Major General ® Syed Ali Hamid of Pakistan army wrote an excellent profile of MG Anant Singh Pathania. Absolute delight for folks like me. My comments in red. ————————————————–
Great profile of an officer and gentleman. How could I resist as it opened so many windows of a bygone era. My few cents in red. I’m circulating it to my list. Hamid
FROM A FAMILY OF WARRIORS – MAJ GEN ANANT SINGH PATHANIA, MVC, MC. By Maj Gen Syed Ali Hamid (Retired)
The clan of Pathanias were originally Tomars from Rajasthan and for a while they ruled Delhi. They moved up north after being defeated by the Moguls and their name is an abbreviation of Prathishthana, the ancient name of Pathankot, which was the capital of the hill state of Nurpur. They have a proud record of service in the armies of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, the State Forces of Jammu & Kashmir, the British India Army and the Indian Army. The clan boasts of one Vir Chakara and two Maha Vir Chakaras (the second highest gallantry award in India), and one of the recipients was Anant Singh Pathania who was twice decorated for bravery and retired as a major general.
He was born in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh in 1913, just two years before his father Lt Col Raghbir Singh Pathania, 2nd Jammu & Kashmir Rifles was killed in action while commanding the battalion in Jassin, Tanganyika. (Kashmir contributed one and a half battalion for Expeditionary Force B for East African campaign. One complete battalion 2 J & K Rifles and half battalion (4 companies) 3 J & K Rifles. Class composition of 2 J & K Rifles commanded by Lt. Colonel Raghbir Singh was 50% Muslims and 50% Gorkhas. Class of composition of half the battalion of 3 J & K Rifles commanded by Lt. Colonel Durga Singh was 50% Dogra and 50% Gorkha. Raghbir Singh was killed at the head of his troops defending an outpost on 18 January 1915. State troops fought well but post was overrun next day. Out of 135 Kashmir troops captured, 115 were wounded that tells a lot about the fight.) His mother was the daughter of Gen Baj Singh, Kashmir Imperial Service Troops, a fine old soldier and gentleman who was always keen to be in the thickest of a fight. He was shot down next to Capt. Townshend, leading an assault during the Siege of Chitral, 1895. (Three battalions of Kashmir Rifles; 4, 5 & 6 were deployed in northern areas in 1895 campaign. 4 Kashmir Rifles commanded by Colonel Jagat Singh was at Gilgit and when Chitral was threatened, it was dispatched to Chitral. That old soldier General Baj Singh although not required went with the battalion to make sure that is was steady in a crisis. Captain Townsend with 400 soldiers was besieged in the fort. During a heavy attack a number of Kashmir troops were killed including Baj Singh and Major Bikham Singh of 4 Kashmir Rifles. Charles Verre FerrersTownsend was an interesting character and also present at the battle of Ombdurmam in Sudan. He rose to become Major General and during Great War commanded 6 Division in Mesopotamia. After initial successes, his command was destroyed at the siege of Kut al Amara and he surrendered to Ottoman forces ) Anant Singh was raised under the tutelage of his grandfather Maj Gen, Sardar Bahadur, Nihal Singh Pathania, OBI, the C-in-C of Jammu & Kashmir Forces.
It was around this time that he was engaged to a lady whose family could boast of an equally strong military heritage. Her father, Col Bakshi Chand Katoch was awarded an IDSM in Mesopotamia when he was the Subedar Major of the 56th FFR. He was subsequently commissioned with the first batch of KCIOs from the Cadet College, Indore in Dec 1919.Maj Gen Akbar (Rangroot) who was PA-1, was also commissioned in the same batch. Her younger sister was married to Ghanshyam Singh who was in the last batch of KCIOs commissioned from Sandhurst in 1934 and was posted to 16th Cavalry. My father Maj Gen Syed Shahid Hamid was in the same batch.Her uncle (father’s younger brother) was Subedar Major Parbat Chand Katoch, the first Indian officer (VCO) to be awarded a MC in WW1. When all the British officers became casualties at Neuve Chapelle, Prabhat Chand then just 30 years old, splendidly led the remnants of his regiment, none other than the 59th Royal Sind Rifles (Frontier Force), which in the reforms of 1921/22 would be renumbered as the 6/13thRFFR. Her grandfather was Sardar Bahadur, Honorary Captain Bidhi Chand, the first Subedar Major of 38thDogra (now 2 Dogra. The recruitment pattern during necessity of Great War is very interesting. On the eve of Great War, infantry battalions consisted of eight companies. In 1915, a Jat K company and later two L & M companies of Garhwali Brahmins were added. Later, during four company re-organization battalion had four Dogra Rajput companies but also retained K Jat and M Garhwali Brahmin companies. In Second World War, other regiments with Dogra component also recruited new classes. 5th Probyn Horse recruited Dogra Brahmins and Baluch regiment Brahmins from non-Dogra areas. This added to administrative headache as in Probyn’s Horse instead of squadron mess for a single class troop messing had to be implemented as Brahmin Dogra would not eat with Rajput Dogra.) who held the appointment for 18 years till he retired in 1909.
His fiancés parents were keen to quickly tie the knot, since girls in their family wed as young as fourteen, but Anant’s battalion was fighting in Waziristan and he did not want to take a chance. The family agreed to wait. He joined his unit at Razmak along with his course mate, Bakhtiar Rana who was promoted to a three star rank in the Pakistan Army. Most of the Muslim officers that he served with in the battalion during this campaign including Shaukat Raza, Sher Khan, Nazir Ahmed, Akbar Khan and Muhammad Musa, would also rise to prominence in the Pakistan Army. When the campaign terminated in 1939, Anant Singh was detailed for the Junior Staff Course. By the time he returned to the battalion it had moved to Secunderabad as part of the newly raised 5th Indian Division. The formation was under equipped as it was foreseen that the British India Army would not fight a ‘first-class enemy’. However whatever might have been said against the Italians, the Battle of Keren in Eritrea was one of the toughest engagements fought by the 5th Indian Division. To a large extent the division owed its success to the experience of a number of its battalions like the 6/13th RFFR who had operated on the North-West Frontier.
The division was shipped to East Africain Sep 1940. By the time the battle for Keren was fought in early 1941, Anant Singh had advanced to a temporary captain and was commanding a company. Keren is located on a plateau 4,300 ft above sea level and astride the only route that led to Asmara. A formidable barrier of bleak and jagged peaks guarded the approach through the narrow Dongolaas Gorge which took the road and railway up to the plateau. The initial attacks in Feb and early March by the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions on the mass of mountains which rose some 2,500 ft above the Happy Valley, met very limited success. The Italians were too well entrenched and from their excellent observation posts they could detect and engage every movement. Moreover, the physical effort of climbing through prickly bush, spear grass and rocks with no foothold, so exhausted the attackers burdened with equipment, weapons, ammunition etc. that on reaching the crests they were momentarily too exhausted to make further effort. That’s when the Italians counterattacked.
Ultimately the British commanders decided to force a passage by narrowing the frontage of the attack to just 3000 meters astride the gorge. A renewed effort by the 4th Indian Divisionon the left to capture Brig’s Peak and Sanchil again failed. However, a brigade of 5th Indian Division commanded by Frank Messervy managed to ascend a spur on the right and after some bitter fighting captured Dologolodoc Fort. That night the next brigade of which 6/13th RFFR was the reserve battalion passed through to assault Zeban and Falestoh. The attack was held-up halfway and early next morning, the flank of 3/2ndPunjab (the left forward battalion) was counterattacked. ‘B’ Company 6/13thRFFR commanded by Anant Singh was sent forward to assist in repulsing the Italians. The ground over which it had to pass was swept by machine gun fire from across the gorge but the company made a rush, captured forty Italians and held ground. Throughout the morning in temperatures touching 40°C and amidst heavy shelling, the rest of 6/13thcarried water, rations and ammunition up to the forward battalions. Its HQ was heavily shelled but with coolness and diligence, the adjutant Maj Sher Khan kept is operating efficiently. In spite of the best efforts of 6/13thRFFR and air supply mission,the Worcestershire Battalion on the right was critically short of ammunition and in the evening withdrew to a depression ahead of Fort Dologoroc.
As it was withdrawing, Anant’s company out on the left flank was heavily counterattackedby the better part of a battalion of Savoy Grenadiers who were among the finest troops the Italians had. In spite of losing a third of its strength the company gallantly held its ground. The history of the division records that the company commander ‘displayed magnificent courage and leadership in this action’. When the Italians succeeded in penetrating the centre of his sector, he led his company HQ and a few men whom he had collected to the counter attack and at the point of the bayonet pushed the Italians out from his company’s position.Though wounded in the face and both legs, Anant Singh was not prepared to be evacuated and only did so five hours later under orders. The command passed to his company officer, Lt. Sadiqullah. The Savoy Grenadiers rallied and launched another attack but the officer handled the situation very well. In the nick of time the company was reinforced by two platoons and Sadiqullah led a charge and again drove the Italians back at the point of the bayonet. For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, Anant Singh was awarded a Military Cross. Young Lt. Sadiqulla was also awarded a MC in a subsequent battle but that is another story to be told. (Lieutenant, later Brigadier Sadiqullah Khan Orakzai is another fine officer and gentleman of a bygone era. His family also has connection with proud Rajputs. His father Roohullah Khan was inspector general of police of Alwar state. Sadiqullah joined 6/13 FFR in ranks in 1932. Commissioned from IMA Dehra Dun 1938 and won his MC with the battalion. He was one of the first batches of Indian officers posted to frontier scouts. He served with South Waziristan Scouts and Tochi Scouts. Briefly commanded 2/13 FFR (now 8 FF) after partition. Ended his career as Inspector General Frontier Corps – IGFC. His son-in-law and grandson also commanded 8 FF.)
Anant Singh returned to India to recover from his injuries. While in hospital, he was visited by Maj Gen Inskip who commanded 6/13th RFFR in Waziristan from 1932-34 and was now commanding the Rawalpindi District. Inskip had been awarded an MC in WW1 and he pinned a miniature of the medal on Anant’s shirt that had been presented to him by a Count. Anant confided to the general that he was still in possession of an Italian Lugar that he was grasping when evacuated from the frontline and the general replied “Keep your mouth shut and retain it as a memento”, which he did. It was rumoured that his leg had been amputated and his fiancés mother wanted to call off the wedding. Col Katoch was sent to the Pathankote Railway Station to meet Anant Singh (who was on his way to Jammu on medical leave) and confirm if the groom-to-be was whole and intact. That night two very drunk soldiers arrived home. The father-in law-to-be had pulled out a bottle of Scotch to celebrate and together they ‘killed’ it.
After a sojourn, Anant Singh returned to the front, this time to Burma and was the first Indian officer to hold the key appointment of a brigade major of an infantry brigade. At Independence, he opted to be transferred to the 1/5th Ghurkhas that had been part of the Punjab Frontier Force, and then commanded it in the First Kashmir War. In Nov 1948, the advance of the Indian Army through the Zojila Pass towards Drass and Kargil was held up, and the 1/5th Ghurkhawas tasked to clear the heights of Kumar and Ananton a ridge overlooking the Pindras Gorge. It was a hard fought battle and Anant Singh’s citation for MVC sates that ‘The success of this operation was due entirely to Lt. Col. Pathania’s personal recce of enemy defence. Throughout the recce stage and during the attack, this officer personally led his men.’
In 1949 Anant Singh was promoted brigadier. For the next ten years he held various command and staff appointments and was promoted major gen in 1959. While recently appointed as the Director General, National Cadet Corps in 1962, on a short notice of few hours, he was sent to command the 4th Mountain Division in NEFA. The debacle of the Indo-China War muddied the career and reputation of many officers of the Indian Army including Anant Singh who had so far a fine record of service. The General retired in early 1965 and the warrior breathed his last in Dharamsala on 19 Dec, 2007 at the age of 95 years. (Interestingly, his paltan mate Sadiqullah Khan also passed away at the ripe age of 99 in 2009. I’m sure Anant and Sadiqullah are enjoying each other’s company up there and looking down and smiling on the younger generation of PIFFERS).
Authors Note: I am immensely grateful to Vasu Pathania for having shared with me so much information, anecdotes and pictures related to his late father. My deepest thanks to Sushil Kumar for providing me the bio data as well as citations of the general as well as his relatives mentioned in this article. The major details of the Battle of Keren (including maps and images) have been extracted from ‘Ball of Fire’, the WW2 history of the 5th Indian Division.
Posted on by Brown Pundits Archive - Comments Off on Review of Crossed Swords; a History of the Pakistan Army
The following review was written by Major Amin in 2008. Things have changed since then and the Russians and Chinese are now said to be on board with Pakistan’s Taliban plan. We will see. But as usual, an acerbic but well informed review from Major Amin..
17 March, 2012 Crossed Swords-Shuja Nawaz Reviewed by Major Agha H Amin (Retired) September 2008
Crossed Swords , Pakistan,Its Army,and the Wars Within-Shuja Nawaz , Oxford University Press,Pakistan , 2008 700 pages; 13 black and white photographs, 6 maps; ISBN13: 978-0-19-547660-6ISBN10: 0-19-547660-3
Crossed Swords is the latest addition to the list of books dealing with Pakistan Army . Written with an eye on the Western audience by a Pakistani who has settled in USA the book is a welcome addition to books on Pakistan Army.It contains some new sources and some new information .Unfortunately most of the information is anecdotal and the narrators are extolling their own performance.
The author’s viewpoint is somewhat subjective as he is a brother of one of the ex chiefs of Pakistan Army General Asif Nawaz. The book contains some factual errors , some possibly typing errors,expected from Oxford University Press Pakistan which has a reputation of doing this.Some errors are however historical and factual and were entirely avoidable.On page 8 3rd Light Cavalry of Meerut fame is written as 3rd Light Infantry and on page 9 becomes 3rd Light Cavalry.On page 22 Ayub Khan is placed in Assam regiment though Ayub’s battalion officer Joginder Singh specifically stated that Ayub Khan was in Chamar Regiment in WW Two.On page 426 Naseerullah Khan Babar is promoted to lieutenant general and similar fate befalls Major General Sarfaraz Khan on page 223. 13 Lancers becomes 13 Cavalry on page 305.On page 470 he changes the ethnicity of Sardar Balakh Sher Mazari a Baloch Seraiki by calling him a Punjabi , an honour that no Baloch would like to have. A far more serious error Shuja makes while discussing the ethnic composition of Pakistan Army on page 570.He states that Sindhis and Baluchis are 15 percent of Pakistan Army.This is a serious distortion of history.The term Muslim Sindhi and Baluchi abbreviated to MS&B was given to Ranghar/Kaimkhani/Khanzada Rajput recruitment in Pakistan Army in 1950s.The aim was to rationalise the recruitment of Ranghars in Pakistan Army. Later the usuper Zia in order to appease the Sindhis created the Sindh Regiment but Sindhis as far as my research reveals are far less than Ranghars/Kaimkhanis/Khanzada Rajputs in the army.The Ranghars are a significant class in fightig arms, being at least 35 % of armour and distinct from Punjabis.The Baloch are hardly represented in the army.As a matter of fact the Pakistan Army has such a reputation in Balochistan that no Baloch would like to join it.All thanks to General Musharraf,Zia and ZA Bhuttos policies.
These are expected errors and more so from Oxford University Press Pakistan known for changing authors photograph with those of their uncles on jackets of books as they did with Colonel M.Y Effendi in his book Punjab Cavalry published by Oxford University Press in 2007.The old prince narrated to me the sad story when I met him and was also quite cheesed off by the fact that the princess running Oxford Pakistan is too arrogant to meet any author or to even discuss anything on the telephone. It is significant to note that so disgusted did Effendi become with this Ameena Syed of Oxford that he withdrew his books rights from Oxford University Press Pakistan.Its possible that Effendis book was deliberately sabotaged by Ameena Syed as her brother brigadier Javed Hussian was with Effendi in the tank corps and both did not get along well.
The above errors are insignificant.However Shuja has made some asertions which can be classified as serious errors or even distortion of history.On page 71 he asserts that calling off of Operational Venus by Pakistan’s civilian government was one of the reasons why the 1947-48 war failed.I state this because the sub title of the chapter is ” Why the War Failed”.On the other hand he fails to point out the major fatal decision when the Pakistani government refused to allow the armoured cars of 11 PAVO Cavalry to assist the tribesmen in breaking through to Srinagar.Those who are not familiar should know that the main reason why the tribals failed to take Srinagar was because Indian armour counterattacked them and destroyed them at Shalateng. This fact was discussed by Brig A.A.K Chaudhry also in his book. The Operation Venus plan came much later.At that time the Indian Army was well established in Kashmir and well poised to meet any threat.
Very few participants of the Kashmir War have left any written accounts of their war experiences. General Iqbal who participated in the war and later on rose to the rank of full general and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, long after the Kashmir War made one very thought provoking remark about the Kashmir War in an article in the Pakistan Army Green Book 1992. This particular publication was sub titled ‘Year of the Senior Field Commanders’. Iqbal wrote; ‘During 1948 Kashmir Operations I saw one senior officer sitting miles behind the frontline and counting availability of mules and rations. He had relegated the fighting to a senior battalion commander . In 1963 once Major General Fazal I Muqueem Khan in his book The Story of Pakistan Army .Fazal thus wrote; ‘To the Army’s horror, Pakistan during her greatest hour of triumph in Kashmir agreed to accept the ceasefire…it was difficult to understand why Pakistan let that opportunity pass. Was it assumed weakness; or as a result of pressing advice; or from misplaced chivalry towards an unfriendly neighbour in distress? Whatever the reason,Pakistan’s reluctance to accept the risks of continuing the war,cost her Kashmir at that time. It was a risk worth taking.” But note that the Pakistani attack force collected for Operation Venus consisted of about six infantry battalions and two armoured regiments. To oppose this the Indians had two infantry brigades (50 Para Brigade and 80 Infantry Brigade) .In addition there were two armoured regiments in the same area i.e. Central India Horse and the Deccan Horse . In addition the Indians also possessed more than 10 other armoured regiments which were not in Kashmir but in Punjab or Western UP and could move to Kashmir. We shall see in 1965 how Pakistani armour functioned and the reader can keep that as a yardstick in order to appreciate how Pakistani armour and infantry would have behaved in Operation Venus; had it ever been launched! Fazal does not explain how the capture Of Beri Pattan bridge would have led to complete collapse of Indian hold over Kashmir, apart from temporary severing of the line of communication to Poonch. Greater part of the Central India Horse was at Nowshera close to Beri Pattan while Deccan Horse in Chamb-Akhnur area was also within striking range and the battle would have been a hotly contested affair! Shaukat Riza did not take the extreme viewpoint similar to Fazal’s when he wrote his book on Pakistan Army.He merely said that ‘On December 30 both sides saw the wisdom of cease-fire’. Lately in an article General K.M Arif adopted a more rational viewpoint, when he stated that the Kashmir War of 1948 was mismanaged simply because Pakistan was not in a position to fight it successfully summing it up by stating ; ‘It is too hazardous a risk to fight a war on ad hoc basis’. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Pakistan was in a favourable position to win the Kashmir War at least till the first week of November. Mr Jinnah exhibited great Coup de Oeil when he ordered Gracey to employ two brigades and advance with one brigade each towards Jammu and Srinagar. But Mr Jinnah was unlucky in possessing no one like Patel and his Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet proved to be an undoubted failure at least as a war cabinet! Mr Jinnah’s decision not to have a Pakistani C in C, although taken in the best interest of the country and the Army as Mr Jinnah saw it, ensured that the British acting C in C procedurally blocked the execution of Mr Jinnah’s orders in October to attack Kashmir. Pakistan was unlucky in having a man like Iskandar Mirza at the Ministry of Defence.Mirza did not advise Mr Jinnah correctly and the fact that he had hardly served in the Army and did not understand military affairs further ensured that Mr Jinnah and the Prime Minister remained as ignorant as they were about military affairs as they were when they were in high school.
But again, it is incorrect to criticise Liaqat for Operation Venus since in December 1948 the Indian position was much more secure than in 1947.Liaqat can be criticised for not ever visiting Kashmir while the war was on and for not standing by Mr Jinnah in pressurising Gracey in October 1947 to order the Army to attack Kashmir.Had a Pakistani C in C been appointed even in December or in March 1948 the Indians may not have held on to Poonch- Nowshera area at least. Had Major Masud been allowed with his armoured cars on Domel-Baramula Road despite Ghazanfar Ali and Sher Khan’s objections;Srinagar may have been captured by the Tribesmen by first week of November 1947. The Indians were lucky in having comparatively more regular army officers who led from the front as is evident from higher officer casualties among Indian Army officers above the rank of captain vis a vis the Pakistan Army.
The treatment of 1857 is also very superficial.The author states that of the Bengal Army which rebelled, some 80 % were Purbias (page.7) , but fails to point out that the vast majority of cavalry which led the rebellion notably at Meerut i.e 3rd Light Cavalry which actually captured Delhi was Muslim and mostly Ranghar Muslim.His use of the term British for the pre 1858 period is also factually incorrect as India till 1858 was ruled by the English East India Company using mostly its private Bengal Army ,Madras Army,Bombay Army , its private European regiments and some regiments on rent from British Army to conquer entire India. In his discussion of Martial Races Theory the author totally ignores the fact that Punjab Loyalty in 1857 to the British was one of the main reasons why martial races theory was evolved.This is a simple point noted even by British writers like Philip Mason.The author also fails to note the politically important fact that the English East India Company’s army was the knight in shining armour which saved the Muslims of Punjab and settled areas of present Pashtun NWFP from the Sikhs who were using Muslim Mosques as stables and gunpowder magazines and plastering their walls with cowdung. Perhaps this fact does not suit the “martial races” who were ruled by a 10 % minority (the Sikhs) in the Punjab and settled Pashtun areas (for more than four decades in Punjab and some two decades in modern NWFP’s settled districts). The author talks about martial races theory and thinks that martial races theory was all about Punjab and Frontier as it is now but perhaps does not know that one of martial races theory’s most famous exponent Major General Macmunn regarded the Khanzada Rajputs of Firozpur Jhirka as the finest fighting race in India. The author also fails to note that the Sikhs were in majority in the fighting arms till First World War and were reduced to a minority by being replaced with Punjabi Muslims after First World War because the Punjabi Muslims were regarded as phenomenally loyal, even against Muslims, by the British.Thus the author conveniently ignores two important developments of WW1 i.e the Singapore rebellion of 5th Light Infantry by Ranghar Muslims and the tribal Pashtun mutinies against British as a result of which tribal Pashtun recruitment was reduced to the gain of Punjabi Muslims.
In his discussion of Ayub Khan the author totally ignores allegations about Ayub’s tactical timidity in Burma.This incident was discussed by three writers of the time; Major General Joginder Singh of Indian Army who was Ayub’s battalion mate , Sardar Shaukat Hayat who was an ex Indian Army officer and Major General Sher Ali Khan.In an article Brigadier Nur Hussain a reliable authority did state that Ayub Khan was close to General Gracey because they drank together. The authors discussion of old officers is also partial.On page 31 he notes that Brigadier Gul Mawaz got an MC , a medal which many earned but fails to note that Major General Akbar Khan won a DSO which is higher in scale than MC.On page 33 he states that ” Akbar Khan who gained notoriety in Kashmir …..” .Akbar Khan was the pioneer of Kashmir war but Shuja thinks that he was notorious! A strange assertion. Mr Jinnah’s historic decision of creating two infantry battalions of Bengalis is also not at all discussed by the author.It may be noted that Ayub Khan refused to expand the East Bengal Regiment till 1966 as a result of which the Bengalis were further alienated for not being given the due share in the armed forces.this decision was reversed by Yahya Khan in 1966 but by then it was too little too late.
The authors analysis of the origin of the officer corps is also superficial.He fails to note the 50 % ranker quota that the British kept for Indian rankers in the officers selected for IMA Dehra Dun in order to keep the Indian officer corps slavish and backward. The author does note the fact that Pakistani SSG captured Indian War Plan on Samba Kathua road before the war actually started but fails to note the fact that it was Pakistan’s Military Intelligence led by Director Military Intelligence Brigadier Irshad who refused to give any serious thought to this discovery and dismissed it as an Indian ruse! This was revealed to this scribe in an interview by Major General Naseerullah Khan Babar in March 2001.
The most serious distortion of history committed by Mr Shuja Nawaz is on page 226 when he gives the credit of 25 Cavalry’s action of 8th September 1965 at Gadgor to Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik.The authority he quotes is Farouk Adam , then a very junior officer and not in 24 Brigade Headquarter. It must be clarified that a good military historian or analyst’s prime motivation in all writing has been to endeavour to write “what men did” rather than what “they ought ideally to have done” or what “someone later with the benefit of hindsight tried to portray , what they had done”. Thus the analysis of Chawinda Battle done with pure loyalty to service without any inter arm rivalry or nationalistic motivation. Pure and unadulterated military history filtered dispassionately separating fact from fiction and myth from reality. History as Frederick the Great once said can be well written only in a free country and ours has been continuously under civil or military dictators since 1958. I maintain as one great master of English prose said that “all history so far as it is not supported by contemporary evidence is romance”! Battle of Chawinda was thus not romance! What many in this country wrote and was outwardly military history was essentially “Romance”! Inspiring, superhuman but a myth promiscuously mixed with reality!Chance plays a key role in battle and at Chawinda chance played a very important role! Nisar, when he deployed 25 Cavalry did not know what was in front of him ! KK Singh Commander 1st Indian Brigade also did not know what was in front of him! This mutual ignorance saved Pakistan on that crucial day ! Later heroes were created! I repeat “Heroes were created” ! The hero had to be from the Salt Range however ! At least Shuja Nawaz wants it this way ! What were the key facts? Most important tangible fact was “casualties” ! These were deliberately hidden since these would have let the cat out of the bag! Everyone would have discovered who really fought and who got gallantry awards on parochial,regimental or old boy links! How many were killed in the biggest military blunder “Operation Gibraltar”! This is Top Secret ! How many infantry men died at Chawinda? Again no mention of any figures! The real motivation here is not national interest but to preserve or more important to “guard reputations”
Now lets talk about the broad front deployment that Shuja Nawaz refers to .There is no doubt that the “broad front deployment” was done by Nisar and Nisar alone and Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik had no role in it. It is another matter that Nisar also did not know what was in front of him. It was like Jutland when both contending fleets were running towards each other at express train speed. Why Nisar behaved as he did and what actually happened even today is hard to understand, whatever anyone may claim now with the benefit of hindsight! Shuja Nawaz here in his 600 page book offers no tangible proof that the actions of 25 Cavalry had anything to do with what Brig A.A Malik told Nisar. Nisar was told to “do something” as clearly stated by an authority no less than Pakistan Army’s official historian Major General Shaukat Riza, apparently not from Jhelum or from North of Chenab by a twist of fate. There is no doubt that Nisar did something without the least clue of what was in front of him. The important thing is that Nisar did something rather than getting paralysed into inertia and inaction! The “Do Something” order by Brig A.A Malik to Lt Col Nisar CO 25 Cavalry should not have been glorified to something higher by Shuja Nawaz simply on authority of an article written by a person who was a company 2IC in an infantry battalion of 24 Brigade and that too only in 1992.This is a serious historical failing.At least in a military historian but is the Oxford University Press Pakistan run by professionals? One may ask Colonel M.Y Effendi. The fact that Abdul Ali Malik was a close relative of Shuja Nawaz’s wife makes this distortion a distortion par excellence. The same words of Brig A.A Malik ” Do Something” were repeated by Nisar in his article published in Pakistan Army Journal in 1997. Perhaps Shuja Nawaz did not read all the accounts of direct participants.Perfectly excusable as he is based in USA.But not good military history certainly.The fact is that the 25 Cavalry on 8th September 1965 was functioning in a vacuum.Brig A.A Malik had no clue about armour warfare and Nisar had no higher armour headquarter to guide him.. 24 Brigade had two infantry units, one which had been overrun and dispersed on 8th September i.e 3 FF and 2 Punjab which was at Chawinda. The crucial action took place at Gadgor few miles north of Chawinda in which 25 Cavalry faced the entire Indian 1st Armoured Division. This was an extraordinary situation and Nisar acted on his own best judgement since Malik had abdicated to Nisar by stating that he should “do something”. It is another thing that Nisar also did not know what was in front of him and acted boldly and unconventionally. Had he known what was in front of him he may have been paralysed by inertia and inaction! But this is speculation and some part of history always remains unfathomed and hidden! Nisar acted through sheer reflex and deployed his unit in an impromptu manner. The fire fight which took place at Gadgor between 0900 hours and 1200 hours was a pure tank versus tank affair. 25 Cavalry versus two leading tank regiments of Indian 1st Armoured Division! Thus the Indian Armoured Corps historian stated “The Armoured Brigade had been blocked by two squadrons of Pattons and in the first encounter had lost more tanks than the enemy had…the worst consequence of the days battle was its paralysing effect on the minds of the higher commanders. It took them another 48 hours to contemplate the next move. This interval gave Pakistanis time to deploy their 6th Armoured Division…in fact the golden opportunity that fate had offered to the 1st Armoured Division to make worthwhile gains had been irretrievably lost” (Refers-Pages-393- 394-History of Indian Armoured Corps-Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-Delhi-1990). Thus the Indians acknowledged “This regiment’s (25 Cavalry) performance was certainly creditable because it alone stood between the 1st Indian Armoured division and its objective, the MRL canal”.(Refers-Page-395-Ibid). This is not the only source.Major Shamshad a direct participant has already stated on record that SJs were awarded to some officers for an attack in which not a single man was killed on both sides! Here he refers to Major Farouk Adam. This reminds me of an incident in armour school Nowshera in 1991.I was an instructor in Tactical Wing.The Senior Instructor incharge of the Young Officers Tactical course asked us , ” Should we give an Alpha Grade” . My lone reply was that no Sir , since Armour School gives Alpha to sons of generals only .This was a norm then .The Infantry School where I did the junior tactical course but later on it started giving alphas after 1985 to oblige some sons of generals.But that is how Pakistan Army is. The historical fact remains that 25 Cavalry was part of 24 Brigade but all that Nisar its CO did on the crucial 8th September at Gadgor was based on his own judgement. On 9th and 10th September no fighting took place as Indians had withdrawn their armoured division to the crossroads. On 10th September, 6 Armoured Division took over and 24 Brigade was a part of 6 Armoured Division. On 8th September there was a vacuum and Nisar acted in a sitaution which can be classified as one characterised by “absence of clear and precise orders”! Shaukat Riza’s book is basically a compilation of existing facts. It has historical value since Riza was allowed access to official records.Shaukat had no axe to grind . Shuja Nawaz by his own confession is a close relative of A.A Malik. Shuja also forgets Brig A.A Malik’s request to withdraw when Indian tanks had crossed the railway line on 16th September and occupied Buttur Dograndi and Sodreke. This fact was brought to light not by the much criticised Shaukat Riza but by the then GSO-2 of 6 Armoured Division Major (later General K.M 19. Arif), first more bluntly in Pakistan Army Green Book-1993 and again a little tactfully in his recently published book Khaki Shadows. Thus no connection with 3 FF, an infantry unit which as far as I know suffered more casualties than any other infantry unit at Chawinda. 3 FF fought admirably but was launched thoughtlessly as brought out by Major Shamshad in his letter published in Sept 2001 DJ and consequently suffered enormous casualties at Sodreke-Buttur Dograndi area. Shamshad was the tank troop leader in support of 3 FF when it disastrously attacked Buttur Dograndi. In opinion of Shamshad, the attack had failed not due to any fault of 3 FF but because of poor planning by Commander 24 Brigade. Even at formation level Chawinda was not a big battle in terms of casualties since the Indian 1 Corps suffered less casualties than 11 Indian Corps in Ravi Sutlej Corridor. A.A Maliks poorly planned counterattacks leading to bloody casualties for Pakistan Army were also discussed by Major General Fazal i Muqeem in his book on 1971 war. http://pakistan-army-interviews.blogspot.com/2010/11/bara-pind-jarpal-charge-of- pakistans.html
On page 233 while discussing the main Pakistani offensive in Khem Karan, the author fails to point out that the Pakistanis had a 7 to 1 superiority in tanks and yet they failed. Further he fails to point out the fact that major failure of Pakistani 1st Armoured Division occurred in the 4th Brigade where its commander Brigadier Bashir ordered its tank regiments every night to return to leaguer at their start point every night thus abandoning all territory they had gained during the day. In the treatment of Chamb Operation of 1971 the most significant decision of Major General Eftikhar to switch from North to South is not discussed at all.This was one of the most landmark operational decisions in history of Pakistan Army.The author also fails to highlight the cowardly action of then Brigadier Rahimuddin Khan in not joining 111 Brigade on pretext of dealing with Shiekh Mujibs trial. Of course this great warrior later rose to full general in the Pakistan Army.
Shuja also gives no thought in his worthy analysis to Pakistan Army’s launching a pre-emptive attack on India in September 1971.This if done in the words of Indian Commander Western Command General Candeth would have thrown all Indian plans to attack East Pakistan to the winds . (Refers-The Western Front -Candeth). In the chapter dealing with Z.A Bhutto Shuja does not discuss the cadrisation plan proposed by ZA Bhutto and his tasking of Pakistan Army’s Military Operations Directorate to implement it. This plan if implemented would have reduced the standing army in size and enabled the Pakistani government to spend more money on training.This plan was scrapped by Zia in 1977.
On page 477 he states that ” Abbasi was the man who had been removed from his command in the Kargil area of Kashmir…………after having undertaken an unauthorized and costly foray into Indian held territory in 1990‿.Now this comes straight from a man who repeatedly claims nearly total access to all direct participants. Now the facts of the above situation. Poor General Abbasi had done nothing in Kargil. First the use of the word Kargil by Shuja Nawaz is unwarranted and irrelevant and above all totally out of context! Abbasi’s command was not just Kargil only but a much larger area i.e. the entire Northern Areas of Pakistan. Second the foray he Shuja refers to was not launched in 1990 but in 1992 when Shuja Nawaz’s very own brother was the army chief! Third the foray was not as unauthorized as claimed by Nawaz. Abbasi was commanding the FCNA, part of 10 Corps Rawalpindi and his corps commander Lieutenant General G.M Malik,a man of extreme ambition had a tacit understanding with Abbasi that in case he succeeds he was a part of the team and if Abbasi failed G.M did not know about the attack ! A very typical and known phenomenon in all armies, organizations and bureaucracies all over the world. Fourthly poor Abassi’s unauthorized foray was not in Kargil but in Siachen an area far away from Kargil. Lastly Abbasi had been packed off to the FCNA in late 1990 a time when snow made any foray in Kargil or Siachen impossible. This happened once Abbasi expressed disagreement with the then corps commander 4 Corps Lahore Alam Jan Mehsud.The incident was narrated by this scribe to then Brigadier Salahuddin Tirmizi (later lieutenant general).Alam Jan thought that Abbasi should be posted to FCNA where he could catharsize his spirit of Jihad on those snowy rocky icy pinnacles of Siachen Glacier. Catharsize he did, with disastrous and bloody results in 1992., but not 1990 as this “privy to inside sources in the army” claims. And that too when his brother was army chief.A sad reflection on how an operation was mounted by an overzealous divisional commander, with secret authorization of his direct superior corps commander, while keeping a so called professional army chief in absolute darkness ! A sad but logical end to the career of Abbasi who was a more upright and internally motivated general officer and shoulders above most of the general officers that I saw in my army service. Shuja Nawaz repeats the above assertion again on page.509 when he states that “among the many attempts to gain advantage at Kargil was a failed attempt in 1990 by……Major General Zaheer ul Islam Abbasi. On the same page again Shuja once again repeats the same totally incorrect assertion “without clearance from the army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg, Abbasi launched an attack on the LOC. Poor Beg the target practicing range of Shuja Nawaz had no connection with Abbasi’s ill fated attack in 1992 ! Beg had retired in August 1991.
Burhanuddin Rabbani promoted or demoted to Mullah Burhanuddin Rabbani by Shuja Nawaz on page.479 was the president of Afghanistan in 1992 and not “subsequent to 1994” as stated by Shuja. In footnote.2 on page.502 Shuja Nawaz has forcibly thrust the honour of being Chief of Staff 12 Corps on General Kakar, when he states that Kakar served as Chief of Staff of 12 Corps at Quetta under Rahimuddin (famous for not joining his command in Chamb in 1971 thus making his then commanding general Major General Eftikhar state that he would court martial this man after the war. To Rahimuddin’s good luck Eftikhar embraced martyrdom in the war and Rahimuddin survived).This is a factual error as 12 Corps at Quetta did not exist at that time. This corps was raised somewhere in 1985 when Rahimuddin was already the chairman joint chiefs. In the same footnote Shuja Nawaz states that Kakar was wounded at Chawinda in 1965 war .When the 1965 war started Kakar was at intelligence school in Murree.This assertion of Kakar being wounded, while possible, is questionable .Its possible that Kakar joined his unit in later part of the war.
On page.508 Nawaz states that “one of the first actions in 1948 Kashmir war was the securing of Kargil heights by Pakistani forces.This is a serious factual error. The first major action of the 1947-48 Kashmir war was the attack on Muzaffarabad in October 1947 and the seizing of heights near Kargil happened much later in May 1948 by the Eskimo Force of Gilgit Scouts under Captain Shah Khan (later an air force officer).As a matter of fact Kargil itself was captured by the Gilgit Scouts and they had then captured Zojila Pass and advanced across it. But all this happened much later after October 1947.
Good in details, written from the relative calm and safety of USA, this book possibly written with good intentions, got lost in the woods of details and failed to present the broad picture. Many Bhagwans of military history reviewed it and failed to find any fault with it! On page 471 Shuja glorifies General Kakar for having no liking for politics.He ignores the fact that Kakar was not groomed for higher ranks and was promoted because of ethnic biases.Simply because a Pashtun president was comfortable with a harmless compatriot.He also fails to note that General Kakar acted against Nawaz Sharif not because Kakar was a democrat but simply because he feared Nawaz as a threat to his chair of army chief. General Musharraf has himself acknowledged in his book that General Kakar was parochial and was favouring Pashtun officers.No compliment to an army chief who is supposed to be a much bigger man.No wonder that Kakar had been packed off to a backwater in Quetta by General Baig. Becoming chief was something that a man of Kakar’s mediocre intellect could never have imagined but this happened only because of party baazi in the army and the fact that Ghulam Ishaq Khan wanted a Pashtun brother. Fair enough in a backward and tribal medieval society like Pakistan ! It is my conviction based on a deep study of that period,that if Kakar would have been the army chief in 1996 and 1997 General Musharraf or any non Pashtun officer would never have become the army chief ! Why ? Simply because Musharraf was not a Pashtun ! Here it must be noted that Jahangir Karamat, Kakar’s successor was miles above Kakar in intellect as well as professionalism.Though a Punjabi he was not from the more parochial tract of area between Chenab and Indus and thus a man with a broader outlook. Its a tragedy of the Pakistan Army that he became a victim of a conspiracy made successful by his own brother officers in ISI , that too because there was that parochial net during that time between the then prime minister and the boss of the prime inter service security agency. The author lauds caretaker premier Moin Qureshi’s role in making the state bank independent but forgets Qureshi’s most controversial release of advance to Bayinder Turkey for Islamabad Peshawar Motorway while also stating that this project was uneconomical.This gained nothing but total loss for Pakistan as Bayinder repatriated many million dollars without doing anything and later successfully sued Pakistan for huge damages in International Court of Justice at Hague.
On page 480 Shuja extols Talibans wild west justice in hanging Afghan President Dr Najeeb but fails to note the allegation that Pakistani agencies were suspected to be behind the assassination of Mulla Borjan, the most popular and independent leader of the Taliban. On page 481 Shuja quotes Benazir to prove that General Kakar was a brilliant strategist.What did Benazir know about strategy and what strategy did Kakar ever successfully execute other than removing a Punjabi Kashmiri prime minister against decision of supreme court just to assist a fellow Pashtun president? What is Shuja trying to prove . In discussing tenure of General Jahagir Karamat Shuja ignores totally the Ukrainian tank deal commissions. Nawaz Sharif the then prime minister tasked ISI to launch an investigation. Major General Zulfiqar then in ISI was tasked to investigate. He went to Ukraine and Azerbaijan and compliled a thick volume on the whole transaction and commissions taken.This was used by Nawaz later and was one of the reasons why Karamat quickly stepped down.The information was given by a staff officer from Corps of Engineers of major rank with DG ISI of that time and confirmed by an Intelligence Bureau officer. It is strange that Shuja Nawaz who seems to know everyone who matters fails to discuss this serious issue.Or perhaps he succumbed to the conspiracy of silence. Karamat was betrayed by his brother officers and that too just out of selfish motives to please the then prime minister.Not out of any national motives.
As an officer who served from 1981 to 1988 how would I sum up the Pakistan Army. 1981 to 1983 a cheap emphasis on being good Muslim, growing a beard to get a good report from Zia. Further Zia used religion to get dollars.This was the basic motivation. Beg’s time saw for the first time a tradition of some criticism being accepted.An effort was made to introduce the culture of intellectual honesty in the army. Asif Nawaz time saw emphasis on starch but no change in the army.We did not see any professional change in Asif Nawaz’s time other than introduction of peak cap in the uniform! Kakar’s time saw parochialism par excellence with a chief at the head who used to count cherries in his garden and was upset when some guards ate some.( This first hand account was given to me in Okara in June 1993 when Kakar was the army chief and at the height of his power by a Lieutenant Colonel Feroz , an officer from FF Regiment , whose unit provided Kakars guard while he was a corps commander in Quetta). A petty man elevated to the highest rank.No wonder he was non political because in the heart of his hearts he must have thanked his stars that he became a four star general.An authority no less than General Musharraf has stated in his book that KAKAR WAS PAROCHIAL . In this case Musharraf has hit the nail right on the head.
Karamat I did not see in service and did not serve with so I cannot comment but is reported to be a mild man. Musharraf as I saw him as a major general was flashy,extrovert,egoistic but dynamic.The present army from what I learn from serving officers is again business as usual.Nothing much to write about.The agencies of course play the usual games for money and for their own naukri and Islam being misused for operational reasons. The most serious criticism of Shuja’s analysis is in treatment of Islamic fundamentalism in the army. Shuja on page 585 consoles the audience of his book that Islamic fundamentalism is still not a threat in Pakistan Army. Shuja ignores the more dangerous fact that the army has misused Islam as a slogan to mobilise the populace to achieve its narrow institutional agenda.This is more dangerous than being Islamist.Now this policy may go out of control. Right from Zia in 1977 the army generals used Islam as a slogan to fight a proxy war in Indian Kashmir and Afghanistan.Events may prove that this would be the undoing of Pakistan as it stands in its present form.Now Pakistan is perceived in the west as part of the problem and not the solution.Particularly its army and intelligence agencies are seen as the heart of the problem.India is continuously preparing for a war although a low intensity one and no solution has been achieved in Kashmir.Afghanistan is increasingly hostile and a strange but logical Indian-Russian-Iranian-NATO un-declared strategic alliance has come into place in Afghanistan against Pakistan.All these are serious developments.The coming ten years may vindicate this assertion. The Pakistan Army and its generals may be remembered in history as one of the reasons for Balkanisation of Pakistan.Not a good omen for Pakistan.The army’s involvement in Pakistan’s politics and government is now a serious reason of imbalance for Pakistan’s political system.No hope appears in sight as we hear rumours that the agencies are still active in destabilising Pakistan’s own elected government. Shuja has burnt his midnight oil.He has compiled and collected all the facts in a nice way but his analysis has been shallow.We expected something far more profound than this.600 pages written in vain.
About the Author: Agha H. Amin , Retired Tank corps major. His writings were published in Pakistan Armys prime journals , Pakistan Army Journal and Citadel Journal of Command and Staff College Quetta. Wrote The Essential Clausewitz in 1993, Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-59 in 1998 , Pakistan Army till 1965 in 1999 ,Development of Taliban Factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2010) ,Taliban War in Afghanistan (2009). Served as Assistant Editor of Defence Journal ,Executive Editor of globe and Founder Editor of Journal of Afghanistan Studies . An associate of the think tanks ORBAT and Alexandrian Defense group. Carried out various oil and gas and power transmission line surveys in West Asia. Editor in Chief of monthly Intelligence Review and monthly Military and Security Review. Heads the think tank Centre for study of Intelligence Operations established in early 2010.
Myths ,Distortions and Misconceptions of Indo Pak History-Part One A Chapter of the book The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-59 by Agha.H.Amin (note: this post is from a transcript of the first chapter of the book. Formatting was an issue and if you want to see the whole thing, see here: http://www.slideshare.net/AAmin1/martial-races-theory )
The sepoy war of 1857 gave birth to a new theory in India. This theory was floated in the late nineteenth century: that the races living in the north west part of India i.e. present northern regions of Pakistan and parts of Indian Punjab were the “Martial Races of India”! This theory was partly (but as shown below, only partly) based on the “Punjab and Frontier” loyalty factor of 1857. Its most serious proponent was Lord Roberts, the British C-in-C in India (563).
When I joined the army in 1981 I observed that many of the officers and soldiers serving in Pakistan Army were convinced that the races or castes living in the area between Chenab and Indus Rivers were especially “martial”. Some Pathans originating from the NWFP were also regarded as junior partners of these martial races! Most of the invasions of India took place originating from areas north of Khyber Pass or west of Quetta i.e. Persia etc. Then the Mughals after 1526 recruited from Hindu Rajputs, Muslim Pathans, Muslim Rajputs, some Muslim Punjabis and Muslim Baloch, but the preference was given to trans-Indus races, mostly Pathans or Persian speaking, or to Hindu Rajputs. The EEIC (English East India Company) since it made its entry from the east had no choice but to recruit from Oudh, parts of Bihar, North West Provinces Madras Bombay Central India etc. In the earlier part of this work we have seen that using a predominantly Hindu army recruited from the Gangetic plain and led by British officers, the pre-1857 Bengal Army defeated all races of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan etc. A small contingent of the Bombay Army (made up mostly of Hindu Marhattas) quickly made Persia behave! A couple of Bengal Army Regiments reinforced by an odd European regiment successfully defended Kandahar and Jallalabad against vastly superior forces. But the rebellion of 1857 changed British perceptions about Indian people and keeping in view the political reliability as well as the administrative convenience factor the British decided to recruit mostly from the north west i.e. Punjab and Frontier provinces of India plus the Gurkhas from Nepal. This change started from 1857 but became significant only around 1895. But loyalty and reliability were not the only factors, because the Madras and Bombay Armies had also stayed loyal. Partly based on the personal biases of Lord Roberts, and under his influence of some other British senior officers, the recruitment policy was changed.
Initially, following 1857 the British adopted the policy of non-reliance on any particular race and even the Punjabi Muslims and the Pathans who had remained loyal were mixed with other castes and religious communities, with only the Gurkhas and certain Muzhbi Sikh Regiments grouped together. An experiment of having pure Muslim or pure Hindu Rajput regiments was started from 1893 but abandoned by 1919, keeping in view the mutinies of 5th Light Infantry and 15 Lancers at Singapore /Mesopotamia.
Singapore Mutineers being shot. The Ranghar Muslims of 5th Light Infantry were superior in stature to any Indian soldiers who were mercenaries of British. Among Pashtuns their greatness was matched by Wazirs, Mehsuds, Afridis and Alizais who rebelled against the British in First World War.
The Bengal and Bombay Armies march through Bolan Pass to attack Kandahar in the First Afghan War
In the 1880 and 1890s it was widely believed that the Indian army was supposed to face the Russian threat originating from Central Asia. It was thus said that the Bombay or Madras soldiers who were shorter in height and smaller in physique were not fit for mountain warfare in India’s north west (564). Charles Chenevix Trench an Indian Army British Officer and a respectable military historian has given a reason for the British bias against east of Jumna and South Indian races. He says in his book on the Indian Army that “Reasons for preferring northerners were largely racial. To Kipling’s contemporaries, the taller and fairer a native, the better man he was likely to be. He looked more impressive on parade, he might be physically stronger, he would surely be braver and more loyal than the down country men. There was a general preference for the wild over the half educated native as being less addicted to unwholesome political thinking”. Charles Chenevix Trench went further in explaining this British bias, he said “Brahmins had been prominent in the Mutiny, and their diet and prejudices though somewhat illogical by stating as following: “The Madrasi soldier was smallish, blackish and rather low caste. The Mahratta was also in origin of no very high caste, and smallish to hoot. The fact that his grandfather had held India to ransom did not make him more acceptable to the Indian Army ” (567).
It must be noted that the first Afghan war was fought by a largely Hindu army. Whatever the initial British failures, the British won the First Afghan war, giving Afghanistan such a mauling that the Afghans dared not attack India in 1857 when the British were really highly vulnerable. It would be false and erroneous, however, to assume that the British immediately changed the class composition of the Indian Army (Bengal Army in particular) in the years following 1857. In this regard the British quality of patience and subtlety in terms of long-term thinking is admirable. They still continued recruitment from the areas around Delhi and east of Jumna; which had played a major role in the rebellion. The real shift and bias in British policy was a slower process; and had little connection with any war fought by a still largely Hindu majority and Hindustani heavy Bengal Army as evident in terms of 1885 statistics; in the period between 1880 and 1914.
The major factor in the anti-Hindustani/anti-Maratha/anti-Madrasi bias was the influence of Lord Roberts who remained the C-in-C of Madras Army and more importantly that of Bengal Army from 28 Nov 1885 to 7th April 1893 (568). Lord Roberts who was one of the principal fathers of martial races theory Robert played on the fears of Russian threat to India and succeeded in convincing the Viceroy and India Office to significantly change the class composition of the Bengal Army from a mixed affair to a largely Punjabised army dominated by Punjabi Muslims followed by Sikh Pathans and Gurkhas. Thus the “Martial Races Theory” had its origin in the mind of Lord Roberts and was not based on any significant and convincing conclusions deducted from war performance; and by this I mean comparative war performance of Hindu versus Muslim or Hindustani/Madrasi versus Punjabi/Pathan. Political reliability, however, became more serious as a factor as education increased in areas east of Jumna following 1857; by virtue of a deliberate British policy to educate Indians starting from 1857 when the three universities of Calcutta Bombay and Madras were established. Thus statistics show a major change in British recruitment policy in the period from 1885 to 1914 (569):- Composition of British Indian Army in 1885
Ethnically this came to the following Regional strength in terms of numbers of “Infantry Companies:– PUNJABI HINDUSTANI GURKHA/HILL MEN PATHANS Punjabi Muslims- 25 Muslims- 36 Gurkha- 53 Settled Area- 10 Dogra- 18 Hindu Brahmans – 25 Nefa Hill Men – 9 Tribal Area- 5 Sikhs- 77 Hindu Rajput – 47 Assamese – 3 Other Hindu – 44 Total- 120 Total- 152 Total- 65 Total- 15 34.09% 43.18% 18.46% 4.26%
Further another major change took place in 1895. The three armies i.e. in Bengal Madras and Bombay armies were amalgamated. The percentage of ethnic Madrases and Mahrattas from Bombay was systematically reduced as a strict matter of policy(570). Henry Lawrence one of the eminent Lawrence Brothers made a very subtle remark in late 1840s. He said “Courage goes much by opinion; and many a man behaves as a hero or a coward, according as he considers he is expected to behave. Once two Roman Legions held Britain, now as many Britons might hold Italy” (571).
Sir Henry Lawrence
Even many Britishers knew that there were no martial races. But Robert remains the culprit for having introduced a bias in recruitment. A bias which became a policy and has had a negative fact at least in the political situation in Pakistan in the post-1947 scenario. The theory of martial races was tested and convincingly disproved in the First World War. The Mahrattas who had been dismissed as non-martial before First World War performed well during the First World War. In this regard particularly prominent was the battle performance as a unit of the 103, 110 and 117 Mahrattas at Kut al Amara against the Turks. At Sharqat the 114 Mahrattas with just three British officers played a decisive role in the defeat of the Turks (572). In any case a major change took place in the class composition of the Indian Army which is evident from the class composition of Indian Army in 1914 573:- a. Infantry:-(Total Companies-1096) 1. 431 Companies- Wholly Punjabi. 2. 221 Companies-Paltry Punjabi b. Cavalry:- (Total 155 Squadrons) 1. 95.5 Squadrons- Wholly Punjabi 10. 2. 47.5 Squadrons-Partly Punjabi. Despite this preponderance, the non-Punjabi Hindu Gurkhas and Hindu Garhwalis did well in the Indian Army in WWI. e.g. theoretically at least the Punjabi Muslims who were the largest community in the fighting arms should have won the maximum number of VCs, but this did not happen. The intention behind the whole argument is to prove that bravery has little connection with race or religion.
The theory of “Martial Races” influenced the post-1947 Pakistani Politics in a negative way. The new state was a federation composed of five nationalities. The army due to pre-1947 British policy was largely Punjabi. It was perceived by Sind, Baluchistan and East Pakistan largely as a Punjabi show in which the Pathans were junior partners. The army officers of that period were convinced that they were a martial race and the Hindus of the Indian Army were cowards. This myth was largely disproved in 1965 when despite having more sophisticated equipment, numerical preponderance in tanks and the element of surprise the Pakistan Armoured Division miserably failed at Khem Karn merely due to poor and irresolute leadership at the brigade and divisional level to a complete extent and even regimental level to a partial extent. Meanwhile the army employment in Baluchistan in 1950s made the Baluch think that little if any had changed since 1947. The officer from Potohar with limited grey matter perceived the Muslim Baloch as a foreigner as much as the British pre-1947 officer had thought. This was not the fault of the Punjabis as such, but the result of a British policy introduced during the period Usurping of power while leading the largely Punjabi based army by Ayub Khan increased the East-West divide. Things in Pakistani politics were then judged on ethnic lines. The on ground realities were different. Ayub was not a Punjabi but later in 1971 the Bengali Muslims blamed the Punjabis for all their maladies! In reality the Punjabis being leaderless were manipulated by both Ayub and Yahya! Bhutto who played a major role in persuading Yahya to launch the military action was a Sindhi!
A complete tank regiment of Pakistan Army along with most of the officers was captured by the Indians at Khem Karan in 1965 1857-(1910).
General Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan’s trigger happy use of excessive military force in 1971 precipitated a war which led to the creation of Bangladesh. It appears that the Two Nation Theory had ceased to exist in the killing fields of East Bengal in 1971. But why was the army so actively participating in the genocide? The same Britishers who were so active in criticising the Pakistani atrocities in 1971 had as a matter of fact created this machine following 1857 based on antiquated and irrational ideas of Robert in the post-1880 period. The disease started in 1857 when the British reaped the harvest of the policy of divide and rule when they employed the Gurkha against Indian, and within India the Punjabi (whether Sikh or Muslim) against the Hindustani. The Gurkha against the Punjabi. The Jallianwalla massacre in which Gurkha troops fired on the public meeting comprising Punjabi civilians in 1919 was a good example of the fact that the British did not love the Punjabis, but were merely using them. The Punjabis started learning this from 1919 but by the time the awareness was growing the Britishers were already winding up. The most glaring example of the policy of selective recruitment was in the old NWFP region of pre- 1947 India. Here the British deployed one Pathan against another. Sometimes from the same tribe and sometimes from the other. Sometimes the Turi Shia(574) against the non-Shia Wazirs or Mahsuds or Afridis.
RAF planes bomb Waziristan
The post-1947 rulers of Pakistan, instead of remedying a basically illogical recruitment policy which had no logical basis became its victim. Thus whenever army was used in a province other than Punjab it was perceived as “Punjab against Sindh” or “Punjab against Bengal” or “Punjab against Baluchistan”! The rulers were merely the instruments of a pre-1947 policy. The army outside Punjab was trigger happy because it was fighting in a foreign land. For short-term purposes this policy is viable but for how long? In the long-term it will only lead to creation of more Bangladeshes? The British divided us by their negative policies both in India and in Pakistan. In Pakistan the problem became more serious because the military usurpers were not interested in changing the recruiting policy. The same trend continues and it seems that little has been learnt from the 1971 tragedy. There are two unique shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the Bay of Bengal. One is the shipwreck of the “Martial Races Theory”, the other is the ship of the “Two Nation Theory”!
Once Pakistan was created in 1947 an endeavour at the official level was made to advance and prove a theory that Hindus and Muslims were two nations ever since the first Muslim conqueror landed in India in 711 A.D. I feel that the creation of Pakistan as an independent Muslim state in 1947 was the result of a conscious realisation among the Muslims of Indo-Pak sub-continent mostly in the post-1937 period about the necessity for an independent Muslim state in India. Till 1857 as we have seen the Hindus who were the majority accepted the Muslim political ambitions at least in Northern India. The post-1857 period saw a deliberate British policy of divide and rule. This policy as we have seen not only pitched the Muslims against Hindus but created divisions even among the Muslims. The Hindustani Muslim versus Punjabi Muslim rift has very clear cut origins in the post-1857 British policy., Firstly they conquered the Punjab and Frontier with a predominantly Hindustani army comprising some 75% up Hindus and some 25% Hindustani Muslims. Subsequently when largely the Hindustanis turned against the British, they very cleverly manipulated a largely Punjabi based army against the treacherous Hindustanis. They established a negative precedent by using Punjabi Muslim Pathan and Sikh troops in Sind during the Hur uprising. In 1919 they used Gurkhas at Jallianwala to give the South of Chenab Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus a taste of hot lead. Dyre’s action convinced the too pragmatic Punjabis about the gross futility of martyrdom! The British cannot be blamed since their prime interest and; rightly so was to preserve their empire! The “Two Nation Theory” was not in existence in 1857. Muslims fought loyally for the British at Delhi in 1857 against a largely Muslim city led by a Muslim King. More Hindu Bengal Army sepoys fought at Delhi for the Rebel cause than Hindu troops in the British force attacking Delhi. In 1846 and in 1849 a largely Hindu majority army was used to destroy the independent country of Sikhs. Even among Hindus there were sharp divisions like the Mahratta Bombay Army fighting against a largely Hindustani army led by a Marhatta, Tantia Topi. The Madras Hindu of the Madras Army fighting against the Hindustani or Purbeah Hindu infantry man of the Bengal Army in Central India.
Theories cannot create nations or hold them together. Such theories are only the results of naive spinster-like imaginations of pedantic Indo-Pak professors teaching Indian history in Canadian or American universities! Today a ridiculous argument is presented to justify the partition by citing the figures of casualties during transfer of population. These historians forget that Russians who were all one race and belonged to one Christian sect killed some ten million Russians in the Russian Civil war (575) just because of the funny theory propounded by Karl Marx. Actually cleverly manipulated theories have divided nations regardless of religion more than uniting them.
Thus, in the Spanish Civil War some 600,000 (576) Spaniards were killed merely because one Spaniard believed in the socialist theory while the other was an anti-Republican! The Two Nation Theory did not protect the Muslim Bengali from being slaughtered by the Muslim Punjabi or the Muslim Pathan. It did not help the Baloch in 1974-76. It did not keep peace in Sindh in 1986 or in 1992 or 1995 or even today. The problem of Pakistan is that there is too much theory and too little practice and little effort has been made to rid the country of the pre-1947 cynical British policies whose harm a prophetic philosopher like Karl Marx could see as early as 1857. The civil servant or soldier of today’s Pakistan behaves like a British ICS or like Brigadier Dyer of pre- 1947 era. Although qualitatively the standard of both civil and military officials is poorer than the British, many ways in which they perceive the populace are similar.
The non-Bengali or non-Sindhi civil servant in Sindh or previously in pre-1971 East Pakistan viewed the local Sindhi or Bengali as a despicable native! In March 1971 the Dacca University massacre of the students was as vehemently approved in Punjab, as Dyers Jallianwalla Bagh massacre of 1919 in Britain! The North of Chenab Rangers inspector or soldier behaves just like the Sikh soldier or any other Punjab irregular soldier whether Pathan or Muslim roaming in the deserted streets of post-20 September 1857 Delhi city. The soldier on internal duty in interior of Sindh behaves in a manner remarkably similar to the British Indian Army soldier in 1940s during the Hur uprising. A judge of the highest court in Pakistan notes that there was uniform precedence and similarity in the behaviour and verdict of Supreme Court judges in dealing with petitions of dismissed Prime Ministers belonging to Sindh! The Pakistani Muslim judge of today is as much a loyalist to the status quo as his pre-1947 predecessors. Subconsciously Punjab loyalty of 1857 is the pattern to be followed even today. “Loyalty pays” is the unwritten law followed by judges, civil servants, army officers, journalists, etc.!!
The British divided us into Hindu-Muslim or Sikh-Muslim or Punjabi Muslim-Hindustani Muslim or into Pathan- Punjabi or Afridi versus Turi or Pathan versus Baloch once they left in 1947. They divided us into Shia-Muslim when they used the Shia Turi tribesmen against Sunni tribesmen. The Britishers are very intelligent and brave people but their approach towards other nations is highly cynical and Machiavellian.
Brigadier General Dyer
Brigadier General Dyer, the British Hero of Jallianwala was observing the following whose implications few Indian Muslims realised in 1918, Dyer thus stated”, it will be remembered that the Hazaras are Shias, hence their eagerness to blot out as many of the Sunni Sarhadis, per man as they could manage (577)”. Dyer was writing about his employment of the Hazara Shias of Quetta against the Sunni, Iranian, Baloch, tribes of Iranian Baluchistan against whom the British Indian government had sent an expedition to Persian Baluchistan during the First World War. Brigadier General Dyer used Hazaras like this devastatingly against Iranian Baloch in 1915-16 just because they regarded Sunnis as non believers and vice versa !
The Americans who are richer materially but a little naive intellectually at least in their State Department realized the strength of Shia sect only in 1979!! It is instructive to note that the first major British administrative decision after 1857 was placing Delhi and the area under the government of Punjab. This was a deliberate administrative manoeuvre aimed at increasing the Hindustani- Punjabi divide. The Punjabis were told that this was punishment to people of Delhi and the Muslim Ranghars for having participated in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 and a reward to the people of Punjab for the Punjab loyalty in 1857! What actually happened was that the Muslim majority in Punjab was reduced because of this measure from some 61% to 57%578 and also forced a culturally different Ranghars Muslim community to travel all the way to Lahore for settlement of their matters relating to the provincial government and provincial high court in Lahore. The people of Delhi also had to travel all the way to Lahore from 1858 to 1911. The injustice done by this decision was remedied only once the present Indian State was created.
Armwise Analysis of The Rebel Sepoys The trouble started with the infantry but was contained with the successful disarming of the sepoy units in Calcutta and surrounding area. The significant move which led to the transformation of the series of mutiny into a full fledged political military rebellion aimed at ousting the English East India Company from India and achieving independence was, however, started by the cavalry. The role of cavalry as leaders can thus be seen :– a) The 3rd Light Cavalry’s rebellion at Meerut on 10 May 1857 and its lighting move to Delhi and the seizure of Delhi on 11 May 1857 was a coup de’tat and an outstanding example of initiative and courage. Had the Pakistani or Indian armour commanders possessed even 50% of this elan they would have been on the Amritsor Jallandhar Road bridge on the Beas River or in Gujranwala in case of the Indians in 1965 war! The British through some remarkable feat of military genetic engineering created a system which encouraged mediocre Indians to become officers! Perhaps even British generalship with few exceptions has always been mediocre! b) The decisive rebellion at Cawnpore was initiated and led by the 2nd light cavalry on 4th of June 1857. c) The rebellion at Sialkot was initiated and led by 9th Light Cavalry in July 1857. d) The 7th Light Cavalry played a leading role in the rebellion at Lucknow in June, 1857. e) The 1st Light Cavalry led to rebellion at Mhow and at Nimaeh in Central India and Rajputana. It must be noted that some 75% of the Bengal Regular Cavalry was Ranghar Muslim or Hindustani Muslim from the districts around Delhi. Thus the Muslims were the leaders in all the major rebellions whereas the bulk of infantry was Oudh, Hindu, Rajput or Brahman and these actively joined the predominantly Muslim cavalry in the rebellion. Concentration of predominantly Hindu infantry regiments at Delhi and Cawnpore illustrates that till 1857 the Hindus still regarded Muslims as the natural leaders. The role of artillery was crucial during the rebellion. The native artillery was a comparatively highly developed arm in 1857. It played a crucial role in the defence of Delhi and Lucknow. Two out of the total four horse troops of the Bengal Army artillery rebelled in 1857. Six out of the total 18 batteries of the Bengal Army also rebelled in 1857. Subedar Bakht Khan the famous sepoy leader was from Horse artillery and had served in the First Afghan War and in the Sikh Wars. The post-1857 reorganisation of the Indian Army resulted in abolition of native artillery on security grounds. Thus after 1857 the only Indian artillery retained were few insignificant mountain batteries. G.G.O. of 1861 dearly laid down that: “resolved henceforward with few exceptions as may be rendered necessary by local considerations, there shall be no Native Artillery” (579). Most of the infantry regiments of the Bengal Army also joined the rebellion. Just 11 of the 73 Regular Infantry Regiments of the Bengal Army survived the rebellion (580). Sikh artillery played havoc with British at Chillianwallah in January 1849.
Status of 1857 in Pakistan In Pakistan this rebellion has by and large been largely ignored. Unlike India in 1857 no centenary celebrations took place in Pakistan. No governmental effort of any significance was made in Pakistan to study the rebellion. The reasons are obvious. The areas which comprised Pakistan both East and West were loyal to the British and actually Punjab and Frontier played a decisive role in providing cannon fodder to the British in suppressing the rebellion. Why this happened has been discussed under the heading “Punjab Loyalty”. Tribes of the Ravi especially the Kharrals and Fatianas did actually actively participate in the rebellion which was very creditable, keeping in view the fact that they had no representation in the EEIC army unlike the Hindustanis or the Punjabi Mussulman and Pathan soldiers of the North of Chenab river region. But the Kharrals and Abbasis were two glorious but isolated exceptions in Punjab. The grandfather of Liaqat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan played an active role in protecting the British line of communication in the Karnal area. Ancestors of Malik Feroze Noon another Prime Minister of Pakistan rendered active service in assisting the EEIC forces during the siege of Delhi. The ancestors of Sir Sikandar Hayat and Sardar Shaukat Hayat two prominent Punjabi Muslim leaders were actively represented at the British camp opposite Delhi. Sikander Hayat’s grandfather was junior native aide de camp with the indomitable Nicholson. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan the leader of UP Muslims in particular and Indian Muslims in general in the post-1857 period rendered active service in loyally assisting the British cause in Bijnor in 1857. The Nawabs of Rampur, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Loharu, Pataudi etc. were all loyal and staunch to the British cause during 1857. The Nawab of Loharu actually told Blunt an Englishman who visited India during the Viceroyalty of Lord Ripon that “What he did not like about the mutiny was that most of them were Hindus” (581)! This is funny coming from a man whose ancestors served Hindu rulers. Those who do not know the background of this Mickey Mouse little state will be surprised to know that its founders owed their rise to loyal service under the Hindu Mahrattas. Subsequently these men transferred their allegiance to another Hindu i.e. Raja of Alwar (582)! The rebellion thus was largely ignored in Pakistan. Lip service was paid in history text books but only a limited attention was devoted to the event.
In the late 1980s and 1990s another tendency has surfaced. Many intellectuals have actually openly declared the Punjab loyalty to the British as correct and have devoted a considerable energy in vilifying and criticising the Hindustani Muslims as villains of 1857. Manzoor Ahmad Manzoor has written a book titled “The Pakistan Problem — Historical Backwardness of Punjab and Consolidation of Pakistan” published in 1993 by Frontier Post Publications Lahore. Manzoor Ahmad Manzoor has vehemently defended Punjab loyalty in this book. This is understandable and justified and as we have seen in the analysis of the “Punjab Loyalty Aspect”, there were reasons why Punjab remained loyal. Every action in history of a region has a background. Unfortunately Manzoor Ahmad Manzoor has avoided discussing the Sikh movement in greater detail. A dispassionate analysis of Punjab history convincingly proves that the most redeeming and reassuring part of Punjab history was the Sikh Guerrilla war against the Mughals and Afghans and the subsequent establishment of Punjab as a strong state by Ranjit Singh. Manzoor Ahmad Manzoor, however, in his hostility to Hindustani Muslims has lost sight of that scholarly balance which may have been the hallmark of his otherwise reasonable work of reinterpretation of modern Punjab history. He has, however, failed to offer a viable solution to the fact that centrifugal tendencies are on the rise in Pakistan. The other provinces of Pakistan are not viewing Punjab in as positive a light as they should have merely because of the fact that the province has failed to provide a leadership which is commensurate with the political representation, resources and potential of the province. A historian has to be forthright and even blunt but sheer ethnic hostility degrades a historical work to the level of a propaganda leaflet! How can historians remain historians when they start criticising Liaqat Ali Khan just because he was a Hindustani Muslim? The man may be criticised for being indecisive and incompetent in constitution making or in being a sycophant but to criticise him using labels like Urdas and Urdu vis reduce a historian’s level to that of a commercial writer who merely wants to sell his books to one particular province. Similarly Hindustani Muslims spend considerable energy in slightly deflating Iqbal’s role. The major problem of today’s Pakistan is lack of mutual understanding. The different ethnic regions must learn to respect and understand each other rather than despising each other. In this regard Manzoor’s opinion about the Hindustani Mussulmans who constitute some 20 to 25% of the population is extremely adverse. The Hindustani Muslims also suffer from an unfounded superiority complex which does not endear them to any of Pakistan’s other four nationalities. On the other hand the Punjabis have to get rid of the “Martial Races superiority complex”. The army has to be made more broad based so that its soldiers are not trigger happy in any region whether it is Karachi, Baluchistan or Northern Area. The politician must become responsible and adventurism in intelligence agencies which has destroyed the country’s foreign policy as well as internal political stability must be curbed. The Urdu speaking people should remember that a century ago UP was as afraid of open competitive examinations as the comparatively backward provinces of Pakistan. 100 years ago no one in India could compete with the Hindu Bengalis in competitive examinations! If the Urdu speaking populace of UP has a higher literacy level than other people it is merely because the EEIC annexed their area long before Sikh Punjab or Talpur Sind! The Punjabis also must remember that 150 years ago a mere 10% Sikhs ruled them and they became a so-called martial race only after 1857! A very deliberate effort is required to frame a sound policy to interpret the country’s history on rational lines. At the moment history is the most distorted and abused subject in the country’s educational institutions.
The 25 years of military rule have played a very negative part in this regard. A serious and devoted response is required to correct this deplorable state of affairs. In the first years of independence two groups of ICS officers started this process by giving all the credit to Aligarh or Lahore! Only one out of seven rebels of 1857 was a Muslim whether a Ranghar from Delhi Division or an east of Jamna Hindustani Muslim. Some four to five out of ten natives fighting for the British against the rebels were Muslims, either Punjabi or Pathan. This demolishes the connection that anyone in Pakistan may like to imagine between the rebellion and the “Two Nation Theory” or with the majority of races or ethnic groups in today’s Pakistan with the whole affair! The leadership of the rebellion thanks to the Light Cavalry regiments who took the lead in all major outbreaks at Meerut, Mhow, Sialkot, Cawnpore Lucknow, Jallandhar, Jhansi Neemuch was no doubt Muslim but only Hindustani Muslim or Ranghars from Delhi territory who do not even today identify themselves in any way with Punjabi Muslims. The same Ranghars who were a thorn in the eye of many politicians in 1947-48 since they were changing the constituency composition of many feudals in rural Punjab or Sindh! Whose camps in Sahiwal district were fired upon so as to discourage them from settling in as compact a way as they wanted.
What conclusions should be formed. The fact that the EEIC liberated the Punjabi Muslims from Sikhs and was the principal benefactor of Punjab should be acknowledged! The maximum damage done to Punjabi Muslims came from the Sikhs and Afghans. The leadership deficiency in Punjabi Muslims can be directly traced to the Mughal discriminatory policies. There is another myth in many circles in today’s Pakistan that the British did not trust Muslims in the army after 1857. The major component of the Indian Army in world war one in the fighting arms was Muslim. This dismisses and dismantles this ridiculous myth also. The majority of these were Muslims which constitute Pakistanis majority. There is another myth that the Muslims were more martial. If they were more martial then keeping in view their number in the fighting arms they should have won more Victoria Crosses than they actually did, but this never happened! There is another typically Pakistani myth that there were no all Muslim units. Many respectable Senior Generals who are writers also and other scholars writing their Ph.D. theses advanced this ridiculous myth. Even Cohen while writing his history of Pakistan army committed this gross factual error.
Actual facts are as following:- a. The British trusted the Muslims. They successfully employed “All Pathan Muslim” units to economically punish the tribal areas Pathans very successfully from the 1880s right till 1947. Mark the words, “All Pathan” troops under an “all Pathan” JCOs! They knew the mercenary capabilities of at least the Muslims. b. Even in regular Bengal Army Infantry they trusted even the Muslims and particularly the Hindustani Muslims and Ranghars to allow creation of “All Muslim” and mind you “All Hindustani Muslim/Ranghar” Infantry Regiments. This is 1890-93 they converted the following “Bengal Native Infantry Regiments” and Bombay Pioneer units into “All Muslim” Regiments583:- (1) 5th Bengal Native Infantry (Ranghars and Hindustani Muslims) in April 1893.584 (2) 12th “ “ “ (Punjabi and Pathan Muslims) in April 1893.585 (3) 17th “ “ “ (Ranghars and Hindustani Muslims) in April 1893.586 (4) 18th “ “ “ (Ranghars and Hindustani Muslims) April 1893.587 (5) 33rd Bengal Native Light Infantry (Punjabi Muslims) in December 1890 588 (6) 40th Bengal Native Light Infantry (Pathan Muslims) in January 1892. 589 (7) 106th Hazara Pioneers (Pure Hazara Mongol Shia Muslim Unit) 590
What happened in the first world war to 5th Bengal Native Infantry, then known as 5th Light Infantry stationed at Singapore! The Regiment having four companies of Hindustani Muslims and four companies of Ranghar Muslims mutinied on 15th February 1915, killed their officers and were masters of Singapore for three days till their mutiny was crushed on 18 February 1915 (591)! After First World War they stopped trusting not only Muslims but all communities in India. c. In the cavalry they had all Muslim regiments like the skinners Horse (All Hindustani) and 15 Lancers till 1919. There is too much talk of Khilafat Movement in today’s Pakistan. The fact that Iqbal the philosopher of the Nation was more interested in Knighthood than the Turks is conveniently ignored. The fact that the 85 percent Indian Army units were involved in fighting against the Muslim Turk negates the theory that there was much of sympathy for the Muslim Turks in the Punjabi Muslim troops at least, who constituted some 75% of all Muslim troops fighting against the Turks. The only major rebellion/resistance against fighting the Turks was witnessed in the following cases:- a. The 15th Lancers composed of Dera Ismail Khan Pathans in Mesopotamia. b. The Pathan platoons of 130 Infantry 592 c. The Ranghar Muslims of 5th Light Infantry who mutinied because they mistakenly thought that they were marked to be despatched to Mesopotamia or Egypt to fight against the Turks. d. Jemadar Mir Mast Afridi the indomitable Tirah Afridi who so much sympathised with the Turks that he defeated the Germans in France with 14 other Afridi Pathans on the night of 3rd /4th March 1915 and came all the way back to Tirah to fight against the British 593. e. Not a single Unionist leader who joined the Muslim League in 1946 participated in the 1919 agitation against the British in Punjab which was largely a Sikh or Punjabi Hindu dominated show. Amritser and not Lahore was the leader in the 1919 agitation! Many Afridi Pathans deserted from the 40th Pathans to the German lines in France and East Africa (594).
The figures of Indian army illustrate that major part of Indian Army in World War One was deployed against the Turks 595:- a. Against Germans-138,000 or 14.69% b. Against Turks – 801,000 or 85.30%
Dangerous and highly erroneous conclusions have been drawn from the British Indian military history in Indo-Pak in general and Pakistan in particular! The latter was witnessed in the writers personal insignificant capacity! The Pakistan Army is the best army in the world! In the two world wars the Indian Army consisting of mostly Muslim Punjabi troops from Jhelum and Chakwal saved the British Empire! The ISI is the best intelligence agency in the world! The fact that it failed to discover location of the Indian Armoured Division in 1965 and the fact that Indians came 35 miles inside our territory in 1984 without the intelligence finding it out and which they still occupy today are perhaps regarded as feathers in the cap of the intelligence bosses! The fact that Afghanistan has landed into the biggest chaos in its history due to our pedantic intelligence agency is an event which posterity shall remember with reverence and respect! Ethnic nationalities who demand constitutional rights are Indian agents! Human rights activists are Jewish agents! Anyone who questions the ruling Junta or the army or its quixotic intelligence agencies is a “terrorist”! The patriots are only in certain Martial Doabs and nowhere else! In the favoured Doabs also only obscurantists believing in certain medieval theories are in favour. The rest is fiction, a RAW agent or a Zionist agent etc. etc.
British Casualties in 1857 The highest number of casualties were suffered in the siege of Delhi. The casualties at Delhi exceeded the combined casualties in all the other following campaigns of 1857:- a) Havelock’s campaign from date of leaving Allahabad to the first relief of Lucknow in September 1857. b) Outram’s subsequent defence of Lucknow Residency enlarged position from September 1857 till relieved by Sir Colin Campbell in November 1857. c) Sir Colin Campbell’s relief of Lucknow in November 1857. d) Outram’s defence of Alambagh position South of Lucknow city from November 1857 to March 1858. e) Windham’s defence of Cawnpore. f) The complete Central India Campaign of Sir Hugh rose. g) The siege and final capture of Lucknow by Sir Colin Campbell in March 1858. h) Whitlock’s campaign from first to last in Central India.
It is interesting to note that all the combined total casualties of all the above mentioned campaigns do not come to within 200 of the total casualties sustained by the Delhi Field Force. The total casualties suffered by the Delhi Field Force were 3837 and the total casualties suffered in all other campaigns previously mentioned were less than 3637596! BRITISH CASUALTIES IN SOME BATTLES IN INDIA BATTLE TOTAL STRENGTH KILLED WOUNDED & Missing TOTAL KILLED % Age WOUNDED % Age TOTAL % Age Opponent ASSAYE 598 1803 4500 428 1156 1584 9.51 25.68 35.20 Mahratta Hindu + Mercenaries LASWARI 599 1803 6000 172 653 825 2.86 10.88 13.75 ” MIANI 6001843 1800 62 194 256 3.44 1077 14.22 Baloch Muslims MUDKI 601 1845 12350 215 657 872 1.74 5.32 7.06 Punjab Sikhs FEROZSHAH6021845 16700 720 2157 2877 4.31 12.91 17.22 Punjab- Sikhs SOBRAON 603 1846 16000 321 2064 2385 2.00 12.90 14.90 ” CHILLIANA 604WALA- 1849 13000 602 1755 2357 4.63 13.50 18.13 ” GUJRAT 6051849 2000 96 710 806 0.48 3.55 4.03 ” JALALABAD6061841- 42 2000 Less than 50 2.5 Afghan Muslims DELHI 607 1857 9366 922 2845 3837 10.59 30.37 40.96 Hindustani Muslims Ranghars & Hind LUCKNOW6081858 19771 127 608 735 0.64 3.08 3.72 ” AMBEYLA 609 1863 9000 908 1009 Hindustani Muslims GHAZNI 6101839 7800 17 165 182 0.20 2.32 2.33 Afghan Muslims
Percentage wise the British suffered more casualties at the siege of Delhi than in the siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War of 1854-56 which was one of the bloodiest sieges in the history of the British Army. The total British casualties at Delhi were 40.96 of the total force whereas those at the siege of Sevastopol were 14.36 of the total force 597. The above mentioned clearly illustrates that Delhi ranges at the top among all battles fought in India by the British in terms of casualties suffered. Michael Edwardes has discovered another very interesting fact about the casualties of the 24. British. According to Michael Edwardes during the actual fighting some 2034 white officers and men were killed, but no fewer than 8,987 died because of heat stroke cholera etc.611.
END NOTES 563 Roberts while describing the battles of the Second Afghan War in his book Forty One year in India made many references to the fighting qualities of various races in India dubbing the Bombay Army as one which could not be composed of the best fighting races of India (Pages-24 to 98-Forty One Years in India-Volume II-Op Cit). Under Roberts tenure as C-in-C the class composition of Indian Army was changed from largely Hindustani Hindu to Punjabi Muslim Sikh Dogra and Pathan (Page-346-Philip Mason-Op cit). As per Roberts the races from Punjab were more martial than all other races of India. Thus the Madras Army was for all purpose reduced to a Punjabised Army with very few Madrasis from 1885 onwards when Roberts became C-in-C Bengal Army and thus C-in-C India. Similarly the recruitment of Marathas from Bombay was also severely reduced (Pages-346, 347 & 348-Philip Mason-Op Cit). 564 Pages-12 & 13-The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies-1900-1947-Charles Chenevix Trench-Thames and Hudson-London-1988. 565 Page-11-Op Cit. 566 Ibid. 567 Pages-11 & 12-Ibid. 568 Page-534-Lieut Gen S.L Menezes-Op Cit. 569G.G.O Dated 20 January 1883-Reproduced by Lieut F.G Cardew-Pages-405, 406 & 407- Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit. 570Pages-349,350, 360 & 361-Philip Mason-Op Cit. 571Page-104-Quoted by T. A Heathcote-The Indian Army-T.A Heathcote-Op Cit. 572 Pages-89 & 90-C.C trench-Op Cit and Page-439-Philip Mason-Op Cit. 573 Pages- 51 to 58-India and World War One – Edited by S.D Pradhan-Columbia University-178. 574 Pages-12, 13, 35, 72, 73, 74 & 75- The Frontier Scouts — Charles Chenevix Trench-Oxford University Press-Oxford-1986. 575Page-988-Hitler and Stalin-Alan Bullock-Alfred. A Knopf-New York-1992. 576 Ibid. 577Page-184-Raiders of the Sarhad —Brigadier General R.E.H Dyer-H.F & G Witherby -326 High Holborn-London-1921. 578 Calculated from district — wise statistics of Punjab population as given on pages-58, volume- Two-Pages-62, 63 & 65-Volume-three- of The Partition of Punjab (Four Volumes) -National Documentation Centre-Lahore-1983. 579 Page-20 – The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery – Brigadier General C. A. L Graham-Aldershot-Ale and Polden- 1957. 580Page-78-Chapter Ten-Indian Infantry Colours-Op Cit. These were 21 NI, 31 NI, 32 NI, 33 NI, 42 NI, 43 NI, 47 NI, 59 NI, 63 NI, 65 NI & NI. Three Regular Infantry Regiments which did not openly rebel but showed positive signs of rebellion were disbanded.These were the 4t h NI, 58 NI and 73 NI (Page-110-The Armies of India-Op Cit). 581 Page-68-India under Ripon, a Private Diary -Wilfred Scawen Blunt-London-1909. 582 Page-478-Punjab Chiefs-Volume Two-Op Cit. 583 Page-428-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit. 584 Page-4-60-Ibid. 585 Page-461-Ibid. 586 Page-462-Ibid. 587 Ibid. 588 Page-464-Ibid. 589 Page-466-Ibid. 590 Pages-185 & 186-The Armies of India-Op Cit. 591 Pages-278 & 279-Lieut Gen S. L Menezes-Op Cit. 592 Page-427-Philip Mason-Op Cit. 593 Page-77-The Frontier Force Rifles-Op cit and Page-425 Philip Mason-Op Cit. 594Pages-110 to 140 – the role of the Indian Army in World War One – S.N Saxena-New Delhi-1987. 596 Pages-150 & 151 – The Indian Mutiny-Volume One-G.W Forrest-Op Cit. 597 Page-151-Ibid. 598 Page-176-Wellington’s Campaigns in India-Intelligence Branch Army-India-Superintendent Government Printing India-Calcutta-1908 and Page-955-Henry Beveridge-Volume-II-Op Cit. 599 Pages-87 & 88-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit and Page-169-The Battle Book-Op Cit. 600 Pages-196 & 197-Ibid. 601Pages-207-Ibid and Page-609-Henry Beveridge-Volume-III-Op Cit. 602Page-61-Henry Beveridge-Vol-III-Op Cit-Page-210-Klieut F. G Cardew-Op Cit. These were sub-divided as:- 39 British Officers Killed, 17 Native Officers Killed, and 664 Men Killed making a total of 720 All Ranks Killed. The break down of Wounded/Missing was as following:- British Officers-82, Native Officers-19, Men- 1,677 i.e. Total Wounded-1,778. In addition 379 Men were missing who in all probability were killed. In the statistics cited above those reported as missing have been included in Wounded. 603Pages -218 and 219 -Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit. 604Pages-127 & 128-S.S Thorburn-Op Cit. Pages-216 & 217-The Sikhs and the Sikh Wars-Op Cit. Page- 450-J.W Fortescue-Vol-XII-Op Cit. Thorburn places the British-Indian strength at men. Fortescue forever magnifying the odds against the British placed Gough’s strength at 12,000 men. In this case I have selected the middle figure of S.S Thorburn and followed the casualty figure given by Cardew (Page-234-Lieut F.G Cardew-Op Cit). 605Page-464-J.W Fortescue-Vol-XI-Op Cit and Page-240-F. G Cardew-Op Cit. Henry Beveridge put the British strength at 25,000 (Page-651- Henry Beveridge-Vol-III-Op Cit)Since Thorburn also put the British strength at 20,000 (Page-143-S.S Thorburn-Op Cit) the figure advanced by Fortescule has been accepted as correct. 606Page-146-The Battle Book-Op Cit. Page-184-Lieut F. G Cardew-Op Cit. Cardew placed the available strength when Jalalabad was relieved at 1,500. 607 Pages-150, 151, 152 & 153-History of Indian Mutiny-Volume One-G.W Forrest-Op Cit. 608 Pages-283 & 284-Lieut F. G Cardew-Op Cit. The Strength of 19,771 is taken from Strength Return as earlier referred in Forrest’s Selections from Letters Despatches and Other State Papers. Fortescue placed the British strength at 18,277 all ranks excluding General Franks 4th Division (Foot Note-Page-338-J.W Fortescue-Vol-XIII-Op Cit). 609Pages-654 & 655-Appendix-Four- Record of the Expeditions against North West Frontier Tribes – Lieutenant Colonel W.H Pages & 25. Lieutenant A.H Mason-First Published-1873-Revised Edition-1884-Whiting & Company Limited-London-1884. 610Pages-80, 81, 82, 84 & 85-J.W Fortescue-Volume-XII-Op Cit. 611 Page-209-Battles of the Indian Mutiny-Op Cit
“We don’t do operations. We don’t know how. All we know how to do is write checks”. Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Feisal to Mark Anderson, CIA Directorate of Operations, Near East Division (1)
Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif retired on 29 November 2016 handing over command to General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Four weeks later, Saudi Arabia sent a special plane to Lahore to bring Raheel for a meeting in Saudi Arabia. Even before his retirement, rumors have been circulating that he will be given some role in ongoing conflict in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has cobbled together a thirty nine Muslim (all Sunni) nation coalition. This is mainly a paper organization with majority of member nations not even sleeping partners. All major military operations are conducted by Saudi Forces with sprinkling from Emirati and Egyptian forces.
In summary, Yemen crisis emerged when in a fracturing state, Shia backed Houthi rebels took control of large swaths of the territory and finally overran the capital. This was a disastrous move by a Zaidi Shia minority in a country divided along several lines. This coincided with the death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and installation of a new King and re-alignments within the Saudi royal family (inner competition and rivalries among Royal family members is a whole different arena and I have done some work a while ago on the subject). Saudi Arabia was already involved in Syria where majority Sunni rebel forces of all colors are fighting the minority Shia Alawi regime of President Bashar Asad. In Yemen, a change of power dynamics on their doorsteps with Shia rebel forces getting an upper hand rattled new Saudi regime. King Salman bin Abdul Aziz’s favorite son, Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman was the architect of the new aggressive posture and fully supported by Crown Prince and Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayaf. This resulted in an aggressive air campaign that devastated large swaths of urban centers. Criticism from mounting civilian casualties and no end in sight resulted in second thoughts. Operations were dialed down and Muhammad bin Salman made the right decision of quickly getting out of the limelight.
In my view, in the absence of direct channels of communications, Tehran and Riyadh usually overreact to each other’s moves. This was one such case where Saudis over-reacted and embarked on a dangerous escalation (Naval blockade, air campaign and ground offensives mainly by Saudi and Emirati forces is a separate story). Now, Saudi Arabia has two choices in Yemen. The less risky approach is to accept a de facto partition of the country resulting in support of Yemeni partisans and less direct involvement of Saudi forces. The high risk approach is to double down and try to push opposition through direct military means that entails increased involvement of Saudi forces. Saudis are mulling over their options and have not yet made the final decision. In my view, for a variety of internal, regional and international factors, Saudis will likely go for former option and conflict will be a protracted one.
Now the equation of multiple conflicts in Middle East is squarely along sectarian lines. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fully engaged in an all out proxy war spanning over a number of countries (the sectarian poison now reaching to the very souls of some communities is another little noticed dirty secret). Both countries are equally responsible for a dangerous course without realizing extreme vulnerability of their own societies. Iran and Saudi Arabia are presiding over fairly oppressive regimes in their own countries. On both sides, it started from deep suspicion followed by deep mistrust and now leading to outright hatred. In this environment, genuine security interests get distorted at cognitive level resulting in flawed decision making. One of the major factors in Saudi decision making process was the fear that if Shia Houthi rebels are able to consolidate, then Iran will deploy long range missiles on Yemeni soil. This will give Iran a foothold on Arabian Peninsula for the first time and able to directly target major Saudi cities. This is just one example of the real dilemma for Tehran and Riyadh. Now both regimes are presenting themselves as guardians of their respective sects and bulwark against the encroaching ‘other’ to resist any change at home.
In such a complex and potentially volatile situation what are the re-percussions of appointment of a former Pakistan army chief in any capacity on Saudi soil with a lucrative benefit package underwritten by Saudi government? General Raheel Sharif is the only Pakistani army chief who left office with very high approval ratings. There is genuine respect and admiration for his conduct among all segments of the society. In army, he is respected for giving the final go ahead for North Waziristan operation and civilians give him the credit of taking back the initiative from terrorists. Targeting criminal elements of political Mafiosi in the port city of Karachi was also lauded by general public. If he decides to join the Saudi led coalition efforts many questions will be raised including taking a second look at his decisions while he was in office.
– Serving and retired Pakistani army officers work in United Nations framework in different conflict zones. It is a well recognized and properly regulated role under the auspices of army’s General Head Quarters (GHQ). Anything outside this framework is an unchartered territory. – There is also history of serving Pakistani officers working in Saudi Arabia in the framework of bilateral agreements and process was directly controlled by GHQ. – When Raheel was army chief, it was the collective decision of army and civilian government that Pakistan will not join Saudi led coalition. This was in line with general public opinion where all major political parties and independent media strongly advocated for staying away from the fires of Middle East. In my view this almost general consensus of the society was the main factor that forced government to stay neutral despite very close personal and family relations of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with Saudi royal family. Saudis were furious but later calmed down. If he joins now then he will be working directly against the stated policy of his own country and army that was taken under his own command. He has to explain what has changed now that he wants to be part of Saudi coalition.
– The question will be raised about the motivation. We all know that Raheel is not of religious bent and has no sectarian bias. The only reason will be a very lucrative package offered by Saudi Arabia. This will be linked with his decision not to push for his own extension as COAS (although many still believe that he tried to get one). It will be fair to ask that rather than retiring on a grade 22 pension, he wants an executive package even if offered by foreigners. Debt ridden poor Pakistani nation pays a very lucrative severance package to its army chief including prime residential, commercial and agricultural lands that is suffice to support him in his retirement and his next one or two generations. It is more than adequate compensation for their services especially when it is compared with the benefit package offered to the army chiefs of neighboring India and Bangladesh.
– The next question will be did he enter in this discussion about his future role with Saudi government while he was COAS and if yes did he inform his government?
– What can be his role? He will be hired and paid by Saudi Arabia and not any neutral entity or a party that has no direct conflict of interest with the outcome. His role will be essentially promoting and implementing official Saudi policy. This leads to next question of whether he will be involved on military or diplomatic front or both. Let’s dissect that. If he will be involved on military front, obviously he will not be wearing Saudi army uniform. His role could only be that of a military advisor. What qualifications he has to fulfill this military advisor role? He is an infantry officer who saw his force take back large swath of territory captured by militants in a totally different strategic and operational environment. Success was due to combination of factors including a re-organized and re-trained army led by highly motivated junior and mid-level officers, highly professional input from senior commanders and planning by an excellent General Staff branch led by one of the most respected officer. Raheel deserves the credit for some of his bold decisions. Pakistani experience has no semblance with events on ground in Yemen. He is not known for his intellectual brilliance where a scholar soldier can think beyond his own horizons and can give strategic insight in a different conflict. Military operations are conducted by Saudi forces with their own chain of command. They are not bound to follow recommendations of a non-Saudi advisor. There is very high likelihood of friction between a foreign advisor and host government as well as local military commanders. In such cases, advisor gets frustrated as no one is listening to his advice. On the other hand, if anything goes wrong i.e. large scale civilian casualties, the advisor will share the blame even if no one is heeding to his advice.
If he is assigned a role on diplomatic front what can he offer? He is a retired general with no special skills for any diplomatic task. As he will be employee of Saudi government, therefore he can only project his employer’s national interest and not as a mediator. If he is tasked by United Nations or Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) then he can have some credibility to act as a mediator. In any case, we must remember that Pakistan army chiefs make on the list of influential persons of Time magazine only because they hold the baton. Once you hand over the baton, you have no regional or international role. My suggestion is that after hanging boots, Pakistani generals should focus on improving their golf game rather than venturing into unknown territories.
– It is no secret that Pakistani civilians have been fighting on the killing fields of Iraq and Syria on both sides of the conflict. Iran and Saudi Arabia have recruited Pakistani youths to be sacrificed on the altar of sectarianism. As no serious research has been done therefore we don’t know the numbers. Even if numbers are small it adds fuel to the sectarian fire inside Pakistan. A former Pakistan army chief joining one party no matter in what capacity will invariably arouse anger among other partisans. If this door is opened, then will Pakistan also accept the notion that a Shia Lieutenant General who retires as Corps Commander and four weeks later hired by Iranian government as its defense advisor in Syria. Food for thought.
– How Pakistan army brass will see Raheel’s appointment? It is stated policy of Pakistan and collective decision of Pakistan army that Pakistan should stay away from the Yemen conflict. This means that he will have no support from Pakistan and his role will be essentially as an employee of Saudi Arabia. My own feeling is that Raheel’s visit was planned early but was delayed so that new army chief can have some input about the issue. It is a known fact that Bajwa was not Raheel’s choice just as Raheel was not Kayani’s choice. Bajwa brought in his own team quickly. Bajwa was busy taking control of his institution and bringing his own team therefore Raheel issue was down the list. Bajwa visited Saudi Arabia and although we don’t know what transpired between him and Saudi royal family but one can assume that Raheel’s role came up for discussion. If Bajwa has vetoed this proposal for a variety of reasons then Saudis will re-think. They will listen to a Pakistani army chief with baton rather than the one without it. In this case, Saudis may modify their proposal and offer Raheel such a deal that he cannot accept it and everything fades away. The other possibility is that they give him a consolation prize with an office, chauffer driven car and even a Gulfstream jet to fly around for one or two years but no real role in the game. That will not be a good position for Raheel to get into. One the other hand, after listening to the Saudi position and expectations, Raheel may himself decide that it is not good for him or his country and walks away. This will be the best case scenario.
– In recent past, there has been lot of resentment among junior army officers where senior army officers immediately after hanging the boots take a flight abroad and stay for extended period of time in some cases courtesy of foreign rulers. It is fair to ask the question that in what capacity they are working especially after serving at very high and sensitive positions where they are privy to state secrets? This matter is more serious than the so called Memo Gate scandal when an ambassador was dragged on coals for his alleged indiscretions.
Pakistan needs friendly relations with Saudi Arabia in view of economic and other interests. In view of trouble on both eastern and western borders, Pakistan also needs a working relationship with Iran. It is not in Pakistan’s interest to have troubled relations with either Saudi Arabia or Iran. Pakistan has to walk on a delicate line so that they are not entangled in Saudi Arabia-Iran rivalry as it is not good for Pakistan’s health. The ‘bang’ part of Saudi led operations is completed and now it has entered in a stalemate and ‘dirty’ phase. Any involvement of a senior retired army officer from a foreign country at this stage will only soil his own clothes.
In summary, if Raheel accepts Saudi offer, the only benefit is a generous personal financial package with no meaningful contribution towards Yemen crisis and a lot of uncomfortable questions rising about him as well as complications for Pakistan and its army. He retired on a very high note and he will be remembered by history how he faded away and not by balance in his bank account.