Saturday, December 22, 2007

War in Ancient India

The Mahabharata War
Dharmayuddha is war carried on the principles of Dharma, meaning here the Ksatradharma or the law of Kings and Warriors. The Hindu laws of war are very chivalrous and humane, and prohibit the slaying of the unarmed, of women, of the old, and of the conquered. Megasthenes noticed a peculiar trait of Indian warfare they never ravage an enemy's land with fire, nor cut down its trees. (Artwork courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.

The Bhagavad Gita has influenced great Americans from Thoreau to Oppenheimer. Its message of letting go of the fruits of one’s actions is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written more than two millennia ago. The history of ancient India is largely a history of Hindu culture and progress. Hindu culture has a distinct claim to a higher antiquity than Assyrian schools would claim for Sargon I and as much or even higher antiquity than Egyptian scholars would claim for the commencement of the first dynasty of Kings. One aspect of this culture consists in India's political institutions which were almost modern.

Modern warfare has developed on mechanical lines, giving less scope for the qualities of courage and individual leadership. The value and importance of the army were realized very early in the history of India, and this led to the maintenance of a permanent militia to put down dissent within and arrest aggression from without. This gave rise to the Ksatriya warrior caste, and the ksatram dharmam came to mean the primary duty of war. To serve the country by participating in war became the svadharma of this warrior community.

Indian Military Science recognizes two kinds of warfare - the dharmayuddha and the kutayuddha. Dharmayuddha is war carried on the principles of dharma, meaning here the Ksatradharma or the law of Kings and Warriors. In other words, it was a just and righteous war which had the approval of society. On the other hand, kuttayuddha was unrighteous war. It was a crafty fight carried on in secret. The Hindu science of warfare values both niti and saurya i.e. ethical principles and valor. It was therefore realized that the waging of war without regard to moral standards degraded the institution into mere animal ferocity. A monarch desirous of dharma vijaya should conform to the code of ethics enjoined upon warriors.

The principles regulating the two kinds of warfare are elaborately described in the Dharmasutras and Dharmasastras, the epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), the Arthasastra treatises of Kautalya, Kamandaka, and Sukra. Hindu India possessed the classical fourfold force of chariots, elephants, horsemen, and infantry, collectively known as the Caturangabala. Students also know that the old game of chess also goes by the name of Caturanga. From the references to this game in the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda and in the Buddhists and Jaina books, it must have been very popular in ancient India. The Persian term Chatrang and the Arabic Shatrang are forms of the Sanskrit Caturanga.

When a conqueror felt that he was in a position to invade the foreigner's country, he sent an ambassador with the message: 'Fight or submit.' More than 5000 years ago India recognized that the person of the ambassador was inviolable. This was a great service that ancient Hinduism rendered to the cause of international law.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Military Service Pay

The sixth pay commission is now about midway in their task of preparing their recommendations for the revision of wages of more than 33 lakh central government employees, including the personnel of the defence forces. The latter constitute the biggest chunk of employees, at nearly 40 per cent, yet they have no representation in the commission. This is despite a long standing demand of the defence forces for military representation in the commission and its reiteration at the highest military levels before the commission was appointed. This not only indicates the lack of concern of the government for the welfare of the defence forces, but also the disdain with which legitimate demands of the military are treated, even when they are articulated at the highest military levels.

Country: Nomenclature
UK: X factor
USA: Additional Pay for Difficulties of Military Life
Australia: Service Allowance
Japan: Service Pay Supplement
Iraq: Special Allowance
Yugoslavia: Army Supplement
Nigeria: Hazard Pay
France: Special Pay
Overtime Allowance for Units
West Germany (1988)
Overtime Allowance for individuals
Harmonization Allowance
Bangladesh Defence Services Allowance
In addition, Canada, Netherland, New Zealand also have an additional pay for the difficulties of Military Life.

This article is meant to focus on the justified demands of the defence forces, with the hope that these would be taken note of, both by the pay commission as well as the government. Although the expectations of the defence forces are in many spheres, I will confine myself to discussing only a few inter-related but major issues, which I feel form the core of the expectations of the defence forces.

Let me start with the contentious issue of ‘relativities’, which rankles everyone in the defence forces. Despite the absolutely different conditions of service of the defence forces and no similarity with their civilian counterparts, the defence forces have always been clubbed with civilians by all past pay commissions. Despite repeatedly raising the issue, the sixth pay commission is also mandated to follow this oft-travelled path! Military life bears no comparison to any other category of government employees. Yet, each successive pay commission has made comparisons artificially. In the bargain, defence personnel have suffered. The dissatisfaction is clearly reflected in the huge shortages in the officer’s cadre, as the current emoluments are not at all attractive to young aspirants. As far as personnel below officer rank (PBOR) are concerned, although there are no shortages, more and more personnel are refusing promotions as they want to leave as soon as they earn their pension. In addition, the services no longer get the best and the brightest, both in the officers ranks, as well as the PBOR. The adverse effect on the professionalism and efficiency of the defence forces and as a consequence on the security of the nation needs no elaboration.

Most advanced countries recognize that military life bears no comparison to any other employment. Accordingly, suitable compensation and enhanced emoluments are built-in while fixing the pay and allowances of the military. Table I shows details of special provisions made for the defence forces by a cross-section of countries the world over. The defence forces had projected the need for an ‘X’ Factor, on the lines of the UK military, for their pay and allowance in earlier pay commissions, but it was not considered. It is hoped that this lacuna will be set right in the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. The defence forces are believed to have projected it as ‘military service pay’. This is the second important issue that needs to be understood; an elaboration is being attempted in the succeeding paragraphs.

The defence forces are unique as they view service in the different wings of the military as a commitment, not a job. They are also aware that they are the last bastion of hope and hence have neither the liberty nor the luxury to fail. Whether in peace stations or in field areas, a soldier is ready twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. There are no defined working hours for them. In addition, they are the only citizens of the nation who have restrictions on their fundamental rights.

Two other aspects need to be highlighted here. Firstly, the defence forces are constantly and continuously exposed to hazardous situations and there is always a threat to their lives and limbs. On an average, the number of army personnel killed in active operations is nearly 415 annually; a very high figure indeed, when there is no war being waged. Secondly, throughout their careers, they have to maintain stringent physical standards. This is as much applicable to a jawan as to those holding the highest ranks in the service. On account of the stringent physical standards the services demand, a large number of personnel are invalidated out on medical grounds; the average is over 5000 personnel every year. Here again, there are no comparisons with any other service, including the central police forces.

There are many drawbacks in family related and professional aspects as well. Military personnel have regular transfers and consequently frequent dislocations to family life, children’s education, as well as additional expenditure. Over half the service of defence personnel, particularly those from the army, is spent in field areas, where families are not permitted, resulting in long separation of soldiers and officers from their wives, children, parents and other kin. Even in peace stations, family life is disrupted on account of lack of married accommodation. Statistically, the average separations endured during their army careers work out to nearly 78% for jawans and nearly 68% for officers. Another way of putting it is that army personnel suffer separation of nearly 18 years in a career span of 24 years. An extremely turbulent life by any standards! It is a miracle that our officers and soldiers, as well as their families ‘soldier on’ regardless. What is worse is that there is no monetary compensation for this dismal quality of life.

The impact of separation, non-participation in social and family events and inadequate upbringing of children in their formative years, leading to psychological problems, hardly needs any elaboration. Well documented data relating to stress caused by separation and a low quality of life makes startling reading indeed.The Indian Army has heavy commitments in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations. Average length of service of soldiers in such operations amounts to 10.87 years, when compared to soldiers of most Western nations, where it is not more than one year. Even those who volunteer for additional duties in some western countries, do so for a maximum of two to three years throughout their career.

A look at how military personnel meet their personal responsibilities is revealing. Although personal responsibilities of both military and civilian personnel are similar, but unlike the civilians, the bulk of military personnel have to retire when their responsibilities relating to their children, as well as aging parents are at their peak. Our PBOR generally retire between the ages of 35 and 40 years and the bulk of officers around 50 years of age, while their civilian counterparts continue to serve, get extra emoluments and promotions and retire at the age of 60 years. Thereafter, because of their longer service, they also earn higher pensionary benefits. Thus, defence forces personnel lose out both in pay as well as pension.

Let us briefly focus on the career prospects of defence personnel. All defence personnel undergo a most rigorous selection process, in an organisation that is so pyramidal that large numbers keep falling out at every rank. The reason is not that they are professionally inadequate, or are found wanting in personal qualities, but because of the acutely declining number of vacancies as they progress in their careers. The result, for a very large number of personnel is bleak in career prospects.

The pyramidal structure of the army can be gauged from Table II. From a total cadre of 46,615 officers, only 4239 make it to the rank of colonel, i.e., a mere 10 per cent. For the next rank, only 20 per cent are selected. Thereafter too, the attrition rate is extremely high. Out of a total of 866 brigadiers, as many as 650 are weeded out. Such statistics bear no comparison to persons serving is any other service, government or private. This state of affairs continues at each successive rank, till only one out of 67 lieutenant generals attains the rank of General. Need one convert it into a percentage!?!

General- 1
Lieutenant General- 67
Major General- 216
Brigadier- 866
Colonel- 4239
Lt Col and below- 41226
Total- 46615

The acute pyramidal structure is best highlighted at Table III, wherein 90.32 per cent of officers are of the rank of lieutenant colonel and below. All higher ranks thereafter keep reducing drastically as one goes up the so called ‘ladder of success’. The lot of PBOR is similar, as can also be seen in the same Table. Although comparisons are said to be odious, the fact remains that when compared to most all India services, the numbers and percentages of defence forces personnel are ridiculously low at the senior ranks. This is also graphically illustrated at Table III.

Recent trends like stress; reduced life expectancy; suicides, desertions and soldiers running amok; fragging and indiscipline; weakening of the moral fibre and vastly increased numbers applying for pre-mature discharge are highly disquietening and the portents are fairly dismal, unless corrective steps are taken at the earliest. Many uninformed persons cite minuscule advantages of service in the defence forces, like canteen facilities, railway concessions while going on leave, rations, enhanced leave, in-house welfare measures, amenities, etc, to argue that the defence forces are well looked after. However, can these even in one’s wildest imagination, substitute for threat to life and limbs, truncated careers, long periods of separation from families, frequent transfers & dislocations, bleak career prospects, curtailment of fundamental rights, unlimited working hours, stringent physical requirements, exposure to hazardous situations and even a reserve liability of 2 to 5 years after retirement. It can thus be seen that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.

It is understood that the projections of the defence forces to the Sixth Pay Commission are in two broad areas. Firstly, the defence forces have bid for approximately a five fold increase in emoluments from the pay and allowances they were sanctioned after the fifth pay commission award. It is an extremely conservative projection, as it is unlikely to meet the aspirations of those wanting to adopt the military as a career. Anyway, as the pay commission is mandated to ensure some kind of parity between the various categories of employees, the defence forces will probably get similar pay and allowances as the others. This may be five, six or even ten times what was sanctioned at the end of the fifth pay commission recommendations, depending on the projections of the other categories of central government employees and the analysis of the commission.

In earlier pay commissions, the defence forces were always the losers as their pay and allowances were decided after first artificially equating them with ranks in the police and the administrative services. Such equations resulted in equating a colonel having 18-20 years service with a superintendent of police or a deputy commissioner of a district, both of whom had less than eight years service, if that. The services must not fall in this bureaucratic trap again. Firstly, the military must not be equated with any other category, as their conditions of service are unique and secondly, if at all an equation is mandatory, then it must be in accordance with the length of service and no other criteria. What is important for all ranks of the defence forces, however, is the second major re-commendation, viz. the one related to military service pay. This must be sanctioned over and above the other increase and this must be substantial.

The two aspects discussed above, relating to the governments insistence on ‘relativities’ and the dire need to compensate the defence forces for their low quality of life, their bleak career prospects and the constant and ever-present danger to their life and limbs are the most important issues, which need the attention of both the government and the sixth pay commission

The pay commission needs to look beyond emoluments too, especially suggesting measures for ameliorating the massive shortage of officers in the army; the inadequacy of the defence budget, which continues to hover at the lowly level of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent of the GDP, which is barely enough to meet revenue expenditure, with little left for modernization of forces; the dire need for enhanced levels of jointmanship, including the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS); lateral induction of defence personnel to para military and central police organizations (CPO’s); an assured second career for all ranks, as they retire at such young ages; enhanced pensionary benefits to compensate for early retirements and measures for reducing the extremely steep pyramid-like structure of the officers cadre, which results in weeding out of highly talented officers of the three services, for want of sufficient vacancies and avenues for promotion.
The time for platitudes, assurances and homilies is now over. The pay commission and the government need to seriously address the inadequate compensation being paid to the soldiers and officers of the defence forces. Military service pay is an essential component of this compensation. It must be paid and it must be paid generously. The nation cannot hope to have a first class military, if it is paid shabbily and compensated inadequately.

Vijay Oberoi
Lt Gen (Retd)

Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM was former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).
December 4th, 2007.
Indian Defence Review Issue: Vol 22.4

Queen's Gurkha Signals History

The Origins

The Gurkha Signals Holding and Training Wing

British Army signalling can find it origins in the Royal Corps of Engineers in 1870, when the first Telegraph Battalion was formed. Signalling remained the prerogative of the Engineers for 58 years until the formation of the Corps of Signals in 1921. It is hardly surprising therefore that the initial employment of Gurkha signallers be in the three Indian Corps of Sappers and Miners (Bombay, Bengal, and Madras) in 1911. This development was rather haphazard and it wasn't until the First World War that whole companies of Gurkha signallers existed within these three Corps.

In 1920 these companies were formed into the Indian Signal Service and each 'Line and Wireless' companies within the service were given a letter designation. In 1921 'G' Divisional Signals, which was approximately regimental size, was based in Rawalpindi and included British and Gurkha soldiers. 'G' Divisional Signals had a small Regimental Headquarters (RHQ), No 1 Company and No 2 Company, the latter incorporating three Infantry Brigade Signal Sections and three Royal Artillery Brigade Signal Sections. It was this No 2 Company which was totally Gurkha in composition and which grew to such a size that by necessity it had to be eventually split into two. These Gurkha signallers distinguished themselves in the Waziristan troubles in 1923 and during the state visit to Nepal in 1921 of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on a hunting trip. But it was eventually decided in 1928 that there was an insufficient trained reserve of Gurkha signallers and that they should be allowed to waste out of the army.

When India gained independence from Britain in 1947 only 4 Regiments of Gurkhas, each of two battalions, were transferred from the Indian Army to the British Army. The 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 10th Gurkha Rifle Regiments moved to Malaya and Hong Kong in 1948. The impending Malayan Emergency provided the impetus in June 1948 for the formation of the 17th Gurkha Infantry Division and it was decided that the signals units for this new division should be Gurkha in composition. In July 1948 the training cadre, from which this new division's brigade signals units would eventually be drawn, was formed and initially consisted only of a handful of British Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) and other ranks. An establishment was created at the Command Headquarters site, in Kuala Lumpur, called X Brigade Signal Squadron and it was to this Squadron that Major A G C Cox MBE R SIGNALS was posted in October 1948. The X was used because no-one knew quite what to call them, but it was intended that this would be the first instalment towards a Gurkha Division Signal Regiment. The remainder of 1948 was used in forming the training cadre from experienced British and Gurkha instructors, and with gaining the approval of establishments for a Training wing and an Independent Brigade Signal Squadron from General Headquarters (GHQ) Far East Land Forces (FARELF). Although it had been envisaged that the first group of 110 trainees would arrive on 1 Jan 1949 the approval for the establishments was not given until May 1950.

IC-25067 2/Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, PVC, Posthumous

Date: 16 December 1971
Place of Action: Jarpal, Shakargarh Sector
Commissioned: 13 June 1971 (six months before the action)
Unit: 17th Poona Horse
Date and Place of Birth: 14 October 1950, Pune, Maharashtra

Son of Brig M L Khetrapal (Retd)

Full Story of his heroic deeds visit:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Captain Vikram Batra, PVC, Posthumous

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As Project Manager, he had so many things to do!!
He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use. "Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car."You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized."

"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and well built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass. "You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside." Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it." For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Life cycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex." "It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply. This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. " Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in.

Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing." He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point. "Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?" The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things.""I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project Manager.""Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now." This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the Line of Fire". The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realisation. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire." He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time. "There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a...?"

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment. But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib (Capt Vikram Batra- 1999 Kargil War) refused me permission and went ahead himself. He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded.......his own personal safety came last, always and every time."

"He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir....I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire." Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epic heroes. The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.

"It was nice meeting you sir." Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute. It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

BM Thapa
Lt Col (Retd)
Secy of the Dehra Dun Ex-Servicemen League.

Kindly Visit:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Veteran Remembrance Day

The Remembrance Day is observed in memory of the sacrifices made by men and women who fought during the two World Wars, the Korean Conflict and many other United Nations Missions to protect the Commonwealth and to preserve the system of Democracy that allows different people to live together in peace and enjoy freedom. This Day is celebrated in Canada on 11th November. Ceremonies includes Parades, Marches with Colour Parties, Guests, Veterans, Cadets, Scouts and Pipes/Brass Bands. Ceremonies at the Cenotaphs are Offering of prayers for the War Dead, Placing of wreaths, Observance of 2 minutes Silence, Sounding of Last Post, Sounding of Reveille and delivering of Speeches by invited Guests/Dignitaries in Lounges.

Remembrance Day is of great significance to me because my late father and I both put our lives on the line of fire, in World War I and World War II respectively, alongside the Commonwealth Armed Forces. Irrespective of the different nationalities, faiths and cultures, fighting in North Africa during World War II in the 8th British Army under World famous Field Marshall Montgomery, we developed comradeship, esprit de corps and tenacity and formed ourselves into a United Family. “Not only did we respect each other, we would even die for each other”. Together we faced successive enemy air raids and intensive firing from tanks, artillery, rocket launchers and small arms. But we survived. We also survived when our reinforcements did not arrive on time, when our ammunition stocks ran low, when our rations and water supplied by Air were cut in half and half again, when we had sleepless nights due to non-stop enemy hostilities, when we received no mail from our kith and kin back home for months together and when we faced extreme heat and non-stop dust storms of the World famous Western Desert of Africa.

My late father once mentioned that while fighting at Basra, Iraq during World War I, their rations ran out and they had to live on mule meat alone for days.
We kept advancing in the enemy territory all the time. Before attacking At El-Alamein we halted for properly planning a major Corps attack. I vividly remember that supported by the Royal Force bombers and fighters, and ground artillery, we launched the attack on the enemy, at its heavily fortified, strategic, mountainous positions. After a stiff and lengthy battle which included hand to hand fighting, we captured our objectives. The enemy which suffered very heavy casualties was defeated. The morale of the enemy forces being extremely low, they ran helter-skelter. Withdrawing in a most disorganized manner they left their dead, wounded and large quantities of arms and ammunition behind. We also captured thousand of Prisoners of War (POWs) whom we sent to our Rear Echelons for interrogation.

During World War II, being an Operator Telegraph, I was always detailed with the forward-most fighting troops where my duties consisted of providing signal communications for the Commanders enabling them to plan and execute Operations of War as required. Life there was not a bowl of cherries. It was a matter of touch-and-go. The mere fact that I too, fought alongside those thousands of men and women who lost their lives fighting bravely in war, fills me with pride. Luckily, I survived. I consider death of my comrades, my personal loss. And when I remember those dear departed friends, I find it difficult to control my emotions and cannot help shedding many tears on each Remembrance Day.

Pritam Singh Jauhal
Lt Col (Retd)
World War II Veteran
Founding President Indian Ex-Servicemen Society British Columbia

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Indian Military Academy

Here are some facts about the history of the IMA. These are taken from Sam Manekshaw's biography, which is part of my book LEADERSHIP IN THE INDIAN ARMY - BIOGRAPHIES OF TWELVE SOLDIERS.

VK Singh
Maj Gen (Retd)

The Skeen Committee, set up in 1925, had recommended the establishment of an Indian Sandhurst by 1933. To work out details of the proposed military training college, the Government had appointed the Indian Military College Committee, in early 1931. The Committee was chaired by Sir Philip Chetwode, and had a large number of service and civilian members. After detailed deliberation, the Committee submitted its report on 15 July 1931. It recommended establishment of a college to train Indians for commissions in the Indian Army, after an examination to be conducted by the Public Service Commission. The course was to be of three years duration, with the age of entry between 18 and 20 years. On graduation, officers would be granted Indian Commissions, which would be signed by the Viceroy. (The Commissions of officers graduating from Sandhurst were signed by the King). The total fee would be Rupees 4,600, which would cover tuition, board, lodging, uniforms, books and pocket money. Indian Army cadets would be exempted from the fees, and given a stipend of 60 rupees per month. After getting their commissions, the officers would be given the rank of Second Lieutenants, with a monthly salary of 300 rupees.

One of the important points which the Committee considered was the location of the proposed college.It had to be centrally located, easily accessible, with a temperate climate all the year round, and adequate accommodation as well as space for future expansion. The presence of a military garrison in the vicinity was also desirable. After considering over a dozen locations, the Committee short listed three - Dehradun, Mhow and Satara. Finally Dehradun was selected, because of its central location, climate, proximity to the PWRIMC, and the fact that the Railway Staff College was closing down, and its accommodation was readily available.

Early in 1932, it was announced that an examination for entrance to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) would be conducted in June or July. Sam took some money from his mother, went to Delhi and appeared in the entrance examination on 14 July 1932. There were a total of 40 vacancies - 15 selected through open competition, 15 from the Army and 10 from the Indian State Forces. Only 15 cadets were selected and Sam was sixth in order of merit. The first Commandant was Brigadier L.P. Collins, DSO, and the staff was carefully selected to ensure that the standards were kept at par with those at Sandhurst. Training commenced on 1 October 1932, though the Academy was formally inaugurated on 10 December 1932 by the C-in-C, Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, Bart, GCB, GCSI, KCMG, DSO. The first batch, called 'The Pioneers', had three future Chiefs - Manekshaw rose to head the Army in India, Smith Dun in Burma and Mohd Musa in Pakistan.

Health and Happiness

Health and happiness are two sides of the same coin. You can't be happy, which is everyone's ultimate aim, without sound health. Though health is one of the many factors for achieving happiness, but is very important one.

Health depends on many factors like: solid-food intake, liquid-food intake, air intake, thoughts, exercise, rest, sunshine, stress management and Body Mass Index.To achieve good long-lasting health one has to deal with all these and many more factors (like emotions, relationships, prestige, honour and so on) in balanced manner. Excess and deficiency are both not good for the long-lasting health.

Knowledge is power, and at times we have to pay for our ignorance. Therefore the first step to fight with a disease is to know about it. Moreover, whatever we do should not have any negative or side-effects. We will discuss all these factors, without being too technical. Aim is to provide its members, all the possible information about how to keep healthy and than remain happy till the very end of life.

If you are having any material which you consider worth reading by others and meet the basic requirement - Health and Happiness, you are welcome to share it. You are welcome to join the group, and encourage others, whose welfare is in your mind, to join the group. We will be regularly updating the material on the site. Your comments and suggestions to improve the Group are welcome.

Kindly visit my Group at :

Lt Col (Retd)


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