Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Eternal Cowboy Star: John Wayne

I was a small boy when John Wayne died in 1979. But even at that age  I loved the films of John Wayne and watched them in cinema halls with my friends while playing truant from school. Later,  I built up a collection of his films and have now over 90 of his films on my hard disk. For me there is no bigger star of cowboy films than John Wayne. Maybe Clint Eastwood would come a close second, but Wayne was the original macho star.
I saw his movie in a morning show in 1985 or 86  titled "True Grit". In this movie he plays an aging one eyed Marshal and the best scene is when he goes at the outlaws with the horses reins clenched in his mouth and both guns firing at the outlaws. It was a great shot and I am so glad that John Wayne won an Oscar as the best actor for this role in 1973.
Wayne was the original macho movie star. He had strong views about negroes. In one of his interviews in Playboymagazine he was asked what he thought of black rights. His reply was succinct and  lucid. He said "tell me in which country in the world does a black have a better life than in America?". How very true, as all over the world like in Africa, the black man is dying of hunger, malnutrition and internecine wars.
th 4 
John Wayne was a tough star and he lived his roles. One can remember his roles in  The Horse Soldiers, Big Jake, North to Alaska, the Longest day, True Grit and many more. I am told he acted in almost 170 films and never played a role as a supporting actor.  I have almost 90 films of his on my computer and it gives me great pleasure to watch him action on a afternoon holiday with a glass of beer.
Wayne teamed up with all the top heroines of that era. In any case the career of John Wayne touched almost 40 years. He was honored posthumously with the President of the United states Freedom Medal in 1980.
John while filming close to the Nuclear test site suffered some radiation and later developed cancer of the stomach. I think he died prematurely in 1979. He lived a full life and married thrice with 7 children from 2 wives. But this is just an aside and one cannot forget his drawl and the cowboy hat and the blazing gun.  Truly a Hollywood great.
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Subhas Chandra Bose and the Fascists

Bose in Indian Psyche
Indians respect Bose a lot, but then let us also accept the fact that we are hero worshipers and look for heroes everywhere. One reason is that we have had very few victors who could be role models for Indians down the last 900 years. What I am going to write emerged after a  discussion with a well known History professor of a leading University, who incidentally is a school mate of mine. He has written books, but its not appropriate to take his name here.  I will however give his view which is also incidentally mine own. 
Bose and Hitler
Bose first went to Germany to seek the help of Hitler in the liberation of India. Germany was a Fascist state which believed in racial theory of superiority of the German race. Hitler in his " Mien Kampf" ( My Struggle) has opined that British rule was good for India as Indians were not capable of self government. He had nothing but contempt for Indians. Just see that Bose landed in Germany in April 1941 and repeatedly requested for a audience with Hitler, but Hitler had no time for him and kept him waiting for over a year, before he met him in 1942. This was the importance that Hitler attached to Bose.
Fascists Policies
Another fact worth pondering is that any country like France, Russia or Greece conquered by Hitler's army were not given any freedom of any type. They were made colonies and repression was let loose as the Nazi looted these nations. For arguments sake if Hitler had invaded India, would he have given any freedom to the people who he held in contempt? It's naive to think that Hitler would have brought freedom to India.
Bose and Japan
Coming to Japan. It was also a imperialist state with Fascist leanings and  believing that  the Japanese race  was superior to all others. They behaved in a similar manner as the Germans and when they occupied China, they let loose a terrible oppression. They set up an independent republic of Munchkow under the last emperor of China Pu Yi,  but he was just a puppet. The Japanese controlled China and inflicted terrible atrocities. One has read about the rape of Nanking when the Imperial army raped and killed over a million Chinese. This is a fact of history. Incidentally they had promised freedom to the Chinese and talked of a co -prosperity sphere. Where did it go?
In other countries of SE Asia which they occupied their conduct was terrible. They carried out mass scale massacres in the Philippines and Malaya. In Burma they turned on the Burmese national Army led by Ne Win and despite occupying Burma, gave no freedom to the Burmese people.
Japanese and Andaman islands
The Japanese  occupied and were supposed to have given " freedom" to the Andaman Islands in 1942. But there was only a nominal head from the Indian National army and power was in the hands of the Japanese army. The massacres of Indians in the Andaman islands are well known. Worse when Bose visited  Port Blair in 1944, Indian wanted to apprise  Bose of the atrocities of the Japanese army, but he turned a blind eye so intent he was in capturing Delhi.
Let us also understand that Bose could not cause any defection of any great magnitude in the Indian army. If figures have a meaning 2.5 million Indians fought for the English, but the INA had only 40,000 soldiers at the maximum.( Just 2 divisions). These divisions were also not properly equipped by the Japanese with tanks and guns as they never trusted the INA. One cannot forget that the INA commander General Mohan Singh was imprisoned by the Japanese in an island off Rangoon, when he differed with them.
Last word
Keeping their occupation of China in mind and the treatment of Pu Yi and other places in SE Asia, where is the chance that if they had conquered India, they would have given freedom to Indians and Bose? More likely Bose would have been "bumped" off as they did to so many other leaders, Bose was thus naive, that he would be leading India  to freedom on the backs of the Japanese and the Germans.  Both nations were worse imperialists and the English and Gandhi realised this. That is the reason he declared that he would never support Fascism. It is on record, that Gandhi was aware that the fascists would never give India freedom.
The end of Bose
So what about Subhash Bose? We have romantic notions about him, but the great historian William Duff dismisses him as a man of no consequence in world history. There is no doubt that Bose seriously miscalculated  by joining the Fascist powers. That was his undoing and for that reason Stalin did not forgive him. There is ample evidence that he escaped to Russia and was imprisoned there and finally died a POW. This is a sad tale, but History means learning from the past and Bose did a blunder by joining the Fascists. In that respect Gandhi realised the danger better  and went against them. In a way he supported the British war effort.  All said and done, I also admire the courage of Bose, but its a good thing the Japanese did not win, otherwise a worse tyranny would have been imposed on India. Was Bose a Japanese stooge ? Justice Katju former Judge of the Supreme court thinks so, one may or may not agree with him..

Monday, July 27, 2015

Non-Sanction of One Rank One Pension is Telling on Indian Army Moral

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Background: Distrust of the Army

The Indian army has a history of nearly 200 years and before 1947 was known as the British Indian army. It is a force that made its name in 2 world wars and in battles for the king and empire all over the world from China ( boxer rebellion) , Opium wars to Afghanistan and Tibet( YoungHusband expedition).
After 1947 India under Nehru inherited this fighting machine. Unfortunately Nehru had little comprehension of military power as all his life he had spent in doing satyagraha or sitting on dharna. In addition when he came into power he saw the Pakistan army carry out a coup d'etat under general Ayub Khan and overthrow the elected government. This was followed by a military coup in Burma, where General Ne win a Buddhist took control of the country.
Nehru with little military knowledge feared a military coup and took steps to avert it. He in his wisdom decided to downgrade the military and deny it latest weaponry. In addition he took steps to prune the perks and privileges of the officer cadre and downgraded the general staff in order of precedence. He further put in places checks and controls by civilian authority, where all power was taken out of the hands of the general staff. The army was thus reduced to a paper tiger
Indian army World War I
Indian army World War I

Downgrading of Pension and Demand for OROP

Nehru died in 1964, a broken man as his ill equipped army was decisively beaten in the 1962 war with China. Large areas of India came under Chinese occupation and Nehru's image as " world Leader" took a severe beating. He became the laughing stock of the third world.
Nehru died in 1964, but his successors were no wiser and in the mid 1970's a decision was taken to downgrade the pensions of the army personnel. Earlier the pension was fixed at 70% of the last pay drawn, which was reduced to 50% of last pay drawn. This was a grievous blow to the army as the higher ratio of pension compensated for the early retirement of the soldier. Many soldiers retired at the young age of 36 and with a reduced pension, great hardship was caused.
Another point was that the pensions were fixed and a older retiree continued to draw the old pension which over the years lost it purchase value as inflation and other factors affected the value of the rupee. There was also no mechanism to bring old pension at par with the new retirees, whose pensions were relatively higher.
This anomaly in pension led to a demand for One Rank One Pension( OROP) so that old retired soldiers could be compensated. The demand required that old soldiers draw the same pension in service and rank as per new retirees.

Do you think OROP is justified

  • 75% yes
  • 25% No
4 people have voted in this poll.

Long Standing Demand and Arrival of Modi

The demand of OROP gatheredSTEAM during the last decade. The Congress government took notice of the demand and made some cosmetic approvals, but left the core issue untouched mainly because of the expense.
In 2014 Rahul Gandhi had a meeting with ex servicemen association and he was convinced that OROP was justified. He prodded the finance minister Mr. Chidambaram to announce OROP. This had an effect and the Congress government accepted that OROP was a necessity and approved it in the interim budget with a proviso of Rs 500 crores.
Unfortunately the Congress lost the election and the BJP came to power. The BJP leader Narendra Modi eyeing the vote bank of the ex-servicemen and the army started his election campaign with an address in Rewari, Haryana in which he announced that OROP would his first priority after he came to power. He continued shouting approval of this demand from rooftops and at nobody's instigation.

Backtracking of BJP and Modi

The BJP duly won the election and most ex-servicemen as well as serving personnel assumed that sanction of OROP was now a formality. Modi upped the hopes by making an announcement to troops in Kashmir that OROP is approved and it was his good fortune that OROP was sanctioned when he was the prime minister.
However there were some power centres in the BJP who not only wished to secretly undermine Modi, but were not happy to pay a large amount to the army. These men led by Arun Jaitley the Finance Minister and Raj Nath Singh the Home minister had little comprehension of what power politics means and what it means to have an army high on morale in the world polity of nations. Perhaps they need to read the books by Mao tse Tung and others. but in their limited horizon they torpedoed the demand for OROP and as such till date the demand is not approved.
Modi himself began to have second thoughts and like Nehru earlier thought that just moving around the world is by itself a sign of great power status, began to emulate him. He began to make trips to Chin, USA France and what not. Nehru came a cropper and Modi by not sanction OROP is heading the same way.

Effect on Morale and Agitation by Ex servicemen

The morale of the army has taken a beating. It is wrong to feel that the demand only concerns ex-servicemen, because it also concerns the serving soldier who will retire tomorrow. The ex servicemen have now mounted an agitation against the Modi government and a maha sammelan has been organised at jantar mantar on 14 June 2015. A petition signed with the blood of ex servicemen has been presented to Modi.
Unfortunately Modi and the BJP have shown callous regard for ex servicemen and not bothered that men who are 70, 80 and 90 are sitting in theHOT sun asking for a legitimate right. This is criminal neglect and shows the callous nature of this BJP government.
Worse the BJP leadership has been making promises, but all deadline given by them are past and now the PM Modi is talking of OROP as " complex Problem" and " many stake holders" and what not.

The Role of the General Staff

No discussion on this subject can be complete without mentioning the role of the the 3 service chiefs. It is not understood why, but the fact is the general staff has not been able to put any pressure on the government. It started with General Cariappa whose designation was changed from Cin C to Chief of Staff and he accepted without a murmur. Throughout history the general staff looking for plum postings after retirement has towed the government line. One can't forget that the earlier army chief accepted a written order from a Joint secretary. He was the infamous general Thapar who was out of his depth during the Chinese attack.
The present army chief General Dilbagh Singh has also come a cropper. His words are not honored and he still continues as COAS.
Present army chief
Present army chief

Last Word

The situation is snow balling and its about time the government addressed the issue. One shudders to think what will happen to army morale if this is delayed longer. One hopes Modi will see reason and sanction OROP without delay. Its up to Modi to make a mark in history or go the Nehru way.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Manohar Malgonkar: Army Colonel to Famous Novelist

One of the gifts of the Raj is the English Language . Many indians have picked up this language and mastered it to perfection.Thus we have Mulkraj Anand, Kushwant Singh, RK Narayan and Salman Rushdie- all Indians who have made for themselves a name, as writers of English fiction. However there is one writer Manohar Malgonkar, who is my favourite.
Malgonkar spent a fair amount of time in the Army during the Second World War. He left the Army at the end of the war as a lieutenant Colonel. But this stint in the Army, was to serve him in good stead as he used the Army background for a lot many of his novels. Thus Colonel Malgonkar wrote some of the finest epitaphs on the British Indian army. Two of his books 'Bandicoot run' and "Distant drums' , Malgonkar's acknowledgement and debt to the British Indian army which he served stand out.

Malgonkar also wrote a lot many other books like the famous ' Bend in the ganges' and the well researched non-fiction'The men who killed Gandhi'.  The last named was after a lot of research. Malgonkar compares very favourably with his contemporaries. But some fault him for being a little apologetic about the Raj. There is no doubt that the Raj featured prominently in his writings.
Malgonkar was born into a royal family, and educated at Bombay university. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Maratha Light Infantry,   The socio-historical milieu of those times form the backdrop of his novels, which are usually of action and adventure. He also wrote non-fiction, including biography and history.
Malgonkar lived in a remote bungalow, at some distance from the town of uttar kannada joida taloq Karnataka. His only child Sunita, who was educated at the famous Lawrence School Lawrence S, Sanawar, died in 1998.
Colonel Malgonkar is no more, but he has left behind a wealth of books to taste, savor and digest. He was certainly a master story teller, who kept the reader engrossed. It is a pity that the Indian Government has not honoured this man, who was certainly the best English writer of his generation.

How were Maummar Gaddafi's Women Guards Selected and Trained

 Maummar Gaddafi is no more( Let his soul rest in peace)  , but  he did something that will be remembered for long. This is his Women platoon of security guards often dubbed as the Amazon brigade. Gaddafi started this women brigade in the eighties. It is now known that there was intense competition to be the recruited as body guards in Gaddafi’s brigade. The following procedure was adopted.
a)  Women and girls from Libya who were unmarried were asked to join the Gaddafi brigade. One of the requirements was that a girl was to be a virgin. The selection procedure culminated with an interview by Gaddafi himself, who had the final say in the appointment.
b) After selection the women entered the Women Military training Academy at Tripoli. Here they were toughened with regular exercises and drills. The curriculum also included unarmed combat training.Candidates for the Amazonian Guard underwent extensive firearms and martial arts training. They practiced at the range and handled rifles and sten guns with ease. Gaddafi has gone on record and stated that women must learn unarmed combat to defend themselves. In that respect he was a supporter of womens lib.
c) At the academy the women soldiers had to take a special oath of loyalty to Gaddafi as well as a  a vow of chastity., Though this was perhaps not applicable to their relations with Gaddafi.
The women body guards  received   good wages and could lead a life of some comfort. In addition they had special privileges  regarding western style dresses and make up and lipstick. They were also kitted with special high heels and had western hair styles. They had regular visits to the beauty clinics. All this was anathema to hard line Muslim clerics and Al Qaeda, but Gaddafi pressed on with his schemes.  But like an Arabian nights tale the women body guards have evaporated with the demise of Gaddafi.  Some were captured, raped and shot and other just ran away.
The end of the women body guards was sad , perhaps inevitable. But what must be seen that he empowered women and nations can take a leaf out of teh book of Libya and Gaddafi. There is no harm in examining the motivation and training of the women guards of Gaddafi.   The procedures that are followed  can be applied in India and other countries as well. So there is always  something positive  out of a negative situation

English Girl in Indian ( Hindi and Tamil) Cinema

Feb 21st, 2012
An English girl in a sari has a heroine in Indian cinema is a rarity. Amy Jackson is one of them
Indian cinema is going global. Strange things are happening that have never happened before. Indian cinema never had heroines entering the screen from England and the USA, but that is happening now and the latest girl to make an entry in the world of Tamil and Hindi cinema is Amy Jackson. Here is a pure white blooded English girl, wearing Indian dresses and making it good in the world of Indian cinema.
Amy Louise Jackson was born in 1990 in the Isle of Man in England. Her father was working with the BBC. She won the ‘Teen Princess’ award in 2008 and came in the lime light. Immediately she landed a modeling contract for $20,000 that took her to the USA. She narrowly missed getting the Miss England award after being crowned Miss Liverpool.images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRIEiQWrYG-V_PKLfQC-oL
In 2009, some Indian film producers saw her on a model website and invited her for a screen test. She passed the test and got the role of British Governor’s daughter in the Tamil film Madrasapattinam(1947: A Love Story), opposite actor Arya. The film was released in 2010 and was a commercial success. This prompted the producers to cast hr in Mumbai Hindi film. She has now debuted in the Hindi film Ek Deewana tha opposite Prateik, son of actress Smita Patil and Raj Babbar. In this film she plays a Malyali Christian and is a remake of a Tamil film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. The film appears to be a commercial success. Credit must go to producer Gautham Menon who cast her in this role
Amy Jackson is perhaps one of the first British girls to make it good in Hindi cinema after a success in Tamil films. She is also well educated and attended Edwards College. She has 2 Tamil films on the sets.
Amy Jackson in the Mumbai film carries herself with aplomb and looks fetching in the sari. She has some lovely love scenes with Prateik in the film, which are an aesthetic delight
The globalization of Hindi cinema is complete with the coming of a British girl in Indian Cinema. This is certainly a challenge to Indian girls to make it good in Hollywood. A beginning is made by Malika Sherawat and Friedo Pinto, but sadly these two girls went nowhere: thats the truth
Amy has as yet not got the big break, but perhaps its around the corner as she is teamed with Akshay Kumar. Best of luck to her

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thr Congress and BJP are two sides of same Coin

One is reminded of the famous French revolution of 1789. The revolution was an expression of the disgust at the moral degradation of the French state, where corruption and nepotism ruled. Food had become scarce and there is the famous quote of the queen, who when confronted with lack of bread uttered " why cant the people eat cakes?".

In India we are heading for a similar  confrontation between the state and the people. Conditions are heading for a socio economic change, as the government has failed to articulate the aspirations of the people
 The Indian masses, god fearing as they are  have their patience taxed beyond measure.

The BJP is now in power led by a glib talker in Narendra Modi. This man shouted from roof talks about zero tolerance of corruption and nepotism. He mouthed cliches like " ache din" and "propriety". What he meant by these slogans can only be explained by him as the toiling Indian masses have seen nothing. In fact what they have seen  is a a carbon copy of the Congress rule.

 The Congress party led the Indian state to loss of International prestige and lowering the aspirations of the people. In 6 decades the Congress party became a byword for corruption and nepotism with a ineffectual prime minister, who sat fiddling like Nero when Rome burned. I wonder whether Manmohan Singh a prime minister for 10 years has anything good to say about his rule except that he was a lackey of the Gandhi family.

People expected a change  with all cliches that Modi could muster. There are a legion One Rank One pension, Eradication of poverty, more food , ache din from Modi, but alas it transpires this man and the BJP is of the same ilk as the Congress party.  There is no let up in corruption, scams   and sense of propriety in public life non-existent and yet this man talks of ushering in :" Ache din".

Modi and the BJP have taxed the Indian people's patience and it will not be long before the water overflows in an avalanche. Modi cannot take refuge behind a  Rs 9 lakh suit as he has Saturn in his 12th house and the next election will be a precipitous defeat. But what are the alternatives? Maybe a  revolution like the 1789 in France and then Modi the BJP and the Congress may have no place to hide.

Errol Flynn : Hollywood Star from a Bygone Age

Introducing Errol Flynn

Recently my girl friend brought some DVD’s of a star who the younger generation do not remember. She brought DVD's of Errol Flynn. I was aware of Errol Flynn, but had never seen any of his movies. Now that half a century has elapsed I have realized that Errol is a legend of Hollywood. Errol Flynn passed away in 1959, but he belonged to the age when the stars lived a luxurious life and set an example of extravaganza that was a matter of admiration for all.

The Real Flynn

Errol Flynn (1909-59) was a Hollywood star who has left behind an endearing image of a macho hero. He was born in Australia but made it good in Hollywood. He is credited with many roles as a swashbuckling hero who did justice to macho roles. But a fact not known at that time was that he was suffering from many diseases that were successfully hidden from the public at large.

His attempt  to enlist in the Army  as a mark of gratitude for granting him American citizenship came to naught, as the Army found him unfit for any type of military duty. This was a blow to the actor as he had acted as a hero in many war films.

Hits of Flynn

Flynn was a larger than average American hero and projected a macho image with films like The adventures of Robin Hood, They died with their boots on, The sea hawk, captain Blood, Adventures of Don Juan, The sun also rises and many more. He produced some stupendous hits that established  him as a star.

A Great Lover

However Errol's personal life was a reckless one and he womanized and drank like a fish. Thus at the end of the war he was almost an alcoholic. Yet at that time his role as the drunken hero of The Sun also rises won him critical acclaim.

Errol also had an ongoing battle with his health, which he aggravated with a reckless life style filled with girls, booze and sex. His fondness for sex with young girls almost landed him in soup when he was tried for sex with underage girls and was charged with statutory rape, but he escaped scot free.


Now there are allegations that Errol was bisexual and is supposed to have had a relationship with Tyrone Power among others. But he was married thrice and was by all accounts a lovable father. But the binge in his life continued and towards the fag end of his life he was involved with a 15 year old girl Beverly Aldan from a professional acting school. He proposed to marry her but died from a massive heart attack.

Last Word

The significance of Errol lies in the fact that he made it good in Hollywood without a godfather. He acted in roles that created a macho image of him and endeared him to the public. Not many knew of his medical problems. Perhaps if he had sobered down he would have survived longer.\
Now nearly 50 years after his death we can look back and thank God that Errol Flynn came on the scene to fire the imagination of many people as a swashbuckling star. He will be remembered as long as films are made and people see them as a source of entertainment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

America created a Mess in Iraq and Opened the Box of Pandora to Extremism


american flag

Iraq is a important state with a very ancient civilisation. Over the centuries Iraq lost itsindependent entity and became by the fifties of the last century a vassal of the United States. A revolution led by Lt General Kasem in 1958 destroyed the American dream and the entire pro-westmonarchy was wiped out.
Kasem was killed in 1963 and the Bath party, basically a Sunni outfit seized power.The leader of this party who rose later,named Saddam Hussein seized power and ushered in a bloody dictatorship. 
Saddam was a ruthless man, but he consolidated his rule in Iraq. Positively he broke ranks with hard line extremist organisations and charted an independent course.

Saddam and America

The United was in a cosy relationship with Saddam. They encouraged him to wage a war against Iran. But Saddam was checkmated by Iran and soon realised he had been led up the garden path. He became increasingly nationalist and this was not to the liking of Uncle Sam.
The Americans gave him a tacit approval to invade Kuwait. Once Iraq occupied Kuwait the Americans turned on him and the first Gulf war took place. Saddam was defeated and sued for peace. He accepted all the conditions imposed by the West.

Saddam and Islamic Extremists

Saddam's power

One plus point which the Americans never appreciated was Saddam's crackdown on extremist Islamic policyexponents like All Qaeda. He hanged scores of them as he was a progressive and did not believe in the Sharia. He also followed secular policy and his foreign minister was a Christian. He also supported India on Kashmir and thus antagonised the entire Muslim world.
Saddam was a bulwark against extremist Islam. As he was Sunni , a Shia dominated Iran wanted to see his back, but Saddam held on.

Ousting of Saddam and Opening of Pandora's box.

America and the gun

George Bush became President of USA. He manufactured false evidence that Saddam was manufacturing WMD. By an insidious propaganda trick he and his accomplice the British PM propagated that Saddam had to removed as he was a danger to world peace.

Whatever Bush and his accomplice had stated was a bunch of lies. But it gave him an excuse to attack Iraq. Bush in real terms lacked the quality of a great statesman as he could not visualise the effect of the removal of Saddam . In this he let the USA down and he thought he had "won". But it was a victory that was to like a bone in the American throat. It allowed the extremist ISIl to rise and the world knows what is happening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Collecting Machine Guns for Pleasure and Hobby

The Hobby of Collecting Machine Guns

People have been collecting guns all over the world for decades. It is akin to people collecting swords. But now a new hobby has emerged of collecting machine guns. In most countries in the world, owning a machine gun is illegal, but in the United States 34 states of the union, it is legal for citizens to own and shoot with machine guns

Machine guns are automatic fire arms that fire rounds in succession at the rate of several hundred rounds per minute. Machine guns are different from automatic rifles and one of the main differences is that machine guns are belt fed and are generally heavier that automatic rifles. Machine guns are classified into light, medium or heavy machine guns. A light machine gun can be carried, but generally most machine guns are effective when fired from a tripod stand. In US law a machine gun is “Any weapon which shoots ... automatically more than one shot, without manual  reloading, by a single function of the trigger”1\
 The machine gun has had a checkered history and was invented in the mid nineteenth century by Dr. Richard Jordon Gatling, whose weapon came to be known as the Gatling gun. He patented his invention in 1861. The Gatling gun was the first rapid firing gun and can be rightly called the ancestor of the modern machine gun. Dr Gatling  said  “ it occurred to me that if I could invent a machine-a gun- which could by its rapidity of fire, enable , one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies and consequently , exposure to battle and disease would be greatly decreased.”2

 a)    A bipod for Light machine guns. This was followed in 1885 by the Maxim gun which was the first machine gun that was self powered, in that it used the recoil energy of the previous bullet to load and fire the next bullet. The modern machine gun is a development of the Maxim gun.
Machine Guns Types and Description
All machine guns for firing use a  basic mounting which is  as follows
b) A tripod for a machine gun that obviated the man as a third leg.
c) A pintle point is used for connecting a machine gun to the frame of a ship or aircraft. A pintle point is basically a steel post that connects to the frame.
d) The last types of machine guns are those that do not use a human interface and are electrically fired like in a helicopter.
Collecting Guns
 People have been collecting guns all over the world for decades. It is akin to people collecting swords. But now a new hobby has emerged of collecting machine guns. In most countries in the world, owning a machine gun is illegal, but in the United States 34 states of the union, it is legal for citizens to own and shoot with machine guns. In case you wish to start a hobby as a machine gun collector than please insure that the state you reside allows you to own a machine gun as many states like Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington State and the district of Columbia, have a total ban on privately owned machine guns.
 However despite the above a quarter of a million Americans own machine guns. The National Firearms Act 1934 is the nodal act that governs collection of Machine Guns for any purpose or as a hobby. Before 1934, there was no bar on owning machine guns, but the NFA passed in 1934 made it mandatory to register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire arms (BATF)3.. Machine guns by and large have never been used in a crime as the procedure for owning a machine gun is very stringent. It must be noted that machine guns cannot be purchased across the counter and a lengthy period from 60to180 days elapse before you can own a machine gun.
 The procedure for getting a license is as follows
 a)    Live in a state where class III weapons are legal
b)    Be a US Citizen
c)    At least 21 years old
d)     Not convicted of a felony or domestic violence
e)    Never been dishonorably discharged from the army
f)     Never been adjudicated mentally defective.
In addition you will need an approval from the local law enforcement officer, this could typically be a county sheriff, chief of police, prosecutor or judge. You will also be finger printed and pay $ 200 for each machine gun being transferred to you.
In case the local police do not sign your approval certificate then you will be at the end of the road
Another point that is important and cannot be overlooked is that for civilian possession, all machine guns must have been manufactured and registered with ATF prior to May 19, 1968 for transfer between citizens. Post 1968 machine guns can only be sold to the government, law enforcement agencies and military entities by a class II manufacturer, who has paid for Special Occupational Tax stamp (SOT). Machine guns’ collecting as a hobby has many facets, but most focus on the historic, technical or artistic merits of the machine guns which make them appealing to collectors Though there are restrictions in owning machine guns the thrill for a weapon connoisseur cannot be easily understood. It is a newer hobby in the United States. Unfortunately it is not permitted in tens of countries around the world like India and Europe. Chinese citizens cannot purchase any types of weapons. While buying a machine gun the following may be considered
 Last Word
 Though Machine guns manufactured after 1986 are out of bounds, yet there are thousands of machine guns that are available for you to buy. Collecting machine guns is an enjoyable hobby for a man who has handled such weapons.

A Princess Without a Crown: Princess Bambi Daughter of Last Sikh Emperor Dalip Singh

Princess Bambi Dalip Singh, the Last of Maharajah Ranjit Singh Family

Princess Bambi Dalip Singh was the last of the Ranjit Singh clan.She settled in Lahore in Pakistan where she breathed her last in 1959. She was given a Christian burial and some ministers of the Pakistan government attended. No Pakistani Sikh or Indian was allowed to attend the funeral. Her grave is at Lahore.

The beginning or End?
Ranjit Singh expired in 1839. He was succeeded by his youngest son Dalip Singh in 1843. After the 2nd Anglo Sikh war Dalip Singh was deposed and taken to England. He had 8 children, but only his daughter princess Bambi Duleep Singh achieved any recognition and survived.
Rise of Dalip Singh

Dalip Singh's rise to the throne was itself mired by bloodshed as two of his elder brothers were killed in court intrigue and he was put on the throne when he was just a child in 1843. After Dalip Singh was deposed, his upbringing was taken over by the British who converted him to Christianity and took him to England. Dalip Singh was well received in society in England . But on being refused an increase in pension he left England in 1882. Dalip Singh married twice and had 8 children. Unfortunately all his children deceased except Princess Bambi Dalip Singh.
The Princess

 She was born in 1869 in England from his first wife Maharani Bamba Muller. She received her education in England and soon became a part of London society as a self styled 'Maharani' from Punjab. She petitioned the British government for a restoration of her title and return of the kingdom of Punjab. This was a naive request as no power hands over any land after it is annexed.
Return to India

 She made her first visit to India in 1924, when she was 55. She landed in Bombay and proceeded to Pune, where her grandmother Rani Jindan Kaur was buried. She got the remains of her mother transferred to Lahore and installed next to the samadhi of her grandfather Maharajah Ranjit Singh. This was her first visit to Lahore and the teeming bazars enthralled her. In Punjab she wished to recreate the magic of the Lahore Durbar and set about tracing the nobles who had worked with Ranjit Singh. She was able to trace the descendants of Hari Singh Nalwa and Sandhanwalia. She married but had no children. She continued staying in London, but took a keen interest in the affairs of the Punjab. But she had very little clout and no political standing , for which the Punjab political leaders ignored her.
Political Views

 She was opposed to the division of Punjab and lobbied against it, but no one listened to her. After 1947 princess Bambi settled in Lahore in Pakistan. She lived a quiet life surrounded by her memorabilia of paintings and sculptors. These are now displayed in the Lahore Museum as after her death the collection was taken over by the Pakistan government.

Maharani Bambi died in 1959 at the age of 90. She was given a Christian burial, though in her last days she had converted to Sikhism.She is buried in the Lahore cemetery. But in a churlish act, The Pakistan government refused any Indian or Sikh permission to attend her funeral. Thus passed away the last of the Ranjit Singh clan.Only a small obituary in the daily newspapers announced her death. The dynasty that had ruled Punjab( modern day Pakistan) went into oblivion.

Monday, July 20, 2015

One Rank One Pension at the Cross Roads: What Next ? Will the Agitation Peter Out ?

The One Rank One Pension ( OROP)  agitation by ex-servicemen is now many weeks old and nothing much is achieved. A Petition signed in blood has been presented to the  President , who has done nothing , In any case months back I had said nothing will happen as the Government  i.e. the political leadership know that the general Staff led by General Dalbir Singh Suhag is their biggest passive supporter. The General is eyeing a career after he retires and as such supporting OROP is not his cup of tea. He would like the agitation to be called off and then "await" the benevolence of the Modi government for a crumb or two, that will be thrown.

There are also a lot of senior officers  and perhaps I can include myself in that category who are relatively well off. These worthies talk of " honor Code" , "conduct of an officer",  " Decorum" and what not and want the agitation to just go on like this or just peter out. I really am not sure whether these gentlemen are interested in OROP. They would be happy to sit in an armchair and mouth the cliches that I have mentioned. Maybe some of the Generals and other officers with the BJP are also of this opinion. In effect it means to have an agitation sans any teeth and we all know that ultimately such an agitation will peter out as the Modi government is not going to sanction OROP as I have said again at the risk of repeating that the enemy lies within and the government knows that the General Staff and a fine line of senior officers both retired and serving will  sabotage this movement.

The worthies who write long letters on propriety, must first answer as to what is in their hearts. What do these worthies want. Are they aware of the rule of the military in Burma? Do they need some education that a pacifist country has created a special constitutional mechanism for perpetual rule by Army? Are they aware that a form of martial law  in in force in Thailand and I am not talking of Pakistan. Such worthies will dismiss Pakistan that " its a failed state " and other blah blah.

The agitation must be intensified and the senior fraternity must be  told in no uncertain terms that black sheep cannot be tolerated.  The COAS must be made aware that he is not a warrior, for two reasons. one a warrior always stands by his words and two he leads from the front. On both issues general DS Suhag has failed and that also includes the tribe writing inane and innuendos  on the way to conduct a agitation.

Guru Gobind Singh has shown a clear way. and there should be no fear in asking for a legitimate right. But the think tank must take the support of whosoever is given and even convince the RSS and the Jamat to support. The Supreme court though can only give limited relief as the GOI will not listen. For men like Modi the honor and sanctity of the nation is no matter at all.

Lastly I will add that Modi has Saturn in his 12the house. This is called the Napoleonic house and we know what happened to Napoleon. Modi will be defeated at the next polls, but he still will not exert and over rule his lieutenants  and sanction OROP. That India is shamed in the world is a matter of no consequence to him and worse to the COAS. I will not hesitate to call a spade a  spade

A Christain Dating and Marriage site

Company snapshot Singles of Faith
With the advent of the internet the world has changed and barriers of contact between people have been erased. Dating sites have made full use of this application of technology and have proliferated. We now have sites catering exclusively to a religious sect like Muslims or sites that represent a particular area like Iran.
The Christians are not far behind and a number of Christian dating and marriage sites have mushroomed. One of these sites is  that caters exclusively to men and women who profess the Christian faith

Brands and Services 

Singles of Faith is a dating site with a difference as it exclusively caters to Christians and also restricts its membership to residents of the USA. The site was set up in 2000 though it is operational since 1981. The aim of the site is to help Christians find a partner or date for love and marriage.  Another aim of the site is to strengthen the bond of the members with the Christian faith. The promoters of the site feel that they are furthering the will of god by doing this.

 The sites stress is on helping Christians find a partner and with that in view the site is a shade cheaper than normal dating sites. In addition the membership fees are structured in a way that they depend on the number of Christian members within a radius of 200 miles from where you stay. You can sign up for a free or paid membership.

As a nonpaying member you can access the site and the search facility, but will not be able to activate your mail box to proceed further. However this facility is a help as you can see how many members are in your area.

Once you become a paid member you can make use of other facilities of the site. Unfortunately the site has only a mailbox system, unlike other sites. The site does not have live chat, instant messenger or other contact feature. This can be considered a drawback. But the site more than makes up for this lacuna by organizing social events across the USA for its members. These are gala affairs where the members can meet the men and women whom they wish to date in flesh and blood. Gays are not accepted.

The stress of the site is on the Christian faith and members will receive articles and write ups on how to be a good Christian. They will also send you tip on getting the best out of Christianity.
 Christian singles also have a unique program that helps you to earn money by becoming an affiliate. You can work full time or part time and can make some decent income as well. As an affiliate you will have to organize dating events and recreational events in your area.
The sites paid membership is also unique and is structured as per the number of members in your area.  The rates are as follows.
Under                   500                         local members . . . . . . . .                $19 membership till married
                                501 -1,500            local members . . . . . . . .               $19 for 3 months             
                                1,501-2,000         local members . . . . . . . .               $19 for 2 months
                                2,001-3,000         local members . . . . . . . .               $19 for 1 month
The site is at present under up gradation and prospective members will have to bear some discomfort till it’s fully operational. One drawback of the site is that a membership can be cancelled in case anybody does not adhere to Biblical principles.

Return and Refunds.

The site allows you a refund of your subscription. For a refund you must send an email to the company at UserSupport@SinglesOfFaith.Com. The site advises that you also contact your subscription agent PayPal directly. No refunds are available in case you have used the site facilities.


The site  restricts its membership only to Christians who reside in the USA. It is not a global site though the site can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Membership of the site is not restricted only to Christians and members of other religious groups can be members, but they will have to abide by the Christian code.

Location and Customer Contact

Christian singles has a vibrant contact and customer service. This can be done by 2 ways
  (1) By Email at UserSupport@SinglesOfFaith.Com
The email must contain your member ID and password and the original email when you had joined. In case no reply is received within 48 hours the email must be resent.
  (2)  The site can be contacted by U.S. Mail at the following address
  16042 North 32nd Street
Phoenix, Arizona  85032 
Singles of faith do not advertise their number. They can be contacted at 602-487-9832.