A Tigress was Bayoneted by a brave Sikh of the Indian army and thus established a world recordBravery of the SikhsThe year was 1954, 17 Sikh was located at Agra and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Shamsher Singh, whose outstanding leadership and exploits in the 1947-48 war in Jammu and Kashmir were part of regimental lore. The unit was out on a training camp in a forest near Shivpuri, which was to culminate in a test exercise.One day, Sepoy Fauja Singh, who was part of the officer’s mess staff, went to collect firewood for the mess kitchen. Suddenly, a tigress jumped out from a thicket and pounced on him. Instinctively, he tried to fight her off with his bare hands. After a brief struggle, the tigress caught Fauja Singh’s turban in her mouth and thinking that she had got the kill, disappeared back into the thicket. Fauja Singh was badly mauled and he was evacuated to the military hospital immediately, but more to the point, he was extremely upset about the loss of his turban.More reports poured in about the tigress with four cubs, who had turned into a man eater, it seemed. She had killed two persons from a village nearby. True to the Indian Army tradition, this didn’t stop the training, which continued as per plan, and the test exercise was cleared with honours.At the end of the exercise Lt Col Shamsher Singh proposed to his Brigade
Commander, Brigadier Danny Misra, that since the tigress had turned into
a maneater and the area was used by the brigade for training, it would be
prudent to kill the tigress. Back in those days, shikar was allowed in the Army and a hobby for some. In that spirit, Brig Danny Misra agreed to the proposal, but with a rider.
“Shamsher,” he said. “Killing a tiger with rifles is too easy. Can the Sikhs do it with bayonets?” Never one to shy away from a challenge, Singh said, “So shall
it be, Sir!”The die was cast. Shamsher returned and briefed his unit. He prepped his
soldiers by telling them stories of how Hari Singh Nalwa, commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa army, had once killed a tiger with his bare hands by catching hold of its tongue and choking it.It was decided that the unit would assault the general area where the tigress was suspected to have hidden in traditional infantry manner. Once the tigress attacked an individual, he must use the bayonet to counter attack it while the personnel on his flanks would turn inwards to attack the tigress with bayonets and finish the task. This drill was rehearsed to perfection. Next morning, two companies of 17 Sikh formed an assault line 200 yards long, with the Commanding Officer’s party in the centre.
Bayonets were fixed on the Enfield .303 rifles and the assault commenced.It was a surreal scene: bayonets glinted in the morning sun with soldiers of 17 Sikh shouting “Jo bole so nihal!”, out to kill a maneating tigress with only bayonets! On the far side of the suspected area, the Divisional Commander, General Dargalkar, and the Brig Danny Misra, sat on a machan with sporting rifles. Misra didn’t believe the tigress could be killed with bayonets. His plan was that the assault by 17 Sikh would drive the tigress towards the machan, where Gen Dargalkar and he would kill her.The movement of the assault line was laborious due to the broken terrain but after 20 minutes, the den of the tigress was located.She had fled, but her three cubs were found, captured alive and later presented to the Agra zoo. Fauja Singh’s turban was also found in the den.The assault line formed again and moved forward with regimental war cry.
After 10 minutes, the roar of the tigress was heard. Singh shouted to his
boys, “Tagde ho jao!” (“Gird up and get ready for action!”). And then, suddenly, the tigress leapt out of the thicket and attacked the assault line. Sepoy Sucha Singh was directly in front and he adopted the traditional bayonet fighting stance, meeting the tigress’ assault head on with his weapon. As she came at him, he plunged his bayonet into her chest. It got buried to the hilt, inside the tigress’ chest, but the momentum of her charge knocked Sucha Singh down.Both he and the tigress fell 10 yards forward. As per the rehearsed drill, the soldiers on the flanks turned inwards and pounced on the tigress, pinning
her down with their bayonets. It wasn’t necessary. Sucha Singh had already pierced her heart.It was then that the sound of a rifle shot was heard.
Shamsher was livid with anger, thinking one of his men had disobeyed orders. He
rushed to the scene and asked who had fired the shot. The company assured him no shot had been fired and the report had come from the direction of the
machan. Shamsher ordered the success signal be fired with the Very Light Pistol and 500 hundred voices joined him in the long jaikara of “Jo bole so nihal!‘.Then Shamsher rushed to Sucha Singh, who was badly mauled but on inquiry
about his wounds said, “Saab ji main tan theek haan, par woh sali sherni meri rifle lai gayee.” (“Sir, I am ok but the damn tigress has taken off with my rifle”). The loss of a weapon is a very serious lapse in the army! Sucha Singh was assured that the rifle has been recovered and that he was now nearly at par with the great Hari Singh Nalwa for having single-handedly killed a tigress. He was evacuated to the military hospital.A telegram was despatched to Fauja Singh: “Revenge taken! Tigress killed!
Turban recovered!” Sepoy Sucha Singh was immediately promoted to Lance
Naik and on that day, 17 Sikh was rechristened the Tiger Battalion.The bayonet of Sucha Singh had developed a 10-degree curve due to the force of the impact with the tigress. A most unusual occurrence, as bayonets are usually made of brittle metal designed to pierce and break when it hits a hard surface. Shamsher directed Sucha Singh’s bayonet must be kept as a trophy. The Quarter Master in his enthusiasm to get Sucha Singh his replacement mistakenly sent the bayonet back to the ordinance depot for replacement. Fortunately, it was located and brought right back to the unit. The bayonet, along with the skin of the tigress and news paper coverage of the event, still adorn the officers’ mess of 17 Sikh The Tiger Battalion.While Sucha Singh was being taken to the military military hospital, Shamsher went to the machan to report the success of the mission to Misra and Dargalkar, who were still on the machan.To his amusement and the embarrassment of the VIPs, Shamsher learnt that in the excitement of the whole action, one of the rifles from the VIP machan had
dropped to the ground. That was the rifle shot Shamsher had heard!Later, Misra along with Shamsher went to meet Sucha Singh in the hospital. The brigadier asked Sucha Singh, “Kya aapne hi sherni ko mara tha?” (“Are you
the one who killed the tigress?”) A peeved Sucha Singh replied, “Asli bayonet toh mainne hi mara tha, sir, par mari hui sherni par bad mein aur bhi maarte gaye. Aur mainne suna ki dar ke mare VIP machan se, kisi rifle nichhe gir kar fire ho gayee.” (“I’m the one who got her with the bayonet first, but others attacked the dead tigress too. And I heard that up in the VIP machan, someone got so scared that they dropped their rifle by mistake and fired it.”)Nine years later, Colonel Shamsher as the Centre Commandant of the Sikh Regimental Centre at Meerut Cantonment, was interviewing soldiers going on pension when he heard the familiar voice of Havaldar Sucha Singh. He reported that he was going on pension. Shamsher took a quick decision and directed the pension orders to be cancelled.Instead, Sucha Singh was promoted to the rank of Jemadar. There were objections from higher headquarters, but Shamsher had a simple reply:
“Sucha Singh is probably the only man in history to have killed a tigress with a bayonet. He deserves to be a JCO!”
Friday, May 17, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Realist movement was a movement that appeared just after the Romantic movement. This movement was spearheaded by Theodore Gericault and Eugene Delacroix. The romantic movement concentrated on paintings that pleased the eye. Gustave brought in the realist
The world of art and painting is as old as history. From the earliest time paintings and art have dominated the ethos of man. Thus there are ancient cave paintings from the prehistoric age to the modern art of the present era. One aspect that has dominated art is painting a woman in the nude. This is one of gods greatest gift and obviously painters have tried to do justice to this aspect, by painting women in the nude.
A look at the nude paintings of almost 2000 years and even more, one can see that 99% of them were devoid of human hair. Women were presented as porcelain models who had no hair. Thus the Greek and Roman paintings including from Egypt and India depicted women without hair. The famous paintings from the Greek era show the beautiful Greek goddesses as hairless beauties. Obviously this was something unreal and a new breed of painters in France in the 19th century took it upon themselves to bring about realism in their paintings.Oone of these painters is Gustave Coubert( 1819-77). Gustav was among a new breed of painters who advocated realist approach to art. The Realist movement in art is due a lot to him and Eduard Manet who in 1863 painted Olympia. This painting when displayed in the art show in Paris in 1863 needed two guards to protect it.
What was the Realist movement? It was a movement that appeared just after the Romantic movement. This movement was spearheaded by Theodore Gericault and Eugene Delacroix. The Romantic movement concentrated on paintings that pleased the eye. Gustave brought in the realist movement where he painted nudes, landscapes and still life as seen from the eyes of man. This obviously necessitated the painting of subjects that some considered vulgar. Gustave painted the harshness of life and he also painted women as he saw them complete with pubic hair. He brought into question the age old ethics of art.
In 1866 Gustave took on the church and prudery head on by oil- painting one of his most notorious paintings. Titled the L'Oringine du Monde ( Origin of the world). The painting is presently displayed in the Musee d'Orsay, Paris. The painting is a close up view of a woman who is nude and sleeping on a bed. The painting by Gustave is a part of what he believed-realism and can be termed as erotic. Gustave used a live model for this painting, a girl named Joanna Hiffernan. She earlier had a love affair with an American painter James Whistler, but after this painting Joanna and Whistler separated.
The 19th century was a revolutionary one as art took a U-turn. The new breed of painter began to paint slums and the poor as a part of the realist movement. But we must give credit to Gustave Coubert for starting this movement. He is no more but he struck an important blow for art and truth.
The painting L origine du Monde displayed in the Musee'Orsay, Paris by Gustave Couber
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Sunday, April 14, 2019
I have read the article forwarded by Admiral Stanley OLeary as well as his comments. I think whatever is stated is true and cannot be contested. This article mentions that a letter written by veterans to the President needs to be supported. I will, however, like to digress a little as comparisons are drawn with Russia, USA, and China. I don't think we measure up to these countries as they are global powers and we are not.
When we don't make any weaponry of any sophisticated value and rely only on imports, is not the sign of world power. We are of course the largest importer of arms. Historically no nation becomes a world power by just importing arms. This difference is important as the armed forces do not have the same clout as in Russia and China. I have been to Russia and have observed that the Russian officer is better in terms of perks and amenities compared to the civil service, that is because Russian influence in global affairs depends on the Russian armed force. I suppose the same with China but I am not sure.
The Indian top brass is squarely responsible for all the shortcomings likeNFU etc which are not sanctioned. The Chiefs have been pussy footed to present anything to the government and its a long tradition. Remember the COAS General Thapar accepted an order signed by a Jt secretary - MOD. Its all part of history as such the COAS who is really the only chief who has clout has always said: "yes sir". If NFU has not come it is again because of the top general staff. Many have told me that the Chiefs are not happy with NFU, parity with civil services be dammed. Similarly for reasons best known to them the Chiefs have put no pressure for OROP to be sanctioned.
Talking of great powers like Russia, China, USA is not relevant to our situation We can just look around us. Burma ( 30% seat in NA reserved for the military) and Thailand and now Indonesia the armed forces call the shots. Pakistan is our brethern having inherited the same British Indian army and it is THE STATE. If the armed forces in India are sidelined it is because the top brass feels that it's correct. I don't think there is any conviction of the COAS to press any point, but being an appointee by Mr. Modi and having superseded 2 senior generals I think he is beholden to the GOI, so nothing can be expected. But he is not the first and right from the time of the first Cin C this is going on. Maybe it has something to do with the Hindu ethos and Frank Moraes who wrote of the " meek and mild Hindu". But so are Buddhists, yet the army in Burma and Thailand is the real ruler.
My personal take is that nothing is going to happen. One thing is clear blaming the civil services is not correct because we ourselves want to play second fiddle to them.
Coming to the letter it's all hogwash, just to embarrass the Mood government. Throw it in the dustbin
Friday, April 12, 2019
Now look at our ancient history, India unlike the Greek states had no tradition of democracy. The king ruled by divine right and one can say people were Happy. The empires of Kanishka and Chandragupta are a testimony to this.
England had a long history of limiting the power of the king. They had the Magna Carta while in India it was autocracy all the way. It was not bad but then this is a fact. In fact, come to think of it the 200 years of the Raj were the most tranquil in the history of India. This was the period when the Hindus were given their rights and after 900 years got rid of the obnoxious effects of Muslim rule like Jizzia and conversion. So maybe democracy like in the UK is unsuited to India but now the clock cannot be put back.