Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lt Gen Nathu Singh: Courage and Candour has few equals or parallels

Dear Brig Kamboj.
1... edited... I have read with great care to what has been written about Lt Gen Nathu Singh. He was a great son of India, nationalist to the core and a true patriot. He was fortuitous that he had the benefit of a Royal and of the Nehru till he fell foul with Pandit Nehru post Independence.
2. His 2nd/3rd Son-Ran Vijay Singh as a Rear Admiral from the Navy. He was 1st/2nd JSW and was a Flier. Post Retirement, Family stays at Sanik Vihar Delhi. His Wife her Son to play with our Son at Vizag and the remain friends. I believe his Eldest Daughter is married Shri Arjun Singh. There would be many Naval Officers who can brief you better. Commader KK Punchi an Aviator for one.
3. History would record that one of the great blunders of UPA-2 would be not to grant OROP, indifference to difficulties of Veterans-particularly of Junior Officers and Other Ranks. Their this action has allowed IESM to be born. This Movement has created a forum and a platform for personal accounts, the real happening of historical events which were suppressed or not aired by ESM themselves in the best traditions of the yore. Whilst still remaining apolitical, they have been forced to demand their rights. But most importantly in this age of Internet and TV, they have united the ESM as never before. Not putting Henderson Brooks Report or the military history in public domain has become irrelevant. Sardar Patel's Letters and Gen Thakur Nathu Singh have found their rightfull place in military folk lore.
4. Lastly permit to say whilst doing invaluable service, IESM is still to attain full contours of democracy and inclusiveness and functions more like Mini Army Headquarters with writings in the-President is pleased--style. Of course there are many distinguished Air Force and Naval Officers on your honour rolls but few writes come from them. It cannot be that they do not know English. Similarly like Parliament the Other Ranks should be writing like US Army. Vernacular Languages can be accommodated in your signals with Computer translations. Then it would be become truly representative.
With best regards,
Cdr Prem P Batra Retired

Dear Brig Kamboj,
I do not know how many of you readers have had an opportunity to meet Gen Nathu Singh in person. I consider it my privilege to record my meeting with this illustrious soldier. It was in the year 1987. I was a Col in the Pay Cell. One fine morning, I was summoned by the Adjutant General, and told to go to the MH in Delhi Cantt and 'brief' Gen Nathu Singh on the effect of the Fourth Pay Commission on the pension of the KCIOs. Armed with all the details and the relevant files, I went to the Senior Officers' ward and reported to the general. The next two hours were moments to remember. I have not forgotten a word of what he said.
His pension meant nothing to him. He was an angry old man. He just did not like the way service officers were treated by the nation. What he said about about Field Marshal Cariappa is unprintable. According to him, the down slide of the service officers in the table of precedence started during that period. But the words which have got etched in my memory are the concluding part of the meeting. Gen Nathu Singh asked me if my 'Joru' ( wife ) was employed somewhere. When I answered in the affirmative, he said, "Chhore, too eik joroo ke liye nahiN kamaa sakta. Hamaare time meiN ham chaar joru ko samhaal sakte thei!" ( My dear child, you are not able to earn enough for just one wife. In our times, the salary was sufficient to support FOUR wives!"
When I debriefed my boss, his reaction was, "Forget what he says. the old man has gone senile". Be that as it may, I think he was a fine soldier. I will write some other time, about why some British officers had to be retained to provide leadership to our armed forces for several years after our Independence . Many of us remember RSM Ayeling in the NDA, and it is common knowledge that the Chiefs of the Air Naval and the Air Staffs were British until long after Aug 1947.
So much for Gen Nathu Singh. As per him, the history of the Indian Army would have been different if the first COAS was some one else.
But as Ghalib says:
Hui muddat ki Ghalib mar gaya par yaad aata hai,
Voh har ik baat par kehna ki yoon hota to kya hota!"
With fond regards,
Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)
The first two lines of the above ghazal are even more poignant for the Ghalib fans let me record them:
Na thaa jab kuchh, Khudaa tha,kuchh na hota to Khudaa hotaa
Duboya mujh ko honee ne ,na maiN hota, to kya hotaa?

Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
I was Gen Oberoi's CSO in Western Command, and I dare not contradict him. But since this concerns military history, I can't let it pass.
The story about Nathu Singh being offered the post of C-in-C is true. But it was not Nehru, but Sardar Baldev Singh who did it. Nehru did not like Nathu one bit. In the meeting that Gen Oberoi mentions, Nathu Singh objected to his proposal of keeping British officers in India, I am giving below extracts from Nathu Singh's biography that is part of my book LEADERSHIP IN THE INDIAN ARMY - BIOGRAPIHES OF TWELVE SOLDIERS. I have copies of the correspondence between Nathu Singh and Nehru and Baldev Singh.,The original Nathu Singh papers are with his son, Th. Amarjeet Singh, in Jaipur. Colonel Guman Singh, his son in law, has also given me some papers.
I have met Gen Nathu Singh. In fact I spent two weeks in MH Jodhpur in 1993, when we were both in adjoining rooms, but shared the same bathroom. I am attaching his biography, to give the real story.
VK Singh
Lt Gen Nathu Singh- A short resume by Maj Gen VK Singh

Pulse of profound Patriotism and Professionalism vibrates in Lt Gen Nathu Singh's Nationalism exibited through his courage and candour that has few equals or parallels...
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