Articles Comments

Swordarm » Military

Nanda Sahib

Nanda Sahib

      As teachers go, he was unusual. A short, bulky Khalsa with the customary bushy beard, with eyebrows to match, Naib Risaldar Gulzar Singh was my D&M (Driving and Maintenance) instructor when I joined the Regiment back in 1990. He was universally known as Nanda Sahib, although that wasn’t his actual name. Apparently when he had joined the regiment, Gulzari Lal Nanda was the caretaker Prime Minister. With their unique brand of humour and logic, his seniors … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military

Rupnagar “Treaty” of 1831 – The Meeting Between Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and Lord Bentinck

Rupnagar “Treaty” of 1831 – The Meeting Between Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and Lord Bentinck

In October 1831, the small town of Rupnagar (Ropar) on the banks of Sutlej witnessed a historic meeting between Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and Lord William Bentnick, the Governor General of Indian territory under the East India Company. Over eight days of festivities, military reviews, entertainment and feasting, each side tried to outdo the other in show of goodwill and warmth. At the conclusion, a document was presented by Lord Bentnick to the Maharaja – often erroneously … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military, Military History

Battle Box – story of a bunker

Battle Box – story of a bunker

Fort Canning Hill or Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill), as it was originally know, dominated the landscape of the island for centuries before being dwarfed by the tall structures of the concrete jungle that Singapore is today. Soldiers and rulers have always had a fixation with heights – for purposes of tactical and psychological domination. Hence, this hill, imposing at 47 meters height over the otherwise flat terrain, was used as the seat of power from the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military History

CQMH Abdul Hamid – the Hero of Asal Uttar

As the COAS visits the village of CQMH Abdul Hamid, PVC on the 52nd anniversary of his epic anti-tank battle, here is an extract from my book “Brave Men of War” about the hero of Asal Uttar. In an Infantry Company, the Company Quarter Master Havildar (CQMH) is responsible for the logistics – rations, clothing, and other necessities troops need to keep fighting. An essential but not very glamorous job when there’s a war going on, because it keeps you away from the battle itself. Abdul Hamid, the newly appointed CQMH of C Company, 4 Grenadiers, was therefore only too happy when he was ordered to return to the role he had recently been in – that of a 106mm RCL anti-tank gun detachment commander. This was only in order, as he … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military

Appointment of Army Chief – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Amidst speculation and heated debates about the delay in appointment of the next army chief, rumours about the two senior army commanders likely to be superceded are doing rounds. One argument being forwarded is – “shouldn’t merit rather than seniority be the criterion?” As arguments go, its a tempting one, one which is difficult to disagree with. But it’s not without its pitfalls. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that there is significant difference between Army Commanders in terms of their merit or suitability for the job. What would be the parameters on which such differences could be measured? How would the performance of a Northern Army Commander dealing with Counter Insurgency operations be compared with that of, say the Western Army Commander who’s peacetime deliverables would be substantially different? … Read entire article »

Filed under: COAS, Military, Politics

Is the Indian Army in Danger of Being Politicised?

The following article appeared in The Quint. Original can be accessed here. Gen Dalbir Suhag, the present army chief is due to retire at the end of this month. However, in a surprising break from past practice, the name of his replacement has not yet been announced. As things stand, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the present Eastern Army Commander, is the senior most on the day the Gen Suhag retires, and going by the precedence, he should have been named as the next chief by now. Appointment of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the Chief of Pakistan army was in the news on both sides of the border for the past few days. It was announced just three days before Gen Raheel Sharif retired, and the new incumbent took over the reins … Read entire article »

Filed under: Civil Military Relations, COAS, Military, Politics

Send in the Army

Send in the Army

Narendra Modi government’s bold move to demonetize high denomination notes in circulation and replacing them with new ones has by and large been welcomed by the people. With the exception of opposition parties, who are criticising it, trying hard to find flaws with the scheme. This is, of course, more out of political expediency, and probably pique at having suddenly lost a lot of political capital – both literally and figuratively. For the past three … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military, National Issues

An Open Letter to Aakar Patel

Dear Mr Patel, This is in response to your piece published in today’s TOI under a presumptuously named column ‘AakaarVani’. I’m writing this to correct you on some factual and a lot of perceptual errors that seem to behind almost every sentence in the piece. I’m writing in the hope that you may correct these, unless of course these aren’t inadvertent, but deliberate spin that you want to give to bolster the argument you make in the title of the piece. Let me start by pointing out the irony in the title itself, since having written it yourself, you obviously didn’t spot it. That an article criticizing the army and saying a lot of things about the faujis is titled “Nothing can be said about our faujis, they’re above criticism”. If irony … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Media, Military

Heroes amongst us

Heroes amongst us

This Diwali, there was a special effort from the government to put the soldiers in the forefront of national consciousness. The prime minister himself celebrated Diwali amidst troops deployed on the remote frontiers, just as he had the past two years. In addition, this year there was a drive to connect the soldiers with people they fight to defend via the ‘Sandesh to Soldiers’ campaign. People were encouraged to send their message to soldiers via social … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military

When the tail wags the dog

When the tail wags the dog

The Armed Forces seem to be under siege. The adversary is neither as deadly as terrorists or enemy soldiers, nor as discernible as them. Silent, slow and insidious, the damage caused by them wouldn’t be in terms of mortal wounds or loss limbs, but the long term impact on morale and efficiency is likely to be much more damaging. The attackers are none other than people providing support and ancillary services required to keep the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military