Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Harsh
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Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Harsh » 06 Oct 1999 08:12

Hi<P>I have heard from many people who lived on the coast of Mumbai during the 1971 war that, during a city-wide blackout, fishermen and others used to float hundreds of brightly lit boats in the Arabian sea to fool Pakistani aircraft...<P>does anyone know if this is true?<P>Regards,<BR>Harshavardhan

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Sukumar » 06 Oct 1999 08:16

If that was true, Jee ! I cannot think of amy better instance of Indian ingenuity. Hats off to those wily fishermen. They are the righteous descendants of Kanhoji Angre's sea faring tradition.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Jagan » 06 Oct 1999 08:48

Popular myth gives credit to Pakistanis for attacking Bombay and Delhi in both 65 and 71 Wars. Their aircraft never even got near. they do not have the range to make it to these cities.<P>The lights decoy might have taken place, but why they would use fishermen to do so, and how many lights it would make to fool them into thinking it was a city is debatable.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby NRao » 06 Oct 1999 08:58

1. I did not see any thing or hear anything of this sort. BTW, my house was not too far from the sea and a lot of myfriends did live by the Worli Sea Face. But that does not mean that it did not happen some place else.<P>2. There was a whole bunch of AA fire at nights - in bursts. A few theories did float around, but then who the hell knew which one was right. More over I suspect no TSP plane did have that range in those days.<P>BTW, I was in Karwar about two weeks ago and heard of the new "naval base" out there. Did not have the time to go check it out - knew someone imp to be able to do that. However, the talk was that the base was located there not just because it was cozy, but that - again - TSP planes cannot reach there. On another note, the base is going to change everything (economicaly) out there, that whole coast will be different in about 10 years - all the way to Mangalore down south and into Goa up north.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Jagan » 06 Oct 1999 09:13

T'was December 1971 and my mother was studying, when the sired sounded. She had to stop studying, get to the ground floor of the apartment and run to the compound where make-shift bunkers were made. Now according to her, she saw Paki aircraft dropping bombs into the sea, because they mistook it for Bombay. Now whether that was really Paki aircraft or whether that was the star shining into her eyes or the sheer excitement of the moment, I don't know. I was not even born then.<P>Hey, in the version i heard from my mother, It was the China War and they bombed Visakhapatnam. Now Vizag was bombed way back in WW2 and my mom was not born then yet!<P>I speculated sometime it might have been in 65 and the East Pakistanis bombed Vizag,... but now you know.<P>

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Jagan » 06 Oct 1999 09:18

Falgun,<P>I accept that guns may have been fired and some panic airraid alarms might have gone off. but the Pakistanis NEVER attacked Bombay. They had no aircraft that could fly all the way and do so.<P>This is accepted by the Pakistanis too. attacking a target like Bombay is a propaganda victory for them , and you never hear from them about attacking Bombay...coz they never did.<P>

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby shiv » 06 Oct 1999 11:27

At midnight on Dec 3rd 1971 as Indy Gandhi finished her address to the nation, MiG 21s from Lohegaon took off and roared right over where we lived in Poona flying towards Bombay.<P><BR>We later heard that it was a false alarm, though a couple of AA batteries are said to have opened up.<P>A memorable time when my brother nearly broke his nose trying to cycle home from the club in pitch darkness.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby VKumar » 06 Oct 1999 14:21

Twice during 65 I saw flak. Being children brought up on hollywood war movies(and westerns) we first thought these were paratroopers. Both times the firing was in the afternoon (about 4 to 5 pm. It was for quite a few minutes. There was nothing untoward to report except that my brother broke my father's favorite walking stick, swinging at the imaginary paratroopers. How my father later swung at him is the matter of a different topic!<P>In 1971, twice AA was used. Both times around 8 to 9 pm. We climbed on the terrace to see the beautiful tracer. Firing was so intense that no aircraft could have got through. Both times innocent public was hurt by falling shrapnel. So public was advised to stay indoors.<P>As regards black-outs, these were used in 61,65 and 71. In fact in '65 & 71 we had become quite experts at brown papering the windows & ensuring complete black-outs. <P>My other recollections are the late night speeches by Ayub Khan and particularly Yayha Khan who spoke around 10 pm and was completely drunk and could just about talk on how his brave soldiers fought but lost. Particularly the loss of E.Pakistan was too much to bear.<P> Also the all India radio carried Melville De'Mello's silvery tones reporting from the front and making instant heroes of Abdul Hakim (PVC,65) and Lt.Arun Khetrapal & Col.Tarapore in 71.<P>travelling to work & college by the 7.30 train, doubly packed by cheerful commuters, knowing that the day would end early due to black-out, everybody being conscious of wastage & a oneness especially celebration of our victories. Of reading in the Evening news about the Paki sabres dropped over W.Bengal around 3rd Dec,71, of the Paki dusk airraids on forward airbases on 4th Dec. & listening to Indiraji declare war, and reading next morning of over 1000 retaliatory sorties. <P><BR>And who can ever,ever forget the broadcast every afternoon ( 1 hour from 3 pm) on all India radio urdu service of the captured pakistani soldiers(surrendered) giving name,rank,village and a short message to their near ones reassuring them that they were well and well-fed(chicken & eggs, they used to say with relish). A constant stream of all ranks. It was brilliant propoganda. Defeat could not have been better phrased.<P>Yes, those were the days. Kargil & the TV coverage brought back the intensity of those days, and the Nation became one again(hopefully forever), thanks to TSP!

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Sachin » 06 Oct 1999 19:30

I have heard another story. The Paki Air Crafts it seems managed to reach Delhi even though Delhi was in black out. <P>One of the leaders at that time (V.V. Giri if I am correct) was making a speach when he hears air craft sound. "Oh..that is our AF" he says, but actually they were Paki planes.<P>The story is that Taj Mahal was used a land mark by Pakis!!<P>------------------<BR>Sachin P.K<BR>http://209.67.19.99/~sachin_pk<BR>Deshon ka Sartaaj..Bharath<P>

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Babui » 06 Oct 1999 20:30

Harsh - I was a 4-5 yr old kid in Bombay during the '71 war. It was an exciting time. My parents and family friends were all always discussing the battles but I don't remember any stories about fishermen lighting fires in the sea !<BR>There were rumors of Paki planes coming over Bombay. I vividly remember the air-raid sirens in the evening. My mother would grab me and throw me under the bed. My father would go to the balcony (we lived in a lrage apartment bldg) where I could hear him shouting across to the neighbors. Everybody used to go out to their balconies. I would crawl out of the other side of the bed to join him. Then my Mom would abuse my Dad :-)and ask him to discipline me. One night when the air-raid sirens sounded, I was on the top floor of the apartment building (in a friends apartment) and saw the whole city go dark. However, one apartment in our building had their lights on. You should have heard the abuse that was hurled at the unfortunate occupants of that apartment (if I remember correctly, it was Mr. and Mrs D'Souza's :-)). They very quickly switched their lights off.<BR>Unfortunately, I don't remember witnessing any AA fire :-( Probably was under the bed.<BR>The next best memory of that war was playing "soldiers" with my friends. Nobody wanted to be a Paki (no surprise there :-)). So, we designated this fat, little Gujarati kid as a "Paki Shaitan" and we all abused the hell out of him. Poor fellow ! I've lost touch with him but he must be carrying the scars all his life.<BR>Best of all, I remember the "oneness" we felt with others. In the street, my parents would be talking with strangers and having discussions. It didn't seem to matter if one was poor or rich. I saw my parents give blood and my mother donated jewellery(gold earings) and money to some girl guides who had come to our house. It was one of those moments we all felt proud and Indian.<BR>Wow!! What memories ! Thanks.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby S Bajwa » 06 Oct 1999 20:59

In 1965 war (I wasn't born then), my uncle(Mama) who was raised in Karnal in Haryana (Karnal is about 100 KM west of Delhi) tells me that in his village (he lives in city but has a land in a closeby village called Buddha Khera) villagers saw a Pakistani paratrooper coming down and fled into sugarcane field. Villagers sorrounded him from all sides capturing him and giving him a good JAAT beating before handing him over to Karnal police. <P>In 1965 and in 1971 war, my village (SAidpur, about 20 KMs from Pakistani border in Gurdaspur district) was under direct fire of Pakistani guns and several crops were destroyed. <P>So infuriated were poor people that my uncles helped them by providing them with their tractors and trolleys to go the Pakistani side of border and cut their crops (mostly sugarcane) and thus save something for themselves. <P>Sandeep Singh Bajwa

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Sunil » 07 Oct 1999 00:15

faheen:<P>is that an account from bombay or karachi? <BR>

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Shirish » 07 Oct 1999 01:16

My dad told me about an attack on Jamnagar port,in 1965 when a bomb rolled into their canteen and killed 2 of his friends . He was out on night shift at the time. <P>Umm, about the ack ack firing in bombay in 1971..I can vouch for one incident at the old Worli Fort where a naval battery shot at a civilian aircraft taking off from Santa Cruz..and missed. It was my cousin's husband and he & his crew were drunk off their butts! Seems hilarious now, but he never made it past Lt. Cdr. Image

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Arun_S » 07 Oct 1999 01:50

In 1971, my father was posted in AF-Poona(Lohgaon) flying the 3 finned Superconni of No:6 (Dragon)Squadron, for Navel-Recce & transport. <P>He was on standby duty even when he was at home, and used to fly mission all odd hours of the day (to date I do not know of the mission details. I suspect most of his flights were guarding western seas & Bombay-coast, against any PN intruders. The Superconnie-Recc Flight generally consisted of 1 Superconni-R and two Canberra Bombers. Only half the Superconnies had the Naval-Recc Radar. Superconnies were also used a transport airplanes).<P>So when the war broke out, the Mig-21's, Canberras & Super-connies would be extreamly active. The Mig-21 would provide CAP for Poona & Bombay. <P>The families in the AF base fully implimented backouts and even when the siren blew, they knew it was more of precaution then anything else. Because no Paki plane can come this far (for that sake even Bombay), not to mention that Poona was a hornet's nest with squadrons of Mig-21. So when the sirens blew, blackout was complete, though no one would be required to get out of the buildings. In fact we were not even required to dig trenches. During 1965 war, in Agra I vividly remember getting into trenches when the siren sounded. My elder brother had dug a trench in front of the house in preperation. <P>So in 1971, one perticular day my father went out on mission early morning, I came back from my primary-school at ~ 4 PM, and as usual turned on the radio to listen to war reports. Happen to tune in on a strong Radio-Pakistan broadcast of what we used to say "Radio Guppistan" for all the bull**** news it reported.<P>But that day was differnt. The opening news (in Urdu) was that "Our fighters today shot down 2 enemy super-connies near Agra.....". I was dumb stuck for the first time in my life, because my father did go out flying superconnie that morning. I ran into my mother to pull her to the radio, I was unable to speak to her due to shock. In a few seconds the house was drowned in our loud crying (my mother & we two kids). Our neighbours downstairs (he used to work for the BRD{Base Repair Depot}) came up to enquire what's wrong ? When we told him of the Pak Radio broadcast, he tried to persuade us not to believe Pak-Radio, but that did not help our crying. <P>I can tell you by first hand experience, how devastating is the <B>though of </B>losing your dear ones to WAR. <P>So our neighbour took out his scooter to go the ATC to find out if indeed IAF lost any Superconnie. After 90 minutes he cameback reassuring that indeed all Superconnies are safe and that my fathers plane would land back middile of the nights.<P>For sure my dad was backhome at night and we were so happy.<P><B>Since then I really feel for those families of dead soilders lost to war.</B> I really believe in investing in peace and dispell the mistrust and misunderstandign that spawns war. Reminds me of a slogen in one of the AF-MI rooms "<B>The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war</B>"<P>And of course since then I never-never again believed in Radio-Pakistan, and would always recognise it as "RADIO GUPPISTAN" {GUPP in Hindi means un-true}.<P>Per my recollection at the end of the 71 war, of all the squardons based at AF-Poona none lost any aircraft, (including those aircraft units which were on forward area deployment). And no enemy plane ever reached Poona or Bombay.<P>What a joke that country named Pakaistan is !!<P>Cheers -Arun <p>[This message has been edited by Arun_S (edited 06-10-1999).]

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby VickersB » 07 Oct 1999 01:58

Yeah, remember putting up lots of brown paper(the one we use to cover our books with) <BR>on all our windows. Lived near Chandigarh and saw a lot of ack ack. Chandimandir,<BR>Chandigarh and Ambala were under total darkness at sunset. Remember crawling on our <BR>bellies when we went out onto our lawn. Rumors maybe, that a Puki plane crashed<BR>into the Morni hills. Those are my memories of the '71 war.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Harsh » 07 Oct 1999 03:09

<BR>Thanks everyone for all the replies... well here's a follow up: my father remembered hearing his father (who was then active in local politics) talking to some other about higher ranked politicians about using 'decoys' in the ocean. <P>Other relations and friends who were alive (who lived on the coast of Malad (there's a naval base there now btw, if it was there then, I have no idea)) then remembered fishermen who used to go out en masse at odd hours in the night with lamps, candles, etc in thier boats at night. <P>I can't igve any 1st hand accounts (as I was not born then) but my father and mother (who were then next door neighbours) vividly remember hearing an aircraft fly low above thier house and 'drop a bomb'. The whole neighbourhood formed posses and searched the neighbourhood for damage. They also said that something (they do not know) was found in a roundabout.<P>Regards,<BR>Harsh

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby Sachin » 07 Oct 1999 11:06

Rakesh can we just archive this thread? There is no serious matters in this thread, but is clearly shows how the civilians felt and spent their times during wars.<P>It gives a clear picture of what war is for the common man, and how we Indians behaved during the war.<P>------------------<BR>Sachin P.K<BR>http://209.67.19.99/~sachin_pk<BR>Deshon ka Sartaaj..Bharath<P>

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby shiv » 07 Oct 1999 15:12

Sachin - you can archive it yourself after deleting this message and yours above.<P>Choose the archive option below when you feel enough replies have come in.

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Re: Question on 1971 war and Mumbai blackout

Postby S Bajwa » 07 Oct 1999 20:56

Let me narrate another incident.<P>In 1965's war my father (who was working with Central Government of India) was posted in Giddarbaha town (punjab close to border).<P>He tells me that he heard Pakistani radio saying "Hamari Faujen Giddarbaha Nehar tak pahunch chuki hain" "our forces are on the western banks of Giddarbaha Canal trying to sorround the town ". He with his friends decided to check it out (it was only 1 km away), they did not see anything, they crossed the river on the bridge (which was under pakistni occupation as said by radio) and could not find anything at all Indian or Pakistani. Indian defences were west to the city of Giddarbaha close to the border of Pakistan.<P><BR>Next day they heard that Pakistani forces could not break the Indian defences right at the border let alone occupying the town. <P><BR>Sandeep Singh Bajwa<BR>Sandeep


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