Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Rufous Treepie - a Noisy Visitor

Noisy fella...
Feb 20, 2012:  I was indoors when the racket created by
this Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) drew me out ...
 It was checking this dry stick on the temple tree (frangipani) for insects...
 After that it went and drank water from a drum kept nearby
and I managed to record a video of that...

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lt Gen J F R Jacob’s Gentleman Cadet days at OTS Mhow.

Lt Gen J F R Jacob’s Gentleman Cadet days at OTS Mhow.

 Lt Gen AAK Niazi of Pakistan signing the instrument of surrender. Next to him is Lt Gen J S Aurora the GOC-in-C of India's Eastern Command. Lt Gen JFR Jacob (then a Major General and Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command) is standing behind Lt Gen Niazi. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 India License
Author Indian Navy

Army Day celebrations on 15 Jan were tinged with  sadness this year as  the nation had  lost the highly respected and loved Lt Gen JFR Jacob (Retd) on Jan 13. Jacob  was  one of the architects of the resounding victory over Pakistan  in the Eastern sector which led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. 
Jacob Farj Rafael Jacob was born in Calcutta in 1923 in a Baghdadi Jewish family. After completing his schooling he decided to join the British Indian Army as he was traumatised by the cruel treatment meted out to Jews in Europe by Hitler and the Nazis.

Not many know that Jacob joined  Officers’ Training School (OTS) Mhow for his cadet  training and he was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery though he wanted to join the infantry. OTS Mhow was one of many  training schools set up in India during World War II for churning out officers for the war machine. One of Jacob’s  batchmates at OTS Mhow was T N Raina who later became the Chief of Army Staff.  In his memoirs An Odyssey in War and Peace (Roli Books, 2011, Rs 350) Jacob briefly describes his short stay at Mhow. He praises the terrain around Mhow for being appropriate for military training. He mentions that though the training schedule was tough and demanding the gentlemen cadets were treated as officers in their off hours and were provided comfortable accommodation and even personal servants – a luxury for cadets!

Jacob’s description of how he ended up in the artillery is hilarious. He had done well during cadet training and was confident of being commissioned in the infantry – his first choice. But he was called to the company office and told that he had volunteered for the artillery.  He then proceeded to Deolali, against his wishes, for his pre-commission training for the artillery. He describes the quality of cadet life in Deolali to be much inferior to that in Mhow. Four cadets had to share a tent and they had no electricity. Even off hours were devoted to training activities. Of the  28 cadets in his course only 21 could complete the course. They were commissioned as Second Lieutenants without any fanfare or a  passing out parade on 7 June, 1942.  Thus began a glorious career which culminated in his retiring as GOC-in-C Eastern Command in 1978.

The Wikipedia page on General Jacob. Click here
An Israeli journalist pays tribute to General Jacob. Click hereRediff dot com's chat with General Jacob in 2006. Click here
Who was Lt Gen JFR Jacob (India Today) Click here.

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Of Bapu And Books....

Oct 2, 2015
Gandhi Jayanti

Of Bapu and Books
In 1981 when Richard Attenborough's epic film Gandhi was still in the making I purchased Vol I of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer (published by Bharat Vidya Bhawan) from GMC Bookshop near the GPO Indore for Rs 2.50. The train ticket both ways cost Rs 1.70. The three wheel tempo ride from the Indore Railway Station to GPO cost 50 paise.
I walked back to the Indore Railway Station from the GMC Bookshop with Rs 1.15 in my pocket. I needed 85 paise to get back to Mhow so taking a tempo ride was out of the question. The total expenditure that day came to  Rs 4.70. I had set out with Rs 5 in my pocket. I had thirty paise in my pocket when I reached Mhow. The cycle stand at Mhow Railway Station charged me 10 paise for having kept my cycle safely for some hours. I had twenty paise with me when I reached home.
The next day I took Rs 3 from my mother and cycled to Indore and bought the 2nd volume of the same book which I had hidden behind some books the previous day. I headed back home with fifty paise in my pocket. I stopped at Choithram Chauraha and bought two oranges for the fifty paise I had with me.
Cycling back to Mhow with an empty pocket and a prayer that  one of my cycle wheels does not get  punctured was indeed difficult. But I reached home safely. Those two volumes of Fischer's biography of Gandhi are still with me.
What a day that was and what beautiful memories I have of those two days !!!!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Looking Up...

15 Oct 2013: "Woh dekho upar kya hai?" Indian Roller looking up... From my archives

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A Mumbaikar's Blogpost on the Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section of Mhow

My friend Anuradha Shankar of Mumbai who is a well known travel writer writes on her experience of travelling on the Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section. The journey was undertaken on 27 June. I and my photographer friend Raj Kumar Saini were with her.

One of the four tunnels on this route. From my archives. Clicked in April 2012

It was indeed nice to actually meet a friend after so many years of 'virtual' friendship. Or may I call it e-friendship?

With Anuradha at Patalpani. Thanks to Raj Kumar Saini for clicking this lovely pic.

        Click on the link below to read Anuradha's blogpost

        Taking the train to a journey back in time

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Pipes and Drums Band of 4/1 Gorkha Rifles Mesmerises Indore on I Day

Independence Day, 15 August 2015

Location: Regal Square Indore.

It was a solemn moment when Mrs Tripta Thapar  mother of Kargil martyr Captain Vijayant Thapar (Vir Chakra) unfurled the national flag at the above venue as part of the  69th Independence Day celebrations. This function was being conducted by 'Apna Samooh,'  a local NGO.  The presence of an Indian Army band in sparkling white uniform was noticed by all even before the function commenced.  This was the 'Pipes and Drums'  band of the 4th battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles also known as 4/1 GR and nicknamed 'Fore One.' 

The audience comprising of students, NCC cadets, ex-Servicemen and local gentry,  was  treated to the tunes of many national and martial songs. The smartly turned out Gorkha soldiers impressed one and all by playing the national anthem, the popular patriotic song 'Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara' and many more patriotic and martial tunes. The fifteen strong band is led by  band major Havaldar Chandra Bahadur Gurung. It comprises of nine pipers, three buglers cum side drummers also called snare drummers, two tenor drummers and one bass drummer.

In a Pipes and Drums band the entire drum section is known as the drum corps. The tenor drummers and bass drummer are known as the 'bass section.'

All regiments and infantry battalions of the Indian Army have their own bands. The ‘Pipes and Drums’ or ‘Brass Bands’ are the official bands. Many battalions and regiments also have a jazz band which plays light music on social occasions.

Bandsmen in  the Indian Army bands are soldiers first and they have other responsibilities too,  in battle they also play the role of medical assistants and help in treatment and evacuation of casualties. All Indian Army bands are trained at the Military School of Music in the picturesque hill station cantonment town of Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh. This school is part of the 
Army Education Corps (AEC) Training College and Centre, Pachmarhi. The 4/1 GR Pipes and Drums has the distinction of having played at Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, New Delhi.   

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

68th Raising Day of MCTE Mhow...

Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) Mhow was born on Oct 1, 1946 as the Indian Signal Corps School. It was renamed the School of Signals on June 25, 1948. On Oct 1, 1967 it became the  Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE). The college is the alma mater of the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army. 

A Pagal Gymkhana (fun n games) was held on Sunday 28 Sep at the Raman Training Ground of the during the  to celebrate the 68th Raising Day of the college 

"Aayo Gorkhali..." Khukri dance by soldiers of the 1st Gorkha Rifles 

Pics courtesy: MCTE  Mhow. 

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Roopmati's Pavilion at Mandu

From my archives: A young couple at Roopmati's Pavilion. Mandu August 2007,
Clicked with my Yashica MF-2 film camera...

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section

The Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section - a very beautiful stretch as one travels south from Mhow/Indore towards Khandwa. There are four tunnels in this route. These tracks were laid here in the 1870s as part of the Holkar State Railway. Clicked in April 2012.

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