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Books that cover Indian Armed Forces and its History

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Books that cover Indian Armed Forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 23 Aug 2002 15:15

Unlike the Books covering Indian Air Force, there are a number of books about the Indian Army that have come up - many are well written and researched but have not come to notice due to poor publicity or distribution. I am starting this thread to collate information on various books on the Indian Army - including regimental histories and autobiographies.

To start this thread off, I recently bought a book The Battles of Zoji La" by Dr Sudhir S Bloeria.

To quote the blurb: "The break through at Zojila was one of the three most crucial battles fought by the Indian Army in 1947-48. It is a saga of super human efforts, grim and successful struggle waged by the Soldiers of Indian Army to achieve this aim. 1997 81-241-0509-X pp. 395 Rs 395

On first glance i found it surprising that there was a civilian author to such an exhaustive book. But going thru it found out that the Author was previously a Short Service Comm Officer from the Army who went and joined the IAS.

Buleria did a good job - interviewing about a dozen veterans of Zoji La and corresponding with others. He expresses regret at not finding an oppurtunity to meet Rajinder Singh Sparrow. The author has been working on the book for over ten years and the result is a good reference on the battle.

What is surprising about the sources is the author's access to the Regimental diaries of not only army formations, but also the Operational record books of air force formations. (Though not much info is there on the IAF and its role - the author says pilots did not file mission reports ).

The book has got some good contour maps , but the printing quality is poor of the maps. Overall the text is good quality printing, but a major grouse is the total lack of photographs apart from the ones on the dust jacket.

I say the book is good escpecially because it covers a period that is rarely researched in so much detail.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Victor » 23 Aug 2002 20:33

"Th Army Officer Corps and Military Modernisation in Later Colonial India." by Pradeep Barua, University of Hull Press, 1999, is a well-researched and wide-ranging study of the development of the Indian Army Officer.

Interesting quotes from many of the stalwarts on issues like the British attempts to keep the Indian Sandhurst cadets away from European women, their being "Wogs in the Mess" and their performance in the wars that followed. Also issues like the selection process of prospective officers, the first notions of 'martial races' etc. Absorbing reading. Its on Amazon.com.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby member_201 » 24 Aug 2002 03:37

Start from the Alphabet 'A' and go down!

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 25 Aug 2002 22:02

Starting from 1948 sounds like a good idea. hope I can follow it.

I dont have time to figure out titles by a,b,c,.... :( :(

I wholly endorse Jagan's wite up about Battles of Zojila.

Well here are some of the books that I have recently read.

1. Pakistan's Criminal Folly in Kashmir by Lt. Gen. M.L. Chibber, manas Pub. New Delhi, 248 p. , maps, sketches and photos, 1998

This book covers the story of 3 heroes who saved Ladakh from falling into pakistani hands in 1948.
1. Brig. Sher Jung Thapa, MVC and Siege of Skardu
2. Col. Prithi Chand MVC and Leh
3. Col. Chhewang Rinchen MVC and Bar and Nubra valley.
Book has a chapter each on the accession of J&K and Ladakh its geograpy and culture. Gen. Chibber interviewed all 3 heroes for his book. It is well written and interesting to read.
Useful addition to the scant literature about 1948 war.

2. When Generals Failed:The Chinese Invasion by Brig. Darshan K. Khullar. manas Pub, New Delhi, 1999, 267 p. maps and coloured photos(taken of the area by the author in the 1990's)

Brig Khullar was a young artillery Lieut. serving in NEFA during the war of 1962. He recounts the tragedy in Kameng sector. The book includes personal interludes and conduct of operations of the 4th Div. Under Maj. Gen. A.S. Pathania. The faliure of Indian Troops to stand and fight at Sela is blamed on Nehru, Krishnaenon, Gen. Yhapar, Gen. L.P. Sen and maj. Gen. pathania. The author also recounts various "treason like" decisions taken by these persons, where the welfare of a particular individual was put ahead of that of the Nation.
I gained lot of new info about the 1962 war by reading this book and wholly recommend it to everyone.

Two thunbs up.

3. Lt. Gen. P.S. Bhagat PVSM, VC, by Lt.Gen Mathew Thomas and Jasjit Mansingh, lancer International, 1994. 517p. Photos (Poor to very poor quality)

This is a biography of India's only VC General. It covers Gen. Bhagat's early life, action in WW2, winning the VC, upto his commanding the Northern Command and as Chairman of DVC. Many of Gen. Bhagat's friends, relatives, colleagues and junior officers offer their comments in the book.

The one thing that I did not like in this book are the quality of the photos. The photos are just terrible.

4. The Sikh Mutiny by Col. Pritam Bhullar, Siddharth Pub. New Delhi, 1987, 85 p. no photos or maps.

The book deals with the mutiny of some Sikh troops after operation Bluestar. The author goes into what were the causes, who was to blame and what lessons were learnt from it.

The main cause was failure of command structure and lack of leadership in some battalions.
eg: The Co of one battalion , which was a Pune was personally briefed by the GOC in C Southern Command about Bluestar and told to talk to his troops. The CO choose not to address his men but instead talk to his JCO's in their mess. Two days later 130 men mutined.

The book also briefly covers Sikh history and the history of the Sikh Regiment.

Now how many of you have read any or all of these 4 books, Please raise your right hand.

Time to say JAI HO!

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Radhey » 08 Sep 2002 21:57

I would recommend the following books...

1) Fidelity and Honour: The INDIAN ARMY from the Seventeenth to the Twenty-first Century; by Lt. General S.L MENEZES (Retd.); Rs.350; Oxford India PaperBack; ISBN 019565047-6

* A well written history book summarising the making of the Indian Army..

2) Legion of the BRAVE; by D P Ramachandran; Rs.250; EastWest Books(Madras) Pvt. Ltd.; ISBN 81-86852-72-7

* Cpn. (Retd) D P Ramachandran served in the Indian Army as an officer of the elite combat arm, the Armoured Corps, on a short service commission for ten years and took part in the 1971 Bandladesh War. The veteran has recreated the 13-day war through this book.. A MUST READ FOR EVERY ONE..

3) The Guilty Men of 1962; by D. R. Mankekar; Rs.200; A PENGUIN BOOK; ISBN 0-14-028523-7

* Would answers most of the questions raised in BR regarding the Sino-Indian war of 1962...

Cheers!

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 09 Sep 2002 14:24

>>* A well written history book summarising the making of the Indian Army..

I do have to state that Menezes book is not the best thing that you can get for the IA History. Menezes starts with the Pre independence british era right from the 1700s-1800s and the net result is he is not able to give proper coverage to all events. Still , its a matter of perception , others may end up liking it, I did not.

Mankekar's book is pretty much Okay, but it hardly has any amount of detail about the fighting and the mistakes we made. It covers the political aspects well, but the military aspects are barely touched.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 09 Sep 2002 14:28

D Sandhu,

Thanks for the review of those four books. I must admit I have not come across even one of them, but going by your review , They should be a good read.

Your mention of Chowang rinchen brings to mind a recent book i bought which were the memoirs of Rinchen edited by another gentleman. I will try to post more details after going home.

I was earlier mentioning about the IAF related book 'Inside Occupied Kashmir' by P N Gupta. Since Gupta was a POW along with Sher Jang Thapa, Gupta devotes 3-4 pages to the Seige of Skardu. Since this was published in 57-58, I must say it is one of the earliest narrations of that struggle.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 09 Sep 2002 20:45

Jagan

Is the book about Col. C. Rinchen MVC & Bar published by the Dehradun based company which also published, Hunters of Longewala?

There are a number of regimental histories books published by various regimental centers, any idea how to obtain one of them in India?
Most of these deal with post 1947 history, some of them are current upto late 1980's or early 1990's.
I know of the following:

Dogra
Guards
Garhwal Rifles
Jak Rifles
JAK LI
and various Gorkha Rifles.
The JAK LI book is written by Lt. Gen. Chibber and has a detailed account of Sub. Bana Singh's actions in Siachen.

Regarding the book by Lt. Gen. Menezes:

It deals mostly with the East India Army ( Clive and battle of Plassey stuff) very litte about IA actions in WW-2 or post 1947.
If you are interested in East India army stuff then this is the book for you.

But on the other hand if you want to read about IA actions in WW2 or post 1947 then this does not have much in it.

My personal feeling about this book is: "DUMP IT"

jai Ho

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Radhey » 09 Sep 2002 20:46

>>I do have to state that Menezes book is not the best thing that you can get for the IA
>>History. Menezes starts with the Pre independence british era right from the
>>1700s-1800s and the net result is he is not able to give proper coverage to all events.
>>Still , its a matter of perception , others may end up liking it, I did not.

Well! To be fair, the author has made a great effort to cover events spanning across 4 centuries, in about 600 pages, to provides a holistic view on the making of the Indian Army... Like I had said, it is an history book and might not be the best.. But again, it is a matter of perception..

>>Mankekar's book is pretty much Okay, but it hardly has any amount of detail about
>>the fighting and the mistakes we made. It covers the political aspects well, but the
>>military aspects are barely touched.

Your comments are pretty accurate about Mankekar's book..

Cheers!

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 09 Sep 2002 23:58

Details on the book about Chewang Rinchen

A Legend in his own time - Chewang Rinchen Memoirs - Edited by Dr. Virendra Verma - Padma Shri.

Published by Young India Publications - Dehradun 1998. Cost Rs 180/-

The Author is an ex Principal of NDA and as the blurb proudly states, is 86 years old! He has several other books to his credit including - Fall of DBN Bridge 71 , Race to Bogra, Battle of Dograi 65, Battle of Basantar 71, Hunting Hunters, Our Vintage Transport Aircraft and Valour Triumphs - Battle of Rezang La (I haven't come across a single book from this list.)

The book on Rinchen is about 180 pages, and is as detailed as one can get. Though the style maynot be racy or interesting enough, it has plenty of raw information of archival nature. The illustrations that accompany the book are also a good number. Some interesting facts that come to light - Rinchen did not get promoted to Lt Col because he did not pass the current affairs paper for the promotion test. and He retired prematurely as Major in 1980.

He rejoined in 1983 on the advise of Chibber and later was given promotion to Lt Col. He could not get Colonel promotion either due to the break in service. So he was given the HOnorary rank of Colonel when he retired in 86.

One of the pictures from the book is there on the Liberation Times in a story about fall of Turtok.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 11 Sep 2002 01:08

Operation Rescue: military operations in Jammu & Kashmir 1947-49 by Maj. S. K. Sinha, Vision Books 1979

Yes the author is the same Gen. Sinha who was superceeded by Gen. Vaidya for the army chief's post.

The author wrote this book in 1959 but could not publish it untill 1979 ( Nehru and IG at work, not wanting other Indians to know about army affairs and the babus of MoD stamping everything post WW-1 as TOP SECRET.)

Sinha was a staff officer under Gen. Russell in DEP command which later became Western Command. He talks about the airlift of Dakotas to Srinagar which was organised by the DEP command.

He gives accounts of the actions in all the fronts, uri, nowshera, gurez, leh etc. Though it may not have detailed info regarding all the battalions and their co's etc but one get the picture by reading it.

The decision to go to Poonch from Uri instead of attacking Domel and leaing on Muzzafarabad was a political one. Russell wanted the tactical decision to take Domel but was not given clearance.

Sinha by being at the DEP/ Western Command operation HQ saw the entire war at that post. He made a number of visits to a number of sectors, interacted with the brigade commanders and brigade majors and gained first hand info regarding the war.

This is one of the very few books that cover the entire 1948 war. It has some maps and pictures.

A couple of years after the war, some babus of the finance ministry did an audit of the army and found that DEP command did not get the proper authorization to use the civilian Dakotas for Srinagar airlift, proper form were not filled in with the rquired carbon copies, so the babus sent a bill to Sinha for a few millions of rupees to get the money back.

Well this is the last of the book that deals with the 1948 war (other than the regimental history ones) that I have read.

JAI HO!

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 17 Sep 2002 21:52

Missed opportunities Indo-Pak War 1965 by Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh Lehl, Natraj Pub. Dehradun, 1997, 364 p. ills and maps.

Maj.Gen Lehl a Gunner who won the VrC for operations in Jammu sector in 1948 and then went on to command the 20 Inf. Div. in the Eastern Sector during the 1971 war has written this book about the 1965 war.

The book mostly deal with the two major armour battles; Assal Uttar and Sialkot (1st and 2nd battle of Chiwanda), but other operations in the Punjab sector under 11 corps are also dealt with. He has gone through a number of published sources both Indian and Pakistani and quoted them often.
In many areas IA had problems of meshing of infantry with armour. Also he states the during the early part of the war in the Punjab sector Paf was very active in ground support where the IAF was nowhere to be seen in this role.

For anyone interested in the 1965 war this book is a must have also with Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh's War Despatches.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 17 Sep 2002 22:12

I would also recommend Maj Gen L S Lehl's earlier books. His personal account of his command in "Indian Sword strikes in East Pakistan" (Vikas Publishers) and the later a complete account of the East Pakitan Ops "Victory in Bangladesh" (Natraj Publishers). Both books quite excellent and detailed in the description of events.

For anyone looking towards operations in East Pakistan, I would reccomend Lehl's as well as Maj Gen Sukhwant Singh's "The Liberation of Bangladesh" as must read. And no, J F R Jacob's book and D K Palits book do not make the grade here.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 03 Oct 2002 17:51

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/books/books10.htm

Siachen: conflict without end by Lt Gen V.R. Raghavan

Reviewed by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha

When I met Lt General Raghavan in Delhi before reading his book on Siachen, his claim that he had written the first definitive work on the subject sounded pompous. However, after reading the book, I can understand where the author's confidence came from. This is, indeed, the first respectable piece of research on the subject. Prior to reading the book, one was also unsure of the research and writing skills of army generals, particularly from the Indian subcontinent. Raghavan's book should dispel this scepticism.

Although presenting an Indian perspective, the 350 page monograph is an excellent study of what the armies of India and Pakistan have been doing at the glacier since 1984. More important, it tells the story of why an insane battle is being fought at such ridiculous heights -and tells it in a readable style. Of course, one does not expect an Indian general to present Pakistan's perspective. However, the publication makes one wish that a Pakistani military officer could also write a readable and honest account of Siachen or other military adventures/ operations that remain a mystery to the public.

The study analyses the history of the conflict and the conduct of the war. Both Pakistan and India had an eye on the glacier. Contrary to the perspective that launching an operation to take control of the Siachen glacier was a unilateral decision on India's part, the author's claim is that Islamabad had started to make the necessary moves to establish control of the glacier and that the Indian military operation was basically to upstage the Pakistan army's military manoeuvres. Thus, as rightly pointed out by the author: "The Siachen dispute is a prime example of geopolitics influencing policies and strategic choices."

Apparently, Pakistan wanted to draw a line connecting the point NJ 98428 a point where the LoC and the CFL terminated, with the Karakoram pass. This move was an extension of an earlier move whereby Pakistan had acceded some of its territory to China as per the 1963 boundary agreement between Islamabad and Beijing, a development contested by New Delhi. The initial move was made by Pakistan through changing the lines on the map and exhibiting its control over the glacier through granting mountaineering permits to foreign mountaineers. The author claims that the Indian move, hence, was retaliatory.

Despite the lucid assessment of why the two armies decided to engage each other at such dangerous and unforgiving heights, one still fails to fathom why both sides tend to underestimate each other's resolve not to allow the other side an inch of extra land. Seemingly, through an occupation of Siachen glacier, which is a fact and not the author's imagination, Islamabad had hoped to take a roundabout way to solving the Kashmir issue. However, it soon discovered that the issue cannot be solved by either side through a military operation.

According to Lt General Jahandad Khan, who has been cited in this book, the reason for Pakistan's interest in the glacier was political. The fear was that had the army not responded to Indian moves, the Pakistan army's lack of initiative would have been exploited by the political opposition. However, the fact is that the armies and the people of both countries are stuck with the conflict in Siachen.

Another significant aspect of this book relates to what it has to say about Pakistan not having control of or a presence in the Siachen glacier. In fact, the author's claim is that Pakistani troops have been confined to the lower and western slopes of the Saltoro ridge. Furthermore, the Pakistani Army post closest to the Siachen glacier is at a distance of about 15-16 kilometres. Interestingly, the author gives details of the Indian army's tactical operations describing the manner in which such a target was achieved. This far, there is no authentic research in Pakistan to challenge this claim. With lack of analysts in Pakistan that write on conduct of war it would be difficult for someone to present the picture from this side of the border.

This is the first time that one has come across a study that helps a reader comprehend the complexity of planning an operation at such painful heights. The description of how both Pakistani and Indian troops used dangerous, often suicidal, methods to climb up certain heights or reclaim some land from the other, is nauseating and makes one anxious about the sanity of the policymakers. To be fair to the author, he has given due credit to Pakistani troops for achieving the impossible on certain occasions.

Reading the description of the tactical operations one not only wonders what this insanity is worth, but one can also understand why soldiers fighting at and around Siachen would have little regard for the media's need for information on this war. Raghavan has an entire section dedicated to the media's coverage of the conflict and the way journalists are shipped to such heights to cover the ongoing battle. Although one can sympathize with General Raghavan's own sense of bitterness at how little does the media understand the pain that his men have gone through, the fourteenth chapter seems a bit superfluous. It fails to connect with the rest of the book or the argument in the study.

The negotiations on Siachen have been of significance. What might be of interest to the Pakistani readership are details of the occasions when political governments in Islamabad found themselves at variance with the army during discussions on the issue. There are more than three cases mentioned in the book in which Pakistan's political governments were at odds with its armed forces. They only reinforce the view that the military keeps the civilian leadership out of the bargaining process on key issues.

Of course, it is hard to imagine a book that is perfect and this study has its problems too. One of the areas where the author might have contributed more was the section on the cost of this conflict. Raghavan cites several people and the figures provided by them. However, he is almost silent on the subject and one does not believe that he did not have access to the information. The cost of conflict is a very important issue in any evaluation of its worth. What makes it doubly important is that the people of India and Pakistan have a right to know the price of their leadership's insanity. It is only by disclosing the costs can one hope to strengthen the hands of civil society on both sides of the divide to fight their battle with their establishments.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby debjani » 08 Oct 2002 08:38

Capt Amarinder Singh [present CM Punjab]'s book LEST WE FORGET is another good book to read.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 31 Oct 2002 00:01

Just Received a few new books

A Ridge too Far by Amarinder Singh

Falcon in my name by Maj. Gen. Kuldip Singh Bajwa

Portrait of Courage: A century of the 5th battalion Sikh Regiment by Maj. Gen. P.K. Khanna, MVC and Pushpindar Singh Chopra

Will have a review of these in the next couple of months.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby S Bajwa » 31 Oct 2002 00:19

A fighting tale by a soldier
Review by Rajinder Nath (Major-Gen, retd)

The Falcon in My Name: A Soldier’s Diary by Kuldip Singh Bajwa. South Asia Publications, New Delhi. Pages 402. Rs 495.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20000820/spectrum/books.htm#2

The book refers to many fascinating incidents throughout his service starting from his training at the IMA, his various appointments till his retirement as a Major-General. These incidents bring out the flavour of the Army, its functioning, its customs and peculiarities which make it distinct from other organisations.

"The Falcon in his name" was very much present in his career as the author had strong views and offered to resign more than once whenever he felt that the interests of the service demanded it. The book ends with some useful articles dealing with India’s Constitution which he feels needs to be reviewed, the functioning of various political parties at present and his views on the security of the country.

The book refers to the prophetic words of Lord Wavel that "the stability of the Indian Army may perhaps be the deciding factor in the future of India". The author bemoans the inability of the political masters to grasp the essentiality of national security in a holistic manner. He feels that a close proximity of the bureaucrats to the political executive, and the quid pro quo between them, have made the soldier continuously lose ground by way of status and emoluments.

According to the author, "We lionise our men in uniform but secretly we fear the organised military power that they represent and distort them for our own double standard." That is why a vast array of para-military forces has been raised, the author feels. He further states: "One of the calculations believed this move was a philosophy of counterpoise to the armed forces. This is obviously the result of a myopic vision. No semi-military organisation led by officers with a dominant police philosophy could ever hope to match well-trained and well-led armed forces."
Any way, the time has come when our rulers, both politicians and bureaucrats, should shed their fear of a military coup, for India and Pakistan are totally different countries as far as development of democratic systems are concerned.

The book dwells on the poor prospects of the soldiers after retirement. Retirement at an early age, his postings in far-flung borders of our country, lack of interaction with civil servants and erosion of his status make his post-retirement life difficult. It is particularly so as most of them have to seek gainful employment and have to start a second career. "Tending roses and gracefully fading away has become a pipe dream", the author remarks with justification.

Being an artillery officer, he highlights the schedule of training of gunners with earthy, and pragmatic, lessons. The planning for war and realistic conduct of battle are not easy. The execution of plans is equally demanding. The complexity of this task requires thorough training to develop proficiency in individual and group skills, and conditioning of troops is needed to develop proficiency in handling equipment. The conditioning of troops to modern high risk environment and the close integration of diverse units and formations into a battle-winning combination require competent leaders.

He discusses the operations of the 115 Infantry Brigade in the Shakargarh salient in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The author states that in spite of the fact that the 115 Brigade had armour under its command, while Pakistan had none in the early days in this sector, the advance of the brigade was very slow. According to him, it was because the brigade’s tactical HQ and its commander were well behind, near the river Ravi. During the war, the commanders should be well up to see the situation for themselves and give timely instructions.
The author remarks, "This was not a performance to be proud of despite what has been portrayed in official records and regimental histories, including the citations for gallantry awards and decorations that were written."

Well, in a war the truth is the first casualty! He recounts the exploits of brave and daredevil officers like Major Pradeep Gaur, an air observation pilot who was shot down while bringing the Shakargarh sector under effective fire in 1971. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (posthumous).

The author has analysed the attitude of Pakistan and Indian soldiers. He states: "After independence, Pakistan and Indian soldiers presented a sharp contrast in emotion, attitudes and behaviour towards each other." To start with, the Pakistan soldier took his cue from a historical perspective of the Muslim invaders who plundered and eventually ruled India for over 10 centuries. He invested himself with a feeling of superiority out of this historical memory. He was generally aggressive, overweeningly confident, overbearing and as time passed, treated his counterpart with supercilious superiority.

"The Indians, conditioned by the Hindu karma, loath to deliberately kill without the justification of war, not so easily provoked and their trigger fingers tightly controlled by the votaries of Panchsheel in Delhi, seemingly came off the second best in border confrontations. This made them look rather meek and passive against his over-blown Pakistan counterpart, whose intransigence had increased in direct proportion to the size of his lethal arsenal ..."

There is a lot of truth in this statement. Well-known Pakistan author Altaf Gauhar in a recent article entitled, "Four Wars and One Assumption", has stated that Pakistan started all the wars on the assumption that India could not match it in military power.

The author rightly states that the leadership plays a very important role in the army. Recalling his serving under Field Marshal Maneckshaw, he quotes many instances where the leadership aspect was fully brought home to him by the way Maneckshaw took decisions and the trust he reposed in his staff.

The book also contains the author’s views on various national and international issues confronting India, national security and Indo-Pakistan relations. He writes in a logical and lucid manner.

It is a well-written study of a soldier who has gone through the trails and tribulations of soldiering in a long and fairly rewarding career. His views are thought provoking and require introspection.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Rangudu » 31 Oct 2002 07:32

I just finished reading the following book:

Despatches From Kargil by Srinjoy Chowdhury
ISBN : 0140295925

It is a good read. As the name suggests, it reads like a collection of reports, with chapters oraganized along the various theatres - Drass, Batalik, Kargil etc.

Can't say I recommend it, but it isn't half bad.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Michael » 31 Oct 2002 08:40

Are there any books about the Indian military which tell the war story from the soldier's point of view? I'm not looking for dry, strategic-level stuff. I have no interest in books written from the viewpoint of generals, historians, and politicians. What I'm interested in are first-hand accounts, taken directly from the men who were there.

If any of you have read "Band of Brothers", that's an example of the style I'm looking for.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 05 Dec 2002 02:36

new book by Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury

Officially at Peace

Here is a review:
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2002/20021201/spectrum/book7.htm

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Kaushal » 24 Dec 2002 01:41

A Soldier's Diary

Sunday, October 3, 1999

The triumph and the glory

By K. S. Bajwa

ON September 6, 1965, 3 Jat had captured Dograi and put two companies
across the Ichhogil canal practically in the outskirts of Lahore. In
a curious mixture of failure of communications and of higher command,
3 Jat was pulled back in the afternoon. This gallant Battalion was to
recapture Dograi on the night of September 21/22 in the face of very
stiff opposition and with heavy casualties. This is the saga of their
exceptional grit and valour.

In the Lahore Sector, in the hastily launched Indian response to the
Pak attack on Chhamb Sector, 54 Infantry Brigade under 15 Infantry
Division attacked on September 6, 1965, to secure the eastern bank of
the Ichhogil Canal including the bridges at Dograi and Jallo. In the
process the commanders and troops were not physically and mentally
prepared for the battle ahead which was to have serious repercussions
later. In the first phase, 3 Jat bypassed the Wagah ranger post to
its North and suddenly descended upon the Pak screen at village Dial
killing 21 and taking 17 prisoners. By 7 a.m., the Jats had
established the brigade firm base in area Gosal Dial. Lt-Col Desmond
Hayde of the Jats readily agreed to lead the advance from there as 15
Dogra, suffering from battle nerves after some minor skirmishes
around the Ranger post, were found unfit to do so. With a squadron of
Scinde Horse Jats made a dash for the canal.

Swinging North from Mile 13 to Lakhanke, 3 Jat attacked Dograi along
the eastern bank of the canal. A Pak covering platoon on the canal
bank and a company of 3 Baluch holding Dograi were put to flight. The
Jats were in full control of the village, the canal bank and the
partially demolished bridge. Just past mid-day, the enterprising
Hayde led two companies across the demolished bridge into Batapur on
the left and Attoke Awan on the right of the GT Road. Three truck
loads of troops rushing to the canal were destroyed by our infantry
and tank fire. Two Pak tanks that made an appearance met a similar
fate. Undoubtedly, Pakistan was completely surprised by our attack.

A company of 13 Punjab sent forwards along the railway line to secure
the Jallo Bridge wilted under artillery fire and rejoined the
battalion which had just hung around the Attari railway station.
Commander 54 Infantry Brigade was out of contact with the Jats since
9 a.m. By mid-afternoon Hayde, seriously concerned about the fate of
his two companies across the canal, sent an officer to the Brigade
headquarters. At about 3 p.m. he was instructed through the tank
squadron to withdraw to Gosal Dial. With a heavy heart 3 Jat
abandoned its spectacular operational gains and were back in Gosal-
Dial by 5.15 p.m.

Their achievement of putting two companies across Ichhogil canal
practically in the outskirts of Lahore becomes even more significant
when it is considered that the Jats had been without artillery
support and that their F-echelon vehicles carrying defence stores and
heavier weapons had been shot by Pak Sabres soon after they kicked
off from Dial. On this first day of the war, in a depressing
operational scenario of failures of command combined with non-
performance by13 Punjab and 15 Dogra, the gallant 3 Jat led by the
dynamic Hayde had stood out alone in the highest traditions of
valour. It was sad that their outstanding achievement was not
exploited and they had to do it all over again at great cost.

On the night of September 7 and 8, Pak forces reoccupied Dograi in
strength forestalling an attempt by 13 Punjab to retake it. On
September 10, Pakistanis probed the defence of 54 Brigade with their
armour from the direction of village Mana.
About the same time a troop of centurion tanks from 3 Cavalry
approaching Attari was mistaken as an outflanking manoeuvre by the
enemy. 13 Punjab and 15 Dogra panicked and abandoned their defences.
They were stopped just in the nick of time. In the North, 38 Infantry
Brigade pulled back from Ranian to Lopoke, opening a serious threat
to Amritsar. During this critical period, 3 Jatstood firm in their
defences.

The period of September 11 to 18 was taken up by regrouping to
improve the defensive posture on both the Ranian and the GT Road
axes. Aggressive patrolling was carried out to dominate the enemy and
to stabilise the operational situation. In the meantime, Brig
Niranjan Singh, MC, had assumed command of 54 Brigade. To still
secure the eastern bank of the Ichhogil canal, on September 17, Hayde
was given the task of recapturing Dograi September 22. The
intervening period was spent in making through preparations for the
attack. Hayde and his leaders carried out detailed observation of the
defences of Dograi from as close as 500 yards at great personal risk.
Officer-led patrols brought in a wealth of information. Aggressive
fighting patrols, some even in company strength, went out to
establish night domination; to simulate attacks; to gauge the enemy
reaction; to force him to compact his defences, away from the
proposed lines of approach of the battalion and to allow him no rest.
As a consequence, the derelict old village of Dograi was found
abandoned.

By the evening of September 21, the Jats were fully geared up for the
attack. The plan was simple and had been thoroughly absorbed by the
leaders and men. In the early part of the night of September 21, 13
Punjab failed to capture enemy defences in Mile 13. Despite this
development, 3 Jat was ordered to go ahead with their attack on
Dograi. 3 Jat attacked from just North of Lakhanke, along the canal.
At 2 a.m., on a signal from Hayde, the Jats rose as one man to go
into the assault. Within the hour all the four companies were
fighting their way through the formidable defences in the built-up
area of Dograi. Many were the acts of individual and collective
valour performed during this fierce fighting.

Sub Pale Ram leading C Company charged the enemy firing from the
canal bank. After 10 minutes of fierce combat, a company of 12 Punjab
(Pak) was routed. Sub Pale Ram lay on a bunker he had destroyed with
six bullets in his body (Fortunately he survived and was decorated
with a Vr C). Of the 73 men of C Company who had charged the enemy,
only 21 were on their feet. Capt Sandhu, leading B Company put to
flight a platoon of 3 Baluch guarding the temporary rope slung across
the canal.

Maj Tyagi, ran on with super human determination despite receiving
two bullets in his back to hit the likely enemy tank harbour. His
Jats quickly dispatched the crews trying to mount two tanks. Tyagi
bayonetted Maj Nazar, B Squadron Commander of 23 Cavalry (Pak), who
simultaneously shot Tyagi twice with his pistol. A Pak sowar rushed
forward and knifed the prone Tyagi. Sepoy Zile Singh after killing
the Pak sowar carried the critically wounded Tyagi to safety but was
himself killed as soon as he put him down. The brave Tyagi died in
the hospital five days later and was decorated with a posthumous MVC.
Lance Havildar Randhir Singh and Sepoy Ram Chander, unmindful of
their own safety destroyed two pillboxes with pole charges from which
machine guns were playing havoc with their company. Both these
gallant men were themselves killed. Capt Thapa lobbed a grenade
through a lop hole but was wounded himself. Despite his wound, he
assaulted single handed three trenches but was shot through the head
(decorated posthumously with an MVC).

Lance Naik Arjun Ram grabbed the barrel of a light machine gun firing
from a bunker and silenced it but was killed himself. The leaders at
all levels were at the forefront and the men followed them without
hesitation and with little concern for their own safety.

By 4 a.m., the Pak defenders had started running away. Around 4.30
a.m. a counter-attack by a company of 3 Baluch coming over the Jalo
bridge was decimated by B Company. Maj Durjan Singh Shekhawat, the
second-in-command, with a very determined effort, brought up the much-
needed stores to strengthen the Jat defences of Dograi. At around
5.40 a.m., Capt Jagtar Sangha of Scinde Horse, in a battle scenario
reminiscent of cavalry traditions of yore, charged with his tanks,
with guns and machine guns blazing away, to overrun two companies of
16 Punjab still holding out at Mile 13. By 6.15 a.m. the battle for
Dograi was won. Three counter attacks during the day and night of
September 22, were beaten back with heavy loss to the enemy.

The magnitude of the achievement of 3 Jat is magnified manifold when
we consider the battalion had fought against an enemy not only
superior in numbers and fire power but was also augmented with
additional elements from four other battalions fighting from very
well prepared defences in a built up area. Jats, had defied the
principle that an attacker should have a superiority of two to one or
even more over the defender. The final outcome was decided by the
high morale, high quality of leadership and an unflagging fighting
spirit of 3 Jat.

In both battles for Dograi, 3 Jat suffered 88 killed and 231 wounded.
Of these 5 officers were killed and 9 wounded, involving practically
all officers of the battalion, an affirmation that they had led from
the front. Gallantry awards given were 3 MVC, 4 VrC, 7 Sena Medals,
12 Mention in Dispatches and 11 Chief of Staff's Commendation Cards.
The casualty figures and the decorations amply bear witness to the
outstanding performance by the incomparable 3 Jat in the face of very
heavy odds.
I learnt some of the vital aspects of the craft of leadership from
the devoted men of 3 Jat. It is 43 years since I left them and 34
years since the Battle for Dograi took place. The cry still comes
from the heart, "Bravo, the gallant 3 Jat".

This feature was published on September 26, 1999

http://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99oct03/sunday/diary.htm

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 24 Dec 2002 12:46

From www.alltimeshoppe.com
----------------------------

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw : Soldiering with Dignity

Author: Lt. Gen Depinder Singh, PVSM, VSM,

At last we may all enjoy reading Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's approved biography with a special emphasis on his term as Chief of the Army staff. Sam's mental strength and discipline are so articulately brought out through specific episodes in his life, by the author who worked closely with the Field Marshal. This well written biography does complete justice to a man absolutely dedicated to the task of soldiering with dignity to the nth degree. Nov-2002

Rs 450

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby venkat_r » 24 Dec 2002 21:26

I have recently read "Conflict Unending" by Sumit Ganguly. Though is at the strategic level and does not go into much detail about each war, it is still a good read.

Amazon - Some reviews available

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby dsandhu » 14 Jan 2003 20:18

Portrait of Courage: A century of the 5th battalion Sikh Regiment by Maj. Gen. Prem K. Khanna, MVC and Pushpinder Singh Chopra ( of Vayu fame)

Book has B& W and colour photos, maps.

For unknown reasons Sikh Regiment is one of the very few IA infantry regiments which has not published a post 1947 history in one form of the other.

This books deals with the history of 5th Sikhs. A major part deals with fighting in WW1 in France and Mesopotamia with B & W Photos. A small chapter on its action in Malay in WW2. Details of the battle of Chhamb in 1971 under Lt. Col. Prem Khanna, along with some B & W photos. Clour photos of the battalion when it served in Siachen and CI duties in J & K also photos of 100 years celebration.

The book also has a rare B & W photo taken in 1960 of the 4 living PVC/ VC winners who had served in the Sikh Regiment.

Although dealing with just a single battalion's history, this book is a welcome addition to the scant post 1947 literature on the Sikh Regiment.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Kaushal » 29 May 2003 23:24

How India very nearly lost 1965 war with pakistan
*Now to some analysis. The Patton was a far superior tank to anything the
Indians possessed, and the Pakistanis outnumbered the Indians 3-1 in tanks
if we exclude Indian AMX-13s, and 3-0 in armored infantry.

*Pakistani plans were to seize Khem Karan, opening the way for a rapid
advance to the Beas River. The Beas had two bridges over it at this time
Pakistan was to seize one bridge and then turn north. If successful, this
manuver would have isolated eleven divisions of the Indian Army, more than
half its effective strength at the time, in the Punjab, Pathankot, Jamm,
Kashmir, and Ladakh. The way to Delhi would also have been open, a
liesurely one-day drive. This was because India had no reserves, and no
troops east of the Beas River. Had Pakistan succeeded, a Fourth Battle of
Panipat could have taken place: the first three, fought from 1526 onward,
changed the fate of India each time, and the Fourth would have been no
different.

*On September 10th, the day of the last attack, the advancing Pakistani
tanks ran into 4th Division's horseshoe ambush, and the attackers were
annhilated. The ambush was placed in sugarcane fields - the crop was
standing tall and ready to be harvested - and Indian Shermans had learned by
now to hold their fire till Pakistani tanks came within 550-750 meters

*The Indians continued attacking until the ceasefire was announced - by
September 19th Pakistan had started to run of ammunition, aircraft spares,
and reserve equipment. The Chief of the Army General Staff and the Chief of
Air Staff met with the President of Pakistan that day to request a ceasefire
be negotiated. Twenty-three days into the war, Pakistan was done for -
hardly surprising, as the Americans had kept Pakistan on a short leash,
giving just 14-21 days of supplies. Enough time for the Americans to arrive
should a communist power attack Pakistan insufficient to do India any
serious harm. Meanwhile, India was just getting into its stride, learning
from its mistakes, pulling fresh mountain troops from the east into the
western theatre. Logically, India should have continued the war, but was
talked into a ceasefire by Russia and America, both of whom wanted the
status quo preserved. That is another story

http://www.orbat.com/site/history/index.html

The Battle of Assal Uttar: Pakistan and India 1965

v.1.3 February 24, 2002

Agha Humanyun Amin (orbats)

Edited to avoid Copyright implications.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby member_201 » 05 Jun 2003 19:18

Pranay
Member
Member # 5108

posted 05 June 2003 08:37 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/jun/05nuke.htm

Starting this thread to surface known / published collaborations between the Indian Security establishment and western agencies - US, Israeli, Bitish etc. New authoritative details in the book by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli.

Another book, Spy on the Roof of the World by Sydney Wignall details an operation carried out by Indian Intelligence in Tibet in 1955.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 05 Jun 2003 19:20

capture of an Indian Special Frontier Force commando by the Chinese in Tibet
Interesting - anyone read the book yet?

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Babui » 05 Jun 2003 19:47

Did anybody read "Heroes of Kargil" by Gurmeet Kanwal (available in BR bookstore) ? How is it different from Amarinder Singh's book (A Ridge Too Far) ?

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Pranay » 05 Jun 2003 20:25

The following are excellent books chronicling those events...

Indian Independence : "The Forgotten Army" by Peter Ward Fay. It covers how the Indian National Army under Subhas Chandra Bose fought for Indian Independence. Has some rare photographs to boot...

1947 : "Slender was the Thread" by Lt. General L.P. Sen. An excellent account of the confrontations in Kashmir in 1947 - 1948.

1962 : "India's China War" by Neville Maxwell.

1971 : "War in the Indian Ocean" by Vice Admiral Mihir K. Roy. Very good reading about the Indian Navy in the '71 war. Has a good writeup about the heroism / exploits of the Mukti Bahini frogmen.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Sarma » 05 Jun 2003 20:53

I would recommend Uneven Cohen's "Indian Army", which is a scholarly work on IA.

I was, however, irritated with his tendency to equate IA and PA, whenever he dicusses some of the ills of PA. Yeah, PA is full of India-hatred, but IA is full of PA-hatred too, so they are both same-same kind of thing. But, OTW, it is a must-read.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Mudy » 05 Jun 2003 21:31

>>>1962 : "India's China War" by Neville Maxwell.
My suggestion::::
This book is written by pro Chinese writer, very much anti India. This book projects India as aggressor. If you want to read it, read it from library. But don’t buy; don’t let publisher or writer get any monetary gain from this book.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby debjani » 05 Jun 2003 23:50

Amarinder Singh visited Kargil and Leh and interviewed officers and men.

I haven't read the book though.

Gen Bami too visted and he did a more extensive study since he was supposed to write the official history.

So did Gen Kalyan Verma who too was writing a book on the Kargil Ops.

I am not aware if they have published.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Babui » 06 Jun 2003 00:24

The blurb from Gurmeet Kanwal's bk says that it is an official publication from Army Hdqtrs. Amarinder's book was excellent - one of the best one's that I've read on the exploits of the IA. Also, the geographical description of the Kargil theatre was superb. If Kanwal's bk is as good - then it's a must buy.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby AmanC » 06 Jun 2003 13:49

Originally posted by Jagan:
capture of an Indian Special Frontier Force commando by the Chinese in Tibet
Interesting - anyone read the book yet?
Jagan,
I've read the book twive from cover to cover and it is simply fantastic. Since we know very little about the espionage activities undertaken prior to the formation of RAW and ARC, the book offers excellant insight.
The amount of effort put in by these mountaineers to put the listening device atop these peaks is simply mindboggling. The book also gives interesting details of how the political leadership is often told the bare minimum about espionage attempts of a different kind.
It also offers details about Establishment 22 and how it's men were used to spy in Tibet and China. I'd reccommend the book to everyone.

Secondly,
Gurmeet Kanwal's book is a rather pale shadow of the effort put in by Capt Amarinder Singh. And it has the disadvantage of having been written with an eye to the author's career, which after the Gurez incident, must be in shambles. Amarinder's book definitely scores better for its deep research, detailed after action reports and sketches of the various battles as they unfolded.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 06 Jun 2003 13:55

Originally posted by aman:
Jagan,
I've read the book twive from cover to cover and it is simply fantastic. Since we know very little about the espionage activities undertaken prior to the formation of RAW and ARC, the book offers excellant insight.
The amount of effort put in by these mountaineers to put the listening device atop these peaks is simply mindboggling. The book also gives interesting details of how the political leadership is often told the bare minimum about espionage attempts of a different kind.
It also offers details about Establishment 22 and how it's men were used to spy in Tibet and China. I'd reccommend the book to everyone.[/qb]
Aman ,

Thanks for the review - this will go on my shopping list the next time. Anything that deals with Tibet Ops must be worth a read.

Ray

Maj Gen Kalyan Varma's book is called 'Blood on White Snow' or something similar.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 06 Jun 2003 14:11

I Was A Pow In China

ISBN : 817062066X
Category : Biographies And Memoirs
Format : Hardcover
Availability : 30 Days
List Price : Rs.120

http://landmark.sifymall.com/bookdesc.asp?Titlestring=817062066X

I read this book bout two weeks back. I was strolling thru Sify, when i stumbled on this - Since the title resembled another book "I was a POW in Pakistan" that was bought out by lancer long time back, it caught my eye. And 120 bucks is peanuts IMHO. however the shipment duration from landmark sucks. It took nearly six weeks for the book to arrive after i paid using the credit card so be careful if you are ordering it.

The book in itself was quite thin - but made engrossing reading. The author who was a junior officer during the retreat from NEFA was wounded and taken POW by the chinese. his descriptions of the situation he was taken POW and how he was looted of his blanket by another able bodied POW in a POW staging area while he was lying wounded was very disturbing (as was another situation, when two POW soldiers tasked to carry him just dumped him for dead after hauling him for some distance).

The book gives a rare glimpse into the physical travails of Indian soldiers during the 62 war, something very few have captured till date. Due to his injuries, the author had to have his right arm amputated as POW.

Not surprisingly there is a lot of resentment and anger at the various aspects of the army's handling - but that has to be seen in the light of the author's own experiences.

If you got some spare change and can forget that you ordered the book, just go ahead and buy it off the site. Or maybe you can find out from the BR bookstore since this one is also a Lancer offering. But be prepared for a long wait while it is delivered.

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Aditya G » 06 Jun 2003 21:55

I recently bought the book "A Soldier's Diary Kargil - The Inside Story" by Harinder Baweja. The author has written the book in form of a diary kept by a soldier (which no name and no unit). The idea is to bring out the difficulties faced by the troops in the conflict (esp before the tololing victory) - and does it well enough. However, this format IMHO is not suitable for
documenting history (and the author admits this herself) - it reduces the credibilty of facts
presented in the book since the work becomes more of a story rather than a narration of actual events.

There are good quality (but small) colour pictures but no maps. An interesting annexure is the day-by-day extracts from Lt Muhammed Maaz Ullah Khan (8 NLI)'s diary from *jan* 1st to July 1st 1999. Also, a small chapter is devoted to provide background info on how the LoC was created.

Another good addition is an index of names, locations etc in the end of the book. This book is on the cheaper side. However, the the paper (and hence the pictures) included are of excellent quality.

Buy this book only if you have read others before.

Pages 210 MRP Rs 195/- [Books Today]

The next book that I will defintely buy is The Killer Instinct, a book on SpecOps around the

world by an Indian officer. I recently flipped thru it @ a book shop. A large part of it is

dedicated to Indian ops (including Mandhol & Kargil), in which numerous specfor CT missions in

J&K have been covered - these should be interesting because other than the Week article @ BR and

the BRM paper by LNS(?) on CI i have not come across any such descriptions...there some pictures

and maps, but numerous diagrams as well - which looked a bit amateurish but are in clear quality.

MRP Rs 495/-

http://www.thekillerinstinct.com

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Jagan » 07 Jun 2003 00:51

Ray

The book is Spy on the Roof of the World by Sydney Wignall published by Harper Collins.

-Jagan

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Vanahan » 07 Jun 2003 06:31

Check out this page from amazon.com on "Spy on the Roof of the World", as well as the review by a "Carter Rila".

Amazon URL

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Re: Books that cover Indian Armed forces and its History

Postby Kakkaji » 07 Jun 2003 06:42

Not sure if this is the right thread, but Shekhar Gupta has outdone himself in his new column about the Ahirs of Haryana. He talks about their love for the Indian Army.

Writings on the walls

http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=25320

The last few paragraphs about the battle of Rezang La:

*************
on the outskirts of Rewari you see a memorial that more of India should have known about. It is called the Rezang La Memorial and if that doesn’t ring a bell let me tell you a small story.

The battle of Rezang La, a redoubt overlooking the strategic Chushul plains in Ladakh, is one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Indian army and has been compared by some military historians with the famed battle of Thermopylae. In the unequal war of 1962 against the Chinese where the Indian army rarely stood to fight, the Charlie company from 13 Kumaon, led by Major Shaitan Singh, decided that until they were alive the Chinese weren’t going to have a look-in on Chushul, at 17,000 ft. Of the 120 defenders, only three survived, seriously wounded. The rest, including Shaitan Singh, were discovered after the winter, frozen, mostly holding their weapons but with no ammunition. A dozen were outside the trenches, and it was evident that once out of ammunition they had charged the enemy with bayonets. This was a genuine last man-last round defence and many times more Chinese were killed, the evidence again being frozen bodies on the slopes. This battle inspired M. S. Sathyu’s gut-wrenching classic, Haqeeqat. Let me quote from Maj Gen Ian Cardozo’s Param Vir, Our Heroes In Battle: “When Rezang La was later revisited dead jawans were found in the trenches still holding on to their weapons... every single man of this company was found dead in his trench with several bullet or splinter wounds. The 2-inch mortar man died with a bomb still in his hand. The medical orderly had a syringe and bandage in his hands when the Chinese bullet hit him... Of the thousand mortar bombs with the defenders all but seven had been fired and rest were ready to be fired when the (mortar) section was overrun.” Not much of a citation needed to be written for Shaitan Singh’s Param Vir Chakra. The frozen bodies, including his own, reclining against a rock where he bled and froze top death after ordering the three wounded survivors to leave him there, told the whole story.

The lesser known fact is that Shaitan Singh was evidently an Ahir and so were 70 of the 117 men of the 13 Kumaon’s Charlie company. Rewari has raised a memorial for them, a granite slab with the 70 names inscribed, and the slogan “veero mein shoorveer, veer Ahir (the bravest of the brave, brave Ahir).” Not to miss the Lord Krishna lineage the granite is topped with the mural of the sudarshan chakra on the Lord’s finger. But you can’t walk in for a closer look. The padlock on the memorial has not been opened for years, weeds have eaten up the grounds, a stinky, open drain flows next to it and pigs wallow in it. Not the way any nation would honour some of its most glorious soldiers ever.
***************

I don't know about you folks, but I felt a lump in my throat as I read the above. How does such an undeserving country produce such brave men?

But all is not lost yet:

************
But in spite of that there is no taking away the enthusiasm for the army. If George Fernandes is worrying where to get officers from for his army, he should come here because today’s Ahirs will not merely be other ranks. So many of them will now graduate from English medium schools, even Yaduvanshi Convent, and will probably still not have accent and diction “fixable” for call centres. The army — but the officer corps now — would do just fine.
***************


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