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Archive for September, 2007

“Sam Bahadur” as he is fondly known is one of India’s finest soldiers.

This judgement is not just based on the fact that he won the 1971 war for us or won the Military Cross for fighting against the Japanese in Burma. He had qualities that made him a fine Officer, a great Leader of men and more importantly a humanitarian.

Here is his story. A tribute and a salute to this great man.

The Rediff Special/Lieutenant General Depinder Singh (retd)

April 03, 2003

S H F J — ‘Sam’ — Manekshaw is one of India’s living legends.

The soldier who led India to its greatest military victory in the 1971 war turned 89 on Thursday. The Indian Army will commemorate its first Field Marshal’s entry into his ninth decade with several events this coming year.

Lieutenant General Depinder Singh (retd), who served as military assistant to Manekshaw when he served as Chief of the Army Staff, has just published a riveting memoir of this most unusual man.

rediff.com is proud to publish an extract from Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Soldiering with Dignity.

The man eventually destined to be free India’s first Field Marshal was born on 3rd April 1914 at Amritsar. How did a Parsi couple settle for the holy city of the Sikhs? I once asked him and was told that in 1899, his father recently qualified as a doctor and just married, could make no professional headway in Bombay, and was advised to try his luck at Lahore in the Punjab. With his young wife, he set off by train for Lahore. The long dusty and hot journey took five days and by the end of it, his young wife, who had never left the comforts and civilization of Bombay, was in hysterics and cried to go back. Poor Dr Manekshaw did all he could to comfort her, but as the train steamed into Amritsar, with her first sight of the Sikhs the young bride screamed her lungs out and refused to go any further. So they left the train at Amritsar, and there they stayed for forty-five years.

The Manekshaws had six children, four boys and two girls, and Sam was the fifth child. Sam had his schooling at Nainital’s Sherwood College. After completing his schooling, he should have gone to England to pursue higher studies; this was the promise made to him by his father but, fortunately for the Indian Army, Dr Manekshaw felt that this particular son was far too young to be on his own in a foreign country, even with his two elder brothers already studying there. So he was admitted to the Hindu Sabha College, Amritsar. If he had gone abroad, he often reminisces, he would have become a doctor. ‘What doctor?’ I queried, and was told ‘Gynaecologist.’

After a stint in Hindu College, he applied for and was accepted for entry into the first batch of the newly opened Indian Military Academy at Dehradun for training Indians for commissioned rank in the British Indian Army. He received his commission on 4th February 1934 and, after an attachment as was the practice then with a British Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Battalion the Royal Scots, he joined the 4th Battalion, 12 Frontier Force Regiment, commonly called the 54th
Sikhs.

In 1937, at a social gathering in Lahore he met his future wife, Silloo Bode; they fell in love and were married on 22nd April 1939. Silloo is a graduate of Bombay’s renowned Elphinstone College and also studied at the JJ School of Arts there. A voracious reader, a gifted painter and an extremely intelligent and interesting conversationalist, she has made an admirable wife and a wonderful mother.

The outbreak of the Second World War saw the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in action in Burma with the famed 17 Infantry Division. Sam was separated from his family for over three years and this separation was the cause of a celebrated example he was later to give while answering questions put to him in his capacity as Chief of the Army Staff by the Pay Commission. The question, which triggered off the reply was, why should the army continue to get separation allowance? This, to clarify, is a token sum every officer and enlisted man gets when his unit moves to a non-family station thus necessitating separation. I say ‘token’ because the name is a misnomer; whereas it is meant to cover the expenditure incurred in running two establishments, the amount paid is, in fact, a pittance. For example, an officer used to get just seventy rupees a month and the men an even smaller amount. The answer to explain the need was “After my marriage, I went off to war and didn’t see my wife for three long years, and when I returned I found I had a brand-new daughter, and the only reason I am sure the child is mine is because she looks just like me.” Needless to say, the Pay Commission broke up in laughter, but went away convinced. The separation allowance continues.

On 22nd February 1942, occurred the much publicised event when Sam was wounded. The retreat through the Burma jungle ended abruptly for him on 22nd February 1942, when seven bullets from a Japanese machine gun whipped through his body. The young captain who had just led two companies in the courageous capture of a vital hill was awarded the Military Cross. “We made an immediate recommendation,” a senior officer explained, “because you can’t award a dead man the Military Cross.” His orderly Sher Singh evacuated him to the Regimental Aid Post where the
regimental medical officer, Captain G M Diwan, treated him overruling his protestations that the doctor treat other patients first. Sam was evacuated to the hospital at Pegu where he was operated upon, and then evacuated further to Rangoon, from where he sailed for India in one of the last ships to leave that port before it fell to the Japanese. He still carries the scars of this wound and I am not quite sure whether it is that or regular exercise that keeps his stomach
in — to the envy of people much younger than he.

I was to see a great deal of Sher Singh during my tenure in Delhi. He and some other grizzled old veterans of the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment were frequent visitors to Army House and South Block. The entire staff including all guards and sentries, had strict orders that if a man said he was from the 54th Sikhs he was to be led straight to the Chief, whatever the time or whatever the Chief happened to be doing.

Consequently, these gentlemen would turn up whenever it suited them with a string of requests that ranged from wanting a bag of sugar for a daughter’s marriage (easy to solve) to asking that a relative or friend’s relative be given immediate out-of-turn promotion. When I patiently attempted to explained the impossibility of the latter request and others like it, the worthy would bristle and inform me: “In the British time if the Jangi Lat gave an order it was executed without question.” No amount of explanation that times had changed and that such Nadirshahi orders would now invite representations which could not possibly be answered, would pacify them and they would go away and complain to the Chief about the incapable and unhelpful Colonel Sahib he had from the Gorkhas.

The war over, saw Sam working in the military operations directorate at army headquarters, first as a general staff officer grade I, and later as director of military operations. It was from here that he oversaw the fighting that broke out between India and Pakistan, over Kashmir, the two nations that until so recently had been one. It was also under his direct supervision, when the cease-fire was declared, that the famous line called the Cease Fire Line was drawn. Many, many years later, by a strange coincidence, while he was Chief of the Army Staff, it was he whose brainchild it was to scrap the Cease Fire Line and call it the Line of Actual Control.

Promotions followed in rapid succession and 1959 saw Sam as commandant of the Defence Services Staff College. There his outspoken frankness got him into trouble with the defence minister, V K Krishna Menon, and his protégé of the time, the late Lieutenant General B M Kaul; a court of inquiry was ordered against him. Despite persistent questioning I have not been able to ascertain from him the reasons and the facts that led up to a situation where the Indian Army could have lost its most brilliant up-and-coming general officer: he just refuses to talk, calling the entire episode, just another phase. Be that as it may, the court of inquiry that was convened with the late Lieutenant General Daulet Singh, then Western Army commander, as presiding officer, exonerated Sam, but before a no case could be announced, fate intervened in the shape of the Chinese hordes that swept over what we had always considered the impregnable Himalayas.

The Indian Army, that proud, disciplined and distinguished force that had fought and triumphed in practically every battlefield of the world, was outmatched, outmaneuvered and outfought; its remnants streamed back dazed and humiliated leaving among the lush green mountains of the North Eastern Frontier Agency and the stark white to Ladakh its dead, its wounded and its pride.

The North Eastern Frontier Agency, now called Arunachal Pradesh, was where we suffered our worst defeat, and it was to 4 Corps that providence ironically decreed and Army Headquarters ordered Sam Manekshaw to succeed Lieutenant General B M Kaul, the man who had almost ruined his professional career. He took over 4 Corps on 28th November 1962 on promotion to lieutenant general, and the same day addressed a conference of what must surely have been a very shaken group of staff officers. He entered the room with his usual jaunty step, looked as if he were meeting each eye trained on him and said, ‘Gentleman, I have arrived! There will be no more withdrawals in 4 Corps, thank you;’ and walked out. But the charisma that surrounds the man had preceded him and soldier and officer alike knew the ‘chosen one’ had arrived and henceforth all would be well. It was as if the dark and oppressive atmosphere had suddenly been lightened and Sam was the bearer of the light.

On 4th December 1963, Sam took over as army commander in the west, the second rung from the top. One of his brigade commanders was H S Yadav, the man who had been the principal prosecution witness in the case cooked up against him in 1961. At a party in an officers mess in Kashmir one evening, talk veered round to Yadav, and the senior brass, knowing the background and not averse to making a few points with the army commander, started on what each planned to do to catch or embarrass Yadav. The army commander heard this for some moments and then butted in (‘before I got sick’ as he told me later) with ‘Look chaps, professionally, Kim Yadav is head and shoulders above most of you, so forget about trying to catch him out. He just lacks character and there is nothing anyone of you can do about that.’

At a meeting in Delhi a few months later, Chavan, then the defence minister, asked him his views on which army command Sam considered most important, challenging and threatened. Eastern, said Sam, as it had the Chinese in the North, East Pakistan in the South and on its flank insurgency rampant in Nagaland and the Mizo Hills and, if all that was not enough to fill the hands of the incumbent, the troubled state of West Bengal certainly would. Chavan thought over the answer for a few moments and then asked if Sam would like to accept the challenge of taking over that command. He accepted immediately.

Eastern Army had to keep one wary eye directed north on the Chinese; another eye had to be kept on erstwhile east Pakistan which lay in its gut, it had to fight insurgency in Nagaland which later spread to the Mizo Hills, and finally it had to watch over the politically volatile states of Assam and West Bengal. It was, therefore, no bed of roses, and the job of lower formations was not facilitated by the army commander’s personally coming on the telephone every now and then and ‘grilling’ staff officers and commanders with endless questions about detail.

I remember an occasion in Shillong where I once asked the senior staff officer why he was looking a bit off-colour. He told me he had just finished a telephone conversation with the army commander who had wanted answers to so many questions that, ‘I am now in orbit.’

His mastery of detail was fantastic and, as I was to learn later, he could quote an answer given verbally or in writing months previously to correct someone who was saying something else. A battalion employed in the Mizo Hills, paying perhaps a little more attention to the welfare of its troops and, in the process, a little less than desirable to the operational side received a rude reminder that ‘someone up there’ was watching, very keenly, every move that was made. A parcel of bangles was delivered to the commanding officer with the compliments of the army commander with a cryptic note: ‘If you are avoiding contact with the hostile give these to your men to wear.” Needless to say, the next few weeks saw a flurry of activity by this battalion resulting in another, more soothing message: ‘send the bangles back.’

He was officiating as army chief in 1967 when the Chinese had their first clash with the Indian Army since 1962. This occurred at the 14000 foot high pass, Natu La, in Sikkim where the Chinese learnt to their cost that the Indian Army of 1967 was a different kettle of fish from that of 1962. He was summoned to a meeting of the Cabinet where, as he recalled later, everyone present at the meeting was vying with the others to present to the prime minister his grasp of the situation and offering one suggestion after another as to what should be done. After hearing most of the speakers, the prime minister enquired whether the officiating army chief, until then a silent spectator, had something to say. “I am afraid they are enacting Hamlet without the Prince,” he said. “I will now tell you exactly what has happened, and how I intend to deal with the situation.” He then proceeded to do so.

Bengal in those days was a very troubled state where anarchy was prevalent, and law and order was almost on the way out. Sam was traveling to Dum Dum airport, Calcutta, once when he found the road blocked for traffic by a huge crowd being harangued by one person. The outrider and the staff officer accompanying him both advised a detour, but this would have meant running away and would have been noticed by the locals. So he got out of his staff car instead, and started walking up to the speaker who, he discovered to his disquiet as he approached, was a ‘huge fellow, well over six feet tall.’ Anyway, hiding his mounting uneasiness, he put his hand out and announced, ‘I am Sam Manekshaw.’ This unsettled the other person somewhat as he had probably anticipated an argument. He too, put his hand out and mumbled his name. He was then asked to clear the road, as otherwise ‘I shall miss my plane.’ The speaker, by now completely confused, hastened to obey, and the last glimpse the army commander had of his latest acquaintance was of that worthy helping to clear the road.

By then Sam Manekshaw had become one of the most popular and well-known officers in the Indian Army. Stories of the many admirable qualities he possessed and did not hesitate to display were legion. Always an unconventional dresser, he once met Lieutenant General Kulwant Singh, at that time commanding Western Army and an awe-inspiring man, in a jacket that could best he described as a cross between a regulation shirt and bush shirt. When the army commander pointed this out he was asked: “Have you come to see my formation or my dress?” While he could stand up to his superiors, he always stood by his subordinates. Service with him, it was rumoured, was certain to bring rewards in its wake. But, helpful as he was, he never consciously helped a subordinate at the cost of someone else. In other words, ‘No throat was cut.’

I once asked him if he was aware of the jealousy his so-called favourites aroused among others. He replied he was aware of this but as his ‘favourites’ were all competent officers he defied anyone to point a finger at them as far as their professional competence was concerned. On another occasion I asked him why he could not ‘see through’ the slick types who fawned and flattered him, and why he acceded to their requests. ‘Oh, I see through them all right,’ he replied. ‘I detest them, but I make use of them.’

He was human and approachable to a fault. Once, so a story goes, while he was a corps commander, a junior officer on his staff asked for some leave, and the request was turned down by the officer’s immediate superior. The officer then tried the indirect approach and made his problem known to the corps commander who called the man’s immediate superior the next day and said, ‘Look, I have had a letter from this youngster’s father asking that the boy be sent on a spot of leave as there is some family problem to sort out. I am sure we can spare the bugger for a few days, let him go, we won’t miss him.’ The officer got his leave; no feathers were ruffled and everyone was happy, which brings us to his next great quality, the ability to run a very happy and contented team. His professional qualities ensured that the team was also a competent one. He was believed to finish his own work in an hour and spend the remainder of the time walking from one office to another, sitting down with the harried junior staff and helping them sort out the problems they were working on.

They said he never raised his voice, but even a mild reproving look from him with a ‘Sweetheart, this won’t do,’ was enough to shake the stoutest heart. Sharply critical, but always constructively so, there was nothing his eye ever missed or his fantastically retentive memory ever forgot. He forgave easily, being basically a kind man While he was Chief of the Army Staff, at an ‘at Home’ he attended in Rashtrapati Bhavan, as the guests came out into the Mughal Gardens he found himself walking beside Mr V K Krishna Menon, of whom mention has been made earlier. Polite to a fault, he wished Mr Menon the time of day and also enquired how the latter was progressing health-wise. He then turned to Mrs Manekshaw, who was also walking in line, and asked her: “Darling, you remember, Mr Menon?”

Mrs Manekshaw, not quite as forgiving as her spouse, at least on this occasion, replied brusquely: ‘No, I don’t.’

Excerpted from Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Soldiering with Dignity, by Lieutenant General Depinder Singh, Natraj Publishers, Rs 450, with the publisher’s permission


The Rediff Specials

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I wonder how many people even know that this battle took place.  Are we doing a disservice to the nation by NOT telling these battles to our children and youngsters and our people ?

I will never forget Op Rajeev. It happened on my Birthday when my CO was toasting me in the Officers mess and we heard that the Pakis attacked.

The battle as told here in the article below is pretty accurate and it surprised me as to the details. Being privy to some of the intercepts and the situation reports that came through it appears to have been told by an officer who was involved in the battle….and he does say that in the writeup. What I did hear later was that there were some GR soldiers who had to be taken / coaxed at gunpoint by a junior officer to join the battle. Such was the toll it takes on the minds of the soldiers fighting at this altitude. It is too easy to think and feel the futility & the sheer waste in human lives on both sides.

But all said and done…this is our Motherland and not an inch will be given…

Hence the saying in Siachen ” Quartered in snow…Silent we Remain…When the bugle calls..we  will Stand up and fight again

Here goes …

SIACHEN GLACIER – 23 SEPTEMBER 1987

23rd September 1987 is an important day in the history of Siachen when Pakistan’s No. 1 & No. 3 Commando Battalions of the Special Service Group (SSG), along with No 2 Northern Light Infantry (NLI) Battalion of the FCNA, attacked an Indian post, on the Northern shoulder of the Bilafond La pass. The post at an altitude of 19,000 feet, at the time of attack was occupied by only eight men. It was this section that successfully defeated an enemy brigade sized force, creating history of sorts in the annals of military warfare. The attack carried out from 23-25 September 1987, with temperatures dipping to a low of minus 30 degrees Celsius was repeatedly repulsed. The operation codenamed ‘OP QIADAT’ by the Pakistan Army and ‘OP VAJRASHAKTI’ by the Indian Army was a sequel to an earlier operation nicknamed ‘OP RAJIV’, launched three months earlier, when Pakistan lost their ‘Quaid Post’ located at the Southern shoulder of Bilafond La, at a height of 22,000 feet, to the troops of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) and the post was renamed ‘Bana Post’.

As per Pakistani reports and signal intercepts, the enemy suffered close to 300 soldiers dead. While Naib Subedar Bana Singh was awarded. the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for ‘OP RAJIV’, Capt Iqbal of the Pakistan Army was awarded Hilal-i Jur’at (HJ), posthumously for ‘OP QIADAT’ There was wide media coverage of these operations in September and October 1987 but with the passage of time the sacrifices made have since been forgotten…

It was precisely at 5.55 a.m. on 23rd September, when the brave, young and courageous men of Pakistan’s elite SSG, launched their attack on the Indian posts of Ashok and U-Cut, referred to as Rana and Akbar Posts by the Pakistanis. They were appropriately welcomed by Nb Sub Lekh Raj along with seven other men. The numbers swelled, but brave Lekh Raj kept assuring that nothing would happen to the post as long as he was alive. It was not more than 15 minutes after he spoke to me over the radio set when a TOW missile fired from the enemy fire base established at ‘Rahber-II’ hit the bunker and killed the JCO instantaneously along with two other men. The situation became rather precarious with only five men left on the post but these brave men fought gallantly and the enemy wisely retraced their steps toward their Rahber and Tabish Posts in the rear. Capt Nazareth, the young Pakistani officer, who led the initial assault on the Indian post, was subsequently joined by Captains Rashid, Cheema, Akbar, Imran, Mohammad Iqbal seconded from the Army Service Corps to the Commando force and Naib Subedar Sher Bahadur. Captain Sartaj Wali, the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) was moved forward to attend to the casualties.

As expected, the Pakistanis resumed their misadventure after darkness on 23rd. Their Company Commander Maj Rana was in touch with his battalion commander over the radio set. It was pitch dark, yet the enemy movement was noticed and accurate fire was brought down on them from the only mortar deployed just behind Ashok post and the aerial bursts of rocket launchers fired from Sonam were extremely effective. The attack developed a crescendo by 3.00 a.m. and suddenly there was a pause and I intercepted a message from Captain Rashid to some senior officer in the rear “We are waiting for two hours and the ropes have not fetched up yet, we will be day lighted. Cheema is dead and many are injured badly, please send reinforcements.” Their morale was low and we knew that they would not pursue the attack any further till at least the following night. On the Indian side Maj Chatterjee along with a mixed command of JAK LI and GR troops moved about the whole night motivating his men under heavy and accurate artillery fire The white sheet of ice was blackened with shelling and our pub tents and parachutes, on the ice surface were shredded with shrapnel and the mini camp at Sonam and Bana Top, where I was located, had craters all around. The sight, though scary, was spectacular with the pot holes making a distinct design on the whiteness around our abode.

The enemy resumed his attack on the night of 24th September, i.e. his third night of exposure. This time Captains Rashid and Iqbal led the assault and came very close to the top. The reinforcements promised by the Company and Battalion Commanders had not arrived and they had suffered very heavily and were tired and exhausted. It was close to midnight that I heard Rashid tell his superior officer, “Wherever I move the enemy fires at me” and prompt came the reply “The kafirs have got hold of our radio frequencies and are monitoring them, all troops switch to alternate frequencies.” There was a pause and then Rashid resumes his conversation, “Sir, we are not carrying our alternate frequencies and all are teams have left the base.” After a while there was another conversation intercepted “Rashid has been killed and the reinforcements have not reached, tell these seniors to come forward and see for them selves. They are safe in their bunkers and care little for us.” That was a good indicator, and we knew that the battle had been won.

Such was the story of the battle of Bilafond La, a battle of nerves and guts with no real winners but only losers. When will this fight end? The answer remains, till we shed our egos and ambitions.

Well fought red —Blue the winner.”

Note from Cosmicwarrior:

A few more interesting things about that battle:

a) the posts ran out of ammunition. The brave soldiers were actually throwing down emptied “dalda” (vegetable oil) cans filled with rock and ice on the enemy climbing the ropes.

b) Replenishment ammo came via a Mi-26 transport helicopter that landed in Base camp. This was a first for a helicopter of this size and weight to land there. Such was the power of this beast that most of the tents in a 300m vicinity were blown down. It couldn’t turn around within the Base, but had to fly to the widest part of the glacier to turn around and head back. Kudos to the pilots who even thought of flying this beast to 12,000 ft ASL.  It’s ceiling is 15,000 but it cant carry anything leave alone ammo.

c) Some of the soldiers were evacuated at night by AirOP pilots flying daring missions with floodlights attached to the front of the helicopters. So many of them survived to tell the tale.

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It is sad that we as a nation are so feeble and project a helpless face to this world. I never understand this. All our GOds have weapons in their hands. All our epics ( Ramayan and Mahabarath) have witnessed battles of great intensity ….for Dharma. The soldier is the most respected of all professions in India next to the Teacher.

But we have done nothing to get our POW’s back. We did nothing about Lt.Sourabh Kalia’s torturous death.

I don’t understand our psyche.

Here is a well made movie on this POW issue…

http://apnaview.com/Hindi-Movies/1971-2007# 

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I had the rare privilege of serving with Major Naiker ( now probably a Brigadier ) who was from 52 SAG and conducted Op Black thunder II. I Hero worshiped this man who happened to be my Company Commander while I served in 28 Inf Div as OC 2 Coy of the Signal Regiment. His class, his demeanour, the way he carried himself was something all junior officers could emulate. He was extremely fit. He held the record for that obstacle course they talk about in the article below that hasn’t been broken till date.

Along with him I also had the rare privilege of serving with another of these Black Cats — Captain Biman Sah..who is no more unfortunately. May his soul rest in peace. He was a daredevil to say the least and was always into some adventure activities in peace time loaction. he was my instructor in Mhow at the YO’s school where I learnt micro light flying from him.

A common trait of these fine officers – extreme humility, great confidence, fantastic fitness and compassion….they had humanity in them.

These are rare men and I wish them all the very Best wherever they are !

Part I

NATIONAL SECURITY GUARDS

Insignia of the National Security Guards


Special thanks to Counter Terror & Hostage Rescue and India Today

“It goes, strikes, achieves and quietly comes back, just like the mythological chakra which would behead the demons and return to the finger of Lord Krishna.” Nikhil Kumar, Former Director General of the National Security Guards.


The National Security Guards (NSG) was raised by the Cabinet Secretariat under the National Security Guard Act of 1985 and has acquired considerable experience from the intense insurgency operations it has faced – from the present conflict in the state of Kashmir to the cradle of its birth, the state of Punjab. Adopting a variety of roles from counter-terrorism to hostage rescue to VIP protection, the NSG proudly wears the mantle of being one of the finest counter-terrorist units in all of Asia. Their goals include;

Neutralisation of specific terrorist threats in vital installations or any given area

Handling hijack situations involving piracy in the air and on the land.

Engaging and neutralising terrorists in specific situations.

Rescue of hostages in kidnap situations.

But being one of the finest counter-terrorist units in all of Asia, does not come without a price. The NSG simulates hundreds of realistic scenarios in daily drills – the key being fitness and surprise. “Surprise doesn’t mean that the terrorists don’t know we are coming. It is just that we have chosen the when, how and where. And it is with our chosen technique and weapon,” says Colonel V.K. Dutta, who has been associated with the NSG since its inception. The unit is popularly known as the Black Cats, because of the black nomex coveralls and balaclavas (head gear) or assault helmets they adorn. Their motto is – One for All, All for One.

A NSG Commando dressed to kill.

A ‘Black Cat’ Commando armed with an MP-5 sub-machine gun.

With a total strength of approximately 7500 personnel, the NSG is divided into two groups – the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Rangers Group (SRG). The SAG, which comprises 54% of the force, is the elite, offensive wing with members drawn from the Indian Army. The SRG, on the other hand, has members on deputation from central police organisations like the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF). The primary function of the SRG is to play a supportive role to the SAF, especially in isolating target areas. For maintaining the young profile of the force, troops are rotated and sent back to their parent organisations after serving in the NSG for three to five years. The basic training period at the organisation’s training centre at Manesar, 50 km from New Delhi, lasts 90 days. Only those who complete the entire course successfully are inducted into the NSG and given further specialised training.

The probation grind saps the toughest of recruits and the drop out rate is 50 – 70%. For starters there is a 26-item, 780-metre obstacle course, with a qualifying time of 18 minutes. If a person completes the course in 25 minutes, he is deemed fit. The best do it in less than nine minutes. The obstacles have to do with heights, horizontal gaps and vertical scaling and are difficult to tackle in sequence. As if this is not enough, there’s a target shooting session at the end of the obstacle course meant to test the aspirants’ performance under severe stress and exhaustion. Those who complete this course are recruited to the unit and sent for advanced training. Some operators are sent to Israel for advanced training. Though it is not known exactly what training they receive, it could probably be the CT/HRT course with Unit 707. The unit also cooperates with Israel’s Shabach, for training in VIP protection.

One of the hurdles in a 26-item, 780 meter obstacle course. The qualifying time is 18 minutes but experienced operators take around 9 minutes.

In the Combat Room Shoot, the combatant enters a dark room, adjusts to the darkness and engages the target with either a torch light or a compatible laser image intensifier – all within 3 seconds. And not just in darkness but under the strobe lights of a discotheque as well, which are some of the most difficult shots to take. “We train them to take only head shots. And two at a go – the double tap system. It’s to ensure neutralisation of the target. In the close hostage-terrorist situations we face there is little scope for body shots,” says Colonel Dutta. To hone shooting skills the training centre has an Electronic Combat Shooting Range built at a cost of over Rs.1 crore. Divided into 11 zones and spread over 400 metres, a recruit has to cover this distance in just six minutes, 30 seconds and fire at 29 targets along the way.

The target exposure time is between two and three seconds and the targets are of all kinds – vertically rising, popping out, moving and rotating. The faster a person engages the target the more points he scores. It is not just non-reactive targets that they practice against. In twin room shooting, rival combatants enter contiguous rooms and watch each other’s movements on a screen. They are supposed to neutralise each other by shooting at the screen. The exercise test the combatants’ response time and accuracy under near-field conditions. The men are also put through a battle inoculation program where they have to stand right next to the target while one of their partners shoots at it. “They have to become used to live bullets flying under their noses.

Also the person shooting is conscious that if he misses by even a couple of inches the bullet is going to hit his partner.” says an instructor. They don’t wear the kavach either, a bullet-proof vest, designed by Colonel Dutta himself. The vest can withstand an AK-47 or a 7.62mm carbine shot at point blank range. Members of the unit are assigned partners soon after completion of basic training and they train and even go on leave together. But as crack professionals, they are under orders to shoot their partner if he makes a single threatening step detrimental to the security of a VIP. On an average, a commando fires 2000 rounds of live ammunition during practice sessions throughout the year. This is apart from the two months that units have to spend in alert status and for whom it’s a daily stint at the range. “I did more firing in a week of alert status than in my entire 10-year stay in the Army,” says an NSG Officer. On average a person fires close to 14,000 rounds over a period of two months in alert status. The target strike rate has to be above 85% for a person to remain in the force.

NSG operators practising fast-reaction shooting from difficult angles at targets that pop up for split seconds to achieve absolute accuracy.

Some NSG personnel have received additional training in Israel and use weapons like the famed 9mm Uzi sub-machine gun. Their weapon of choice, however, is the Heckler & Koch family of 9mm sub-machine guns, the 7.62mm PSG-1 sniper weapon and the Heckler & Koch 512 12-gauge shotgun. Side arms include Glock 17 and Sig Sauer P226 9mm pistols. They are also armed with state-of-the-art surveillance gadgets and other sophisticated equipment. The unit is also parachute-trained, but is uncertain whether this capability includes free-fall (HALO/HAHO) and static-line or just the latter. The unit also has a superb bomb disposal squad.

The smallest combat unit in the NSG’s counter-terrorist ops is a hit which comprises of five members – two pairs, or partners and a technical support member. Four hits make a team which is under the command of a Captain. The number of hits used for an intervention job depends on its complexity and the magnitude of the operation. In hostage rescue situations, a team of 50 to 90 NSG personnel and an IL-76MD strategic transport aircraft to transport them, are stationed on alert at New Delhi’s Palam AFS and are ready to deploy within 30 minutes of being informed.

The NSG is an elite force providing a second line of defence to the nation. They have played a pivotal role in safeguarding the unity of India and have commendably foiled attempts of anti-national elements to tear apart the social fabric of the country. The NSG has maintained an edge over terrorist outfits in possession of latest technology and are considered among the finest special operations units in all of South Asia. However, as Colonel Dutta says, “We are like nukes. The ultimate back-up.”


A partial list of previous NSG Operations;
{ Source: Counter Terrorism & Hostage Rescue }

30 April 1986: NSG commandos storm the Golden Temple in Operation Black Thunder I. No casualties on either side and no weapons are found.

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A NSG Sniper armed with a H&K PSG-1 rifle.

12 May 1988: 1000 NSG commandos surround the Golden Temple for yet an other assault in Operation Black Thunder II. Sniper teams armed with Heckler & Koch PSG-1 rifles with night scope took up positions, including atop a 300-foot water tower. While commandos from the 51 SAG divided into assault squadrons, the SRG were used to seal off the area around the temple and for tactical support. On May 15th, the NSG began its attack. Machine gun fire and rockets were used to cut holes in the temple’s minarets, followed by teargas canisters. Once it was determined that the towers had been abandoned, the SAG used explosives to break holes into the temple basement. By May 18th, all militants had surrendered at the cost of only two wounded Black Cats. In mid-1990 an NSG battalion was again deployed to Punjab to confront the Sikh rioters. There they began training the Punjab Police in counter-terrorism.

24-25 April 1994: NSG Commandos storm a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 with 141 passengers onboard at Amritsar airport during Operation Ashwamedh. The hijacker, Mohammed Yousuf Shah, is killed before he can react and no hostages are harmed.

October 1998: As part of the implementation of the Union Home Ministry’s decision to conduct pro-active strikes against militants, commando teams supported by IAF Mi-25/35 helicopter gun-ships began striking at terrorist groups deep inside the mountains and forests of Kashmir. After helicopter recces were conducted to pinpoint the militants, the commandos – comprising NSG and Rashtriya Rifles personnel – were para-dropped, along with supplies, into the area to hunt the militants. They had to rely on these supplies and their ability to live off the land until replenishment every fortnight or so. The operations were said to be highly successful although precise details are not being released in order to maintain a low profile. These missions are reportedly still ongoing.

Landing on a roof to storm a terrorist hideout.

NSG operators fast-rope on to the roof of a building from a Mi-17 transport helicopter, of the Indian Air Force, during a HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) drill.

15 July 1999: NSG commandos end a 30-hour standoff by killing 2 terrorists and rescuing all 12 hostages unharmed. The terrorists had attacked a BSF campus, killed 3 officers and the wife of an other. The 12 hostages were kept locked in a room. The NSG arrived the previous evening and positioned themselves around the apartment complex. At one point two militants tried to crawl out and one was shot dead. The other managed to crawl back. Finally at around 5:00 in the morning the NSG assaulted the apartment. The terrorists managed to move to another room, allowing the NSG to release all 12 hostages. At around 8:00 a.m., a 84mm rocket was fired into the roof of the room, collapsing it and killing one militant.

21 August 1999: After interrogating three captured terrorists, the Delhi Police Crime branch confirmed that two more terrorists were hiding in a one-storied house in Rudrapur, Uttar Pradesh. Since the terrorists were considered armed and dangerous (their colleagues were arrested with 100+ pounds of RDX), the Delhi Police decided to seek assistance from the NSG. A 16-man team arrived at the house at 4:45 a.m. They began their assault at 5:30 a.m., before first light. The first militant managed to fire at the commandos with a pistol he kept by his bed side, but was killed an instant later. The second terrorist was shot before he had a chance to fire and died 40 minutes later. No NSG personnel were injured in the operation.

December 1999: Terrorists hijack Indian Airlines flight IC814 from Nepal, and land in Amritsar, Punjab. Within minutes of landing the Crisis Management Group (CMG), which authorizes the use of the NSG, is informed. But the CMG wastes precious hours and by the time the go-ahead is issued, it is too late. On the other hand, the NSG team on alert was elsewhere and no other team was raised during the delay. By the time the NSG reached Amritsar airport the hijackers became restless and ordered the plane to takeoff. Here too the NSG missed their opportunity by not blocking the runway or shooting out the planes tires. The plane lands in Kandahar, Afganisthan where one hostage is killed. Finally the Indian government agrees to the terrorists demands to release 3 jailed terrorists. The hostages are released and the terrorists escape to Pakistan.

NSG commandos taking over a hijacked train.

NSG operators conducting a train assault.

February 2000: Following the Flight IC814 fiasco, the Indian Government decided to implement an Air Marshal program. At least two NSG operators will be present on flights over select routes. These operators will be armed with weapons firing lethal but low-velocity fragmentation rounds to minimize danger to the passengers and prevent penetration of the aircraft. Another decision taken after the Flight IC814 fiasco, was to deploy NSG teams permanently at eight sensitive airports around the country, especially those bordering Pakistan and the North East. This decision will cut short reaction times for the NSG and eliminate hassles involved in flying the teams to the hijack site.

Ongoing: The NSG is used extensively to guard VIPs and VVIPs, especially those in the ‘Z-plus’ category. Many NSG personnel are seconded to the Special Protection Group (SPG) which guards the Prime Minister. However, the use of NSG for VIP protection has spiralled out of control recently. More than 19 persons currently enjoy NSG protection, mainly as a status symbol. The Home Minister has clamped down on this misuse and is currently phasing out the use of the NSG for VIP protection in all but the most serious cases (Z-plus category). From now on, NSG coverage will be provided based on a persons threat perception rather than status. This move has freed up a large number of operators for other missions. The NSG is also in demand as security consultants and are known to be active in the Middle East.


Copyright © BHARAT RAKSHAK. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of BHARAT RAKSHAK is prohibited.Part 2…More About the Black Cats…..

MORTAL KOMBAT


By Sheela Reddy – Outlook, 04 November 2002

Please click on thumbnails for a bigger image


The Black Cat Commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) go through a near-death, gruelling training session to become lean, mean killing machines. Sheela Reddy of Outlook reports from New Delhi.

It’s the last place you’d expect to find the head office of India’s crack commando force, the National Security Guards (NSG) – on the thirteenth floor of Delhi’s Paryavaran (Environment) Bhavan. But no one seems conscious of the irony as I walk past the two trademark brass lions, a banner carrying the NSG emblem, the Sudarshan Chakra, and a lone Black Cat standing at attention, bored, but with his phallic AK-47 menacingly out. The reception desk in a fibre-glass cubicle is overflowing with Black Cats, but they are standing around looking uncharacteristically human, immersed, like most men in Delhi that day, in the cricket match.

National Security Guards – the ultimate back-up – at their training centre in Manesar, Haryana.

In the Chief’s office, his two friendly, open-faced personal assistants despatch pressing matters with quiet, Malayalee efficiency – a pedestal fan for the boss’ party and a letter from the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) – India’s intelligence agency. The Chief, Director General Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary, has had a busy day. His boys have just returned in a blaze of glory from Akshardham. One died in action; incredibly, it is the first casualty in the 103 NSG operations so far. There is an edge to the debriefing of the commandos this time, and Mooshahary recounts his boys’ mettle with pride, “You know, one of them was hit in the jaw, and he just stopped firing long enough to get some first aid, then went back to the action.” But another official privately points out that all our commandos have is their raw courage, “The bravest fighters in the world, only just below the fidayeen in courage.” In terms of equipment and emoluments, they compare very poorly with elite soldiers from other countries. “They are 14th century warriors fighting a 21st century war,” he says acidly. But Mooshahary now wants to clear the long-pending list of NSG requests gathering dust in the Home Ministry for years, wants to strike while the iron is hot. Like the Headquarters, there’s no board at the entrance to the sprawling 1,600-acre NSG complex at Manesar in Haryana. The broad tree-lined avenues, the buildings set out in neat geometrical rectangles with precise, flower-bordered lawns, suggest an Army cantonment. But the trees – mere saplings – are a giveaway of the NSG’s extreme youth – born in 1985, it celebrated its 17th birthday last week.

Also known as Black Cat Commandos, NSG personnel scale a wall as part of their daily exercise regimen.

The first to greet us at the reception hall – an imposing two-storied glass mansion with broad carpeted stairways – is a young officer; his hands, he explains apologetically, are wet because he has just come from morning PT. A Colonel appears, a pleasant-faced man in his thirties, who joined the NSG because he “is one of the mad fellows who values risk and adventure over his life.” Then others, a Captain, a Lance Naik, a Lieutenant. They’re all young: to be in the NSG, you have to be below 40. These men have been through the world’s most gruelling physical training – two men died last summer during the basic course. There are no ranks – everyone is a commando, as the label on the breast pocket indicates: Commando Rajesh Bhowmick and not Captain Rajesh Bhowmick as it would read back in his army regiment. The trainees on their morning jog don’t stop to salute their officer, merely pass him by, in a whiff of male sweat and the stamp of boots, with a “Ram, Ram, Sir!” There is a graduation ceremony today. The lean young men in brand new black uniforms celebrate with a characteristic lack of fuss: a group photograph, followed by their officer pinning the commando balidaan (sacrifice) badge on their shirt, right over the heart. “It’s to remind us with every heartbeat of our pledge to die for others,” explains a young commando.

A Gandhian lunch is what the Black Cats live on: rice/chappati, vegetable, sambar and dahi.

Of the 250 volunteers handpicked for their physical and psychological fitness from thousands of soldiers and cops eager to join India’s most elite force, less than half make it through the 12-week basic training course. The regimen begins at 5 a.m., when the team leader blows three times on his whistle. All 60 men jump out of their bunks to gather in the central courtyard, for centre fall in within 30 seconds – with their boots on. It’s a drill that’s essential in a job where speed counts. The morning PT is only a warm-up for the 5 km run, with their 18.5 kg load of weapons, rucksack and water bottle. Trainees become used to the load, but the 770-metre obstacle course specially designed for the NSG is another matter. There are 26 obstacles, including climbing 16-foot ropes and jumping across flaming walls and other horrors. It’s the toughest obstacle race anywhere in the military world, more punishing than even the ones used in Israel and Germany to train para-commandos, our guide explains with pride. A short break for breakfast, and then it’s time to run again – this time to the firing range. And everywhere the banners, (One Shot, One Kill); (There are no runners-up in War); (It is easy to fire a good shot. It is difficult to find a good target); (The 3-D Secrets of Success: Dedication, Determination and Devotion). And a screaming one – (REMORSELESS, PITILESS, FEARLESS).

As aptly shown here, learning close-quarter battle tactics is essential for every Black Cat Commando.

“We are a force of last resort, our job is to kill,” explains our guide, and we see proof of this at the firing range. The targets are not the usual concentric rings with bull’s eyes. They are all heads – cardboard heads re-pasted after morning and afternoon practice everyday. Just how busy the target makers are can be gauged by the number of rounds fired everyday: each trainee is expected to fire no less than 100 a day. Head hits are what the commandos are taught. But lately, the targets have been made more complex. Rubaiyya (yes, after the famous abductee) is a two-headed figure – a black and red head at the back, a white and pink burqa-shaped head in front. The men are taught to crawl, turn over, fire and run for cover without once hitting the pink and white Rubaiyya. You get minus two points for that. And for trainees who endanger colleagues’ lives by standing up instead of lying down, firing at an angle when asked to shoot straight, or some such error, there is a thick rope hanging from a neem tree next to the range. No, they are not hung by it, but something close: they have to climb up and slither down as punishment and reminder. You’d think that was a hard day’s work, but at NSG, the day is still young. It’s now time for a 16-km speed march through the forests and hillocks of Manesar. Then at 12:30 p.m., a 2-km march back to the mess for lunch. For men who work that hard, lunch seems almost Gandhian in its frugality: rice/chappati, vegetable, sambar and dahi. Meat, like the rationed 30 ml rum, is supplied twice a week. Here too the injunctions on the walls, “Drink Water Today, Save Blood Tomorrow.” Dehydration is the commandos’ worst enemy during training. By 2:30 p.m., the dreaded centre fall-in whistle is blowing again, this time for exercises such as rope-climbing, chin-ups, push-ups, all under the blistering mid-afternoon sun and the vigilant eye of their team leader.

A ski-mask clad Commando armed with a MP-5 SMG and what appears to be a fire-retardant hand glove.

Many crack up under pressure, some even die – just drop dead from sheer exhaustion. There is an hour’s rest finally, at 3:30 p.m. But those who want to take a nap instead of catching up with their letter-writing had better do it with their boots on. Because the whistle goes off again at 4:30 p.m. It’s time for some fun now: swimming, gym, karate. General roll call is at 7:30 p.m., with another call for centre fall in. But this time, it’s what the trainees call unwinding time, and the trainers call informal training: time to address issues, from new shoes to a missed shot, or a failed exercise to the more crucial emotional breakdowns, of which there are plenty: men so exhausted they break down and cry and want to go home. By the end of six weeks, many have either dropped out or been sent back to their regiments – the men have been separated from the boys. “We process trainees into deadly rangers,” declares one of the many banners at NSG. “And it can’t be done unless the men are self-motivated,” says our guide. I watch the men determinedly lining up for more push-ups and jogging, even as the sun is setting over Manesar. There is a physical training test in two weeks, and nobody wants to fail. It is an overwhelmingly macho world this, dormitories of steel cots in military rows, boots laid out tidily on black steel trunks, men silently wolfing down meals, grimly intent on enduring the drill; even the social system of buddies in which two male partners are bonded for the tough times ahead. But our guide assures us there was a woman commando who underwent the training course a few years ago. “We had our doubts, but she was better than any of the men in her batch.” A cross-country runner, she gave the men a complex by outracing them.

NSG recruits clowning around for the camera during the absence of their drill sergeants.

The biggest challenge of training commandos, says Brigadier Ravi Kumar over sandwiches and coffee, is to merge the culture of the army with that of the police. Most of the time, it succeeds; in the case of the PSOs (Personal Security Officers), sensationally: a Black Cat guarding a VVIP has as much resemblance to his peers in the police as a panther to a paunchy tabby cat. And not just in physical fitness: the alertness, the commitment to kill or be killed is the army culture he absorbed in the NSG barracks. And dealing with crowds, how to handle them and save them, is the police culture that he in turn bequeaths to his army colleagues in the barracks. In fact, it was because of the army commando’s lack of police skills, such as rescuing hostages or taking terrorists alive, that the NSG very early on reversed its policy of borrowing trained commandos from army units. Specialised training was required, and it was devised at the NSG centre to turn out anti-terrorist squads for any contingency. The crack teams, the commandos flown out to deal with critical situations like the one in Akshardham, are all army men: two closely-guarded teams, 51 and 52, trained for any internal emergency. The men in these two teams are kept fighting fit, in battle readiness, by following the same schedule they followed during training. Only this time there are no whistles from officers, but there are no late risers either. Games like volleyball and football are mandatory here, considered crucial for building team spirit. Of the 1,200 commandos, some 100, formed into small teams specialising variously in kidnap, hostage, hijacking and other anti-terrorist emergencies are on duty round the clock – ready to go within minutes of receiving a summons.

NSG recruits learn the art of one shot one kill as part of their rigorous 12-week basic training course.

The team sent to Akshardham, for instance, was armed and ready within 15 minutes. It is another matter that it took 1½ hours for them to reach the airport through rush hour traffic in Delhi. (There is a small helipad at Manesar, but no helicopters). As one officer explains with a touch of sadness, “What we needed at Akshardham were strobe lights, so we wouldn’t have to wait for the morning light. There is equipment available – digital scans, thermal scans, even dogs equipped with cameras, that could have made it possible for us to monitor it from here.” But even the lack of vital equipment does not seem to demoralise these stoic heroes. I wondered how it must feel to be ready to give up your life at any moment of the day, whenever the call came. “We don’t die for the country,” one taciturn officer explained. “We die for our mates”. But I found the answer taped on the wall: “I have the strength,” it said. “I know not from where the strength comes, but I have the strength.”


Copyright © BHARAT RAKSHAK. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of BHARAT RAKSHAK is prohibited.

 

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Here is the article from NASA that verifies this bridge and relates it back to our Ramayana. It is sad that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and our Government does not agree to this and is going ahead with the Sethu Samudram project, that will in effect destroy this bridge. Along with that I dont see why this was named as Adams bridge..who the heck is this Adam ( renamed I guess during British times) gives us an insight on how the colonists undermined the native culture and left legacies that if not corrected will remain for the rest of history.

NASA Discovers 1,750,000-Year-Old “Ramayana” Bridge Between India and Sri Lanka

October 8, 2002

WASHINGTON (PTI) — The NASA Shuttle has imaged a mysterious ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka, as mentioned in the Ramayana.

The evidence, say experts matter-of-factly, is in the Digital Image Collection.

The recently discovered bridge, currently named as Adam’s Bridge and made of a chain of shoals, 30 km long, in the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka, reveals a mystery behind it.

The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man-made. Legend as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent.

Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge currently named as Adam’s Bridge is made of chain of shoals, c.18 mi (30 km) long.
NASA Picture of Ramas bridge to Sri Lanka
The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent. (Image: NASA Digital Image Collection.)

This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in tredha yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago).

In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the incarnation of the supreme.

This information may not be of much importance to the archeologists who are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_81164,0003.htm

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India – Are we truly free ?

This is a great article posted by Rajeev Srinivasan. I do agree with most of what he says and I am hoping that someday he writes about how we can all redeem ourselves, through a systematic change of our physche…….Have a good read.

PS: I appreciate sane and balanced opinions.

Independence, Freedom, Democracy and other such myths
By Rajeev Srinivasan

Rajeev Srinivasan is disappointed by India’s trajectory.

The usual suspects made the usual speeches on August 15th, 2007, mouthing the usual pure cant. But the sad fact remains that sixty years after the grasping imperialists left, India has comprehensively under-achieved on all fronts; all that has changed is the skin-color of the looters. Ten years ago, I was far more optimistic, and wrote about the coming Indian century; today, despite the obvious progress made on the economic front, I am overwhelmed by a sense of disappointment.

I have been discouraged by what I have observed in the last ten years. The loss of heritage. The disdain for autochthonous civilization. The perversion of the discourse in the country by Stalinist ‘intellectuals’. The regular terrorist attacks that cheapen Indian lives. The total non-reaction by government to oppression of people of Indian origin abroad.

And so I have come to realize that freedom is very different from mere independence. There is no freedom for the common man in India: not freedom from want, nor freedom of expression or thought, nor freedom to aspire to greatness, nor freedom from the ravages of endemic corruption. The State is so feeble that India can fairly be termed a failing State. The Indian State punches so far below its weight that it might as well not exist.

The failure is both domestic and global. Individual Indians are shackled, and the blunders of the past sixty years conspire to create a state of permanent slavery for the nation. That is the biggest disappointment of all: Indians aspire to mediocrity. Indians simply cannot imagine that they can recapture their historical primacy as the greatest innovators, the most prosperous nation on earth.

The facts are out there for anyone to read: for instance, economic historian Angus Maddison’s World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, an official European Union publication, shows that during practically the entire period 0-1700 CE India was the world’s richest nation. There is circumstantial evidence, too: the fact that every barbarian, from Alexander the Macedonian, to sundry Central Asians, to random Europeans, all invaded India. People intent on loot do not invade poor countries.

India is on the way to economic superpower-dom, according to the dramatic Goldman Sachs reports (Dreaming with BRICs and India’s Rising Growth Potential). And indeed, in the last few years, the world has recognized that India will be an engine of the Asian century, hyphenated with China (much, incidentally, to the latter’s chagrin).

But it is only foreigners who acknowledge India’s potential. Indians themselves are still colonized. Having destroyed indigenous education, the colonialists put in place a system designed to suppress creativity and produce drones who would toil for Empire. It drums into the minds of children the idea that everything native to India is worthless.

This project has succeeded beyond Macaulay’s wildest dreams (see his infamous Minutes) in creating a nation of the terminally confused. Exhibits A and B: India’s Finance Minister opined recently that India was always a poor country; some time ago, his boss, the Prime Minister complimented imperialists on the good they did! Aren’t these people economists? All they have to do is to read Great Victorian Holocausts: El Nino and the Making of the Third World to understand the appalling war crime, including the genocide of at least 20 million people, perpetrated on India by the imperialists.

Yet, in an example of undeserved tolerance towards rapacious foreigners, Indians shut their eyes to the dangers of Economics 101: choosing to only make butter, and no guns. We need guns to protect our butter. Thus the great dangers in the sustained and inexplicable efforts recently to make India for all intents and purposes a nuclear vassal of the United States.

Brought up to believe they are worthless, Indians aspire to be second-best. Only Indians go to the Olympics to be sporting losers, not to win: nobody else chants the meaningless mantra that what matters is participation; no, Virginia, the only thing that matters is winning. India seeks to play second fiddle to somebody, be it Americans, Chinese, Arabs, somebody, anybody. This is a disease that may have to be excised by large-scale lobotomies; or perhaps by burning down a certain university that is its epicenter.

India has been a hectoring busybody on the global stage, lecturing everybody on morality and virtue; it is also easy prey: a nation that can be induced to commit collective suicide through the expedient of buying off its media and politicians for chump change. The number of fifth-columnists in India has reached record proportions. India has ‘friends of America’, ‘friends of China’, ‘friends of Saudi Arabia’, ‘friends of the Vatican’ in high places, but hardly anyone is a ‘friend of India’.

Yes, there is formal independence, but there is no freedom. There is, for instance, no respite from the State religion, some baffling animal called ‘secularism’, which basically means total apartheid against large groups of people.

The State excels in perpetuating the most ridiculous system ever invented: a chimera that combines all the vices of communism and capitalism (and none of the virtues). The idiocies and inefficiencies of the first and the thievery and inequities of the second; but not the iron discipline and will nor the unshackled flair for getting ahead. The State has interfered in everything it has no business being in: running airlines, hotels, and so forth; and it has been practically invisible in everything it is the one and only provider of: infrastructure, defense, social programs, human rights. Crony capitalism and the license raj run rampant.

The State has also failed to provide basic human necessities: the infamous ‘bread, clothing and shelter’ that every Government has promised loudly but never delivered. People in many parts of India are opting for privatized education, water supply and road-maintenance – fed up with State incompetence, indifference and inefficiency, a testament to how badly the State has performed.

It is obvious that wherever the State exited (or never interfered in, not realizing that here was yet another opportunity to screw up royally) the native genius of the people has enabled India to thrive: for instance, in telecommunications, in information technology.

The Indian State, in sum, is predatory. It preys on the very people it is sworn and duty-bound to protect and nurture. Nor is there democracy in India, other than some strange beast that has the paraphernalia and form, but not the substance, of rule of, by and for the people. Instead it is of, by and for the brown sahib, who is only interested in self-aggrandizement.

There is little to cheer about sixty years after power has been grabbed by Macaulay’s children, the said brown sahibs: almost every one of them a crook willing to sell the national interest down the river. They have perpetrated a crime against humanity by preventing 400 million Indians from climbing out of poverty and by creating a personality-cult-ridden, corrupt, failing State.

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