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Michael Dalvi (370 T '63) An addendum for the book 'Himalayan Blunder' : Part II by Brig John Dalvi [The first part of this article appeared in the October '13 issue of The Rose Bowl ... Ed] During his incarceration, the commissars kept harping on the fact that the Indian army had attacked first. They had a case. To establish our territorial claims along the Me Mohan Line, Prime Minister Nehru had embarked on an ill-advised policy fraught with danger - the 'forward policy'- which entailed the establishment of forward posts and a demarcation and unilateral interpretation of the Me Mohan line. But, if this was the eventual goal, why had we deployed an understaffed brigade of only some 3500 men, when the Indian army had an approximate strength of 4.5 million? The planning was warped. Intelligence Agencies had no clue. The Army was shouting from the rooftops that they were facing 4 or more heavily trained Mountain Divisions. And why did we not upgrade the WWI rifles? Did the mandarins in Delhi really believe that the WWI vintage Lee Enfield .303, (10 shot bolt - action rifles) could rival the semi-automatic - AK 47? What about big guns? Ammunition? Infrastructure? Roads? Accommodation? Front line fortifications? Supply routes? "An army marches on its stomach"!! Rations and food?? The mandarins in Delhi failed to even provide basic tools to dig trenches with!! Our soldiers were literally using their bare hands to dig themselves in! Somebody should have paid for this unforgiveable neglect with their jobs rather than our brave soldiers with their lives. Actually, it was a disaster and failure at all levels. High ranking bureaucratic and military officials as well as politicians were responsible. Many of the culprits of 1962 have been, subsequently, lionized by a distorted interpretation of history. Prime Minister Nehru never really recovered from what he considered Chinese 'treachery', and passed into questionable history, dying in May 1964. More importantly, V K Krishna Menon was dumped into the dustbin of history, and eventually faded into oblivion. However, overall, when the dust 061 Rose Bowl January 2014 had settled, it was apparent that the Army and the political system needed drastic renovation and revival. But we had passed up a golden opportunity to affect a major overhaul of our lives, in a frenzy of fault-finding. Then, miraculously, came some letters from father. They arrived by a circuitous and complicated route - Chinese army - Chinese communist party censors- UN Authorities- Red Cross Authorities- Indian Army censors- and then to MD c/o The Doon School, Chandbagh, Dehradun. It's a wonder there were any words left! I kept the letters, in the hope that on his eventual repatriation, he could explain what he had actually written. Just one example: Most of his letters exhorted me, as usual, to concentrate on my cricket - 'at the nets, sweat, practice, till your hands are blistered and sore' and that there were "no shortcuts to success"! One garbled letter's interpretation was something to the effect that "remember to keep your left elbow high, and play the ball late, to penetrate the enemy extra cover"! To the Chinese censors this was obviously some sinister coded message advising his son to lead a counter-attack on the Great Wall. By the way, our censorship was no better! Father would probably have died of hunger and exposure anyway, as he, and some 40 jawans and a handful of officers had been without food, water and shelter for more than 48 hours. It is important to remember they were at heights in excess of 17000 feet, and at temperatures well below zero. My aunt had sent him from Canada a Canadian Air force Fliers fleece lined leather jacket. He never wore it. Not ifhis troops were not similarly clad. It remained in his Orderly's backpack for the entire time. One of the officers with him was Maj. later Gen. Rex Kharbanda. Somewhere along the path they came to a fork. Typically, my father took out a coin and asked Maj. Kharbanda to call. He won and was asked to decide whether he wanted the left or the right track. He opted to go left. My father, apparently, and I heard this from an officer

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