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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

Audacious Fortunes

(The following article of mine appears in the August 2015 issue of Defence and Security Alert and is posted with their kind permission) The correlation between ability to toil and corresponding returns in terms of better fortune was aptly put by Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn when he said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. In the case of soldiers this concept is better epitomized in the adage “Fortune favours the brave”. Reading the exploits of some of the heroes of the 1965 Indo Pak war, I came to a conclusion that while there is a lot of wisdom in these words, there is room for slight modification. In a battlefield with bullets flying thick and fast, shrapnel from a hundred projectiles seeking their unfortunate prey to kill or maim, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military

What if Nehru was still the PM in 65?

Barely three years after facing a humbling if not humiliating defeat at the hands of Chinese PLA, the Indian army was to be put to test again in 1965, this time with confrontation brewing on the western borders. But there was one major difference. This time, instead of a supposed statesman of immense stature, we had an unassuming Prime Minister with political stature to match his diminutive size. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had taken over after Nehru’s death in 1964, was a political lightweight and a compromise candidate for premiership. Yet, as the outcome of this war clearly demonstrated, its the decisions taken by a leader, and not his stature or personalty which matter in times of such crises. In April 1965, when Pakistan launched its provocative though low level … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military, Politics