Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw


Last Post Sounds for a Great Soldier

FORMER Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw died at the military hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu on Friday. The 94- year- old was suffering from acute bronchopneumonia. In arare gesture, the government decided to accord Manekshaw astate funeral, complete with a21- gun salute (right).

Though defence minister A. K. Antony condoled the death, he didn’t attend the funeral. Instead, minister of state for defence M. M. Pallam Raju attended the last rites of the officer who scripted India’s 1971 military victory over Pakistan. When asked about Antony’s absence, ministry officials hinted at the paucity of space which would have made it difficult to accommodate the minister and his entourage.

The three service chiefs, who are all four- star officers and junior to the late field marshal, also chose to stay away from the funeral ceremony which was held at Coonoor Tamil Nadu.

They sent their representatives. President Pratibha Patil, the supreme commander of the armed forces, is on an Indore tour and sent her condolence message.

Calling him one of India’s greatest soldiers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Manekshaw has inspired several generations of Indian soldiers over the past half acentury. am sure his legacy will continue live with us for years to come,” Singh said. Former Navy chief, Admiral (rtd) Arun Prakash told MAIL TODAY :“Field marshals don’t retire, the rank is given for life.

The nation honoured him for his military achievements when he was alive, so he also deserves the highest honour after death.” Asenior officer said, “The state funeral should’ve been held in the Capital and all dignitaries should have been there.” Manekshaw was buried beside the grave of his wife Siloo Bode in Udhagamandalam as per his wish.

The funeral of India’s most decorated soldier was aprivate affair with only close relatives and members of the Parsi community in attendance. Though there is aParsi tradition of keeping the body in the open and allowing vultures to feed on it, Manekshaw’s body was buried. Amass was held in the graveyard where family members paid floral tributes to the departed soul. The rites lasted about an hour.

Hundreds of people atop buildings and trees adjacent to the graveyard watched the last rites. Security was tight in and around the graveyard with police and army officials controlling the public and the traffic.

Earlier, the body was brought to the graveyard in an open flower- bedecked military truck from Wellington. Manekshaw, who became ahousehold name after the 1971 victory led the creation of Bangladesh, had been hospitalised at the Wellington Military Hospital for some time due aprogressive lung disease.

His condition had become serious in the past few days and he was being treated in the intensive care unit.
suman. sharma@ mailtoday. in

GOI: An Ungrateful Government


If you have to die, do so around Delhi or Mumbai

Krishna Prasad

The passing away of the only Indian to be appointed Field Marshal when in active service has been remarkable for the warmth of the ordinary men and women, who queued up to say meebeenamet to the adorable dikra who put his life on the line for them.

It has also been remarkable for the complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold-faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India’s only decisive military victory.

Sam, the Bahadur, had been unwell for a while now. From about 1000 hours on June 26, reports of his being “critically ill” had appeared in the media. Yet, when the “expected tocsin” sounded at 0030 hours till the guns were fired in salute around 1500 hours on June 27, “civil society” chose to show its incivility.

  • Pratibha Patil , the commander-in- chief of the armed forces with all the time in the world: Absent
  • Hamid Ansari: Vice-president releasing books and writing reviews of books by fellow-travellers: Absent
  • Manmohan Singh , the prime minister who could do with a bit of the field marshal’s charisma and heroism: Absent
  • Sonia Gandhi : daughter-in- law of the woman the field marshal called “sweetie”: Absent
  • L K Advani: prime minister in waiting of the party which would like to do to Pakistan what Manekshaw did: Absent
  • M Karunanidhi and Surjit Singh Barnala: chief minister and governor of the state which Manekshaw had made his home for 35 years: Absent

Politicians may have their reasons. They always do. Maybe, there are issues like protocol. Maybe, this is one way in which ‘civil India’ shows the armed forces its place. Maybe, this is why we are not as militaristic as Pakistan. Maybe, the knees are just too old to climb the hills.

But what about the armed forces itself?

  • A K Antony: the defence minister ‘now behaving like the chairman of the confederation of the armed forces’ trade unions: absent ‘due to prior political engagements’.
  • The chief of army staff: absent (away in Russia )
  • The chief of navy staff: absent
  • The chief of air staff: absent

The fact that the defence minister was represented by his deputy Pallam Raju, the fact that the navy and air staff sent two-star general rank officers, shows that however high or mighty, however rich or powerful, civilian or military, if you should die as you must, you should do so somewhere in the vicinity of New Delhi — or Bombay.

Or else, they must have some use for you.Or else, too bad.

As he rightly surmised once: “I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla — although a great many of them in the past have resembled the latter.”

The contrast couldn’t be starker:

  • When Amitabh Bachchan was ill after being socked in the stomach during the shooting of Coolie, Indira Gandhi  flew down to Bombay to show her concern.
  • When Dhirubhai Ambani died, L K Advani cut short his Gujarat tour to pay his respects to an ’embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination’.
  • When Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekawat had the time to attend the funeral.

Our VIPs and VVIPs have time for dead and dying celebrities, charlatans, fixers. Not for a field marshal?

In his biography, K M Cariappa, the only other field marshal India has had (and who too died at age 94), writes of his father’s cremation in May 1993:

“Honouring him in death as they did in life were Field Marshal Manekshaw, the three service chiefs all of whom belonged to the same course and at whose passing out parade from the joint services wing father had presided, the gracious chief minister M  Veerappa Moily and C K Jaffer Sharief, Minister for Railways representing the President as the supreme commanded of the armed forces.”

Somebody should have told the geniuses in Delhi that Sam, the Bahadur, passed away in Wellington, Ooty, not Wellington, New Zealand . The nearest civil airport is Coimbatore, just 80 km away.

If this is how we say goodbye to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, any wonder why Rang de Basanti could successfully tap into the angst of an entire generation?

Krishna Prasad, former editor, Vijay Times and one of India’s finest young journalists, is the guiding spirit behind www.churumuri. com

Fake NGOs: Means for siphonig off funds


Fake NGOs must be in tens of thousands in India and in millions all over the world. As movers and shakers some NGOs have performed in an excellent manner in their specific areas of focus, ranging from conservation of nature, human rights, to space exploration. There are as many NGOs as there are issues, and many issues have thousands of NGOs working on them, and with good results.

NGOs have been able to attract vast resources in terms of funds, and dedicated manpower and acquire in their processes of working a great deal of influence and bargaining power. Infact there are many areas where one may say they have even supplanted trade unions (whose clout has been diminishing worldwide in the last two decades) as pro poor, pro worker, especially as supporters of unorganized labour force.

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Voluntary workers have ensured that many of the NGOs are less pyramidal, more flat in their organizational structure and have given a great deal of leeway for individual initiatives. This has also attracted many to prefer NGOs as a career and a profession. Economics of scale has ensured a fairly viable career with the added attraction of independence of action. Job satisfaction is an added bonus that appears to come with the turf.

Their ability to deliver humanitarian aid to inaccessible areas especially in disaster struck zones in an effective manner has ensured their acceptance as dependable conduits in ensuring that aid reaches the appropriate areas and affected people directly. This has over a period of time changed the mindset of many governments to accept that NGOs can be trusted (still to some extent only) to help in advancing their own plans for social uplift and fulfilment of promises at the grass roots level.

This change in the mindset of governments has allowed the canalization of funds through NGOs.

When money is around can crooks be far behind?

Canalization of funds through NGOs for social activities has attracted over a period of time a grate number of fly by night operators have set up shops. The ease with which an NGO can be set up(as it should be) has encouraged the formation of NGOs to work in different areas.

However the systems that exist in the government departments and even international agencies like the UN has also ensured the setting up of NGOs with the primary motive of siphoning off of government funds.

How many fake NGOs will be there? Hundreds, thousands, millions all over the world?

How are these to be stopped? Only effective audit of allocation and effective use of funds can stop this. Who will audit the auditors?

an extract from Mail Today

Police declare 400 NGOs as fake in Jharkhand

THE special branch of Jharkhand Police has declared over 400 Non- Government Organisations in the state as fake. In a detailed report, the Special Branch has divulged that more than 400 NGOs in the state exist only on paper and the addresses given by them to obtain registration were found to be fake.

The investigating wing alleged that about Rs 5billion, that had presumably been received by them so far from different sources in the name of social activities, had been misused. Many of them are entitled to obtain aids from the Centre too, the report says. During investigations, either dilapidated buildings or school premises were found at the addresses given by these NGOs. The special branch has sought report from the deputy commissioners of various districts about NGOs being run in their areas.