STEEL FIST

For the last 24 hours, a section of the Indian media has been in an uproar. The center of attention this time is Gen. Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. And all because the general took umbrage to separatists in Kashmir valley directly interfering in anti-terror operations, hence aiding and abetting terrorists, and also a section of the population waving ISIS and Pakistan flags.

Harinder Baweja, that undisputed queen of all that is seditious, writes a rambling monologue in the Hindustan Times titled “General Rawat, hold your fire. All Kashmiri youth are not aides of Jihadis”. She has done what jaded journalists of her leaning so often do; decide the outcome of the article and then create facts to suit an argument.

In his statement, Gen. Rawat specifically mentioned stone pelting separatists who directly, and habitually, intervene in anti-terror operations with the single aim of abetting the terrorists. Also, he warned separatists who waved ISIS and Pakistan flags. He never once spoke or insinuated about Kashmiri youth in general.

Baweja cleverly skirted the issue, because on the face of it, the Army Chief’s statement was matter-of-fact. You would not expect the Chief of the Indian Army to say anything different. What she did was add lie and deceit into a straightforward statement.

The COAS never mentioned, even indirectly, all Kashmiri youth being Jihadist. Then why did Harinder Baweja lie so blatantly? Because if she hadn’t, there wouldn’t have been any story. She knows the ethos of the Indian Army well. Gen. Bipin Rawat would do all he could to defend his organization and his men, but he would not lift a finger to defend himself. This was a bonanza for her. She could shoot at a target at will, secure in the knowledge that the target would never shoot back at her. So, Harinder Baweja went after the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

She starts the article with a disclosure. She says that she is sympathetic to the men in uniform, following it up with the comment that army men are called “Indian Dogs” in Kashmir. She further says that she has Fauji blood in her veins. The assault on the Chief starts with her saying that the Chief’s words made her cringe.

Her interview with Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Abdullah Muntazir did not make her cringe. When she interviewed Burhan Wani’s father (the terrorist was still alive then), she did not cringe when the old man said that he would gladly see his son die in Jihad against India. But when the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army said that he took exception to ISIS and Pakistan flags on Indian territory, Harinder Baweja dug deep into the ethical recesses of her journalistic soul and found the morality to cringe.

Political parties are defending stone pelting on TV. “Speak to the mislead youth” they say. I agree. We must speak to the youth in Kashmir. We must engage with them everyday, every minute if we are to succeed in Kashmir. But what is unethical and blatantly anti-national must be put on collision course with the Indian Army. There are youth who shout slogans against India in Kashmir. India’s democracy gives them this right. It gives the same right to left-wing liberals in JNU and weavers of candyfloss at Jadavpur University. There can be a vociferous counter argument.

The Kashmir issue must be debated within the ambit of the Constitution of India, because when a solution comes forth, and come forth it will, it will come from within the pages of our Constitution. But it cannot be debated with the evil and compromised old blood-sucking leeches of the Hurriyat Conference. And it cannot be debated with the political parties of Kashmir. They have the ability to change colors that would put a professional chameleon to shame. We must engage directly with the youth of Kashmir. And only the young can engage with the young.

As for the men who fly the Pakistan flag, and throw stones to compromise anti-terror operations, they must immediately find themselves at the wrong end of a 7.62 mm full metal jacket round. I am willing to talk, compromise and bend over backward to accommodate people. But if you insult the symbols of Mother India, I will wish death upon you.

Many people ask why I take such an unbending stand on issues. Let me explain.

I am an ultra-hardline nationalist. For me your religion, caste, color, creed, political affiliation and ideology count for nothing. I don’t care. But India is not just a nation with an ancient culture and a billion people. It is manifestation of living and breathing divinity. When I say “Jai Hind” or “Vande Mataram” I am not being patriotic. I am worshipping at the feet of my Mother.

If you disagree with me and wish to talk, I will talk with you. I will defend your right to disagree with me. But you may never question my country, and you may not speak of Her symbols in any manner short of utmost respect. If you do, I will come looking for you.

Major Dahiya lay bleeding with multiple Gun Shot Wounds (GSWs). During evacuation, locals stoned army vehicles carrying the injured officer. They also created enough confusion so that terrorists could slip away, because the army refused to fire on civilians.

Bleeding heart liberals and separatists eulogies stone throwers saying that they have no fear of the Indian Army. This is a pure lie. The fact is that stone throwers have had very little exposure to the Indian Army. And the amount of restraint that CRPF and J&K police have shown, all I can say is that I am amazed. I have seen videos of CRPF jawans being chased and beaten by these stone throwers. Those Jawans mostly had a lathi in their hands, and sometimes a pellet gun. Give the Jawan an AK 47 and a free hand. I promise you today, all these “brave” stone throwers will vanish like snowflakes in May.

What would you have done had you been in the place of Gen. Bipin Rawat?

The General did nothing but uphold the honor of the nation and lead his men. That is what he is supposed to do. That is why he is the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

The breaking story is not what Gen. Bipin Rawat said. The story is in what he stood for.

I have said this before and I will say it again. A nation does not live on its knees. The restraint the Indian Army has shown is being construed for weakness. And such a construct cannot be allowed to exist.

Who are we trying to appease? People who actively act as agents of terrorists and wave ISIS and Pakistan flags? Is this what our much vaunted democracy has come to, selling our nation for a few votes?

It will be a long summer. Maybe the longest in a decade. But we cannot flinch. We will not flinch. This is not a fight for Kashmir. It is a war for all that India holds sacred.

The Indian Army prides itself on being a steel fist, but one that always wears a velvet glove. Gen. Bipin Rawat, COAS of Indian Army just ordered his men to take off the velvet glove.

Now traitors will see our steel fist.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #SteelFist #IndianArmy #adgpi

 

 

BY WAY OF DECEPTION

The wound of 1962 just would not heal; the humiliation just would not go away. And then came the 1965 war with Pakistan. In both wars, intelligence gathering and analysis was identified as a black hole. We simply did not get information in time. And when we did, it was not accurate.

The Intelligence Bureau was responsible for foreign and domestic intelligence, and somehow, in spite of immense resources and political reach, it failed to deliver. India needed a lean and specialized foreign intelligence agency that would do whatever it took to deliver and this agency would have carte blanche. It would operate in the shadows, and like smoke go where it wanted. It would operate globally in that grey area which would give India “plausible deniability”.

It would not be an “agency”, in the narrow Indian context, but a wing of the Cabinet Secretariat and hence not answerable to the Parliament of India. So, they decided to structure it on the lines of the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA.

In 1968, Indira Gandhi created the Research and Analysis Wing, under Mr. RN Kao, the legendary spymaster.

RAW was, in the beginning, a part of IB, but later branched off into an independent unit.

The role of RAW (or R&AW as its operatives like to call their mother agency) is hazy. It is however agreed that RAW takes “care of India’s interests globally”. Its role includes, but is not limited to, covert operations, foreign intelligence gathering, monitoring political, economic and technical (technology & science) development in ‘enemy’ countries, molding of opinion in foreign countries and other tasks that may be given from time to time.

There have been insinuations and accusations of RAW’s involvement in assassinations and overthrow of foreign regimes, thought unfriendly to India.

When former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the 8 January 2015 election by a humiliating margin, he blamed RAW in an interview given to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. He said that RAW used the Indian Embassy in Colombo to stage-manage his defeat, because he was getting too close to the Chinese. Similarly, RAW was blamed for the 1 June 2001 massacre of the Nepalese Royal Family, by Prince Dipendra, the crown prince of Nepal. These allegations were made in 2001 by Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, who is the current Prime Minister of Nepal, and an avowed Maoist. Prachanda was blatantly pro-China and was pushing for mainstreaming the Maoist party in Nepal, towards total power. Some conspiracy theorists say that Prachanda is next.

However, RAW has always maintained that it neither has the mandate, intent nor capability to carry out such operations, and that it is simply an information gathering setup.

RAW is headed by Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat, and is colloquially referred to as Chief of RAW. The position reports to the Prime Minister of India, but administratively Secretary (Research) reports to the Cabinet Secretary. For operational matters, Secretary (Research) works with the NSA.

Earlier, the JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) was the umbrella organization responsible for coordination of intelligence efforts between IB, DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) and RAW. But with the creation of the National Security Council, the NSC is the intelligence mother ship. It controls all intelligence organizations and is headed by the NSA.

RAWs first major success was the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It worked closely with IB, Indian Army, Navy & Air Force. It oversaw the recruitment, funding, training and deployment of the Mukti Bahini. In 1975, RAW oversaw the deposing of Sikkim’s Chogyal rulers and its integration into India as a state. It did the background intelligence work and the Indian Army did the rest.

Over the years, as the organization evolved, it started adding capabilities, all of them vicious. Some were sharp edged, the others blunt.

Electronic & Technical Services (ETS) and Radio Research Center (RRC) are two organizations that deal specifically with signals intelligence, collation of data, analysis and electronic warfare. ARC (Aviation Research Center) is a specialized unit that does aerial reconnaissance for RAW, and is also heavily involved in satellite imagery. National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) is responsible for very high-end electronic surveillance and Internet monitoring. It is, in effect, a highly technical intelligence gathering organization that is the feeder to other intelligence services and the Indian armed forces. It also has largely confidential capabilities in cryptology, remote sensing and cyber warfare.

In the mid-fifties, the CIA and the Intelligence Bureau established the Mustang Base, in Mustang, Nepal. This base was used for training Tibetans in guerilla warfare and covert operations behind enemy lines.

Cut to the disaster of 1962, and Intelligence Bureau put an enormous amount of pressure on Prime Minister Nehru. The time for peace with China was over. “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” was a lie. IB was cryptic and clear. India needed a Special Force, which could fight deep inside China, a high altitude specialist force consisting of soldiers who were born and raised in such super-high altitudes. This force would have the best weaponry and would consist entirely of paratroopers.

On 14 November 1962, Special Frontier Force (SFF) was created. The core groups consisted of pure Tibetans.

The SFF would be used for covert and clandestine intelligence gathering operations, spec-ops inside Chinese territory, direct action, reconnaissance and other secret missions. CIA, US Green Berets and India’s Intelligence Bureau trained the force. Though exact numbers are not known, its strength is said to stand at 10,000 today. SFF is stationed at Chakrata in Uttarakhand. It is also known as Establishment 22 and was so called after its first head Maj. Gen. Sujan Singh Uban who had earlier commanded 22 Mountain Regiment. If you find army officers, referring to something called “VIKAS”, it is the SFF battalions they are speaking about.

RAW had all its bases covered, except one. It still felt the need for a very small unit of highly elite Special Forces soldiers and officers. This unit would carry out what is commonly known as “black ops”, an oft-used euphuism for selective operations with total and absolute deniability. These operations would be so sensitive and secret that the Government of India would never own up to them. It would bluntly deny any knowledge of the operation. This unit would not exist on paper. It would be a “ghost unit”.

In 1981, the Directorate General of Security launched Project Sunray. A colonel of 10 Para SF was quietly moved out from his unit and asked to handpick 250 of the best Special Forces men he could find.

This was the ultra-secret Special Group (SG), the existence of which was denied for years before it was hesitatingly accepted. Even now its officers and men cannot be photographed. The SG became RAW’s hammer. It would carry out operations that were too dangerous, too secret or just too inconvenient for anyone else to touch.

The core of SG is Para SF and it is stationed in Sarsawa (UP).

SG has been deliberately kept in the shadows. The only time people saw SG operators was after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. There was no SPG (Special Protection Group) at that time to protect the PM. Indira’s own bodyguards had killed her. No one could be trusted. The Indian Army does not guard politicians, not even the PM of India. There was no alternative. The task was given to RAW. Suddenly, the power corridors of New Delhi woke up one fine morning to tall bearded men with long hair carrying sophisticated automatic weapons. These men donned black dungarees and wore no ranks. They enforced an absolute wall of silence; no one knew what was happening. They protected Rajiv Gandhi till the time the SPG was created in 1985. And then they went back to Sarsawa.

I had the opportunity to interact with a Delhi Police veteran who spoke of those dark days when Delhi had descended into chaos. He had to meet someone at the PMO and ran into two SG operators. “They were terrifying”, he said. I asked him why he though so. “I don’t know. They were really quiet and menacing. They did not speak. I have spent my life in the police. The eyes never lie. These guys…their eyes were dead. No emotions. Yes, they were terrifying”.

There have been rumors about SG operations in the media. Were they involved in Operation Bluestar? Does SG operate in civilian clothes in Kashmir? No one knows for sure.

RAW has always been extremely secretive. Everything is always on a strictly “need to know” basis. They are paranoid, and for a good reason.

It was 1978 and RAW was desperate to know about the progress Pakistan had made in uranium enrichment. But the Khan Research Laboratories at Kahuta in Pakistan was guarded like a fort. There was no way to get information. It was then that a RAW operative in Pakistan hit upon an idea; simple yet brilliant. Scientists came outside the complex to get haircuts. He started collecting hair samples from barbershops in Kahuta. The hair samples of scientists were sent to India. The laboratories here confirmed India’s worst fears. Pakistan had developed the ability to enrich uranium to weapons grade quality.

RAW soon had agents inside Kahuta. Information began to flow. It was during a phone call between Morarji Desai and Gen. Zia ul Haq that the Indian PM inadvertently let slip that India knew what Pakistan had achieved in Kahuta. It was a slip of the tongue. Repercussions followed. Zia ordered a “cleanup” of Kahuta. RAW agents were caught and killed.

In the mid-eighties, RAW had managed neutralize Pakistan’s ISI by setting up two secret units called Counterintelligence – X (CIT-X) for Pakistan and Counterintelligence – J (CIT-J) for Khalistan. ISI used to smuggle drugs and weapons into India using trusted smugglers and routes. RAW corrupted those smugglers and started sending weapons back into Pakistan using them. This program was so successful that ISI stopped interfering in Punjab.

In 1997, RAW suffered a massive setback. Prime Minister IK Gujral wanted peace with Pakistan. And he wanted peace to such an extent that he ordered the closure of CIT-X and CIT-J, as a goodwill gesture towards Pakistan. It is said that hundreds of agents and their identities were compromised. Many RAW assets inside Pakistan were killed. This set back RAW capabilities by decades, a setback from which they have still not recovered. It takes backbreaking work and funds to create an operative or a double agent. And it takes time, trust and bandwidth.

The CIA has gone on record to say that RAW provided valuable inputs leading to the neutralization of Osama bin Laden. It was RAW that sent a message to ISI telling them that President Parvez Musharraf was about to be assassinated. Musharraf was saved just in time. They did this possibly because at that time the Govt. of India wanted Musharraf alive. And it was RAW that launched Operation Chanakya and engineered a vertical split in the Kashmir based terror groups. It created pro-India groups that started decimating the ranks of terrorists.

RAW has been involved in almost each high security operation or incident since the time of its inception, be it Kargil or 26/11. They have trained African intelligence agencies to work against the apartheid regime in South Africa, launched Operation Cactus to save a friendly regime in Maldives from external invasion, and gave accurate and actionable intelligence for the Indian Army to be able to launch Operation Meghdoot in Siachen glacier. It even trained a RAW operative so well that he was able to join the Pakistan Army as an officer and rise up to the rank of a Major.

According to Chanakya, there are four ways of defeating an enemy.

“Saam” is by way of giving counsel and advise and our diplomats follow this path. “Daam” is by way of enticing by money and rewards and our political leaders do this by investing in other countries to buy influence. When the above does not bend people to our will, “Dand” is used. This is by way of using force and is done by the armed forces of India.

But sometimes, India has to use the fourth path advocated by Chanakya, called “Bhedh”. This is by way of deception. RAW follows the fourth path.

You cannot always protect a nation by following the rulebook. Enemies, who mean us mortal harm, surround us. And they do not abide by the norms of ethical conduct of war. They use subterfuge and cunning. They are guided by deceit and lies. Hence our answer must be in the same language of subterfuge and deceit.

On a cold Sunday afternoon in January 2017, I sat down for lunch with a former RAW officer. We were in Connaught Place, New Delhi and we spoke about everything but work. That was the understanding. But I had to ask him one question, and I did. “Sir, why do you do what you do”.

What he said will stay with me forever.

“I follow no rules. Maybe there is no morality in what I do. But my sworn dharma is to protect India. I will make any compromise, go to any length and break any rule of God and man to protect India. I know I will never be acknowledged. My work is such. And I willingly choose to live in the shadows”.

As we finished lunch, I walked him outside the restaurant. We shook hands.

“Jai Hind, Sir”, I said in the time honored Indian Army tradition.

“Jai Hind, Major”, said the old spy.

He put on his golf cap, wrapped a muffler around his neck and walked away slowly, merging into the lazy Sunday crowd.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #ByWayOfDeception #adgpi

A MATTER OF HONOUR

Major AVD Pillay was a soldier’s soldier. His father had served in the army. And he expected his son, Divakaran, to be no less. His family had a cherished tradition of bearing arms, now for the Indian Army, and in centuries past, for the kingdom of Kerala. His family had shed blood for the motherland. The Pillays were Nairs, a fighting clan, and were expected to do no less.

In a school play, 12-year-old son Divakaran was given the part of a primeval Naga warrior. When young Pillay entered the stage, he did not look the part. A Naga going to war is a fearsome thing to behold. He roars like a lion. Major Pillay’s son squeaked. He neither looked Naga, nor Nair.

In a family tradition where young adolescent boys were expected to bear arms and fight the enemy, Major AVD Pillay’s son fell woefully short.

And so, young Divakaran was packed off to spend an entire night at a graveyard.

As we sit in his office in New Delhi, Col. Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay speaks about the fear and sheer trepidation of that night. The loneliness, the sounds, the howling wind, the haunting expectation of graves creaking open at night and corpses crawling out would have seen grown men run away in sheer terror.

“Gaurav, I almost died out of sheer fear that night. But I did not quit”, says Col. Pillay.

When Major Pillay came in the morning to take young Divakaran home, something had irrevocably changed in the boy. He stopped shuffling and he looked into people’s eyes when he spoke.

It was in 1994 that Manipur, and with it the rest of the North East, descended into violent chaos. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland, an extremist Naga outfit, controlled much of the regions bordering Manipur and Nagaland, collecting taxes and defying the Indian state. Efforts at peace had failed, with an increasingly belligerent and intransigent NSCN quickly increasing the levels of violence. They used a complex mix of perceived wrong, tribal loyalties and fear to keep the people in line.

India was forced to use its final argument. It sent the Indian Army to the North East to establish the writ of the state.

Capt. Divakaran Pillay had specific intelligence that insurgents were planning to blow up a bridge, to hamper the movement of security forces. His orders were clear – locate, engage and neutralize. For four days he led his platoon through sweltering jungle, a fruitless and frustrating search that yielded nothing.

On the morning of the fifth day, he had contact.

As the platoon approached a nondescript village called Longdipabram in the Tamenglong District, insurgents opened up with murderous fire. Capt. Pillay responded. The militants had the upper hand; they could fire where they wished, unmindful of collateral damage.

In counter insurgency, sometimes avoiding collateral damage and civilian casualties means taking a bullet to your chest. It’s a Catch 22 situation.

Capt. Pillay approached a hut in which the militants had found safe haven. As he kicked open the door, a three-round burst from an AK 47 caught him in the elbow and arm. Another single shot slammed into his chest. The militant’s AK jammed. He threw a grenade at Capt. Pillay. Weak with shock and loss of blood, Capt. Pillay kicked the grenade milliseconds before it exploded. The explosion took away a piece of flesh from his leg. Miraculously, the thick door had absorbed the shrapnel.

Another militant hit him on the shoulder and then on the spine. Both shoulder and spine were fractured. As Capt. Pillay lay bleeding, close to death, the encounter raged around him. Many militants were killed. In the cross fire, two children were seriously injured.

His platoon radioed for CASEVAC (Casualty Evacuation) by helicopter. The army responded quickly and the helicopter landed, to evacuate the wounded officer. Capt. Divakaran Pillay has always been different, sometimes a little stubborn to straightjacketed army men. He was known to speak his mind with brutal honesty.

When the pilot came forward to help him into the helicopter, Capt. Pillay did two things, which only those who knew him intimately could have expected.

One, he told the pilot that he still had some strength in him and could cling on to life a little longer and that the children should be evacuated in his place. Two, he ordered his men that if he died, they would carry out no reprisals. The village was under the protection of Capt. DPK Pillay of 8 Battalion, The Brigade of the Guards.

Before fainting from shock and loss of blood, Capt. Pillay heard wails of gratitude from the women and the old men of the village who rushed out and fell at his feet.

For this unique and heroic deed, Capt. Divakaran Pillay was conferred the Shaurya Chakra by a grateful nation.

In 2010, the local Brigade Commander, a friend of the now Colonel Pillay sent a patrol to find out about the village in which this famous encounter had taken place. It was through this army patrol that the villagers found out that their savior was still alive. They immediately requested for a reunion. So, Col. Pillay went to meet the villagers in that small village in Manipur.

He was accorded not just a hero’s welcome. He was welcomed like a village elder. Through his remarkable heroism and generosity, a Keralite had found family in Manipur. The little girl who was shot in the stomach and whose life he had saved by getting her airlifted, was now married and a mother of two. The young boy was a strapping young man.

During the reunion, Col. Pillay saw a familiar looking man in the crowd. That man was amongst the few who had attacked him, almost killing him on that fateful day. Col. Pillay called out to the man and hugged him. In that instant, all was forgiven. All was forgotten.

As the story of his visit to the village spread, the national media made Col. Pillay a celebrity. And, so true to his character, Col. Pillay used this fame to devastating effect. He was now in touch with ministers and senior bureaucrats. So, he used his influence with the Minister of State for Defence for a 23 km long black top road that would connect Longdipabram to District Headquarters at Tamenglong. The Border Roads Organization would construct this road. But Col. Pillay was not done yet. He realized that the road would fall into disrepair after a few years because the BRO did not have the mandate to maintain roads that were not on the border.

Col. Pillay went on a liaison overdrive and a charm offensive. He called and met the high and mighty of Lutyens Delhi. Everyone had heard stories of the young Captain who had courted certain death to save two innocent children. Many people shut doors to his face. But good things happen to good people. Or at least they happen to people who are both good and terribly stubborn.

On 7 October 2016 I received a phone call from Col. Pillay.

“Gaurav, Mr. Nitin Gadkari has approved a 100 km long National Highway, connecting Tamenglong to Peren in Nagaland. And Longdipabram will be a reference point in the NH,” he said excitedly.

70 years after independence, a non-descript village in some remote corner of the North East that no one had heard of suddenly found itself right on a National Highway.

I recently met Col. Pillay in his office again. His three sons were there, all school going fine young lads. Over Dunkin Donut burgers, they introduced themselves – Vikramaditya, Siddharth and Harshvardhan. They told me that their father teaches them Kalaripayattu, the ancient Kerala martial art.

Little Harshvardhan knows what to do in case terrorists attack his house. He knows what he can use as a weapon in case of an emergency.

They boys are shaping up just fine. They have an illustrious father to look up to; a father who understands what it is to wield power with kindness, and who understands that in forgiveness there is courage.

Capt. Divakaran Pillay was willing to die to save two children he did not even know. He forbade vengeance on non-combatants. He used his fame for helping people who were strangers. He embraced a man who tried to kill him. This is not just the story of Capt. Divakaran Pillay.

This is the story of the Indian Army.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #AMatterOfHonor #DPKPillay #adgpi

 

MALA FIDE INTENT

Our boys have just about returned from across the Line of Control after a very successful surgical strike. The entire nation is delirious with joy; the entire nation, except a few.

Today, I was part of a panel discussion in JNU, interestingly called “Intellectual Terrorism”. The term is self-explanatory, though wide ranging. I will discuss one type of intellectual terrorism here. The proponents of this type of terror are to found in every walk of life, but the roots of this disease are embedded in some institutions of higher learning. More of that some other time.
Karan Johar wants to know if asking Fawad Khan to go back to Pakistan will stop terror. Mahesh Bhatt joins the chorus by saying “stop terrorism, not talks” implying that we must continue to talk to Pakistan. The cricket board will continue to play matches with Pakistan. Certain business houses will continue to do business with Pakistan. All this, while our soldiers are dying on the border.
Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan? No, it most certainly will not. But there is an emotion called solidarity. You cannot make films, play cricket and do business as if everything is fine, because it is not. It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”
This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”
How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war, and he, like Mahesh Bhatt, should walk across the Line of Control and shake hands with a Pakistani soldier? Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?
A soldier will die before the thinks of such treason, but its certainly food for thought, isn’t it?
Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier. India is Mahesh Bhatt’s country, as much as it is the soldier’s.
The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.
For 70 years, Pakistan has been killing Indian citizens. Are we so inured to the pain of our fellow brethren that making a movie or playing a cricket match takes precedence over a soldier’s mourning home?
18 families have been shattered like glass. Not a word for them by our Bollywood royalty, mind you. But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems. A tweet in support of Pakistani artists is mandatory.
These directors and producers will have you believe that before Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang for Bollywood, there was no music of significance in the Hindi film industry. The cricket board is so busy making money that a widow’s silent sob and an orphan’s scream does not matter. What actually matters are day and night matches between India and Pakistan. The most keenly contested sporting event in history, they say; even better than the Ashes.
And the soldiers? Well, as far as they are concerned, they are on another planet, far removed from the glitzy Bollywood studios, and the teak paneled walls of the stately boardrooms of the BCCI. The blood, the mud, the screams and the exploding gunpowder are just distant and inconvenient, not very different from traffic during the Mumbai monsoons. Life must go on.
Its easy to ask for peace when you are a thousand miles away from the Line of Control, and your primary concerns are which party to attend this evening and where to get financing for your next film.

Peace is not a punch line. It is the end result of war.
There is a 10-year-old girl, Aditi, who under stands the nation and its ebbs and flows far better than Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. See her letter attached. Then see the poster made by Mahesh Bhatt, which he so proudly displays.
I leave it to you to decide who speaks for you. My vote goes to Aditi. This little angel has the spirit of a soldier.
The others have mala fide intent.
Jai Hind.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #adgpi

THE CODE

The safety, honor and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.

The honor, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.

Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.

 

– Field Marshall Sir Philip Chetwode

 

Chetwode’s immortal words are perhaps the most important thoughts that you are encouraged to imbibe on joining the IMA, OTA or NDA. Importantly, a disproportionately large number of officers live and die by this code. In 2016, the Indian Army lost 86 brave hearts in action. Out of these, 11 were officers. The aim is not to put a rank to a martyr, but to bring home the point that officers comprise less than 3% of the Indian Army. Yet, the rate of casualty is 11.5%. If this is not irrefutable evidence of officers taking the first bullet, nothing is.

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Bipin Rawat has spoken. As far as the Indian Army is concerned, the matter rests. Now, lets do a detailed dissection of the social media’s reaction to the jawan’s videos over the last week. For the past few days, videos of BSF, CRPF and Army jawans have occupied a lion’s share of Indian cyberspace. The nation has been divided into two.

To those who say that the jawans are absolutely right and they are oppressed, I have only one thing to say. You are wrong.

To those who say that the jawans are lying through their teeth and everything is hunky dory, I have only one thing to say. You too are wrong.

The truth is somewhere in between, and the truth is inconvenient.

First, allow me to put things in the correct legal perspective. BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF are not para-military forces. They are Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), also known as Central Police Organizations. Structurally and administratively, they have nothing to do with the Indian Army. In certain conditions and environments, they may function under-command the Indian Army.

The Indian Army is an Armed Force of the Union. The other armed forces of the union are the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. They functionally operate under the Defence Ministry.

CAPFs are under the operational control of the Union Home Ministry.

The ethos, training, function, administration, structure, capabilities, range of deliverables and equipment of the Armed Forces and the CAPFs are different and separate. This is not to say that the CAPF’s work is any less dangerous or worthy of praise. They are perhaps as important as the Armed Forces. But they are not the Armed Forces of the Union of India.

Now, lets discuss the first video, which went viral, in which the BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav had complained about the abysmal quality of food, and often the lack of it. I have operated with the BSF on the Punjab border (Asal Uttar and ahead) and lived on their BOPs (Border Out Posts). This was in 1995. In 1998, I spent time with a BSF battalion in Mendhar (Jammu & Kashmir). I found the quality of their rations to be better than ours. Maybe it was a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. I don’t know. But there were no complaints about food from my troops.

I am not saying that the BSF jawan was lying. I am clearly stating that the food served to him was an aberration, not the norm. And I am saying this because I have had food with BSF jawans in their langars more times than I remember.

To my mind, the food problem highlighted by the jawan in his video was a local issue and the problem was not the food but the leadership of the BSF battalion in question. If the food was bad due to negligence, officers must answer. And if the food was bad because condiments and fresh items did not arrive due to snow and landslides, officers must answer because in such a scenario they should have keep their troops informed.

Sometimes, even in the army, the food is bad. But in the Army the officers take minute care of such things and are overtly involved. When your officer is sitting next to you and eating the same food in an operational area, and as a jawan you know that your officer is doing his best to look after you, you will never complain. It’s really that simple.

Was the BSF jawan lying about corruption and officers selling food? Maybe not. Corruption is not new. It has happened before and if that is the case, I will not be surprised. But if the jawan could show burnt rotis and dal without garnishing, he could also have shown a copy of the complaints he had filed regarding food, which his superiors did not pay heed to. That would have made his argument more balanced.

Soldiers must get the best food that the country can afford. But sometimes, it is simply not possible in forward areas. Snow blocks roads and causes avalanches. Helicopters cannot land. Food is delayed. My jawans and I ate boiled rice with green chilies, salt and pickle for days at Shipki La on the Chinese border. It was 15,000 feet above sea level, it was minus 25 degrees and a wall of snow and ice had fallen on the tinned ration shed. There was no fresh food as the supply lines were choked. It happens. You shrug off such inconveniences and make the best of what you have.

A CRPF soldier went on social media saying that the CRPF does exactly the same job as the Indian Army and hence, should be given the same facilities. That CRPF soldier spoke a blatant falsehood. He told a lie and since most Indians don’t know the details of how the forces are structured, they swallowed this lie hook, line and sinker.

Yes, CRPF soldiers have been martyred in the line of duty. They do a job that is terribly difficult. But here is the blunt truth – they don’t do what the Indian Army does. And the Indian Army doesn’t do what the CRPF does. They are different.

Now let me tell you something that most of you don’t know. Lets discuss why the CAPFs are in such a terrible shape.

The BSF is the largest border guarding force in the world. It guards a part of the LoC and borders of Rajasthan, Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, West Bengal and the North East. The CRPF does the most amazingly complex, and sometimes haphazard, duties that any force in the world does. It is deployed everywhere. And it is deployed without a unified structure. A battalion consisting of about 1000 men, divided into companies, is rarely posted together. A Commandant, equivalent to a Colonel of the Indian Army, leads a battalion. One company could be in Andhra Pradesh and another in Srinagar for internal security duties. The third company could be in Manipur and the fourth in Rajasthan, providing security to a local election. This Commandant is like a compass that does not point North.

Also, when CRPF is deployed, it is under state police. Imagine a Commandant with 25 years of experience being asked to report to the SP of District who has 5-7 years of experience. Such orders shatter morale.

The BSF is a border guarding force. The CRPF is an internal security force. And the Director General of the force is not someone who has grown from within the force and knows its ebbs and flows, its ethos and its role. Their DG is always an IPS officer posted from some state cadre, who before this posting perhaps has not even seen a border. He, in all probability, has had no exposure in internal security. There are some exceptions, though, of IPS officers having spent considerable time in the CAPFs, but that is not the norm.

The Director General comes in because there is a vacancy. An expert in police work with possibly not a single day’s experience in internal security or border management suddenly heads a force that is neck deep in fighting Maoists or resisting Pakistan sponsored infiltration along the LoC. For him, there is no feeling of esprit de corps, no feeling of brotherhood that is so common amongst men who have seen combat together. Above all, there is no knowledge or exposure. The force suffers because their head ends up looking at his tenure in a CAPF, as rental accommodation. To his own mind, he is not the “owner” of the house. The “house” in question is always the state cadre. Loyalty will obviously lie where a person sees his roots to be.

Unless the CAPFs have their own cadre from which a young officer, through a rigorous and transparent system can aspire to rise and become Director General of the force, the dal will always be watery and the rotis will forever be burnt. I am not being needlessly flippant here. The issue is not the maltreatment of jawans or the food. The issue is leadership. In this lies the core of the problem that the BSF and CRPF jawan shared.

A uniformed force must run on systems and processes. And these systems and processes must be enforced. This is not done vigorously in CAPFs. There is a lot of discretion that is allowed to the Commandant. That is why in CAPFs, the units virtually run on ‘local orders’ of the Unit Commandant. For all practical purposes, the CO of a CAPF unit is the center of gravity of his command. The Commandant of a BSF or CRPF unit is the lord and master. What he says is law. Well, mostly anyway.

In the Indian Army, ‘local orders’ are extremely limited. Everything is defined in the Army Order, Army Instructions, Defence Services Regulations, Special Army Orders and Special Army Instructions. The Indian Army has a love affair with documentation. And if a rule is laid out in any Order or Regulation, even a General does not have the authority to violate it. That is why you could visit a Kumaon unit and then stay with the Gurkhas, and you will feel certain sameness. Traditions may be different but the outlook remains the same throughout.

The video of the Indian Army jawan condemning the buddy or “sahayak” system has selective merit. The buddy is an integral part of the officer, in war and peace. He carries the officer’s radio set and maps. He fights alongside him in war. He looks after his uniform and the officer himself.

There are bad apples in every basket, and the Indian Army is no different. But there is no other organization in the country that embodies honor, courage, sacrifice and service to the motherland like the army does. If some officers have misused their buddies, they must be held to account and punished. But doing away with the buddy system is akin to forbidding an entire country to drive just because one of its citizens crashed his car.

It is blatantly wrong for anyone wearing a uniform to use social media to air grievances. It demoralizes the force and it is an attack on the foundation of discipline. Every force has an in-built grievance redressal system. The system rarely fails, but in the rare event that it does, and one feels morally compelled to escalate to the political leadership (though I strongly disagree with this course), a letter or an email to the PM is perhaps the better way, than a very public washing of your force’s dirty linen. Individuals can be wrong, but the force itself is inviolate.

A local problem of one BSF unit, largely unverified, has become a matter of international ridicule. The mainstream media and the social media are equally to blame. Without an iota of background information, sides were taken and an open media trial conducted. Within hours, heavy words like “compromising the security of the nation” were bandied about.

Any officer of any uniformed force must be held accountable to the highest standards of integrity. The slightest breach deserves harsh punishment. It is criminal to abuse authority and ill treat troops. On this there can be no debate.

The day is not far when a uniformed personnel will inadvertently shoot a video, without malice and in all innocence, of a patrol or an ambush, a raid or a convoy. And then people will die. The enemy never sleeps.

Acceptance of politics and social media in any uniformed force is akin to pressing the self-destruct button. Discipline will be the first casualty. And without discipline, a force is nothing.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #adgpi #TheCode

 

THE EDGE OF THE SWORD

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

For seven decades, there has been a systematic and institutionalized humiliation of the armed forces of India. It started with Nehru and the then ruling elite wondering why we needed an armed force, to begin with. The police was all that was needed to maintain law and order, they argued. After all, hadn’t our forefathers conceived of the unique concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”? Yes, the world would live like one happy family, mutual respect firmly ensconced in the deepest recesses of everyone’s heart, and everyone’s moral compass pointing north.

The Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in 1947 and the subsequent wars in 1962 and 1965 did nothing to convince our benighted rulers that we lived in an extremely dangerous neighborhood. And that if we were to survive as a nation, we needed a well-equipped and motivated army.

In 1971 we defeated Pakistan and there were two factors responsible, the Indian Army and geography. General Sam Manekshaw was a great general and he attacked when he thought it was prudent to do so. He waited out the monsoons and made preparations. When he attacked, the Army, Navy and Air Force played havoc with Pakistan in perfect symphony. The London Philharmonic Orchestra would have been proud. Geography was the villain for Pakistan. East Pakistan was just too far and geographically disconnected. It could not be supplied easily. India cut off lines of communications and supply. Pakistan was a headless chicken in less than two weeks.

In 1999, Pakistan broke trust and attacked us in Kargil. We were unprepared in more ways than one. We had no intelligence of the impending attack. We should have asked ourselves why Pakistan was suddenly buying massive quantities of high-altitude clothing from Switzerland. We must also ask ourselves today why we chose to trust Pakistan. After 1971, every winter both the Indian and Pakistani armies would vacate their respective bunkers and climb down, only to come up again in summer. In the winter of 1998, some Pakistani soldiers moved down. Just some. And while Vajpayee was embracing Nawaz Sharif at Lahore, the Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistan Army, led by high-altitude warfare specialists of the Special Services Group were slowly making their way up to Dras, Kaksar and Mushkoh. Names like Tiger Hill, Batalik and Point 5060 became part of Indian folklore.

But we should have known. It is unforgivable not to know. War is dirty business. Information is life, and death.

India did not realize that it had lost 527 brave hearts. They fought with rifles that jammed in the extreme cold, lack of high-altitude equipment and basic facilities that any modern army takes for granted.

Its young officers and jawans have saved India’s honor many a time. It is the young Captain who will put his foot in a minefield. It is the young major who will kick down that door knowing fully well that there are terrorists waiting for him on the other side of the door. Jawans will risk their lives to accomplish missions that seem impossible on paper. They will charge headlong into machine gun fire, knowing well that their chances of survival are next to zero.

For too long the Indian Army has depended on the blood and guts of its very young. This must change. We are fighting modern wars now and we must realize that “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is an excellent poem. That’s all.

We are trained to kill the enemy. Ek Goli Ek Dushman. Across Indian Army firing ranges, you will see this written on walls and on metal. Shoot to kill, without mercy and without remorse. This is drummed into every officer and jawan, again and again.

It is the infantryman who wins wars. This truth cannot be contested. After the attack heptors have gone back to their bases, the tank engines are silent and the big artillery guns have stopped booming, it is the infantryman who wades ankle deep in blood. When he thrusts his bayonet into the stomach of the enemy, he is looking at him in the eye. For him, war is up close and personal.

It is this infantryman who has no bulletproof jacket, works with sub-standard equipment, wears a helmet that affords minimum protection and uses a rifle, of which the lesser said the better. Our NVDs (Night Vision Devices) are 2nd generation. Our ammunition/ equipment reserves (War Wastage Reserves) should ideally cater for 40 days of intense war. Currently, we are at about 20 day’s reserves, maybe less.

As I write these lines, I understand that there is frantic movement to make up for shortages. The Government is cranking up the machine and factories have been told to make up for lost time. And they will. But Indians must know that the last few decades have been terrible on our defence preparedness.

Artillery is an extremely important and vital arm of the army. Without it, infantry almost stands decimated. India gave the order for 145 artillery guns just last year. For over 30 years, we had not inducted artillery. While 145 new guns are a big shot in the arm, can you imagine the criminal neglect that had been going on for the past 30 years? There are hundreds of such cases that require immediate attention.

I would have understood if India did not have the money. But not having had the intent is unfathomable and unforgivable.

What we need is possibly a smaller army, but highly advanced technologically. Numbers don’t count for much in modern wars, but technology does. We need broad-based satellite interface. We need modern equipment. We need a more mobile army to fight wars of the future. These things cost money, I know. And they will happen over a period of time.

There are emergency purchases underway. There is certain urgency in the air, to fill in the vacuum, and our ports and airfields are receiving critical material as fast as we can write cheques. We are also building indigenous capability rapidly. While this can stave off the immediate threat, we need a long-term vision for material and weapons technology procurement. When a nation that puts a satellite into the Mars orbit cant make a decent assault rifle, it points towards a dangerous malaise of mala fide intent, not capability. We simply don’t have the attitude of a warrior nation.

What we can do immediately is appoint a Chief of Defence Staff, a five star ranking general officer to whom all the three Chiefs (Army, Navy and Air Force) will report. Let the CDS advise the Prime Minister on all matters military. There will be dissonance within the services regarding this, and that’s all right. We win wars when the Army, Navy and Air Force fight together. The office of the CDS must have teeth. It cannot be a ceremonial appointment.

Another improvement could also be to actually have defence people in the Defence Ministry. If you have a senior IAS officer who joins as Defence Secretary, who till a week back was Secretary Tourism, and before that Secretary Animal Husbandry, India has a serious problem on its hands. Speak to army officers and they will tell you horror stories as to how the redoubtable babu has the power, intent and capability to stop files and delay critical procurement. The Defence Ministry is virtually run by faceless bureaucrats and their whims.

We must realize that our real long-term enemy is China, the smiling China that is ever so polite and proper, and blocks our efforts to declare Masood Azhar a terrorist. That same China that stands between India and the NSG membership. China will never fight us directly, but it has the capability to cause us tremendous pain. It will continue to increase bilateral trade with us. For fighting, it has Pakistan, a country that is always available to the highest bidder. For Pakistan, it was the Americans earlier. It is the Chinese today.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently released a study in which they stated that by 2048, the Baloch would be in a minority in Balochistan. The majority population would be Chinese. And today they are teaching Mandarin to children of Class 6, in Sindh. Pakistan is already a Chinese colony. It’s just that they don’t know it yet.

CPEC is not just about trade. China is using CPEC to expand its geographical frontiers. And Pakistan, blinded by greed and savage ambition to somehow appear to be equal to India, does not see what is so obvious to the rest of the world. China is nothing but the East India Company on steroids.

We have always had China to the East and Pakistan to the West. In the next 20 years, we will have China to the East and China to the West. The encirclement of India will be complete. This is the underlying logic of the two-front war. And if it not, it should be.

War will come to our doorstep, if not today than in a decade. But it will come. It will be multi-pronged and lightening fast. That is what the Chinese have been learning for 2500 years. We Indians may have forgotten Chanakya, but the Chinese remember Sun Tzu.

Wars are fought in the mind much before they are fought on the battlefield.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #adgpi #IndianArmy #ArtOfWar

 

 

 

 

THE GREEN CRESCENT

When did it exactly start? No one knows. But it can be said with a degree of certainty that in the early nineties when the Pakistanis decided that JKLF or Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a “pro-azaadi” terror outfit in Kashmir, should cease to exist, it was the beginning of Islamic Jihad in the Kashmir valley.

JKLF wanted Jammu & Kashmir to be ‘free’ from India. Pakistan applauded it. But JKLF also wanted Jammu & Kashmir to be free from Pakistan. Suddenly, JKLF leaders started getting killed.

Look at the names of the terror outfits operating in Kashmir today. You have Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al-Badr, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Hizb-ul Mujahedeen, Harkat-ul Jehad al Islami and many others. Do you see a single name with Kashmir in it? These are all Arabic names. And all along Pakistan has maintained that Kashmir “freedom movement” is an “indigenous” struggle for freedom from Indian “oppression”.

Islam does not recognize nation states. The overriding belief is that of the “Ummah”, the global Islamic brotherhood, that all Muslims irrespective of the country they inhabit, are brothers bound by a common faith. The nation is incidental. Faith is supreme.

From the Pakistani perspective, ‘azaadi’ for Kashmir would be the legitimate cover. That would help lend credibility in the eyes of the west. But the soul, deep inside, would always be violent Islamic Jihad.

When a Pakistani head of state goes to the United Nations, the speech is always about the ‘freedom struggle’ in Kashmir. Recently, Burhan Wani has been dragged out of his grave to bear witness to India’s blatant violation of all things fundamentally human. But go on the streets of Srinagar and you see something very different. During violent stage-managed protests, there are no Kashmiri flags being waved. Incidentally, Kashmir is the only Indian state with its own flag, constitution and penal code. It has more ‘azaadi’ than all the other Indian states combined. What you see is a sea of ISIS flags with a black background and Quranic inscriptions. And, you see the flags of the chief sponsor, Pakistan.

Where is the Kashmiri flag?

The truth is that the first Kashmiri who waves the Kashmiri flag will be floating in the Jhelum, face down. That is what happened to the JKLF.

Increasingly, what you hear from the loudspeakers in mosques after Friday prayers is a script, which is more Arabic in spirit, than Kashmiri. The sermons discuss what is happening in Syria, Palestine, Myanmar and Yemen. There is an incessant one-way flow of disinformation, which thrives on those two factors so popular in the world of political Islam – victimhood and conspiracy.

Tarek Fateh and I were panelists on a discussion at a TV studio and the show went on air, the voice in the background informing viewers about how a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Bahadur Ali had been charge sheeted by the NIA. The terrorist’s confessional statement was played. For a few seconds, Bahadur Ali’s face was still, and then he started speaking. The terrorist, who had come into Kashmir to “kill as many Hindus as I could”, started confessing in chaste Punjabi, the lingua franca of much of Pakistan.

Almost all infiltrating terrorists caught by security forces in Kashmir speak mostly Punjabi. Some speak Pashto. A terrorist speaking in Kashmiri is yet to be our guest.

We have killed Sudanese, Lebanese and Afghan terrorists in Kashmir. This is a multi-national Islamic terror franchise.

These terrorists have scant knowledge of the Kashmir ‘dispute’ or the local ebbs and flows. This is important because what else could be the motivation of a young man who hails from rural Pakistan, to infiltrate into India? He enters India with the certain knowledge that he will come face to face with the Indian Army, and the encounter will be entirely brief and one-sided.

These young men trained and equipped by Lashkar and Jaish, come not to ‘free’ Kashmir. They come to die for the supposed glory of Islam. This is amongst the two large-scale scams perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, the other being real estate.

Pakistan knows that if the Kashmir issue becomes pan-Islamic, it will automatically be internationalized. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), that sub-optimal and geriatric body of 57 Muslim states, most of them tin pot dictatorships and sundry kingdoms, will need little persuasion to raise the Kashmir bogey at every turn of the road. They cannot give freedom and democracy to their own people. The least they can do is give opium. And what better opium than religion? Karl Marx was right.

When was the last time you heard a Kashmiri politician on TV discussing anything else apart from the “Kashmir issue”? When was the last time roads, education, health and electricity were important to the Kashmiri politician?

Kashmir will continue to burn because the local leaders and their sponsors in Pakistan want it to burn. A burning Kashmir means money, fame and instant celebrity hood. It is a cash cow. If a burning Kashmir means personal profit, the last thing they would want is Kashmir to be peaceful. I know it’s cruel. But it’s also logical.

Kashmir ticks all the boxes – money, religion, fame and leadership. Peace? Who wants peace in a state where blood is profit?

Winters in India always bring the sad news of people dying in ‘cold waves’ in UP, MP and Rajasthan. But no one dies of a cold wave in Jammu & Kashmir, the coldest state in India. Farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra because of their inability to pay back loans and famine. But in spite of frequent “shutter-downs” and ‘hartals’ in Kashmir, almost a weekly feature when business is totally shut down, no one commits suicide.

Where is all this money coming from? It is not just simply our central government giving funds to Kashmir. The central government gives funds to every state.

Today, there are more men with skullcaps in Kashmir, than ever before. Girls riding scooters have been threatened with acid attacks. Say “Khuda Hafiz” in downtown Srinagar, and you stand to be ticked off. The correct greeting, we are told, is “Allah Hafiz”. Khuda is secular. Allah is the God of the Ummah.

Fading memory takes me back to Lucknow, where as a child I met an old Muslim man who said to me “Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alamin”. All praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Allah is the “rabb” of all the worlds. He is not “rabbil’ Muslimin”, or “rabb” of the Muslims alone.

The word Allah predates Islam. Before Islam was revealed, the pagans who inhabited Mecca worshipped Allah. The word “Allah” was carried forward after Archangel Gabriel revealed the Quran to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The word Allah itself is not a Muslim word. It is a secular word, which simply means God in Arabic. It was co-opted by the Muslim clergy later to mean God of the Muslims alone. It was co-opted by force.

They are now doing the same with Kashmir.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #Kashmir #adgpi