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In good spirits?

india Updated: Jan 10, 2007 15:38 IST
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WHO SAYS that soldiers fighting for the enemy country do not have a heart?  There are several instances of camaraderie during wartime among soldiers of two rival countries. And when such anecdotes are narrated by war veterans they make interesting reading. Lt Gen (retd) Vijay Madan, ex-Commandant of Army War College, Mhow, who has since made Mhow his home, recounts one such episode that happened when he was commanding the ¼ Gorkha Rifles during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Before the ceasefire was announced, the ¼ Gorkha Rifles battalion had already advanced more than a kilometre into the Pak territory near Gulpur in Kashmir valley. Madan, then a Lt Col, had received instructions to maintain status quo and not advance further. However, there were orders to fire only to defend the area. As the post had been named ‘Nai Ka Makan’ by the Pakistanis, Indians wanted to change it. Lt Col Madan named it after actress Mumtaz, who was at her peak in Indian film industry in those days.

He recalls, “Our troops had to keep a strict vigil as the Pakistani troops regularly made efforts recapture the post by making bunkers at night. The ¼ Gorhkha Rifles’ job was to demolish those bunkers every morning”.

Later, during a flag meeting held between Lt Col Madan and his Pakistani counterpart, the former praised the courage of a Pakistani Havildar and Naib Havildar in making bunkers daily even after knowing that they would be razed down the next day. The Pakistani Commanding officer conveyed this to the Havildar who was mighty impressed. One day when the Pakistani commanding officer was not at the post, the Havildar waved a white flag, indicating his desire to meet those on the Indian side.

When a Havildar of ¼ GR went to him, the Pak soldier conveyed his gratitude to Lt Gen Madan (for his nice words) and demanded two bottles of rum, which were immediately given. Again, on the next day, he demanded four more bottles. He was obliged again. This time he handed over a big consignment of timber to the Indian side. Lt Gen Madan, now the state president of the Poorva Sainik Parishad, says that the timber, which they received from Pakistani troops, was very precious for them at that time, as they needed it to build and reinforce their bunkers. Indeed, something that should lift the spirits!

A high for Brig Jog …
MHOW STATION Commander and Commander of Young Officers Wing Brig S S Jog has been selected for the prestigious course at National Defence College (NDC). The course is considered very prestigious as military officers after doing this course invariably go on to become generals later in their career.

The course is run by Ministry of Defence for officers of all the three wings of the armed forces from the rank of Colonel to Brigadier and also for officers of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service and foreign officers of the same level.

The guest speakers for the course include the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and experts in planning, history, finance and nuclear energy and also the corporate world giants. The head of the NDC is a senior officer of Army, Navy or Air Force. (In Brig Jog’s absence, Brig P K Kaushik has taken charge of YO Wing Commander and Mhow Station Commander).

Mission gold…
THE YOUNG shooters of Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU)—where Lt Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was posted when he fetched India her first Olympic shooting silver medal—do not wish to rest on their laurels, as their motto is ‘Olympic Gold’. These days one can see several marksmen and women busy practicing at AMU shooting range.

The sessions start early morning and extend up to about 1 pm and then again held from 4 pm to 5.30 pm. The buzz is that they are preparing for three competitions –All India G V Mavlankar Shooting Championship, 50th National Shooting Championship and National Games.

The shooters are excited because of good performances by Nb/Sub Vijay Kumar and Havildar Imran Hasan Khan who won bronze medals at the Doha Asian Games recently.

Also, Varsha Tomar and Major Reema Singh have won gold and silver medals respectively in double trap shooting events in the recently held 50th National Shotgun Shooting Championships at New Delhi.

Till date, AMU shooters have bagged 142 gold, 87 silver and 63 bronze medals in international events and a whopping 1147 gold, 987 silver and 912 bronze medals in national events. But ask any of the shooters at the ranges here about their goad and pat comes the reply– ‘Olympic Gold’.