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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri ~ hero of Battle of Longewala is no more

Pre-script 1:  The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second highest military decoration in India, after the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It replaced the British Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The medal may be awarded posthumously. 

2) Decades ago, this book titled ‘Pathinaalu Naatkal’ [14 days] impressed me most…. It was a story on Indo-bangla war … the hero is an  Indian pilot who gets captured and falls in the hands of a Paki general who hates India….. the air warfare was so wonderfully depicted with Sujatha touch of humanism….

                                Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 km2 and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.  About 75% of the Thar Desert is located within India, with the remaining 25% in Pakistan.  Longewala is a border town in the Thar Desert in the western part of Jaisalmer district, in the state of Rajasthan. It is very close to the border with Pakistan and is most notable as the location of the Battle of Longewala during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The Battle of Longewala (4–7 December 1971) was one of the first major engagements in the western sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert.   "A" company (reinforced) of the Indian Army's 23rd battalion, Punjab Regiment, commanded by Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, was left with the choice of either attempting to hold out until reinforced, or fleeing on foot from a mechanised infantry Pakistani force.  Choosing the former, Chandpuri ensured that all his assets were correctly deployed, and made the most use of his strong defensive position, and weaknesses created by errors in enemy tactics. He was also fortunate in that an Indian Air Forceforward air controller was able to secure and direct aircraft in support of the post's defence until reinforcements arrived six hours later.

During the night of the 4th, Lt. Veer's platoon conducting a patrol detected noises across the border that suggested a large number of armoured vehicles approaching. These were soon confirmed by reports — from the Army's Air Observation Post aircraft flown by Maj. Atma Singh — in the area of a 20 km long armoured column on the track leading to the post advancing in the general direction of the Longewala post.  Directing Lt Veer's patrol to trail the advancing armoured column, Chandpuri got in touch with the battalion headquarters requesting urgent reinforcements and armour and artillery support. Battalion HQ gave him the choice of staying put, and containing the attack as much as possible, or carrying out a tactical retreat of the company to Ramgarh, as reinforcements would not be available for at least six hours. Considering that Chandpuri's command had no transportation, and was facing a mobile enemy, he decided to maintain the defensive position of the post where his troops at least had the benefit of prepared defensive works, rather than conducting a withdrawal at night that was a far riskier option.

The battle of Longewala saw heavy Pakistani losses and low Indian casualties. Since the Indians were able to use the defenders' advantage, they managed to inflict heavy losses on the Pakistanis. Indian casualties in the battle were two soldiers along with one of their jeep mounted recoil-less rifles knocked out. Pakistani losses were 200 soldiers killed.  The Pakistanis suffered the loss of 34 tanks destroyed or abandoned, and lost 500 additional vehicles.  Invading Pakistan troops meanwhile, had underestimated the Longewala post's defensive capability due to the difficulty of approach over sand, conducting the attack at night and in full-moon light, against stiff resistance encountered there from a well prepared defensive position located on a dominant height.

Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was awarded Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest gallantry award.  Several other awards were earned by members of the defending company, and the battalion's commander. On the other hand, the Pakistani divisional commander was dismissed from service.  Sadly, Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri MVC, VSM (22 November 1940) a decorated Officer passed away yesterday.   He was a councillor in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation from 2006 to 2011.   The  hero of the Battle of Longewala during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, died at a hospital in Mohali on Saturday, his family said. He was 78. Brig Chandpuri was suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife and three sons, his family said.

The 1997 Bollywood film, ‘Border’, in which actor Sunny Deol played the role of Brig Chandpuri, was made depicting the Longewala battle. The cremation will take place on Monday with full military honours. Brig Chandpuri passed out from the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai, in 1963 and was commissioned into the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment. He took part in the 1965 war on the western sector and, thereafter, served in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) for about a year. He also served twice as an instructor at the Infantry School, Mhow.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condoled the passing away of Chandpuri, saying his exemplary and heroic leadership in the Battle of Longewala would inspire the young soldiers and officers of the defence services to discharge their duties with utmost devotion, commitment and sincerity.  The citation for his Mahavir Chakra Award reads: “Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was commanding a company battalion of the Punjab Regiment occupying a defended locality in the Rajasthan Sector.” At the Battle of Longewala, Brig Chandpuri exhibited dynamic leadership, exceptional courage and determination in holding his command intact and steadfast. He inspired his men moving from bunker to bunker till the reinforcements arrived, the citation added.

Salute to the hero !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Nov. 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

son of pacer who ran in fast and hurled deliveries !!!

Nothing big ~ he has played in 5 T20s – scored 38 runs with 21 as highest – watched him play a T10 today !!!

Carrara Stadium (known commercially as Metricon Stadium) is a sporting venue on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, located in the suburb of Carrara. The venue is primarily used for Australian rules football and is the home ground of the Gold Coast Suns, who compete in the Australian Football League.  The stadium has hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as the athletics competitions.  Gold Coast is a coastal city in the Australian state of Queensland, approximately 66 kilometres (41 mi) south-southeast of the state capital Brisbane and immediately north of the border with New South Wales. It was the venue of T20 match between touring South Africans and Australia.

The Gold Coast region remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and in 1994, the City of Gold Coast local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of the Gold Coast's metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane. Today, the Gold Coast is a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate and has become widely known for its surfing beaches, high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland.

It was not the greatest of matches – in a rain-reduced 10 overs aside, the innings changed with du Plessis' dismissal. With 3.1 overs left South Africa had a score of 120 on offer. Du Plessis hammered Stanlake to deep midwicket. Very few fielders in the world could have saved six let alone completed the catch. Maxwell leapt high and took the catch at full stretch above his head while momentum carried him over the rope. He threw the ball up just before his left foot hit the ground over the rope, he balanced, got back inside the rope and made the end result look exceptionally simple despite the incredible degree of difficulty. Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye then closed the innings brilliantly conceding just 24 runs from the last 18 balls and claiming three wickets with some well-executed slower balls.

Finch is the Captain, and the team reads : Chris Lynn, DJM Short, Glenn Maxwell, MP Stoinis,  BR McDermott,  AT Carey (WK),  Nathan Coulter-Nile, AJ Tye, JP Behrendorff, B Stanlake  ~ not exactly an inexperienced line-up or perhaps we are able to familiarize the team because of IPL .. ..

Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast had set itself for its first international cricket match, just seven months after hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. But a deluge of rain pre-game, 18 millimetres in total, nearly ensured the match never started. Fortunately, the heavy rain cell passed due to strong winds. The game did start after a delay of nearly two hours, with the playing conditions changing to 10 overs per side, two overs maximum for each bowler, with a three over Powerplay.  South Africa inflicted Australia's third loss in four matches to leave the home side down right miserable. Australia have now lost their last four T20Is and five of the last six on top of losing a one-day and Test series in between times.

The squad did ring a bell – McDermott is a known name – it is Benjamin Reginald McDermott   who has not followed the family trend of bowling fast like his father Craig and brother Alister, but has instead made a name for himself as a batsman and some-time wicketkeeper. Craig McDermott made his Test debut aged 19 on the way to 291 wickets and his son Alister had a Queensland rookie contract before leaving high school in Southport. Alister, who was in year 12 when the deal was signed, carries the red hair and bowling action of his father and Queensland are hoping for similar results in the future.  Benjamin Mcdermott is playing as a batsman .. ..

Craig Mcdermott (photo at the start) bowled fast, and threw in accurately and flat. He played 71 tests taking 291 wickets at an average of 28.63 and in 138 ODIs he took 203 wickets.  Remember that he played in that famous Tied test at Chepauk but went wicketless.  He played in 2 matches at Chepauk further – Reliance WC 1987 – against India in the first match he took 4/56 and against Zimbabwe 1/13. Craig McDermott used to smear his face white with chapstick, run in fast  and hurl down quick deliveries — several years before Allan Donald had transformed the act into the realms of legend.  His career was plagued by injuries .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Nov. 2018

emerging out of shadows of father ~ and playing for another country

Subash Gupte, VV Kumar, BS Chandrasekhar, MV Narasimha Rao, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Narendra Hirwani, Anil Kumble, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla, Yuzvindra Chahal  ……….all leg spinners – who played for India.  Across the border, there was a legend with a different action, springy jump, landing the ball near leg and turning it big .. .. .. he played 67 tests took 236 wickets and 132 wickets in 104 one dayers.  Qadir had an ordinary Test debut against England in December 1977, where he scored 11 with the bat and took a solitary wicket of England’s No. 11 Bob Willis.  However,  had a  brilliant ODI debut against New Zealand at Edgbaston during the 1983 WC. With his all-round performance of 12-4-21-4 and 41 not out, also the top score of Pakistan’s innings, he was adjudged the man of the match, albeit in a losing cause.

In that Test at Chennai Chepauk in Feb 1987, which I would remember ever for that magnificent century by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Pak scored 487/9 & 182/3 with India scoring massive 527/9 decl. – the man Abdul Qadir. In Reliance World Cup 1987,  it was the last over, to be bowled by Courtney Walsh, West Indies looked to have it in the bag. Pakistan needed 14 runs off the six.  Abdul Qadir took a single off the first ball and Saleem Jaffar another off the second, leaving 12 to get off four. Qadir, who had done nothing of significance with the ball in that match turned it on, hitting a two and then launching a straight six that drew the crowd roaring to its feet. They ran another two off the next ball, leaving two to get off the last. Walsh ran in to bowl the last ball and pulled up without delivering: Jaffar, at the non-striker's end, was well out of his crease, heading up the wicket. Walsh could have run him out comfortably but chose not to do so and headed back to bowl the delivery again. Qadir scored  the necessary runs off the last ball. Pakistan were through, Qadir was a hero – Walsh though earned a name for being a sportsman, let his side badly down and West Indies’ downslide started around that time. 

A couple of years later in 1989 when India toured Pak with Srikkanth at helm, a 16 year old Sachin Tendulkar made his debut – an onedayer at Peshavar was washed out and a festive match was played.  In an interesting anecdote when Sachin walked in – India  needed 69 runs in five overs or so. He had a go at Mushtaq Ahmed who had taken two wickets and hit him for a couple of sixes. Qadir then came up and  said, "Bachchon ko kyon mar rahe ho? Hamein bhi maar dikhao" ("Why are you only hitting the kid? Hit me too.")  In that 20 over match  Pakistan had  put on 157 and India only got close thanks to an 18-ball 53 from a 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar. One over from Abdul Qadir read: 6, 0, 4, 6 6 6. It announced Tendulkar to the world.

Decades have passed by, Qadir, too retired, became a commentator, sports administrator and more .. he had sons and loved them deep – his   last son, was the one he chose to attend the Madrassa to learn the Hafiz Qur’an. The one he stopped from playing cricket for Pakistan to avoid accusations of nepotism. And when he stepped into the playing arena, there were always comments that he was there because of his father and not by his game. Still, in Pak, crowds mob Qadir wherever he is seen, seeking autographs and hearing his sharing events of his playing days.  

As the child of a legend, Usman Qadir  was born with a silver spoon, but says that they were not as rich as  some people might think. They  lived in a big house in the grand city of Lahore, the family had a car and everything needed. Usman says that there  were four floors in our house. The first was rented out. On the second was his  father’s office. The third floor was where they  lived and on the fourth was a terrace with a barbeque. On the terrace there was space for games of tennis ball-cricket and they used Qadir’s  bowling machine. They would fly kits too as it was a popular pastime in Pakistan back then.  He claims having seen Shane Warne and Anil Kumble visiting their house to meet Abdul Qadir.  At a very young age, the son of Qadir had the opportunity of bowling at Gadaffi stadium in the nets to Marvan Atapattu and mucking around with Murali.

The other brothers were good cricketers and each played for first-class teams at home. However, Abdul Qadir , by that time, would sometimes speak up about things he saw were going wrong at the Pakistan Cricket Board, which made it hard for his son’s careers to progress.  Now, one of them is in England playing club cricket and running a business, another takes care of Qadir’s  academy in Lahore and the other runs a property business.  Usman did his  studies at the Madrassa and would go  straight to his  father’s academy to practise.  He was selected for Pak U15 .. ..but people were not looking at his performances, just the name.   When people saw ‘Qadir’ they would know he was the son of the great Abdul Qadir. People would talk  behind on his selection because of that.

Bowling leg spin is very hard. To put it in the right place every ball is a great challenge, so I was asking my dad all the time to help me. He was a great support, I was doing well and getting better every day. Quips Usman.  Then something peculiar happened. I was playing in a national tournament and did very well. In one match I took seven wickets including a hat-trick. The people at the Pakistan Cricket Board could watch the game because they could view the ground from their offices. I was named best bowler in the tournament. Pakistan A was going to tour Australia soon afterwards. The PCB chairman at the time, Ijaz Butt, and two other selectors put my name in the squad. However, my father, who was the chief selector at that time, took my name off the list. He said he would resign from his post if they put my name back again. The chief executive, Wasim Bari, asked my father why he cut my name from the squad. Everything had been ready; my clothes, my visas, my flights. My father told him that people would think I was selected only because I was his son. It was a very hard time for me. That was when I started to tell my father that I wanted to leave Pakistan and play in Australia.

Now Usman Qadir is all set to play for Australia .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Nov. 2018. Excerpted from

Kerala Govt puts trouble to devotees ~ offers facilities to social activists

Nilackal,  earlier famously known as  Chayal, is a remote ghat region located in the Goodrical range of Ranni forest division in Pathanamthitta District.  .. ..  Today an advertisement issued by the Kerala Govt imposes some added restrictions :  ~  why would a secular Govt headed by Communist Pinarayi Vijayan indulge in these :

o    Base camp shifted to Nilakkal – pilgrims need to commute only by KSRTC buses
§  Govt’s way of putting more hardship to devotee
§  Trying to earn revenue from the Temple of which they are seeking to destroy
§  What happens to freedom of choice ?
o    Halt not allowed at Pamba and pilgrims have to return immediately after darshan at sannidhanam
These are evil designs – the devout would be undeterred but yet, why are the Aiyappa devotees have to undergo more suffering in reaching Pamba itself and why try to promote Nilackal now ? – sinister designs.. .. the Devaswom or the Govt never had any plan nor took any effort to provide basic amenities to the Swamy’s bakths – the Holy Sabarimala, the abode of Swami Aiyappan lacks basic amenities and devotees young and old, simply ignore all hardships, think and chant Him – say ‘kallum mullum kaalukku methai’ (the stones and thrones are but softbeds for the legs of his devotee)

To us Hinduism is a way of life  ~ it is with deep sense of anguish that we received the verdict which contravenes the  beliefs and conventions followed for thousands of years in Sabarimala overruled by a Court judgement ….this is no comment on the judicial position or questioning the verdict, yet – I like many millions of others believe, that such beliefs are supreme and are outside the purview of Courts (as has been held many a times, when it comes to questioning of practices of others religious beliefs.) Why should a Court interfere in religious matters.  Every religious place have their own rules, restrictions – in Kerala in most Temples, males are not allowed with upper garments (shirts) – can someone argue in a Court that this is discrimination ?  Factually, there are clubs in Cities that bar men without shoes and pants !!

The argument that women are barred from entering the Sabarimala shrine is farcical and untrue. The absolute truth is that lakhs of women come to Sabarimala every year. That itself goes to prove that this whole debate is misplaced and based on a wrong premise. Restrictions are in place only for those women aged between 10 and 50 and this is primarily due to “Naishtika Brahmacharya Pratishta” wherein the reigning deity of the Sabarimala shrine is an absolute celibate.

The holy Sabarimala draws millions of people – Lord Ayyappa,  the presiding deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn at Pandalam as the son of the King of Pandalam, known by the name of Manikandan, who found him as a radiant faced infant on the banks of the river Pampa, wearing a bead (‘mani’) around his neck. Manikandan’s feats and achievements convinced the King and others of his divine origin.  

Lord Iyappa is the Lord of masses -  the cult of Sabarimala broke the ‘divide’ created internally within the Hinduism and also created by ‘’divide and rule’’ model of invaders. During the Sabarimala season, you can see millions of people wearing coloured dhotis, wearing the mala and sandal paste on their foreheads. They observe strict ‘’brahmacharya’’,strictly follow food restrictions, live a dharmic path. These *Iyappa samis*  mingle freely with each other without any discrimination based on caste, age, social status etc etc.. address each other ‘Sami’.  Faith has been deeply rooted in  society's political and moral behaviour.  Any challenge to that  faith, offends followers and believers,  seriously threatens the very fabric of religious beliefs.   Life is all about perceptions – to some fools, who say that they are seeing goons put mala for a short while and go to Temple, you are trying to see microscopic minority – I have friends who at the age of 50 have visited the holy shrine close to 200 times. I know friends who follow absolute vratha, eating rice food once in the day, take fruits in the night and nothing in the noon, those who walk kilo meters every day and go to many temples when wearing malai. 

In between a handful of unworthy people get so much of Press attention – they are called social activists – a woman details her plan of visit to  Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CM arranges all facilities while crores of devotees have even their basic amenities stopped.  The devout is made to walk another 30 kilo meters from the base camp or travel by paying money to rickety Govt buses – but the Govt tries to arrange airconditioned coach and earlier ensured another woman walk in full riot gear of Police – whose money and whose authority ?  the woman who tries media attention and promptly gets them too writes to CM, the entire Police force welcomes her and she makes   a strange request that Kerala government should bear all her expenses !  including her travel, accommodation and meal  ~  what a democracy !!

She for sure learnt something ~ there  weren’t too many people, around 1,000, according to media reports – but they were determined and unrelenting. As the self-acclaimed Bhumata Brigade’s Trupti Desai landed at the Cochin International Airport in the wee hours of Friday, claiming to enter  Sabarimala temple, she was met with a strong crowd of devotees.  Chants of Ayyappa rung the air, reaching feverish highs and electrifying the crowd into louder slogans.  An old man asked security officers what this was all about, and after he was explained to, he looked in Trupti’s direction, slapped his forehead in disdain and walked on.  The Sabarimala crowd is not air-travellers, they travel in packed trains, buses, vans, two-wheelers, have darshan at scores of Temples on the way, they undertake strict vradham of self-restraint, walk on foot close to 100 km, their belongings are the holy ‘irumudi’ and perhaps changeover dress .. .. nothing much – and primarily it is masses, not rich and privileged.  They take whatever food is available and keep trekking, sleeping in open in the forest way that leads to temple, take holy bath in Pamba and rush to their Lord.

At the airport, it was the best possible exhibition of a peaceful protest and the intent was quite stern and clear.   One of them  holding a placard stating, ‘Trupti, you are wrong this time’ in loud red letters, said, “I am here to put pressure on Trupti to leave the state and not create a riot-like situation here. I want people across the country to understand. This is about our faith.” His wife, a devotee who was ‘ready to wait’, said that there was no threat to Trupti’s life. “Even if there is, it’s her own doing. She should not have come,” she said calmly, adding that all of them are here to protest peacefully.  Until late in the morning, Trupti and her aides, who were holed up at the airport amidst tight security, were adamant that the government provide her protection and transport.

Earlier in the morning, the cab unions had thrown their hands up and said they won’t provide transport for her to travel. When police officers started telling media that they were absolutely ready to provide her protection, but were under no obligation to provide transport and accommodation in the state, their strategy seemed to become clear. Meanwhile, leftist spindoctors had also started creating the narrative online that Desai was an RSS plant sent to destabilise the state, possibly providing cover to the government in their decision to not support Trupti all the way through to Sabarimala. After a 15-hour-long wait at the airport, Trupti Desai decided to give in. She had been adamant for a long time,  resorted to her own ways of diverting stating the lie that  Ayyappa devotees resorted to abuses and threats,  and she would   return with guerrilla tactics !  ~  tactics right, the other ??

Sad, that a few women of opposite faith, calling themselves social activists, throw out all rituals, try to walk to temple for a simple FB post ‘I was there’ – and there are ulterior motives for the fascist Govt and others in calling holy Sabarimala a secular temple and everyone has a right to entry.  Just for a moment, can they think of toeing the same line for all other places of worship in the same State, nay will they allow all people to visit Communist citadels.

Time will make them realize – never play with God – never hurt sentiments – Lord is mightier.  Swamiye Saranam Iyappa ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Nov. 2018.