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of disrespect & departure from protocol he was 'interrogated' by a second Lieutenant from Army Intelligence! He had to prove he was not 'brain- washed' and had not become a commie! The young officer was embarrassed and apologetic and very conscious that he was 'interrogating' one of the senior most Brigadier Generals of the Indian Army. Dad had become single-minded. During the time when his status was, conveniently, "missing presumed killed in action" the actual culprits of the previous year's ignominious debacle had clearly made him the scapegoat. Here was this inept Brigadier who had "handed his brigade to the Chinese, on a platter". Case closed. Brigadier JPD and his reputation dead and buried. (It is ironic that this much maligned Brigadier was given command of a brigade, on the East Pakistan border, within 24 hours of the outbreak of hostilities, in September, 1965!! !) Now this inconvenient development - the man was alive, and worse still, would eventually head home, telling a different and inconvenient story. The "other" truth would come out. He was told the remnants of his brigade were "furious" with him, and were blaming him for all their casualties. This was part of the bureaucratic propaganda being dished out by the Ministry of Defence. For many a reputation, it was an end game of sorts. His first step was to go to see his brigade, then stationed in Ambala. The rag tag leftovers actually staged a parade for him. He was deeply moved and spent some days with his 'boys'. So much for being 'furious'. When he casually asked one of his NCOs whether he'd been on leave the reply was typical Indian Army. How could he go to his village? How could he show his face there with his CO and Brig in Chinese custody? Great spirit as always. He was the man on the spot. He had witnessed, first hand, the unbelievable gallantry, selflessness & bravery of his troops, which was way beyond the call of duty. Our simple, sturdy and undemanding Jawans had acquitted themselves with honour, respect and bravery. He was very keen and desperately determined that gallantry medals be awarded to those who had fought to the last bullet and the last drop of blood. A majority of them would have to be awarded posthumously. It 081 Rose Bowl January 2014 would entail piecing together actual battle situations indicating individual acts of gallantry. All these would eventually be put before the country, and the world, in his book - 'Himalayan Blunder' published in the winter of 1969. The Govt. of India promptly banned it. Why would they not? It ruthlessly exposed the incredible ineffectiveness, apathy, arrogance, ignorance of matters military and nepotism of the political and bureaucratic classes. No surprise then that the 'Henderson Brooks Report', an in-depth study of the actual reasons for the defeat, co-authored by the redoubtable and legendary Lt. Gen P.C Bhagat, never saw the light of day. Almost everyone involved with the '62 ops was, at one time or another, interviewed by this duo. Any other country would have hungered for an 'expose' of the truth, if only to rectify matters. Not surprisingly, the report has still not been put in the public domain. Fifty years on and not even available under the vaunted RTI Act. What's there to hide? I'm sure the Indian public would eventually want to know. But then it might just tarnish the historical reputation of some pretty well known characters. Sadly, he never really came to terms with the indifferent attitude of the Establishment. He was told, by one revered leader, "Brig, you should know, losing armies don't get medals!" It was these kinds of statements that broke his will, spirit, resolve and left him an embittered, lonely and angry man. Added to this was the debilitated state of his body - broken and battered due to scurvy and malnutrition during his POW days. About this time he also began to feel the symptoms of muscular atrophy, definitely acquired during his incarceration. All put together these aspects took a final deadly and fatal toll. There was a brief bright period when he met and came under the spell of the charismatic Minoo Masani. He actually joined the Swatantra Party!! However, that was the briefest of respites for his troubled soul and he died, sad, broken and disillusioned at the age of 54, in October 1974, at INS Ashwini, the Military Hospital in Bombay. Any which way - RIP dad - you did your duty in the best traditions of "An Officer and a Gentleman."

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