Indian Express’ Editor should Thank His Stars

Shekhar Gupta, Editor in Chief of Indian Express, is a very lucky man indeed. He is a well known person by virtue of his profession and the Express Adda -अड्डा  he organises for the rich and famous. He is doubly lucky because he stays in India and not in the USA. Had he been in USA, he might have faced the prospect of life term in a prison somewhere down the line for his self indulgent indiscretion.
17 October 2012 marked the 50 years of the Sino-Indian conflict – a conflict that has left deep scars in the collective national psyche. Many quarters made a valiant effort to exorcise the demons of that conflict, which is widely perceived by most Indians as an ignominious rout of Indian armed forces. Gupta too pitched in with his column, National Interest, and wrote an article, 1962, A Different Story, to bring out the legendary fight put up in the West by 13 Kumaon battalion of Indian army. ^^Yet, places in equally high (or in fact higher) Himalayas than in the east, Srijap 1 and 2, Gurung Hill, Daulat Beg Oldi, Spanggur Gap, Chushul and, most importantly, Rezang La, never made such an imprint on our minds, and have been erased through these decades. Yet, these are places, usually between 15,000 and 18,300 feet in altitude that small detachments of the Indian army fought, sometimes to the bitter end. Yes, they did mostly get overrun in the end. But they were never disgraced, caused enormously greater casualties on the Chinese and probably dissuaded them from venturing deeper and crossing horns with larger bodies of the Indian army, particularly in Chushul Valley where artillery and tanks were both deployed — a squadron of light AMX tanks having just been airlifted in a world record effort to Chushul airfield, one of the highest in the world….Many have compared this battle, in terms of the sheer doggedness and last-man-last-round spirit of this company to the other great — and losing — last stands in military history: Thermopylae, Saragarhi (involving our own 1 Sikh), Waterloo, Inchon River, and so on. But for a long time, this story was not believed. Both these veterans tell me how, for years, they were ostracised by villagers wondering how they had “escaped” while the rest died…. It wasn’t until Indian patrols returned the following spring that they found evidence that confirmed the stories of the three immediate survivors: almost all the bodies (103 in the first instance), frozen weapons in hand, all ammunition clips empty, some inside their trenches and many outside, cut down by multiple bullets and bayonets in hand-to-hand combat with the attackers. And Chinese casualties? The memorial column at Rewari says 1,300 dead.^^.  When odds were so impossible, the deeds of valour evoke ungrudging respect even from an adversary as I found on this post of Pakistan Defence.
Such touching story nudged the other wise hard as nail Gupta into a rare lapse of genuine raw emotions of anger and frustration against the then Defence Minister, V K Krishna Menon, who is widely regarded among the architects of that debacle: ^^Postscript: Do I have a personal wish on this sad anniversary? Yes. It is to be given a sand-blaster, a spray-paint can and an hour of amnesty. All I want to do is change the name of the avenue in central New Delhi named after Krishna Menon, the man primarily responsible for not just the humiliation of 1962 but also the loss of so many lives. A political system that still names avenues after an obstinate, autocratic disaster like him (whatever his filibustering brilliance), and that too, the avenue leading to its military headquarters, needs to introspect and correct its view of history. Or somebody pick up that sand-blaster and spray paint and rename it after Major Shaitan Singh or 13 Kumaon^^. It is this outburst that attracted the thought -Gupta is lucky man for he lives in India and is seen as a pro-establishment man. 
Imagine if he had been living in USA and in relative obscurity as a common man there. What would have been his fate had he uttered such *dangerous thoughts* involving some icon of US establishment. Wouldn’t have FBI eager to prove its worth and defend its existence got into the act of nurturing and pumping Gupta’s rebellious desires? Wouldn’t it have assiduously enlarged his ambitions and obligingly rendered him *material support* to realise his *vengeful dreams*? Eventually, poor Gupta would have been caught in the act of blowing up some monument using some [defunct] weapon of mass destruction -when in reality this entire frame up was carefully calibrated, planned and executed by FBI agents and under cover informers-, and would have been obligingly sent by Judiciary to jail for a long prison term. The FBI agents would have gone back laughing to plot another down fall of yet another Terrorist. US establishment would be happy to have this *terrorism pot* boiling, which keeps their citizenry scared, and thereby numbed to its shenanigans. If this sounds preposterous, take a look at this: Federal Reserve Alleged Target of FBI Bombing Plot Sting. The heading should have correctly read, Federal Reserve Target of FBI’s Alleged Bombing Plot Sting. ^^Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) — A Bangladeshi man was arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan as part of a sting operation by federal authorities who provided the suspect with fake explosives….Some of the alleged terror plots, like this one, were disrupted by sting operations or informants, including a plan to bomb the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan in 2004, a 2007 conspiracy to destroy fuel tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport and a scheme to bomb synagogues in the Bronx in 2009^^. San Francisco Chronicle has missed out on many recent *sting operations*, but has reported, ^^Defense lawyers and legal experts have said that such initiatives may constitute entrapment of individuals who were not predisposed to committing a crime^^. The *initiative* here simply means to encourage, to cajole, to goad somebody into a *terrorist act*. Early this year in February, a 29 year old Moroccan man, Amine El Khalifi, was caught *red handed* in the act of blowing Capitol Hill. ^^It was a plot hatched neither by Khalifi nor by Al Qaeda. It was entirely scripted by US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), right from supplying the supporting cast and the dummy materials. Only Amine El Khalifi was for real, rest was all make believe. The AP report continues: An FBI affidavit traces the evolution of the plot from a vague plan to prepare for (?, sic, OR against) the “war on Muslims” to more clearly articulated visions of attacking a restaurant and synagogue to, finally, a goal of obliterating the seat of American government^^. Again was this also a one off aberration? Is this an act of a few overzealous FBI operatives going rogue? Or is it a practise of the agency blessed by the top authority? ^^Someone may think that may be such aberrations are unique to the year just bygone.  Considering the mainstream media’s *news-nuggets* that daftly repeat fairytales put out by a FBI or a National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) & by which one’s opinion hangs, such inference will have to be excused. But this is an old story. Petra Bartosiewicz of Harper Magazine reports on the briefing she attended that FBI had arranged in 2008 to douse the furor caused by the arrest of Yassin Aref & Mohammed Hossain in what came to be known as *Albany Missile Plot*. Petra concludesAt the time of Aref and Hossain’s arrest, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Comey admitted it was “not the case of the century.” Nevertheless, the Albany missile plot became one of the government’s more lauded victories in the fight against domestic terrorism—even though, by the government’s own acknowledgment, it involved no terrorists, no terrorism plot, and a missile provided by the FBI. When asked at a press conference following the sentencing whether there was anything connecting the defendants, particularly Aref, to terrorism, the prosecuting attorney answered, Well, we didn’t have the evidence of that, but he had the ideology^^. The damning charge against Editor In Chief of Indian Express would have been, had nothing else could be produced to link him to terrorist plot, that he had the ideology.
Most Indians who have made an effort to study material on the Sino-Indian conflict would share Gupta’s anger and frustrations even after intervening 50 years. The ownership of the debacle of 1962 rests firmly with political leadership, more particularly with Kirshna Menon and Jawahar Lal Nehru, then with the interfering civilian bureaucrats in Defense Ministry and Intelligence Agencies, and finally with top military leadership led by Chief of Army Staff General Thapar, father of Devil’s Advocate, and Eastern Army Commander, B M Kaul. While we started with the heroics of 13 Kumaon at Rezang La, we end by remembering equally rousing heroics of 6 Kumaon in the company of Sikhs, Gorkhas and Dogras in the Battle of Walong in the eastern sector. ^^From three sides, the Chinese poured in artillery and MG fire. But the Kumaonis held till 11 a.m. till the situation became militarily futile and orders were given to withdraw. As Lt. Bikram Singh started extricating his men he was cut down. The Chinese suffered terrible casualties (almost 5 times). By midday all troops were asked to withdraw. Some managed to get back through the treacherous terrain. But many NEVER GOT THE ORDERS. They slugged it out to the last man, to the last bullet. As Brigadier N.C. Rawlley said, 6th Kumaon at Tri Junction fought and fought and fought till there was nothing left. After this there was eerie silence. Sikhs, Kumaonis, Gorkhas and Dogras fought shoulder-to-shoulder to the bitter end. Two months after the cease-fire when the Indians returned they found that the Chinese had marked the positions of the dead. Many of the bunkers showed the dead where they had last manned their weapons^^. The officer and men of the Indian Army did not fail, they were let down by poor leadership at the very top.

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One Response to “Indian Express’ Editor should Thank His Stars”

  1. Capt. Ajit Vadakayil Says:

    Hi,Punch into google search WHY INDIA LOST THE SINO INDIAN WAR OF 1962- VADAKAYILThere is more to all this than meets the eye.Know the naked truth. We must NOT make the same mistakes again.Be shocked!Capt ajit vadakayil..

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