RIP Bahukutambi Raman

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Klaus » 17 Jun 2013 14:46

Hope he gets the opportunity to be born in and serve India again! My Pranaams to him for his service to the motherland.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Neela » 17 Jun 2013 14:57

Om Nama Shivaya!
Did not agree with him completely but some of his tweets were results of root cause analysis

A recent one:
I had pointed out before that Difficulty faced in collection of intelligence abt Maoism is becoz IB has limited ruralintelligence capability

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby menon s » 17 Jun 2013 14:59

A patriot and a great analyst. We will miss you sir. RIP.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Arjun » 17 Jun 2013 16:08

X-posting from NaMo thread:

B Raman who passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer, seemed to vaccilate a bit regarding the NaMo phenomenon in his final months. The negative tweets seem to be more directed at NaMo supporters who he felt were too aggressive on Twitter - than towards NaMo himself.

Perhaps realizing that he was nearing his end, his final testament tweeted to his followers regarding NaMo were the following:

May 19- My message to those who read me: Back NaMo for PM. He may not come up to expectations, but he will be refreshingly different

May 21- I decided to back NaMo becoz he is only leader with the required lucidity in thinking, razor-sharp focus on issues & ability to prioritise


RIP sir, and hope India fulfills your final wish.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby rgsrini » 17 Jun 2013 18:45

Sir,
I salute you for your dedication and the great services you performed to our nation. You are a nationalist and a true patriot! Our country is indepted to you for ever.

RIP sir!

Deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Jai Hind!

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby sunnyP » 17 Jun 2013 18:58

A patriot who served his country selflessly.

RIP.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Baikul » 17 Jun 2013 19:36

RIP, Sir.

Gone, not forgotten.

And may you be reborn to serve India again and again.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Arihant » 17 Jun 2013 20:31

I read his book and followed his blog with interest.

Recording my deepest respect.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby disha » 18 Jun 2013 06:21

nvishal wrote:...Raman remained genuine for a major part of his life. Ignore his recent metamorphosis because I've seen many people who change completely once they got placed inside a big decorated media studio. They basically become a part of the programme....


That was very much Raman, so why ignore that metamorphosis. One stage he crossed over from Bharat suputra to "Congress Macaulyte putra". Why ignore the fact? Glad that he got back some of his famed wisdom at the fag end., and he did his duty as millions of faceless Indians do.

I am ruing this., this eminent person had such a potential to change and educate and fell so short. May we all learn from his life.
Last edited by disha on 18 Jun 2013 22:05, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Shishir » 18 Jun 2013 08:29

RIP sir.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby pushkar.bhat » 18 Jun 2013 12:57

RIP Raman Sir

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby abhijitm » 18 Jun 2013 13:00

RIP

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Ramu » 18 Jun 2013 15:50

RIP B Raman sir

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 18 Jun 2013 20:28

disha, Its bad manners to speak ill of the dead. I would delete your post or move it to off-topic. Not in this thread.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 18 Jun 2013 20:55

Three tributes to B Raman in ReDiff:

C UdayBhaskar
A true Indian patriot

B Raman, an internationally recognised expert on terrorism, who passed away on Sunday in Chennai after a long and stoic struggle with cancer (a malignancy that in a matter-of-fact manner he referred to as the last 'terrorist' he had to battle) will be remembered as a very distinctive Indian intelligence professional.

He maintained the highest standards of professional and personal integrity in the grey and opaque domain that he inhabited for almost 30 years.

A 1961 batch IPS officer of the Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] cadre, he was hand-picked by the legendary R N Kao -- India's intelligence czar -- to join the Research and Analysis Wing in 1968. For the next 26 years, till his retirement in the mid 1994, Raman was the quintessential intelligence official -- unseen, yet effective and outspoken -- where required.

He retired as an additional secretary level officer and headed R&AW's counter-terrorism unit for the last phase of his professional career.

Post-retirement Raman became the public face of Indian intelligence and was a prolific commentator on a range of national security issues.

My own association with him began in the mid 1990s when I was at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. He noticed a rather sharp and intemperate comment I had written for a national daily on 50 years of Indian Independence.

It was a verbose critique of the Nehru years and in the very precise and terse manner that he always spoke, Raman provided the lesser known fine-print of the domestic political context and regional security dynamic.

He subtly pointed out to me that my enthusiasm to highlight what I had described as Nehru's follies had got the better of me.

Raman was a man of few words. Our meetings were occasional and far between. But I read almost everything he wrote -- and this was the beginning of a long professional association where he gave me sage advice about the many booby-traps and minefields in the Raisina Hill labyrinth that could trip up an enthusiastic and naive security analyst.

The nuclear tests of 1998 and the Kargil war of 1999 led to more regular interactions and Raman (for the record, he was always Mr Raman and later Raman-garu, as I got to know him better) was a regular on the Track II circuit.

While a resident of Chennai, he often visited Delhi [ Images ]. The India International Centre was the preferred venue for such interaction. Raman and the late K Subrahmanyam had the highest regard for each other and was yet another factor in extending the bandwidth of our discussions. One learnt from both stalwarts by osmosis.

Raman's recall of the Indian security experience, both external and internal, was extraordinary. He could link disparate developments dating to the 1950s; the challenge posed by the erstwhile Left-wing cadres, the perfidy of the major powers including the USA and China, the turf battles among the intelligence agencies, political pusillanimity and more -- issues that he often wrote about in the national media.

All of this was later distilled in his book, The Kao-boys - Down Memory Lancer (2007), which provides a valuable account of the Indian external intelligence agency, R&AW in the run-up to the Bangladesh war and more.

In the last decade with the explosion of the audio-visual medium, cyber and social media outlets in India, Raman, who was always a prolific writer, blossomed as it were. He took to the new communication technology like a natural and his many wry and insightful comments were disseminated through various outlets.

Raman became a one-man cyber guru. In this regard, his contribution will remain distinctive. From the Web site that he maintained in a methodical manner to his Facebook and twitter comments and TV appearances, Raman was everywhere.

Post Kargil, the effete Indian response to the complex national security challenges was a matter of deep anguish and muted anger. Raman felt very strongly about the need to create a more informed national security community in India and bemoaned the fact that there was a dearth of such committed professionals.

Many of his writings and public appearances had that ring of deep concern at the sorry state of affairs. His own expertise in the intelligence domain made him more acutely aware of the many inadequacies in the system.

A pragmatic realist, he was always committed to what he perceived to be the national interest and advocated radical policy initiatives, but his advice often fell on deaf ears.

Accessible to one and all -- be it the media, the young researcher or the visiting foreign interlocutor -- Raman shared his knowledge and experiences in a generous manner.

However he did not suffer fools lightly and could be firm when required, though he was always correct and courteous in his austere manner.

Having personally benefited from his many insightful observations, one can assert that Raman was a long-distance mentor-cum-teacher to many of his well-wishers and the extended security community in India and beyond.

On terrorism-related issues and Pakistan, Raman's blog was often the first and last word on the subject.

One of Raman's younger colleagues at the Observer Research Foundation, Swati Parashar recalls of her mentor: 'The good thing about Raman Sir, contrary to popular view, is that he never actually imposed his views. With his junior colleagues and beginners like me, he had all the patience and always ensured that we expressed ourselves even if we disagreed with him. This was special, because in India, kow-towing to the bosses is common and contrary opinion is never tolerated by those in authority.'

Pakistan apart, China had become an area of special focus for Raman and the Chennai Centre for China Studies benefited from his many writings and oral contributions. One of Raman's last public articulations was a tweet about China where as @sorbonne75, he advised: 'Ind-Japan shld make Chinas seeming strengths into strategic vulnerabilities.'

Like many of his cyber contacts, I always looked forward to his regular mails and the last one (May 15) was about the troubled India-China relationship and the Chinese premier's visit to India. The comment was vintage Raman-esque. Cogent, numerically arranged and closing with a policy prescription that could have been put up to the Indian Cabinet.

The last paragraph noted: 'It would be in India's interest too to work for a border accord as early as possible.'

'At the same time, India should not accept the Chinese formulation that the absence of a border accord should not come in the way of the economic and other relations. This formulation has immensely benefited China.'


Farewell Raman-garu RIP. You will be missed in more ways than one.

Commodore Uday Bhaskar (retd) is a former director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and the National Maritime Foundation.



Vikram Sood:

A personal tribute and salute

Vikram Sood remembers his friend and mentor B Raman, who passed away on Sunday.

In our trade and profession we hunted together -- my friend and mentor, Bahukutumbi Raman and I. Today I miss him and in grieving for him, actually I grieve for myself.

My friend for 40 years, not 30 as I had Tweeted in my grief, Raman was a core professional. But he was more. Strong on loyalty and professional excellence. Loved irreverent gossip yet immensely secretive professionally. A man seriously and earnestly devoted to his profession for whom detail was everything.

A very private man, it took a while to get to know him after I was sent to understudy him and eventually take over from him, in 1972. There would be days he would be very quiet, not rude, just immersed in whatever he was doing. I could sit there all day and read volumes of intelligence material and leave quietly without even a word. Or not have shown up that day.

There were other days he would be gossipy and cheerful with many stories to tell of his days in Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] recounted with a loud chuckle. He did spend time moulding me, taking me through the paces, the dos and don'ts of an analyst and what makes a career intelligence officer. Over time the bond grew and even when we disagreed, both knew that we merely made a point and moved on.

Our career paths took us along different routes in 1974 but we met again, professionally, in 1983 when I took over from him once again and finally, in August 1994 when he retired. But he did not really retire. Such men rarely do. His frequent assessments, analyses and reports on events were a touchstone for most of us in the business of intelligence reporting and assessments.

All of these are now on his blog for posterity to read and learn. Over time his writings became legendary, like the man himself. Later, he was called in to help the government with the task force on intelligence following the Kargil [ Images ] Review Committee, he became a member of the National Security Advisory Board and once again called to assist in the Naresh Chandra Committee review.

Raman's career took him through tumultuous times of the Cold War, the Indo-Pak war and the Liberation war in Bangladesh of 1971, the Naga and Mizo rebellions and the peace talks, the Sikh insurgency of the 1980s and finally, the ISI led campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] in the 1990s of which the Mumbai [ Images ] bombings of March 1993 were an important and monstrous milestone.

Raman was the only Indian intelligence officer with three books to his credit. Two of them were Intelligence: Past Present and Future and A Terrorist State As a Frontline Ally. He writes about his experiences in his last book, The Kaoboys of R&AW.

In this book, Raman is remarkably chatty as he takes the reader through his days in the intelligence world and its interactions with the powers that be. Raman expresses his anger at the US State Department of the Bill Clinton [ Images ] era pressuring us on Pakistan and the eternal hyphenation between India [ Images ] and Pakistan that was the hall mark of the nineties till Kargil 1999.

His final remark on the US and perhaps the Western attitude is still valid when he says 'An over-anxiety to protect Pakistan from the consequences of its misdeeds still continues to be the defining characteristic of policy making in the State Department.' Secretary of State John Kerry might do himself a favour by heeding Raman's last warning ' ... I am convinced in my mind that if there is an act of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction one day, it would have originated from Pakistani territory.'

The last chapter of this book contains his assessment of the organisation he served so selflessly and his advice for the managers of intelligence in the country. We would do ourselves immense credit if we follow at least some of the ideals and goals he sets out.

Raman the man has passed, Raman the legend remains.



Swati Parashar formerly of ORF:

A karma yogi for whom time is always short

On May 20, B Raman tweeted, “Hanumanji willing, shd be back home coming Saturday.” Instead, he left for his heavenly abode, on June 16 in the evening. He had shared every detail of his illness on his blog and also on Twitter, including the fact that it was terminal cancer he was dealing with and he didn’t have much time.

I am not on Twitter and missed his updates. My grief is profound: had I known, I would have spoken to him, even gone to India to see him. I was unaware of his hospital stay, of the end that was near and I am left now with deep regrets and a profound sense of personal loss.

I couldn’t read the ominous signs of things to come. I am now only left with memories, of the most extraordinary person with whom I worked so closely and who in so many ways was the perfect ‘guru’, the best teacher.

Bahukutumbi Raman (1936-2013) was an IPS officer of 1961 Madhya Pradesh cadre who later joined the Research and Analysis Wing, of the Intelligence Bureau. He served in the R&AW for 26 years, heading the counter-terrorism unit from 1988 until his retirement in 1994 as additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat.

He spent his post retirement years as a prolific commentator and analyst on terrorism and strategic issues and was a regular media presence. He churned articles on a daily basis! He also had brief stints with various research organisations and think tanks. With his death, an era of strategic thinking in India has ended; he was a walking-talking data base of terrorism and counter terrorism; a recognised expert all over the world.

Between September 2003 and November 2005, I worked with him at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in Delhi. He was head of the International Terrorism Watch Programme which he had set up at ORF and also served as director of ORF’s Chennai Chapter. I had completed my masters degree in international relations at JNU and was hired to coordinate the terrorism programme at the ORF.

When I first met Raman Sir at ORF’s Delhi office, he asked me a few questions about why I wanted to work on terrorism, what I thought were the terrorism issues, what my plans were etc. and then after his return to Chennai sent me a long list of things to do. That was his style. Everything was well compartmentalised and every detail was mapped and that helped enormously in implementation. He sent regular instructions on emails and I reported to him on a daily basis. It was a wonderful working relationship and I don’t recall having worked harder in my life before or after that period.

The good thing about Raman Sir, contrary to popular view, is that he never actually imposed his views. With his junior colleagues and beginners like me, he had all the patience and always ensured that we expressed ourselves even if we disagreed with him. This was special, because in India, kowtowing to the bosses is common and contrary opinion is never tolerated by those in authority.

He did have issues with his contemporaries and former intelligence colleagues (although he always extended professional courtesy to everyone, including those whom he disliked) but he was kind and extremely generous towards those whom he mentored. I don’t recall one harsh word that he ever spoke to me, going out of the way to write references and supporting my career aspirations in so many ways. He knew I wanted to train in academia and pursue a PhD in gender and terrorism studies.

I was not going to be a regular mainstream terrorism analyst and he always supported my decisions. From the moment I met him, I only had respect, admiration and affection for the man who has had a very big role in my career. Although I am now quite well published and in some internationally acclaimed journals, my proudest moment was when South Asia Analysis website carried my article next to his!

The first conference we organised at ORF brought in experts from South and South East Asia together to talk about the regional impact of terrorism. I had just started working and was not even proficient in handling computers those days! After the conference programme was drawn up, I noted that one of the panels had no chair and another had a missing paper presenter. I pointed it out to him and to my utter shock, he calmly said that I was going to be chairing that session and would also present a paper! I had only 24 hours to think and my affirmative decision then put me on a career path that has never let me look back.

After the conference, it was my turn to invite one of our organisers to offer the vote of thanks. Raman Sir asked me to wait as he had something to say. He was most generous in his appreciation of my efforts and lavished so much praise that only left me humbled and tearful. It was as if our mutual faith had been vindicated. I still have the transcript of that speech he made and in moments of self doubt, it gives me inspiration and motivation. It was his confidence that he allowed me to co-edit the proceedings of that conference with another colleague and it was finally published as a book. He organised a massive book release function at IIC and made sure I was given credit for every bit of hard work I had put in. He ensured that there were ample opportunities for everyone who worked with him to realise their potential. His faith in the young and the untrained was remarkable.

While at ORF, I had started looking for PhD opportunities and I was uneasy telling him I wanted to leave. The intelligence man that he was, he was good at keeping some secrets. He resigned from ORF without discussing or deliberating with anyone; we had no clue this was coming. One morning he sent an email saying he had dissociated himself from ORF and after returning the few things at their Chennai office.

He appeared whimsical at times like these and those of us who worked with him were very upset. Within moments of his resignation, I found another long email from him explaining (in bullet points which was always his style) why he had dissociated from ORF. He ensured that he played by the rules of the democratic and transparent work culture which he had created for all of us at ORF. He didn’t care about seniority or hierarchy and worked very hard to build a team in which the junior most members were also respected and valued.

As someone who was such a big mentor and teacher to all of us, it was amusing when we met his elder brother. B. Raghavan at a conference in Chennai. Raman Sir was visibly embarrassed as his older brother addressed him as ‘Ramu’ and chided him in front of all his staff. We giggled as we witnessed the great and proper Raman Sir, endearingly addressed as Ramu by his elder brother.

Most people say, he showed no emotions or sentimentality. I disagree, for, I saw Raman Sir extremely angry at times, also disappointed, tired, happy and always curious. I remember his laughter was uncontrollable and long after those around him stopped laughing and sat sombrely (waiting for the next instructions) he would keep chuckling at a joke only he understood.

He deeply mourned the death of his friends K Subrahmanyam and R Swaminathan (as I remember) and he was devastated by the untimely demise of his young and dynamic friend, Shakti Bhatt. We talked for a long time on the phone that day. He never seemed like a loner to me and knew how to communicate with himself.

His single status and not having a family used to be a joke at work and most people found him socially awkward. I recall the two large pegs of whisky he relished at all social events and since his cancer diagnosis he really missed drinking, he told me. After his set quota of two drinks, he would leave immediately afterwards, often unnoticed and quietly without a fuss. I often wondered (if I hadn’t asked him earlier) if he had had dinner. It was impossible to not feel affection for him and care about his well-being.

I remember at one such post conference event, he turned up in a bright yellow printed Hawaiian kind of shirt! For someone who always wore dull safari suits, this was bound to attract gossip and attention. I finally dared and complimented him as he shyly replied, ‘it was a gift from a Malaysian friend!’

He always travelled and walked into the office with his old briefcase. When in Delhi he would reach office before any of the regulars would. He would always thank me profusely for that hot coffee I would make him in a proper cup, whenever I found that he was there. I remember a colleague once admonished that I was being servile to my ‘boss’. He was more than a ‘boss’ to me; a father figure, a mentor, an inspiration, always a good listener, a very humble man with impeccable manners and work ethics. I last met him in 2008 at Chennai where he invited Ravi (my husband) and I to a five star restaurant for dinner. He ate only curd rice and laughed heartily over his own jokes.

I kept in touch over phone and email and he was always keen to know about my career, new projects and publications. If he was disappointed that I didn’t become a mainstream terrorism analyst, or if he thought my work on gender and political violence was not important, he never showed it.

He was always so curious, so pragmatic and yet positive. I see that he endorsed Narendra Modi as prime minister a few weeks ago on Twitter. I am convinced that it must be a frustrating moment for him because he had all along disliked the Sangh Parivar’s brand of Hindutva politics. He had no patience for right wingers who harassed him continuously in the cyber space.For a man who had dutifully served in India’s spy agency, he lived a remarkably public and transparent life. Every detail of his cancer was there on his blog and other web spaces (to the annoyance of some and curiosity of others). Although he was not active on Facebook, I noticed that on Twitter he expressed himself all the time, sharing his feelings. He posted a picture of himself after he was diagnosed with terminal liver secondary cancer; he also posted pictures of his parents and the music he liked.

He wrote a remarkable number of posts about personal aspects of his life. He also expressed concern at how the poor would afford cancer care in India. To possibly family members, he admonished on Twitter, “I can eat only what my tummy can tolerate. I can't eat what others want me to eat. Affection for terminal cancer patients shd be simple and normal, not instructive.”

He called cancer, the ‘terrorist’ he would not be defeated by and always wished to avoid radiation therapy. The ironies were plenty, as he reminded his readers after his May 11 cancer update on his blog that he would be 77 in August this year. For the last 8 years, I have never forgotten to wish him on his birthday which falls on August 14 (Pakistan’s Independence Day!).
I am absolutely gutted that I couldn’t get to speak to him one last time. But there is a comforting thought, that he lived and died like true ‘karmayogis’ do. In our country when corruption is the norm these days and public servants amass wealth, the spartan and inspirational life of Raman Sir will keep reminding us that there once was an India, where government officials cared for their jobs, their country and their people.

After he was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and told me he had five years or so in this biggest fight against ‘terrorism’, I always dreaded writing this obituary. His presence was comforting and although we lived continents apart, I always know his blessings have stood me in good stead. His phone ring tone was A. R Rehman’s Jai Ho (from Slumdog Millionaire), and in many ways captures what Raman Sir lived by and believed in.

I have been extraordinarily fortunate in having had the best mentors in my life and B Raman was the most special of them. I dedicated my PhD thesis to him and it will be my eternal sorrow that I will not be able to hand over a copy of my book personally to him, when it is out. Rest in Peace, Sir. There will never ever be another like you and may Hanumanji take care of you in the heavens above.

Courtesy: http://swatiparashar.blogspot.com.au



The last tribute is very personal and brings us closer to the man.


His dubbing BRF as Hindutva forum was a let down especially since he had written about how he found out Lok Sabha was attacked on 13 Dec 2001 from the posts on BRF.

He once started a thread on Terrorism indicators.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby archan » 18 Jun 2013 21:07

ramana wrote:disha, Its bad manners to speak ill of the dead. I would delete your post or move it to off-topic. Not in this thread.

I had specifically told them to not indulge in name calling against people who differ with their views. Obviously, to no effect.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby chaanakya » 18 Jun 2013 22:58

May You Attain Moksa Sir. Nation is Proud of what you have done that many may not know ever.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby fanne » 19 Jun 2013 01:28

Raman ji, apki atma ko bhagwan shaanti de. We had interacted few times, lets keep at that.
My feeling of Shri Raman's last year as Con supporter is simple - He has seen that Con was going to rule India in the foreseeable future. There was no point sit out of it and try to change policy. Also the only way to be a con supporter is by being Dynasty supporter. His aim was to leverage that and get into the establishment and do some positive change (like JN Dixit, who had an untimely death like say Scindia or Pilot).
thanks,
fanne

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby Nandu » 19 Jun 2013 03:11

RIP, sir. I find your words on your early life inspirational.

From a young age, we were conscious of our poverty. We were never ashamed of it. We took our poverty in our stride...

I did not do too well in the college. I did a one-year journalism diploma course after leaving college and got a job in The Indian Express on a salary of Rs.100 per month. I managed to save enough money to study for the UPSC competitive examinations, sat for them and was selected for the Indian Police Service.

I was quite successful in my career and achieved all I wanted to achieve. It was not only because I was a good professional, but also because I was a balanced individual. Our poor mother and our poverty gave all of us a sense of balance and a determination not to let our poverty come in the way of our achieving whatever we wanted to achieve. All of us did well in life.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby SSridhar » 19 Jun 2013 16:58

A Brother's Tribute to a Brother - B.S.Raghavan, Business Line
Even when he had slipped in his last days into a delirious state (I later learnt from a study of write-ups on Web sites that this was one of the pointers to the inevitable hour with regard to terminally ill cancer patients), his mutterings were all about measures to banish the scourge of terrorism from the face of the earth and ways of reordering political and strategic relations among the existing and emerging global powers.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby merlin » 19 Jun 2013 18:50

A great man (judging by all the reviews I diligently read) and true son of the soil, India is poorer in not having him around in times of need. I did not agree with his political views and was regretfully harsh on him for that but as an intelligence man he was undoubtedly one of people with most contributions to the nation in this field.

My respects to his soul.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby sadhana » 19 Jun 2013 18:52

Apologies if this has been posted before. Posting in full.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worl ... 628240.cms
B Raman, India’s seasoned spymaster and trenchant US critic, dies at 77
Chidanand Rajghatta
WASHINGTON: His last tweet on May 30, as he battled the final stages of terminal cancer, read, ''Hanumanji willing, shd be back home coming Saturday.'' But as his life ebbed away over the last fortnight, Bahukutumbi Raman might have noted, in his usual dry and dispassionate manner, that (1) Hanumanji was not around (2) Hanumanji must have had other pressing matters and (3) One should prepare for scenarios without Hanumanji.

That's the standard government memo template he used for many years to convey matters of great strategic pith and moment to his fans, friends, and followers. He was not given to hyperbole or emotion or drama. Through the months of his cancer treatment, he tweeted about it in a matter-of-factly tone, once chastising someone who was persuading him to eat -- ''Affection for terminal cancer patients shd be simple and normal, not instructive.'' Through pain, medication, and therapy, some of which he disdained, he kept up a steady feed of advice, counsel, guidance, and inquiry to his constituents in the strategic sphere. It included telling the Government of India on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Tokyo that ''Ind-Japan shd make China's seeming strengths into strategic vulnerabilities.''

On Sunday evening, the 77-year old Raman - Raman mama to some of his acolytes - one of the founders of India's spy outfit Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the public face of its underrated and understated analysts community, passed away in Chennai. In the arcane world of espionage, where practitioners generally keep a low profile (particularly in India), Raman became a prolific contributor to public discourse on intelligence matters, often challenging conventional wisdom, and going upstream of establishment flow, especially on Pakistan and the United States. In a political establishment that is increasingly in thrall of Washington, he repeatedly counseled caution and vigilance, a result of what he saw as repeated American betrayal of Indian interests.

In fact, the United States was the only country that riled him up in conversations - not even Pakistan, which he dismissed as a basket case beneath contempt. He said he ''always loved the US...and always liked the American people'' but he despised Washington's policies. ''There is one American species, which I could never bring myself to like during the 27 years I spent in the intelligence community -- the officers of the US State Department,'' he writes in his memoirs, The Kao-boys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane, the title being an admiring tribute to the RN Kao, RAW's principal founder and first chief.

Two incidents, both relating to Pakistan -- and to one individual in particular -- deeply colored his perspective of Washington and its mandarins. The first came after the 1993 Mumbai blasts engineered by Pakistan through Dawood Ibrahim. Raman headed the counter-terrorism division of RAW at that time and rushed to Mumbai soon after the serial explosions that killed 259 people, just two weeks before the first World Trade Center attack by Ramzi Yousef. Among the evidence gathered by the police were detonators and timers that were of American origin. On the advice of then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, Raman said he shared this evidence with US experts, and at their request, allowed them to take the material back to America. Bad mistake, he later regretted.

A few days later, Raman said, the Americans gave an unsigned report saying the detonators and timers were of American origin and were part of stock given to Pakistan during the Afghan war in the 1980s. The report gratuitously added this did not necessarily mean the terrorists got them from the ISI. It pointed out that in Pakistan there was a lot of leakage of government arms and ammunition to smugglers and expressed the view that the terrorists might have procured them from the smugglers.

''When I asked them to return the detonator and the timer as promised by them they replied that their forensic experts had by mistake destroyed them. They did not apparently want to leave any clinching evidence against Pakistan in our hands,'' Raman wrote later. ''This was a bitter lesson to us that in matters concerning Pakistan one should not totally trust the US. They would do anything to ensure that no harm came to Pakistan.''

By that time, ties between Washington and New Delhi had already sunk to an alarming low, thanks largely (in Raman's view, which was broadly accepted in Delhi) to Robin Raphel, a low-level diplomat US President Bill Clinton had appointed as an Assistant Secretary to the newly created South Asia bureau in the State Department. Raman saw Raphel, who served both in New Delhi and Islamabad as a Pakistan partisan (where her husband Arnie Raphel had been the ambassador and died in the plane crash that killed Zia-ul Haq in August 1988).

In fact, soon after the 1993 Mumbai attack, Raman had had a run-in with the Americans, who had quickly issued a travel advisory asking its citizens not to travel to India and its diplomats posted in India to call off all their tours. That effectively grounded Thomas Pickering, who was the US ambassador in New Delhi but had been transferred to Moscow. When a US official called to seek his counsel on the security situation and whether Pickering could leave for Moscow, an irate Raman snapped "Who am I to give advice to your ambassador? Your State Department never consulted us before issuing the advisory, which is totally unwarranted. You tell your ambassador to seek the advice of his department."

''Those were the days when we were not afraid of ticking off the Americans and we had full confidence that the political leadership would totally back us. Not like today, when we bend backwards to curry favor with the Americans,'' Raman wrote in a column many years later, maintaining in private conversations that Americans selectively backed terrorists or turned a blind eye to terrorism when it suited them.

By the time he retired in August 1994, his ties with -- and view of -- Washington had reached a nadir, propelled by his indirect showdown with Raphel. In his memoir, he recalls an "ack thoo" moment in his final days in office that carried his dislike for the State Department to an extreme. ''I felt like vomiting and spitting at the State Department officials. I might have done so had they been there,'' he writes.

The provocation for an intelligence analyst (who typically can see various shades of gray) to express such black-and-white anger was purportedly a secret letter written to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao by the then Indian ambassador in Washington, Siddharth Shankar Ray, in which Ray conveyed the State Department's view that RAW was trying to destabilize Pakistan. ''The State Department officer, who had previously served in the US Embassy in New Delhi, asked the Ambassador to tell New Delhi that if the R&AW did not stop what the State Department described as its covert actions in Pakistan, the US might be constrained to act against Pakistan AND India for indulging in acts of terrorism against each other,'' Raman writes. According to the message, the State Department officer said: ''You have been asking us for many years to declare Pakistan as a State-sponsor of terrorism. Yes, we will do so. But we will simultaneously act against India too if it did not stop meddling in Pakistan.''

The episode caused Raman to go apeshit, particularly after the missing detonators incident that had weakened India's case against Pakistan in nailing it for the 1993 blasts. To him, this was Raphel, who had already angered New Delhi by raising questions about Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India, batting for Pakistan, to save it from being named a state-sponsor of terrorism in 1993 during Nawaz Sharif's first term (Sharif saved Pakistan from the stigma by sidelining the then ISI chief, the minimum demanded by Washington)

Raman recalls his meeting with Narasimha Rao on this issue:

''What kind of covert actions you have in Pakistan?'' Narasimha Rao asked.
''We have been actively interacting with different sections of Pakistani society, which are well disposed towards India and extending to them discreet political and moral support,'' I replied.
''Since when?'' he asked.
''Since 1988, when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Punjab increased in its brutality and evidence came in from one of the Western intelligence agencies that they had received confirmation that Talwinder Singh Parmar, one of the terrorists of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, who had participated in the blowing up of the Kanishka, the Air India aircraft, in June,1985, off the Irish coast, had been given sanctuary in Pakistan by its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Rajiv Gandhi asked us not to confine any longer our contacts to only the ruling circles of Pakistan, but to diversify them and start interacting with others too — particularly those who think and wish well of India,'' I said, and added: ''We had also kept you informed of this when you took over as the Prime Minister in 1991 and subsequently.''

''Yes. I know. But, why is the State Department talking of acts of terrorism? Can any of your actions be misinterpreted as acts of terrorism?''

''Definitely not, Sir.''

Narasimha Rao thought for a while and said: ''Let me have a draft reply to the Ambassador, directing him to strongly deny the allegations of the State Department. Don't discontinue your interactions. We have every right to maintain contacts with all sections of Pakistani society. We need not be worried if the Americans dislike this.''

Years later, with the gradual improvement in ties that followed the Kargil War, the nuclear deal, and the 26/11, Raman became more temperate in his views, although residual mistrust remained. He began to engage US interlocutors more after his retirement, and many of them in turn overcame their hostility or reservation towards him after recognizing that much of his analysis of Pakistan as the epicenter of world terrorism was spot-on. In a tribute written soon after his death, Teresita and Howard Schaffer, former state department officials and seasoned South Asia hands, recalled meeting him last in Chennai early in 2012, ''over a cup of tea and his usual acerbic conversation, in Chennai. He was characteristically harsh in his judgments of both the US and Indian governments over the Maldives, the topic of the hour.''

''We often disagreed, but he was always worth reading,'' they said, indicating that Raman's ''spitting image'' was a thing of the past. But, they conceded, "he was deeply mistrustful of traditional US links to Pakistan, which he believed blinded Americans to Pakistan's involvement with terrorism."

They also spoke about his "very dark view" of Pakistan, recalling that a few days after the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, he published a blog arguing that India should exact from Pakistan the maximum pain short of war: ''A divided Pakistan, a bleeding Pakistan, a Pakistan ever on the verge of collapse without actually collapsing -- that should be our objective till it stops using terrorism against India." Much of his insights on Pakistan, which began to be recognized in Washington in recent years, were based on first-hand sources from within Pakistan, who he met in secret trips to Bangkok.

But towards the end, he was sanguine that Pakistan was embarked on a self-destructive course and there was little that India could do or needed to do, as Pakistan went down the tubes. His attention had turned to China.

He had a few close friends with whom he engaged in pow-wows on strategic matters over some modest drinking (for himself, two small pegs on weekdays and two large on weekends) and ''murukku'' from Grand Sweets of Adyar, in Chennai. He loved the crunchy, oily snacks, and one friend recalls him joking, "I drink so that I can enjoy the murukkus.'' At a more profound level, his inner circle saw that he was obsessed about educating people of India about security threats and thought the Indian media treated security issues too casually.

He rarely spoke about his personal life. He was single for many years and the scuttlebutt in spook circles was his Twitter handle, @sorbonne75, pointed to a French connection in his past life. He described himself as a ''analyst, seminarist, columnist, likes scotch and travels, tomorrow's mind.'' Always the method man, he rounded it up with an epitaph from Rene Descartes' Discourse on the Method: Je pense, donc je suis -- I think, so I am. Amen, Bahukutumbi Raman.


ramana
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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 19 Jun 2013 21:24

I once asked him about Shashi Tharoor addressing the intel community in Delhi soon after his return from UN.

He replied back he didn't agree and returned the invite to the organizers.

When some of his writings were plagarised by you know who, I suggested to him to start a blog instead of a column and offered some of our younger members services to get him started.
He however found his own way.

Not been in touch after the forum got tagged incorrectly in my humble opinion due to misperception.

India is 85% Hindu. As such most of the nationalists will be Hindu. So it leads to mis-perception.

I request people post the full articles so this thread can be an archive to the man and the myth.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 19 Jun 2013 21:56

Reading the tributes so far and comparing to those given to KSgaru, I find both KS and Raman garus were singularly focussed on Indian national interests driving their value system. This gave them the clarity the rest of the Indian strat community lacked for it was trained to see both sides of the issue and more so from Anglo-Saxon point of view due to the steel frame genesis and the frequent training courses in UK and US.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 21 Jun 2013 02:41

In above article by C Rajghatta

The provocation for an intelligence analyst (who typically can see various shades of gray) to express such black-and-white anger was purportedly a secret letter written to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao by the then Indian ambassador in Washington, Siddharth Shankar Ray, in which Ray conveyed the State Department's view that RAW was trying to destabilize Pakistan. ''The State Department officer, who had previously served in the US Embassy in New Delhi, asked the Ambassador to tell New Delhi that if the R&AW did not stop what the State Department described as its covert actions in Pakistan, the US might be constrained to act against Pakistan AND India for indulging in acts of terrorism against each other,'' Raman writes. According to the message, the State Department officer said: ''You have been asking us for many years to declare Pakistan as a State-sponsor of terrorism. Yes, we will do so. But we will simultaneously act against India too if it did not stop meddling in Pakistan.''

The episode caused Raman to go apeshit, particularly after the missing detonators incident that had weakened India's case against Pakistan in nailing it for the 1993 blasts. To him, this was Raphel, who had already angered New Delhi by raising questions about Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India, batting for Pakistan, to save it from being named a state-sponsor of terrorism in 1993 during Nawaz Sharif's first term (Sharif saved Pakistan from the stigma by sidelining the then ISI chief, the minimum demanded by Washington)

Raman recalls his meeting with Narasimha Rao on this issue:

''What kind of covert actions you have in Pakistan?'' Narasimha Rao asked.
''We have been actively interacting with different sections of Pakistani society, which are well disposed towards India and extending to them discreet political and moral support,'' I replied.
''Since when?'' he asked.
''Since 1988, when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Punjab increased in its brutality and evidence came in from one of the Western intelligence agencies that they had received confirmation that Talwinder Singh Parmar, one of the terrorists of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, who had participated in the blowing up of the Kanishka, the Air India aircraft, in June,1985, off the Irish coast, had been given sanctuary in Pakistan by its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Rajiv Gandhi asked us not to confine any longer our contacts to only the ruling circles of Pakistan, but to diversify them and start interacting with others too — particularly those who think and wish well of India,'' I said, and added: ''We had also kept you informed of this when you took over as the Prime Minister in 1991 and subsequently.''

''Yes. I know. But, why is the State Department talking of acts of terrorism? Can any of your actions be misinterpreted as acts of terrorism?''

''Definitely not, Sir.''

Narasimha Rao thought for a while and said: ''Let me have a draft reply to the Ambassador, directing him to strongly deny the allegations of the State Department. Don't discontinue your interactions. We have every right to maintain contacts with all sections of Pakistani society. We need not be worried if the Americans dislike this.''



This exchange gives lie to the oft hinted Bovine Excreta about PVN Rao trying to destablise TSP using RAW or any units inside TSP.

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Re: RIP Bahukutambi Raman

Postby ramana » 24 Jun 2013 23:57

Hindu tribute:

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/r ... 843663.ece

Some confusion in the title for Ramanji was not a spy but an intelligence officer. A lot of difference. But nowadays who cares: from this article, Ramanji was analyst supreme.

Remembering a perfect spy


Amber Sen

On March 12, 1993, Mumbai was hit by a series of bomb blasts. By that evening, one intelligence officer, working hard and fast, as was his wont, had drafted a detailed note for the Prime Minister. It included among other things, an assessment of likely motives, a list of groups that could have carried out the attack, and similar incidents that had occurred previously in various other countries. In the days that followed, the same officer meticulously followed up on every small clue that became available and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) was ultimately able to acquire the names of those involved and the details of their activities prior to and immediately after the incident.

The officer was B. Raman, who passed away on June 16 to cancer that he described as the last terrorist in his life. He wrote about this battle, so different from the others he had fought in his eventful career, with remarkable candour and occasional humour in his blog.

Raman was an IPS officer of the 1961 batch who served for a time in the Madhya Pradesh cadre before deputation to the Intelligence Bureau in New Delhi. There, he was soon noticed by India’s legendary spymaster, R.N. Kao, who took him to the Research and Analysis Wing when it was formed in 1968. From very early on in his career, Raman displayed an unwavering commitment to his work. This, along with his vast knowledge and the ability to recall details of events even after the passage of decades (he could, in fact, tell you the contents of notes recorded by him many years ago) made him a near ideal intelligence officer. These rare qualities prompted Kao and many of his successors to entrust Raman with some of the very sensitive tasks that the R&AW undertook.

His detailed study in the 1970s on the various ethnic groups of Burma is widely considered as one of the best of that time. During the 1980s and early 1990s, when Sikh militancy was a major security problem, he was given charge of the desk handling this issue. He quickly familiarised himself with all aspects of this problem and acquired extensive knowledge of militant groups operating abroad. As expected, he was made the pointperson to brief representatives of foreign intelligence agencies about the threat India faced from terrorism and more particularly about the help being provided to these groups from across the border. Some western intelligence agencies were initially sceptical about our claim that these groups were receiving assistance from Pakistan. Raman never backed down and insisted that the information we were sharing had been double-checked and, hence, reliable. At the time of the Mumbai blasts, Raman was heading the counter-terrorism unit of R&AW.

He started writing prolifically on strategic issues after his retirement in 1994 and was much in demand at conferences and workshops not only in India but also abroad. His standing in the international strategic community was evident when Stephen Cohen asked him to write a chapter for his book, The Future of Pakistan.

In his passing, India’s strategic community has lost one of its finest minds, and the country’s intelligence world, a rare role model.

(Amber Sen was formerly Special Secretary, RAW, and Strategic Intelligence Adviser, National Security Council.)



In fact by that night itself he had the list and flight numbers of the Memon family leaving India.


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