay was introduced. There was a buzz in the room. The chief told the captain to meet him separately, he would explain the issue. “I didn't seek private audience later. I was too junior,” chuckles Major A.K. Dhanapalan (retd). “I actually had no business rubbing shoulders with senior officers that day, except that I was operating the computer for the conference. But I hadn't got it wrong. I was right, bang on.” The Engineers officer chanced upon the anomaly when he was asked to work on preparing the pay fixation of defence civilian setups, like Military Engineering Service, on the Fourth Pay Commission template. “That year, the commission introduced a rank pay for defence officers between the ranks of captain to brigadier, which was 0200 at captain rank. But what it actually did was deduct the same amount from the basic pay and give it as rank pay. Since all emoluments are linked to basic, not only was there no net gain, we were actually losing out,” Dhanapalan explains. He redid his calculations several times till he was convinced the government had tricked the defence officers. “I wanted to take the matter to court, but I was in Pune and the High Court in Mumbai. Then, I got posted to Udhampur, and the High Court was in Jammu. Next, I was transferred to Port Blair....” Dhanapalan finally got his opportunity on being posted to Kochi in 1995. His office was close to the Kerala High Court; it was time to make that move. His colleagues were shocked at his daring. His advocate, too, was not convinced. The court, however, understood and ruled that the Union of India should pay the rank pay arrears and an interest of 6 per cent. The matter went on appeal and a division bench of the court upheld the judgment. The government took the matter to the Supreme Court but had to eat humble pie when, in 2006, the court rejected its plea. He did not stop there. The arrears, while welcome, were not his goal. His aim was to alert defence personnel not to be lulled into complacency by the “you are being looked after” attitude of the establishment. So he photocopied the verdict and posted them to officers and clubs he had addresses of. “That itself cost me a bomb,” he recalls. One such letter reached Colonel B.K. Sharma. Sharma was the first officer to do motorcycle daredevilry in the Republic Day parade in 1978. Post-retirement, he realised it was daredevilry time again, this time to take on the government for which he had once fought. He circulated copies of the judgment in canteens and clubs. Knowing there was strength in numbers, some retired officers got together and registered Retired Defence Officers' Association (RDOA) and filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court in 2007. Meanwhile, across India, officers were litigating for the same demand, and all the cases were finally clubbed together before a division bench of Justices Markandey Katju and R.M. Lodha.
“We had not bargained for the level of resistance from the government. Instead of conceding gracefully, they tried repeatedly to stonewall us,” says Sharma. When in 2010, the bench ruled that it agreed with the reasoning of the Kerala High Court that rank pay be paid retrospectively, with 6 per cent interest, the government filed a transfer petition before a bench of three judges. The three service chiefs recommended to the solicitor general to withdraw the litigation and honour the judgment. The defence ministry, however, pressured the chiefs to withdraw their written communique. In a rare show of defiance, the chiefs stood their ground. The RDOA had to file an RTI to confirm the service chiefs' stance on the matter. “They used every tactic, from pleading inability to meet the financial burden to the solicitor general not appearing in court, due to which proceedings would get postponed,” recalls Sharma. “This summer, when the court fixed the last hearing day on September 4, we actually wrote to the law ministry that so many officers had already died in the last 26 years. Delaying justice was not fair, so either they withdraw the special leave petition or ensure the solicitor general be present in court on September 4.” The final hearing was a marathon session. The government made a last ditch plea that interest be paid only to litigants. The court refused. However, it reduced the date of calculation of interest from 1986 to 2006 at 6 per cent, ordering that it be paid within 12 weeks. “This is a big victory,” says RDOA advocate Aishwarya Bhati. “It gives a shot in the arm to all other cases that the defence personnel have been fighting.” According to RDOA, over 45,000 officers, retired and serving, will benefit, and it will also impact pensions and widow pensions. The amounts, Sharma calculates, will range from around 06 to 01 lakh, depending on length of service and rank held. The government claims it is a burden of 01,600 crore. “It isn't about money. We fought on principle and we have won our prestige,” says Sharma, but admits being flooded with congratulatory calls, all of them with the suffix, “Mujhe kitna milega? (How much will I get?)” How did only Dhanapalan get wise to the anomaly? “Faujis are great at protocol, discipline and a hundred other virtues. Studying payslips isn't among those, unfortunately. They usually don't question what goes to the bank, or do the sums themselves,” says Dhanapalan.
There are many other issues with defence pay and entitlements, but defence personnel say the government is changing tactics. Instead of risking its decisions being challenged in court, it now procrastinates. The Sixth Pay Commission anomalies are an example. Last heard, a four-member committee headed by the cabinet secretary was appointed to look into the issue. Then Navy chief Nirmal Verma had expressed anguish at no defence representative being on the committee. Meanwhile, the man who ignited the spark sits back with a smile. “The government paid arrears only till 1996. I decided not to contest it, as by then, RDOA took up the fight.” There are fears the government might give arrears only till 1996 to others, too. “My mission is accomplished. No longer will faujis take at face value what is given to them. They have learnt to read between lines, ask, and fight for their dues,” says Dhanapalan, getting ready to go to the temple.
Message received from Maj AKD issent for yourfor kind consideration.
Dear Veterans, In the resent past a few issues have come up in the blog concerning the Armed Forces Personnel and the Veterans. A few of them are:- 1. Non Functional Up gradation (NFU) to officers. 2. Amending the Pension Regulations of the Armed Forces. 3. Non-Implementation of Judgments of AFTs which is around 2000. 4. Payment of 100% pension to the Veterans up to the age of 60 years (age for superannuation for central Govt employees) and payment of OROP thereafter. 5. Separate Ministry or a Defense Board (like that of Railway) for Armed Forces Personnel. 6. Cadre Review (being done at every 5 years in other Departments) 7. Date of Birth (DOB) issue of Army Chief himself. 8. Difference of pension between two immediate Ranks is more than Rs.11,000/-PM 9. With drawl of existing Rank Pay by 6th CPC (replacing with grade pay to give additional emoluments to civilian employees and also to create an equation between civ and Mily.) 10. Majors with more than 15 years of service equated with cadets and Hony Lt. (PB-3). 11. A meaningful resettlement of Armed Forces Veterans. 12. Dignity (Izzath) of the personnel in niform/Protocol/precedence, V/s civilians. The above are some of the major issues that are occupying internet mails and blogs nowadays. The blame is put on the babus of MOD and the Politicians. But one must think honestly…Are they fully responsible for these omissions. What is role of the Service HQs? Can we give a clean chit to service HQs on these issues? Are they not responsible for creating such a mess? Take the example of Judgments passed by the AFTs:- It is understood nearly 2000 judgments are pending for implementation. The Service HQs are the Nodal agency for their implementation. So the service HQs are answerable for the non-implementation. Can we blame the MOD for this.? If there is a problem, the service HQs should come out publically or inform the Ex-servicemen associations or at least inform the individual about the factual position rather than some “goal..Mall…English” , so that he can take further action. If some decision is needed from the Ministry, the service HQs should put up the note and get the same in a time frame. The service HQs should also give the present position of all judgments immediately in the web site for the info of all. Similarly, Is it not the responsibility of the Service HQs to get themselves involved in drafting the Pension Rules of men under their command? Is it possible now? When a dept called”Ex-servicemen welfare” has been created during 2004 , outside the Service HQs, no one has raised their voice. Even no one commented on the instructions issued by that dept regarding welfare, re-employment and re-habilitation of Ex-servicemen which can only be termed as an Essay on Ex-servicemen - no seriousness about the welfare-every org even the companies have the welfare schemes linked to their Provident Funds, whereas we depend on the mercy of some one which is also now restricted to only war widows and disabled which is the full responsibility of the Govt of India being the employer, re-employments are left to the States which only remained in paper, without any mechanism to check. How many vacancies in a year- now body knows, whether it commensurate with the number of retires in a year and the re-habilitation left to none- to the fate. There is yet another org called re-settlement , the jawans of the great Army is put on “Chowkidar” duties in front offices, hotels, houses for a petty 1500 to a max of 5000/- without any other benefits and taking commission out of it. (the benefit of pension of such person goes to the employers, if otherwise they have to pay salary like any other employee with other benefits like leave, pension, Provident Funds, ESI facilities etc- Take the case of the biggest employers-BSNL, Air Ports, Customs etc and see the difference between their regular employees and the “Chowkidars” under the re-settlement scheme- one can only feel pity!!) – No one has raised any voice on this policy issued by the newly created “Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare”. The service HQs felt very happy that this burden has gone from them.- So how can you blame that Dept now, for making a Pension Reg or any Regulation as they feel like? At least C’nt it be challenged in the Court of Law? Why is it not being done by the Army Chief who has filed a case for his own benefit, Is it the HONOR OF THE ARMY lies on the honor of the Army Chief or on the Soldiers of the Army? Where is pride of the Army Chief when lot many ex-servicemen are in the street with begging bowel after giving their youth to the Army? Is it not a matter of Right for them to have a Meaningful resettlement? Or the Right is only for the Army Chief to have his DOB corrected? What I am trying share with you all is that we are Not serious about what is happening to the Armed Forces Personnel as a whole, we are only self centered on petty issues. If it is a mistake on our part accept it instead putting the blame on someone else. Now, what is the further course of action to come out of this self created problems? Can these be solved by creating Mails or blogs?? It can only create awareness amongst the veterans but most of our problems were not ever made available to Medias for a public opinion. My humble suggestions are:- 1. Service HQs have to do some home work very seriously. The above points have come to light only when some of the Veterans have taken some trouble to study these cases and put in the mail, but the service HQs are silent or they have no such points at all. 2. Like any other department ,the Service HQs should take full responsibility to look after their Veterans, Widows, officers , JCOs and NCOs and their families who gave their blood and sweat to build Indian Army to the present shape from the scratches of Chinese aggression in 1962 and those who laid their lives . There is no point in blaming the Officers in MOD, for our in efficiency for that matter. It is for the Service HQs, how they Work out the strategy to accomplish this task. This is more important as there is no trade Union functioning in the org for collective bargaining of their service benefit which is available to all employees including the Central Govt. 3. Art 312 of the Constitution of India giving powers to Make Rules for Service benefit to Defense Services must be evoked by putting pressure on the Govt, the PM and the Supreme Commander. This has to be done by the Service HQs only because we are worst suffers of all other Central Services. If a pay or a service condition is to be changed /modified in respect of any Central Service, this has to be duly notified in the Gazette of India with the approval of the Govt/Parliament whereas it could be seen in the past that only an Army Instruction can meet the requirement in respect of the Armed Forces Personnel including the Service Chiefs. This has no backing of the Law of the Land. In the early years after the Independence, the matters concerning Armed Forces Personnel were dealt separately at the level of PM or RM but later it has been brought under the purview of the pay commission- only erode the dignity and reduce them to the status of mere employee. Well, then the Army Act also needs to be amended to include the liberty for collective bargaining for their service benefits which has not been done so far, the Service HQs should pursue this. 4. The Service HQs should create a high powered committee who will take up the matters concerning the personnel matters of Armed Forces Personnel with the RM, PM, The Supreme Commander. They should take feed -back and suggestions/complains from all corners including the jawans direct. They should also interact regularly with other departments, companies, consultants, Ex-servicemen Associations, Veterans etc. and update themselves with the latest, for which a proper office with well experienced Officers and Staff from both veterans and outsiders is set up for function on regular basis. It is not so difficult to set right the bureaucracy if the Service HQs have a will to firmly handle the Organizational interest, the interest of the Armed Forces Personnel and no compromise to be made at any point of time at any level. This should be made clear to all up to the Pl commanders. 5. A MEANIGFUL re-settlement of all veterans should be the full responsibility of the Govt and the Service HQ should ensure this (A suggestion in this direction is enclosed ) 6. All are requested to offer their valuable comments and they may also take up the matter with the service HQs individually or collectively. 7. May I request you to kindly forward this to at least 10 (Ten) veterans with your comments. With Regards, Major AK Dhanapalan, Veteran E-mail: http://mc/compose? Mob 092 49 87 53 42.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


India- Pak dialogue, futile exercise

·         16 Jan 2013
·         Hindustan Times (Chandigarh)
·         Defence Matters (The writer is a former vice- chief of army. The views expressed are personal)
The killing, and more importantly, savage mutilation of two soldiers of the Indian Army on the Line of Control ( LoC) has put a big question mark on the ' on- again/ off- again' dialogue the two countries keep having, seeking the elusive peace.
My focus today is on these two aspects; the first is tactical and the second falls squarely in the strategic realm. While the former is predominantly military, the latter does need to take note of this deplorable incident while analysing the future of the dialogue.
It is important to understand the dynamics of the LoC first. The present LoC is the second avatar of the erstwhile Cease Fire Line ( CFL). While the CFL was delineated in 1949, the LoC became the dividing line after our victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
Despite these formal delineations, the Pakistani Army did not honour the sanctity of these lines. They commenced encroaching and nibbling on our side of the line, with a view to gaining tactically advantageous positions.
This was naturally resisted by our troops. The eyeball- to-eyeball deployment of troops resulted in the LoC becoming an active and live border, where it was considered a fair game to seize any opportunity and occupy areas across the CFL/ LoC, by both sides.
There were casualties on both sides and ‘taking revenge’ was an established way to pay the other side in the same coin. I have no doubt that even in this case, our army will exact retribution at a place and time of its choosing.
After Pakistan started sending terrorists across the LoC, it started resorting to heavy firing on our posts to divert the attention of our troops. This continued even after agreeing to the ceasefire. Our army adopted several counter- measures to check such infiltration, including an increase i n the number of observation posts, erecting a border fence, increasing patrolling and so on. Such tactical actions will continue in future.
In the last over six decades, there have been a number of ceasefires on the LoC, but the existing one, which has been in force since 2003, has been the longest.
Even though an active LoC favours our troops, in the interest of better relations we agreed to a ceasefire, so that Pakistan could withdraw troops from the LoC to conduct operations against the Taliban and other insurgents, which were creating mayhem inside Pakistan. However, Pakistan chose not to do so and instead continued to nurture the terrorists, who are still considered assets to fight against India.
Coming to the strategic aspects, the stances and actions of Pakistan in practically all spheres of interaction between neighbouring nations point to it wanting a perpetuation of antagonism with India. The reason is that while many citizens of Pakistan want to live in peace with India, its policymakers do not want i t. Although there is an elected government in Pakistan, it will be naive to think that they are the decision- makers. The Pakistani Army has the last word on all policy matters, including on security, nuclear and foreign policy affairs.

The Pakistani Army wields power on account of only one shibboleth, which is that India is out to gobble up Pakistan and it is only the Pakistani Army that is preventing it. This is such an oft- repeated statement that most Pakistanis, if not all, believe it to be true. The day India and Pakistan succeed in agreeing to live in peace as friendly neighbours, will be the start of the Pakistani Army losing its pre- eminent position i n the power structure of Pakistan. It is obvious that no one i n the Pakistani Army would like to relinquish such a premier position, which abounds in power and pelf. That being so, where is the question of peace between India and Pakistan? Consequently, it is not peace dialogues and formal talks but the whittling down of the Pakistani Army's predominant position as the sole policy- formulating organisation that will bring eventual peace between the two countries. Policymakers in India, therefore, must strive to change the thinking of the Pakistani polity, instead of engaging in futile dialogues and discussions.
India has been making overtures for peace for decades, yet all we have received in return from Pakistan is violence of many types, including wars and terrorism; hedging; impossible demands; and subterfuges. The latest consistent policy of Pakistan is to be ' perpetually in a state of denial'. That our political establishment, undoubtedly spurred on by self- styled experts of the ‘Aiyaars' and ‘Nayyars' variety, continues with this futile exercise is both maddening and naive. Either we have no sense of history, or we deliberately do not want to learn from it. It also indicates the bankruptcy of ideas and lack of any policies of a strategic nature.
It is nobody's case that we should not live peacefully with our neighbours and resolve all problems and disputes by discussion and in a peaceful manner, but this needs give and take from both sides. So far, it has been a one- sided affair and there are no indicators that the future would be any different.
The bottom line is that at the military level, let us not impose unnecessary restrictions on how the sanctity of the LoC should be maintained. The army knows how it should be done.
At the strategic level, we should put a brake on the peace process till a more conducive environment emerges. At the same time, we need to jettison the Composite Dialogue. Much water has f l own down the Indus since it was first compiled. Since then the security, economic and social environment in the sub- continent has changed drastically.
Our policymakers and security experts must first formulate a comprehensive security strategy and thereafter the diplomats and others should work out an entirely fresh negotiations plan.
This will also give a chance to their counterparts in Pakistan to take stock and l earn that it takes two to tango.


 I went to see a  'MUSLIM TRIBUTE BAND'  last night. 

They were called “Bomb Jovi”. They were brilliant.
Their last song “Living on a Prayer Mat” almost brought the house down.
Then this Muslim bloke started bragging about how he had the entire Kura.. on DVD.
I was interested so I asked him, “Can you burn me a copy?”
Well ....... that was when the trouble started.
                                                                                                            (Pradeep  Lall) 

--- from the diary of an old soldier ..... people like Lt Gen Bhagat were still alive ......and the modern breed of Gens was beginning to be born!
 The recent brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on Indian soil, then the Indian government's protests and the Pakistani government's denials, etc etc has left me pondering and reminiscing about the good old days.
 I have had three postings in J&K, and I distinctly remember three incidents that took place around NW Kashmir during my first posting at Uri in 1976-77:
 Incident 1: A Maratha Light Infantry battalion was newly inducted in a sensitive sector. On the very first night when the rear party of the previous battalion finally moved out and the main body of Marathas newly moved in, Pakis fired 2" mortar shells on a Maratha forward post. (This has been the usual way to welcome newly inducted Indian Army units by the Pakis for ages.) As soon as day broke, a Major on the Maratha post climbed a tree with an RL (Rocket Launcher, for my civilian friends) slung on one shoulder and two rockets slung on the other, and simply blasted two bunkers of the Mujahid post across the LOC. 
 Thereafter, not one bullet was fired by the Pakis on the Maratha paltan for as long as they stayed there.
 Incident 2: Pakis observed that Gorkha soldiers in their OP (Observation Post) just left the LMG (Light Machine Gun) un-attended for 2 to 3 minutes while they went out of the OP for a pee. One summer day at about 11 o' clock in the morning, in a daring raid, two Paki soldiers sneaked in and ran back with the LMG. 
 Four hours later, which is normally siesta time and security is lax, a team of Gorkha soldiers raided the Pak post and came back with the Paki CO's 15 years old daughter. (Pakistan Army's officers-lot is super privileged. They even stay on border posts with their families.) The Gorkhas did not harm the child, they just made her sit on a chair on top of the OP bunker. Soon enough, a bunch of Paki jawans came up to the LOC with a white flag and the Gorkhas' LMG, and a neat and clean exchange took place.
 Incident 3: This incident happened when Naga Regiment was newly raised in the Indian Army and Pakis had no clue what material the Nagas were made of! (Those with a weak stomach may please skip reading this incident further.)
 The Nagas were also given the customary welcome on their induction, but they did not retaliate. Then, for the next two consecutive nights, a couple of Paki soldiers would cross over to the Indian side, lob hand-grenades at the Naga post and run back. On the third night, a few Naga soldiers laid an ambush and caught 2 Pakis. They brought the Paki soldiers back enough to be hidden from the Paki OP sights. They tied the Pakis to a tree, lit a fire and performed a traditional Naga dance! Then they chopped a leg off one of the Paki soldiers and literally barbecued it over the fire. Both the Paki soldiers were let off the next morning, but not before the were made to hear this dialogue between a Naga Havildar and a Sepoy:
 Sepoy: "Ustaad, inko rakhte hain, bilkul chicken jaisa taste hai."
 Havildar: "Nahi re, inko jaane do, yeh dono bahut kamjor hain. Ab yahan 3 saal rehna hai; tu tension mat le, aur bahut mote tagde milenge."
 This news spread like wildfire, and the Pakis (Baluch Regiment) across the LOC were thereafter not to be seen even through binoculars, till the Naga battalion was replaced by another unit after 3 years.
 Now-a-days, the only reason Pakistanis keeps blatantly bullying us Indians is because we allow them to do so.
 How I miss the good old days. Jaane kahan gaye woh din!

Lt-Gen HarwantSingh (Retd)
               Pakistani troops crossed the Line of control (LoC) in the Poonch  Sector of J & K and killed two India soldiers. It is not so much the killing but the savage act and heinous crime of mutilating the bodies of these soldiers, which has caused widespread indignation and outrage in India. There is nothing unusual for casualties to take place, on both sides of the L of C due to sporadic firing from either side. It is the crossing of the LoC and committing the brutal and un-soldierly act of mutilating the bodies and beheading one of our soldiers, that has created such uproar in India.
            Such cowardly acts are normally the wont of Taliban. On all accounts, Pakistan army has been through a phase of Talibanisation.  Shooting women, stoning them to death as a dispensation of justice is reprehensible practice followed by the bigoted and the savage. Whereas soldiering, is an honourable profession where gallantry and chivalry is the hallmark of a good army. It is also in the interest of discipline and good morale that the troops are required to conduct themselves in a dignified manner, both in peace and during operations.
           In the same sector, in early nineties, Pakistani troops crossed over the L of C and established a post in the upper part of Kirni village. A few days later, Pakistani troops were evicted from this post. While the enemy was thrown back, it left behind dead bodies of a soldier and an officer. Next day at a flag meeting at Poonch and in the presence of a few thousand civilians from both sides, the dead bodies were handed over to Pakistan military, observing complete religious rites and with full military honours. Because, for the Indian army it is an Article of Faith that enemy dead must be honoured and the unarmed done no harm. Those who violate this code of conduct are hauled over the coals.
         Pakistan army does not fool around with those who take firm and punitive action against any misdemeanor on its part. In the above narrated incidence, it was expected that Pakistan army would react to, what it felt was an ignominy of being evicted from that post and having to accept two dead bodies in the presence of such a large gathering of civilians. Pakistan army had tremendous tactical advantage in the area, but Indians took the necessary steps to nullify that advantage and cater for such an eventuality. Pakistan army launched two battalion size attacks on two successive nights and both the battalions were decimated by the defensive fire tasks (DF tasks) much before the enemy could close in with our troops. Thereafter, the Pakistan army pleaded for a ceasefire, to evacuate its dead and wounded. Such a firm action by the Indian army resulted in complete peace along the L of C for the next many years.
              There is complete lack of trust of the Pak army and it is this, which has resulted in Indian army’s stance of no withdrawal from Siachen without demarcation of the Line of Actual Control on the ground and delineation of the same on the maps of both countries.  Wherever and whenever India has firmly dealt with Pakistan, the latter has refrained from repeating the same mischief. Be it the invasion of J & K in 1947 or the offensive in the Akhnur sector of J & K in 1965.
Had India acted firmly against Pakistan after the attack on Parliament, in all probability 9/11 at Bombay would not have taken place. These and the attack on Red Fort were preplanned and executed with the full knowledge and support of Pakistani establishment. BJP government then and UPA now, failed in its primary duty to protect the nation.
             It is our failure to deal with Pakistan at Kargil in an appropriate manner and not punish it for it’s perfidy that has left us with the sinking feeling that once we vacate positions at Siachen, Pakistan would invariably occupy these. At Kargil the political executive showed extreme timidity and the military failed to put across the necessity of making Pakistan pay for its mischief, with the result that we paid in heavy casualties in those frontal attacks, up impossible slopes and heights. Further we ended up deploying a division where a brigade was enough and a corps where a division could do the job. Such large addition of troops, North of Zojila ­­­­­ Pass, has sent the Indian defence budget into a tailspin.
              India’s backward bend to create a climate of trust and good neighbourly relations, building bridges of trade and commerce has been a one sided affair. These attempts need to be linked with, end to cross border terrorism. Any mischief by Pakistan needs appropriate reaction by India: politically, diplomatically and militarily.
 The author was a Corps Commander in J & K during the early nineties; and later retired as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff

Pakistan’s Endless Lies & India’s Gutless Pundits
Kunal Verma
After the Kargil War, I was filming the eight Pakistani prisoners who had been captured by us in the Dras and Batalik Sectors. The Army PROs had told the POWs that I was from the Red Cross or some such bullshit in the hope that they would talk on camera. The first thing I did with each of them was to tell them that I was from no such organization. I also told them point blank that their country was denying that their Army had been a part of the infiltration and their best chance of returning to Pakistan was to talk turkey and tell the truth or languish in our jails for years. The fear of God and the fact that they would never see their families again worked and they began to talk – all eight of them. As ordinary soldiers they didn’t know too much, but what they said was detailed and clearly established how their regular units had moved into position masquerading as ‘mujahideen’.
The visuals of those men, some with bandages on their eyes, was flashed on virtually every television channel and within a week the eight POWs were flown back to Pakistan. That footage is still with me, and the verbal evidence of the POWs blows whatever fig leaf of cover the Pakistani establishment ever had.
Kargil was not a one off thing. The same thing had happened in Jammu and Kashmir in 1948. From day one the Government of Pakistan had gone blue in the face repeating ad nauseam that their Army was not involved. Their entire case in the United Nations was based on that one big lie which we could never convincingly expose, despite the fact that Western journalists had splashed photographs of the active involvement of the Pakistan Armed Forces. For my book, The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why I found some of these images fairly easily, yet no one on the Indian side felt the need to aggressively nail this great big lie. Years later, when Pakistani officers began to publish their own stories, we still did nothing to counter this propaganda.
As a nation, we are pathetic when it comes to remembering our history or honouring the brave men who died defending this country – sixty-five years on and our political leadership grudges them even a National War Memorial! Not surprising then that October 1947 in Baramula has all but been forgotten, when the tribal lashkar pulled out and raped virtually every woman and girl in the town; or for that matter forgotten the chilling words when Skardu fell and the Pakistani field commander wired back “All Sikhs killed and women raped” or words to that affect.
In 1965 they did it again, and then again in 1971, even when the Pakistan Army was fighting for its survival in Bangladesh, they tortured and mutilated our boys. 22 Rajput at Madhumati had two men stripped naked and dragged through the streets behind jeeps while others were tied to trees and their eyes were gouged out! The Indian Government’s response was predictable – 22 Rajput was pulled out of the Eastern Theatre. The Pakistan Army which had behaved in the most barbaric manner possible with the people of Bangladesh were then protected by us from the Mukti Bahini and 93,000 POWs were sent back by a preening Indian Government while some of our own boys even today are reportedly languishing in their jails. Not one of the Pakistani soldiers was tried for war crimes.
Our Parliament is attacked and Mumbai is held hostage by ‘non-state actors’, Kashmir has been on fire for thirty years thanks to our hostile friends across the border and all we do is sanctimoniously talk of CBMs and signing Track 2 ‘deals’ where we want to talk of demilitarization of Siachen based on some ridiculous sentimental hogwash of being brothers who have been separated at birth! We want to play cricket and hold hands and sing songs and write articles about ‘Aman ki Aasha’. Sure, there’s nothing wrong in building people to people contacts and keeping dialogue open, but surely it must be on our terms.
And now this! Pakistani soldiers behead our boys and we wring our hands in collective anguish. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?
We’ve brought this upon ourselves! We can’t protect our women, we can’t look after our farmers, or our soldiers – either on the borders or in Chattisgarh – we can’t take a damn step any more without being surrounded with the stench of corruption. As a people we have failed and the Government of India, which is us, have failed the country as we squabble at every level. Every institution is today under attack – be it the Army, the Police or the Judiciary. We watch as our Parliamentarians make monkeys of themselves in the highest edifices of democracy and then go scuttling into their homes behind a barricade of police protection and barbed wire when our children take to the streets. Just imagine what would have happened if the President of India had walked down the Raisina Hill slope and embraced the anguished youth and shared their concern. All we got was lip service. And water canons and a few lathi charges.
The underlying message of these protests – be it Anna Hazare or Ramdev or Kejriwal or Sangeeta, Radhika, Madhulika, Meena or Jyoti is the same, even if our screaming, sometimes hysterical media misses it! THE PEOPLE ARE CRYING OUT FOR BETTER GOVERNANCE! Every scandal – be it the CWG, 2G, 3G, Coalgate, Kodankulam or FDI, is a nail in our crumbling wall. When your intestines are bleeding, your women being raped, your fishermen are being shot by drunk Italian Guards as sport, and all you do is make shrill noises on TV, do you seriously expect the enemy sitting beyond your gate to shake his head in sympathy or do you expect him to hit you even harder. If he takes away your heads, it anguishes us today. But as we have regularly demonstrated, we will do nothing about it.
I have two simple suggestions:
The media must stop covering the Pakistan border. A complete news black out on anything concerning the LOC. The Indian Army is more than capable of making the people who did this heinous act pay. Just leave the Army alone. It is their ghost and they will burry it at their time of choosing.
Enforce a Naval economic blockade of Karachi until Dawood Ibrahim, the perpetuators of the Mumbai Attack, and the Pakistani Army personnel who beheaded our boys in 2011 in Kupwara and now in Mendhar are handed over. There should be no compromise on this. The Indian Navy has had a virtual son-in-law status since Independence and all the talk of a blue water Navy now needs to be put to the test. Choke Pakistan economically so that they hurt. Neither the Army nor the IAF have the numerical superiority over Pakistan to conduct any surgical retaliation strike. The Navy on the other hand, has a major edge over the Pakistan Navy. If the rest of the world, especially the US, has a problem with this, tell them to go to hell and shut the door behind them!
Kunal Verma is the author of The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why and The Northeast Trilogy. A filmmaker, he has been professionally associated with the Armed Forces for over two decades. His films include The Standard Bearers (National Defence Academy), The Making of a Warrior (Indian Military Academy), Salt of the Earth and Aakash Yodha (IAF), The Naval Dimension and Kashmir: Baramula to Kargil among others. The recently published Northeast Trilogy documents the entire Northeastern region of India.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Tears your heart
RIP Damini. We pray that your death will not be in vain. That the people of India will unite to make this place a better one for all those who are left behind. Amen.
Finally a picture of Damini / Nirbhaya!

Can't miss the spark in her eyes. Definitely a person with sweet dreams and ambitions....bitterly snuffed out. 

She was a student
She was 23
Her fault some people say because she boarded the wrong bus
And oh yeah
Six men raped her one by one and then used an iron rod to tear her vagina-

Small intestine and large intestine came out They left her to die on the road Naked!   Wounded!  Exposed!  Devastated What’s more is that no one even turned to look at her No one even bothered to throw a shawl on the ill-clad ill-fated girl She can never live a normal married life again She Went into coma five times since 16th December She was unconscious Critical and hasn't been able to stop crying But don’t worry She wasn't your sister She wasn't your daughter   But she could be. The brutality has to stop right here guys These people deserve capital punishment for their cruel, Perverted act She died Saturday 29th December 2012Rest in PeaceBlack heart (cards) and I pray that her killers get the WORST punishment possible This doesn't only happen in India But in every country around the world. .Is this how we treat our women?
It Makes me ashamed to even live on this planet today If her death Touches you and you are against RAPE   "Write RIP"  If u Support RAPE  "IGNORE"

COMMENT,SHARE & TAG to   at  least 5 of your best FRIENDS

RIP  Damini.
Thank you for making the world sit up, to wake up to the long drawn suffering of all womankind. You had to give up your beautiful life, to snuff your tender dreams to do this. I hope the world becomes a better place for the sacrifice you have made and for the fight you put up. In many ways, we are all responsible - when we show preference for the male child, when we support the thought that 'only men' are heirs to a bloodline and therefore yearn to keep our 'family tree' going through male progeny. When we use women as objects of desire in film and advertisement, when we use a woman's body to promote an object of desire( and do not for a moment think of it's far reaching consequences on those who want but cannot fulfill those desires. And hence bring out their frustration on their own women or other women, or anybody weaker for that matter.).
I am not justifying the behavior of these brutes, but I'm only trying to understand why. The main accused was also married, had a wife who died. He perhaps had desires that had to be suppressed while others around him seemed to 'have it all'. The youngest - a juvenile-going-on-adult, is a child of modern times. He sees youngsters of his age flaunting trappings that he can never dream of having perhaps. A frustration builds up inside, which then is expressed on a vulnerable victim. Who's to be blamed? The ever widening disparity between the have and the have-nots, the ever rising importance given to money and material possessions, the ever widening gap between the earnings and yearnings, are all signs of a dangerous cocktail that can only lead to destruction.
Coming to think of it, there is only so much money in the whole wide world. There is not going to be 'extra' coming in from outer space. The leaders of the world NEED to think of a way to bring back monetary balance. As Gandhi  said, "There's enough in this world for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed." The rich get rich to do charity. What kind of charity is this that wants to take away from the weak and then 'hand down' to the 'have-nots' in a show of beneficence?
"How many miles must a man walk down, before he is called a 'man'?" For to be a "man" means to be human, which means to be compassionate and sensitive. Are we sensitive to what impact our actions have on our surroundings?
Let us all sit and think and think from the heart. To quote Dr  Lou Marinoff   (founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association)- "How do we feel compassion for others if we are only guided by our head? I think that is not enough. There has to be a practice of the heart, too."

"Let me be more mother than the mother herself in my love and defense of the child who is not flesh of my flesh. Help me to make one of my children my most perfect poem and leave within him or her my most melodious melody from that day when my own lips no longer sing.”  - from "A Teacher's Prayer"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


----- Forwarded Message -----
Subject: Fw: Cars from CSD
Dear Friends,

I have been to the DDG Canteen services (QMG BR) this afternoon for seeking special sanction for purchase of car ex CSD canteen. He told me that THERE IS NO WAITING LIST FOR OFFICERS (both serving and retired) for purchase of cars ex CSD. He is giving sanctions within one week of receipt of application and one can apply after 4 years of last car purchased from CSD. The application can be sent even by post to him at the following address. He requested me to inform as many officers as I can do, so that there are no unnecessary rumors  and the touts and other middlemen make a fool of the officers by painting very wrong picture. All the list upto Dec 2012 has been liquidated and now there is no waiting list. I am also giving below a sample application that I have submitted.

IC 12345A  Rank   Name,   (Retd)
Mobile No. : (Required)  
Email: (Required)

The Quarter Master General’s Branch
(for DDG Canteen Services)
Room No. 14 A L-1 Block
Army HQ,
New Delhi 110011



I have the honour to state that I,( IC 12345A,  Rank and Name ) wish to purchase a new (car model and make) car
through CSD Canteen for my personal use.

Earlier, I had purchased a (car name and make) through the CSD, in ..................... years ago. I have NOT purchased
any car through CSD Canteen since then.

I hereby give an undertaking that I will NOT sell the said car ( model and make) to be procured from the CSD
Canteen for at least four (4) years from the day of purchase.

In view of the above, it is requested that approval may please be accorded for purchasing a  ( full deatils of the
car ) through the CSD Depot (station) 

Rank (Retd)
IC 12345 A


Sunday, January 6, 2013


IRAN 1970

IRAN 2012


EGYPT ( Cairo University ) 1959

EGYPT ( Cairo University ) 2012

NETHERLANDS ( Amsterdam ) 1980

NETHERLANDS ( Amsterdam ) 2012

...What next?????
 and some people still do not see a reason to worry ?!?!?