Friday, March 02, 2018

Ace Shooter Jitu Rai Gets Ready For The Commonwealth Games

According to an article by Sabi Hussain in the Times of India dated Feb 28, 2018 Jitu Rai is using meditation, swimming and yoga to stay mentally and physically fit. "I am practising at the Army Marksman Unit in Mhow and not at the national camp. The target is to win medals at the CWG, Asian Games and ISSF World Championships in South Korea. I am leaving for Mexico to compete at the first World Cup of the season in Guadalajara in March. There are no injury concerns and I am confident of delivering results,” said Jitu.     More here

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

200 years of Mhow: The Battle of Mahidpur and the Treaty of Mandsaur

Dec 21 2017 was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mahidpur (Third Anglo Maratha War) in which the Holkar Army led by their young king Malhar Rao Holkar II lost to the East India Company Army led by Sir Thomas Hislop and Major General John Malcolm.

On 6 January 1818 the Treaty of Mandsaur was signed by Sir John Malcolm on behalf of the East India Company and Minister Tatya Jog on behalf of the ruler Malhar Rao Holkar II. Article 7 of this treaty led to the creation of Mhow Cantonment. This is how it reads: Article 7. In consideration of the cessions made by this Treaty, the British Government binds itself to support a field force to maintain the internal tranquility of the territories of Mulhar Rao Holkar and to defend them from foreign enemies; this force shall be of such strength as shall be judged adequate to the object. It shall be stationed where the British Government determines to be best, and (In; Maharajah Mulhar Rao Holkar agrees to grant some place of security as a depot for its stores. (Source: 

This is how the Wikipedia entry on the same battle reads:

The Battle of Mahidpur was fought during the Third Anglo-Maratha Warbetween the Holkar faction of the Maratha Confederacy and the British East India Company at Mahidpur, a town in the Malwa region, on 21 December 1817.
On 21 December 1817, the British, led by Sir Thomas Hislop, attacked the Holkar army led by 11-year-old Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar II, 22-year-old Hari Rao Holkar and 20-year-old Bhima Bai Holkar. The Holkar artillery, led by Roshan Beg, attacked them with a long line of 63 cannons. At one point, the British were on the verge of losing the battle. However, they were helped by Gafur Khan, a traitor in the Holkar's camp. Khan deserted the battlefield with the force under his command. After this, the Holkars were decisively defeated.[1]
Malhar Rao II, Tatya Jog and others escaped to Alot.[1] A peace treaty was signed on 6 January 1818 at Mandsaur. Holkars accepted all the terms laid down by Britishers in the Treaty of Mandsaur. At the conclusion of this Third Anglo-Maratha War, the Holkars lost much of their territory to the British and were incorporated into the British Raj as a princely state of the Central India Agency.
This battle led to the final destruction of Maratha power. Baji Rao II, who was trying to consolidate Marathas, finally surrendered in June 1818. British abolished the position of Peshwa, and Marathas were limited to the small kingdom of Satarauntil its annexation to Bombay state in 1848.

A metre gauge train journey which cannot be done any more...

The metre gauge line is functioning between Mhow and Sanawad. A small part of the long journeys it used to traverse till some years ago. On Aug 15 2016 a small group of train enthusiasts took a train journey on this route from Akola to Mhow. Though this was not so long ago it was from a different era if one were to look at it in a 'rail' sense. The railway station still had the old name 'Mhow.'
Soon only memories will remain.

Here is the link and the description as given by Pawan Koppa

On Independence day 2016, we undertook one final journey on the Akola - Mhow Passenger powered by Mhow's YDM-4 #6719. The line was going to be truncated soon to a small portion which remains today : Mhow - Sanawad. My last trip on this line was in 2010 between Akola and Indore. I was raring to do it again and I got one last chance to do it along with Jayasankar Madhavadas, Aditya S Nivarthi and Rajeev Nair. It was one unforgettable journey which will be remembered by us always - from the rustic rural greens to the lovely samosas at Akot, the Dhulghat Spiral, the banker attachement at Kalakund and climbing up the ghats between Kalakund and Patalpani - this was one unforgettable trip! Presenting you a small snapshot of the MG journey omboard the 52974 Akola - Mhow Passenger

Click here to see the video

And for lovers of the Kalakund to Patalpani ghat section there's quite a lot of stuff here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nature Note from Mhow: From a nestling to a flying bird.

Wednesday April 26, 2017.

When I left home at half past ten this morning the Purple Sunbird nest in our verandah had one young nestling in it. I had observed that the young one had been getting more active with each passing moment. I had got a bit scared yesterday when I saw it trying to come out of the nest and spreading its wings.  I had heaved a sigh of relief when it had gone back inside. But I was happy that its 'graduation day' was approaching and it would be soon leaving the safe confines of its nest.

Earlier this morning I had seen it being fed by one of its parents. When I returned home at half past two I saw that the nest was empty. I was flooded by thoughts.  Had the young one flown away or had it fallen from its nest and/or been killed and eaten by a predator? Should I feel sad or happy? I went inside and kept my bag on the table. But my mind was tense, I was consumed by worry.

A moment before I saw the empty nest I had seen the male parent on a tree in our garden not far from the verandah. I came out into the verandah and saw the female parent on the same tree chirping loudly. I asked myself if she was chirping because she was mourning.  Then I heard the chirping of another bird and saw another Purple Sunbird with a distinctively yellow breast.  When I looked carefully I was delighted to see that it was the young one whom I had always seen in the nest.

Seeing the young one on the tree was a wonderful sight. I rushed in and brought my camera and clicked a pic of the young one.  The memory card became full so I had to go through a series of deleting and clicking before I managed to get around half a dozen pictures of the young one before it flew away.

Before the young sunbird flew away my mother had also come out to see it. She could spot it when I pointed it out to her. She also observed its yellow chest. I had told her that young birds look different from the adults of the same species.

This is a nest which was re-used by the parents. More than a week ago I had seen that the nest was on the verge of falling. I had feared for the safety of the two eggs in it so I had used a piece of cardboard and scotch tape to build a scaffold attached to the wall for the nest to rest. It needed attention as it was hanging by just a few strands of grass. I am glad that this platform was successful in keeping the nest and the two eggs inside it safe. And the egg which hatched has now become a flying bird. I think I deserve to feel happy and celebrate.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tuck's Post Cards: More than 100 year old images of Mhow

"Tuck's Post Card": A Chance Discovery on the Internet of Some Delightful Picture Post Cards on Mhow

These 'Tuck's Post Cards' I discovered accidentally while performing a google search are more than 100 year old (the date I got was 23 Sept 1916).  
This is what is inscribed on the reverse of the cards (italics mine):

 Raphael Tuck & Sons' "Art Sepia" Post Cards
 Art Publishers to Their Majesties The King and Queen
 Kamroodin Mohamedally, Mhow, C India
 Printed in England

Note: To the best of my knowledge these are public domain images as they are more than a 100 years old and were used as post cards the public could buy. If you think otherwise and have information that can prove that these images are under a copyright please send me an email at or post a comment here with the relevant details.

"Cantonment Gardens, Mhow"

"Infantry Barracks Facing One Tree Hill, Mhow"

"The Best Shop, Regimental Bazaar Mhow"

"Artillery Barracks, Mhow"
"Church of England, Mhow"

"Near Kalakund and Mhow"

"Post Office Road, Mhow"

"Regimental Bazaar, Mhow"

"Section Hospital, Mhow"

"Viaduct Near Kalakund and Mhow (130 feet high)

"Roman Catholic Church, Mhow"

"The Railway Station, Mhow"

"Patalpani Falls Near Mhow"

The reverse of one of the cards. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Nature Note From Mhow: A Noisy Visitor... The Rufous Treepie

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...

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.

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 !!!!