The world has been witness to two great wars in the last century, which together lasted for 10 years. Even today the threat of war has not receded. And as long as there are wars, there will be soldiers to fight them. In the ultimate analysis, it is the soldier and those who lead him who decide the fate of peoples and of nations.
The Indian Army, though over 250 years old began to be led by Indians only 50 years ago. Today, because of the growing distance between the soldier and the common man, there is lack of awareness in the general public about military leaders and their contribution towards maintaining the country'sintegrity, not only in times of war but even during times of peace.
The book is a compilation of biographies of 12 Generals including Cariappa, Thimayya and Bhagat as also of Thorat and Sinha. The book contains many interesting episodes from the lives of these Generals and since all cannot be narrated, a few are cited below to show what interesting personalities these Army Generals were.
The country'sfirst Commander-in-Chief was K.M. Cariappa who is considered the epitome of military leadership by most Indians. Kipper, as he was affectionately called, was a pucca sahib, even more so than the British themselves. Born in Madikeri (Mercara) in 1900, he was first posted to Waziristan to keep the Pathan tribesmen under control. While leading a convoy of 20 lorries, he was ambushed but he succeeded in driving them away.
He had some unpleasant brushes with Pt Nehru. Having foreseen the Chinese threat, he wanted to defend the border more effectively but Nehru told him to worry about Pakistan and Kashmir and as far as NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh of today) was concerned ?the Chinese would defend our frontiers.? Cariappa was terribly hurt but how right he had proved.
Once his inadequate knowledge of Hindi made people call him the ?Brown Sahib?. It so happened that soon after Independence, he addressed his troops, ?Is waqt aap muft, hum muft, mulk muft, sab kuchh muft hai?(by muft he had meant free or liberty).
There are many such very enlightening episodes and very little known anecdotes from the lives of our army men, presenting a true picture of the strength of character and convictions of each of these leaders. Based on almost 10 years of research, this absorbing book will be of immense interest to students of military history, strategic studies and defence personnel.
(Sage Publications, B1/1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110044.)