Tag Archives: Indian Army

Amritsar: Mrs Gandhi’s Last Battle, by Mark Tully and Satish Jacob

Book Review

Rating: 8/10

amritsar-mrs-gandhis-last-battle-pb-original-imae24asxnqz3uafI was born in October 1984, and those who know a little about Punjab and about India will know that it was the month when Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, was murdered by two of her guards – Sikh guards – apparently to avenge the infamous Operation Blue Star. I have grown up in the Punjab of those times when for the first few years of my life, the state was under President’s Rule. There were several incidents that I’ve heard from family and friends who were either taken off buses to be harassed or had taken to wearing turbans to avoid trouble.

Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, in their masterpiece – Amritsar: Mrs Gandhi’s Last Battle – have given a very objective view on the background of this Punjab where my contemporaries and I grew up. Being BBC correspondents themselves that time, both Tully and Jacob had witnessed the Punjab story unfold in person. This book is an intriguing take on the events (if you may call them so) that took place in Punjab right after Indira Gandhi was ousted by the JP movement right up till the Army attack on the revered Golden Temple/Akal Takht complex in the infamous Operation Blue Star.

The book starts with building a context around the Sikhs and their grievances with the Government of India, which were later to become the major point of contention in the entire conflict. The book then dwells into the now-public theories of the creation, support and rise of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale facilitated tacitly by none other than Sanjay Gandhi and Giani Zail Singh. For the first time, I was able to understand the political compulsions of the Akali trio of Harchand Singh Longowal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Prakash Singh Badal in this disastrous turn of events, and how they tried to manipulate, only to fail, the increasing alignment of Punjab’s Sikhs to Sant Bhindranwale. But more than everything else, the book provides immense clarity and objectivity to the whole decade that I regard as the lost decade for Punjab – once regarded as the most prosperous state in India.

This book, written in 1985, provides a full account of most of the incidents, events and circumstances of those times, leading up to the Operation Blue Star and subsequently Mrs Gandhi’s assassination. I would have liked a little more coverage on two of the key characters in this story – Indira Gandhi and Prakash Singh Badal. While the book mentions a lot about Gandhi, it doesn’t explain the reasons why she kept rejecting the negotiated agreements between Centre Government and the Akalis, that could easily have prevented the progress of terrorism in Punjab. The authors also haven’t talked much about Badal in the book, which I know from my elders, had very clear political ambitions and was the primary reason why Zail Singh created THE Sant Bhindranwale in the first place.

I will summarise this review by saying that this book is an interesting and intriguing take on what conspired in Punjab about three decades back that changed Punjab forever. I will strongly recommend this book to the Punjabis of my generation in particular to understand where all the parties falter and how Punjab found itself caught in the situation that left permanent scars in its illustrious history.

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P.S.: The pictures have been borrowed from internet with thanks to the owner of this picture.

India versus Pakistan (Nobel War)

10/10/2014 is a very unique date in the history of both India and Pakistan, when the only two Noble Peace Prizes of the year have been awarded to Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafai (Pakistan). Congratulations to the people of both the countries for this feat! The celebrations have already begun in both the countries; social media and news channels is full with the congratulatory notes to both the winners.

Nobel Peace Prize

But the ironical part of this victory is that while the world might want to acknowledge these countries for peace, the Prime Ministers of both these countries have opened guns against each other. On one side of the border is PM Narendra Modi whose party is facing elections in two states and he has to prove his ability to meet his pre-poll promises of national security and integrity. And on the other side is PM Nawaz Shareif who is being blackmailed into getting off his post and has to prove his mettle to be prepared for an election, just in case. And what better way than to fight at the border.

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Source: http://tearsofmanomajra.weebly.com/historical-reference-pakistan-india-conflict.html

I watched a very nice movie – Haider – very recently and have been thinking ever since that in this constant fight of political forces, the ultimate sufferers are the people of Kashmir – Jammu & Kashmir in India (Indian Occupied Kashmir) and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafai have something in common – both have fought for the rights of children in their own way. Isn’t that a responsibility of the governments and the armies of both these countries to help forward this cause? Isn’t it more sensible for both the countries to spend this money on child education, child welfare, healthcare and infrastructure development, rather than showing muscle to each other?

I would like to congratulate both Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafai on the great work that they have done in their own capacities. And it’s my urge to the people and politicians of both these countries to listen to these two great personalities and help them spread their message to the world.

Haider – Hats off to VB

Movie Review

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Wow! What a movie this was!

Haider is a movie set up in the background of a disturbed situation in Kashmir. The movie is a take on the Kashmir situation from various different perspectives and does send a subtle message that it is none but Kashmiris who are suffering in this continuous war between India and Pakistan. Set in this background, this movie is the story of Haider whose father has been ‘picked up’ by the Indian Army for helping militants in the valley.

Our protagonist Haider (Shahid Kapoor) is deeply attached to his father and sets off to search for him in the camps and prisons of Kashmir. In this search, he finds out that his uncle (Kay Kay Menon) is the police informer who had informed the army about his father, through her mother (Tabu). With its twists, turns and edges, Vishal Bhardawaj has handled the issue of terrorism, AFSPA and unrest in the valley with the due care and sensitivity in this amazing adaptation of ‘Hamlet’.

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All of the main characters were impressive, but Shahid Kapoor stands out big time in the movie. He has made a very strong case for himself in this industry. Kay Kay and Tabu have performed their roles with honesty and sincerity and you can see that. Shraddha Kapoor’s role is ignorable. While she is trying to make her presence felt, her role is almost ignorable and redundant in the movie.

Overall, I’d say this is an amazing movie and a must watch for everyone who’s waited for good Hindi cinema.

 

P.S.: You might feel it’s a little stretched in the second half, but just be with the movie.