Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sino-Pak axis!rajinder puri: 24 Aug 2013

[India should not wait for Pakistan’s demands to give its reaction. It should take the initiative and state clearly its own minimum demands. At the appropriate stage the same can be done with Beijing.   If the response from either Beijing or Islamabad, or from both, is negative India should abandon  efforts  for  a settlement ~] 

More than one reputed security analyst has made alarming predictions that the spate of recent border violations by both China and Pakistan signifies a complicit strategy and design leading to major conflagration.
 It is of course theoretically possible that China could be helping Pakistan to grab Kashmir by extending logistic support through a twin-pronged attack. 

However, that seems unlikely. Creating the extreme situation of war may not be the real objective of Beijing and Islamabad . More likely serious pressure is being exerted on New Delhi before the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in the last week of September. That might explain the dual policy of simultaneously brandishing both carrot and stick being pursued equally by China and Pakistan . Perhaps military pressure is being used to achieve diplomatic gains. Therefore, while making all military and diplomatic preparations for confronting the worst  India should also formulate a clear policy about protecting its core interests in the event of meaningful peace talks. What might be our core interests with Pakistan and China for a stable peace? Consider both nations in that order.

It is reasonable to believe that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does genuinely want peace in order to stabilize his tenure. But he is facing severe constraints that need to be understood. He cannot ignore the wishes of the army. He cannot ignore the anti-India sentiment nurtured over the years by fundamentalist forces. He has to achieve peace by showing tangible Pakistani gain. That is why he harps on the compelling need for a Kashmir solution. Kashmir remains the core issue and the key to defusing domestic opposition to a final Indo-Pak settlement. 

Pakistani public opinion needs to be dispassionately assessed. People believe that Kashmir is unsettled territory in which Pakistan has a genuine claim. It cannot be denied that New Delhi’s past follies and historical events have created a confused situation that does encourage such Pakistani sentiment.

When the princely states were given the option of joining India, Pakistan or remaining independent by the British in 1947, Kashmir was a Muslim majority state ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. The state had contiguous borders with both India and Pakistan. That is why Maharaja Hari Singh, Dr. Karan Singh’s father, wanted independence. That move was feasible but it was pre-empted by Pakistani raiders backed by the Pakistan army with tacit encouragement of the British to invade Kashmir. 

Whitehall at that point of time had its own strategic calculations to support Partition that would ensure the permanent division of the subcontinent. Kashmir as a permanent bone of contention between India and Pakistan served that purpose. This was accomplished by British Generals who led both the Indian and Pakistani armies. That is why a junior Major Brown belonging to the state’s border scouts could bypass the army high command of both nations to arbitrarily declare that Gilgit was part of Pakistan.

The confusion was compounded by Nehru approaching the UN for intervention instead of driving out the raiders which was militarily achievable.  Confusion was further compounded by India accepting the UN Resolution on a Kashmir plebiscite. Things deteriorated beyond repair by India foolishly opposing for decades the plebiscite instead of insisting on implementation of its preconditions that virtually crippled Pakistan’s prospects. 

Thereby India became embedded in public consciousness across the world as being guilty and defensive on Kashmir while Pakistan was perceived as the wronged party representing Kashmiri sentiment. The army help extended by India to create Bangladesh further inflamed anti-Indian sentiment in Pakistan. With all these factors Pakistani public opinion will not reconcile itself to peace with India without evening the score. It is futile to discuss the merits or demerits of such thinking. This feeling exists. And for any realistic attempt to stabilize relations with Pakistan, New Delhi will have to address this problem if it at all desires peace.

What can India do? 

Obviously New Delhi must formulate an explicit policy to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Credible opinion surveys have established that the people of Jammu , Ladakh and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) are content to remain as they are. Only, both sides desire soft borders and free movement of people across two sides of the border. The real dispute pertains only to the Valley. Here the vast majority want independence. A few prefer India . Even less want to merge with Pakistan. It is in relation to the Valley that New Delhi must formulate a mutually acceptable formula for settlement. 

After its complex history clearly the only credible and honourable solution would be for the people of the Valley to decide their own fate. Indeed, while accepting the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir to India, Nehru had added the caveat that it would be “in accordance with the wishes of the people”. However since then and now much has changed.

Therefore, the Indian government must insist that the offer of self-determination to people in the Valley must be accompanied by a clear acceptance in principle that India, Pakistan and the Valley, whatever is its fate, become over a period of time part of a South Asian Union having joint defence and common market with free movement of goods and people across all borders. The entire process may be phased over a specified time-frame to culminate eventually in joint defence between the armies of India and Pakistan. 

Thereby the security of both nations would be safeguarded. If Pakistan does not accept in principle this perfectly reasonable proposal, it may be concluded that its government’s motives are suspect.

As for China, it followed up its several recent encroachments in Ladakh with an advance into Arunachal Pradesh. It is likely Beijing really seeks legitimate access between Xingjian and Tibet which it can obtain only through Aksai Chin in Ladakh. 

In 1960 Zhou Enlai had suggested Beijing accepting legitimacy of the McMahon Line in the east in exchange for Aksai Chin ceded to China in the west. There is no question of entertaining any Chinese claim over the people of either Arunachal or Ladakh who are firmly with India . India should be prepared to consider a long lease to China for the narrow passage required to connect Xingjian to Tibet in return for Beijing renouncing its claims on Arunachal. After all, Beijing had given a written assurance to India in 2005 that in settling border disputes no settled populations would be disturbed. Beijing is now brazenly reneging on its written assurance by laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

These proposals, that have been voiced before, are repeated prior to the projected meeting between Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Mr Manmohan Singh in New York next month. India should not wait for Pakistan’s demands to give its reaction. It should take the initiative and state clearly its own minimum demands. At the appropriate stage the same can be done with Beijing . If the response from either Beijing or Islamabad, or from both, is negative India should abandon efforts for a settlement. It can then pursue other effective options to deal with either nation, or if required with both nations. It would be premature to dwell on these options at this stage.

The Indian Rupee Keeps Falling While New Delhi Scrambles for Solutions
Aug. 22, 2013
Rupee plunge
Kunal Patil / Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Onlookers standing outside the Bombay Stock Exchange react as they watch share prices on the facade of the BSE building in Mumbai on Aug. 19, 2013


The rupee is in trouble, and nobody seems quite sure what to do about it. The Indian currency closed at an all-time low of 64.11 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday alongside a tumbling market, feeding widespread anxiety over the fact that the government has yet to curb the currency’s downward trajectory since it started tumbling in May. On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank issued a report saying the rupee may reach as low as 70 in the coming months.
It’s the latest bit of unwelcome news in a bad few years for the Indian economy, which has slowed from its rapid 9% growth rate to a forecast of between 5.5% and 5.7% for this fiscal year.
Why is it the rupee’s turn to take a beating? Part of the problem is not India’s alone. With the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to start tapering off a stimulus program that has pumped cash into the global economy, investors have grown wary of the emerging markets they became so fond of in recent years. Countries running their own current account deficits (CAD) have borne the brunt of the mood swing: currencies in India, Brazil and Indonesia, among others, have seen drops as investors pull money out ahead of the Fed’s anticipated tightening.
That problem may be global, but the fact that the Indian economy has some homegrown structural problems has exacerbated the flight of foreign funds. “If you’re an investor, you want to put your money where there’s going to be growth,” says Daniel Martin, an economist with Capital Economics in Singapore. “The shine has come off India. It’s not the glaring success story it was a few years ago.”
That’s not a new assessment, but it’s important now because it means that the core issues slowing down Indian growth are now hurting its currency — and, by proxy, Indian consumers who want to buy, say, an imported phone, or foreign carmakers that need to import parts. Those fundamental weaknesses — poor infrastructure, unreliable power supply, difficulty in securing land and lots of sticky red tape — are all keeping foreign investment out of the country, and that’s a problem for a country that imports far more than it exports and thus needs to finance a large current account deficit. When the CAD widens, the rupee’s decline accelerates further. So even at a time when many emerging markets are looking risky to investors, India is looking riskier than most.
The government is attempting several things to stem the rupee’s decline, including trying toreduce the CAD by increasing import taxes on gold and limiting how much money Indians can send abroad. In July, after the rupee hit an earlier low, the Reserve Bank of India made moves to raise interest rates to tighten liquidity in the domestic market. That didn’t help, and this week, the bank changed tack, announcing it would take action to flow more cash into the economy to bring interest rates down and usher in growth. The move caused markets to open on Wednesday on a note of optimism, but that fizzled by the end of the day.
Some analysts worry that this kind of policy turnaround could be read as a further sign of weakness by investors. Then again, longer-term lower interest rates are in keeping with what many say will ultimately help get the economy back on track. Some even speculate that the rupee’s decline could have unintended but welcome benefits. Capital Economics, in a reportpublished on Aug. 20, pointed out that a weaker rupee could help exports grow — in short, “exactly what is needed over the long run to narrow the current account deficit and reduce India’s dependence on volatile financing from abroad.”

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/08/22/the-indian-rupee-keeps-falling-while-new-delhi-scrambles-for-solutions/#ixzz2d0LG8ot5

The Chinese Game Plan
Bharat Verma;19 Aug , 2013

With the opening of two fronts against New Delhi,Beijing will, in collusion with Islamabad, repeat ‘1962’ in the near future on an enlarged scale.
As a tactical ploy for the past several years, Beijing and Islamabad have been dishing out sermons on friendship. China has used its lobby successfully in India to promote the concept that the two nations, instead of being at loggerheads with each other, should join hands to make the twenty-first century theirs.
The twin objective was to concentrate on the American forces; firstly,with the help of Pakistan to ensure the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and secondly, that India does not shake hands decisively with the US thereby tilting the balance of power in favour of democracy.
Similarly, Pakistan , more or less a colony of China , went out of its way to promote friendship with India , using the oft employed ploy of the ‘twenty-first century belonging to Asia ’. The refrain was that instead of fighting with each other Pakistan , China and India should join hands to evict American imperialism from Asia . Pakistan deployed its journalists on Indian channels at times bending backwards to placate Indian sentiments. 
Simultaneously, they effectively activatedPakistan’s peace constituency in India that is much larger than the one that exists in Islamabad to gain major traction. The continuous ranting of Pakistan being a bigger victim of terrorism and putting a temporary leash on Hafiz Sayeed did help to pull the wool over a large number of Indian eyes.
The aim of the China and Pakistan combine was to first employ jihadi forces in Afghanistan under the guidance of the Pakistan Army to evict the Western forces. Therefore, it was imperative to offer a fig leaf in the guise of friendship that retains calm on the Indian front. It was merely a tactical withdrawal to concentrate all available resources against the Americans in Afghanistan . 
Meanwhile under China’s guidance, India’s Track II crowd was enticed to sign, seal and deliver Siachen to Pakistan as the glacier is of great strategic importance to the Chinese. In the so-called Track-II diplomacy, India walked straight into the trap!
At the same time, to gain credibility with thinking Indians, both Pakistan and China desisted from aggravating the situation on the borders. However, the so-called misguided elements that left Kashmir for PoK were sent back duly trained in jihad on the pretext of temporary surrender; the real game being to wait for an opportune moment to engineer a home-grown rebellion. All along, the pot was kept intelligently boiling but on slow fire. The ‘peace’ witnessed in Kashmir for many years was not due to any extraordinary Indian capabilities; it was because Pakistan was preoccupied with the ongoing war in Afghanistan pursuing its own strategic interests and that of China .
Undoubtedly, these were high priority military objectives.
As usual, on account of collective incompetence, the establishment at Delhi fell for this ruse. It was the conduct of ‘psychological warfare’ under Chinese supervision at its finest. Executed with finesse, the phase of temporary tactical withdrawal put New Delhi completely off guard. Pakistan believes it has defeated two super powers in Afghanistan – the Soviet Union with the help of the US and the latter, with the help of China . Defeating India with a little help from China should, therefore, be a cakewalk.
The gloves are finally off with America ’s ‘cut and run’ from Afghanistan . With the exit of the West, China and Pakistan are now confident that large areas of Afghanistan will be under their thumb. In due course, Indian footprint in Afghanistan will be wiped out.
In the second phase currently underway, India ’s borders have come alive with China and Pakistan mounting intense pressure simultaneously. The PLA intruded 19 km across the LAC into Indian territory and dismantled existing structures. To add insult to injury, on the arrival of the Defence Minister Antony at Shanghai , Beijing issued a demeaning statement against New Delhi . Incursions into Indian territories continue while Chinese innocently claim they are patrolling on their side of the LAC.
For all the insults the Chinese continue to heap on India, they were rewarded by New Delhi rolling out the red carpet for Li, withdrawing troops from own territory in Despang, and sending the NSA, Foreign Minister and the Defence Minster in succession to pay respects as though Beijing were an ‘imperial Durbar’. 
In spite of being insulted on landing at Beijing , the Defence Minister announced the enhancement of military-to-military cooperation between the two nations! To be subservient appears to be a persistent trait of the Indian leadership. It is simply amazing that New Delhi should offer military-to-military cooperation to China – a country that is at loggerheads with it all the while laying claim to 90,000 sq.km. of Indian territory .
Pakistan has gone into overdrive, beheading Indian soldiers inside Indian territory . In a raid in the Poonch sector, its Battle Action Team massacred five Indian soldiers. The timing and intelligence of the adversary appear to be flawless as this killing has taken place at a time when the Maratha battalion was taking over from the exiting Bihar Regiment – a time when the units are not on a high state of alert.
China excels in long-term strategic thinking; its shared ethnicity with the people of the North-East India enables its spies to blend in easily with the people in the North-East region. However, China is limited by language and facial features to mess with the Indian heartland and proxy Pakistan , with no such limitations intermingles with ease within India . Pakistan , in coordination with China , has now put pressure on the border. At the same time, it has helped instigate, with renewed vigour, ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Kishtwar and Doda. This move is similar to that of Kashmiri Pundits ultimately being dislodged from the Valley while New Delhi continued to indulge in despicable vote-bank politics.
As it was with China , the Pakistan Army claimed that it was not responsible for any incident on the borders. Meanwhile, the sloppy response from the Delhi Durbar has emboldened Pakistan High Commission to raise questions on internal matters concerning India . With the withdrawal of US forces from the region, the jihad factory will be idle. Pakistan can implode due to this situation of high unemployment. Therefore, to redirect the destructive energy of this force towards India to achieve foreign policy objectives and avoid implosion would be an imperative for Pakistan .
Pakistani journalists appearing on Indian electronic media in the second phase changed their tune from soothing ruffled feathers earlier to declaring ‘a fight to the finish’ for the independence of Kashmir and vacating Siachen. On monitoring comments in the social media, the chant from, “India and China should join hands to make the twenty-first century belong to South Asia” has shifted to “India, whether it likes it or not, has to live with China and Pakistan, now that the Americans are running away. It has no choice but to join us!”
The second phase by China and Pakistan will continue for some time to further weaken Indian borders and inject communal disharmony through covert operations till sufficient demoralization sets in, American withdrawal is complete and a large swathe of Afghanistan’s territory is controlled by the Pakistan Army with the help of its jihadi forces.
In the final phase, the Chinese game plan is to repeat a much larger version of “1962” by imposing a two-front war on India once the Western forces are out of Afghanistan . Many in the Indian military, the government and a few analysts erroneously believe that China will opt for a limited attack in Ladakh.
In the current globalised century, waging war attracts severe economic penalties on a nation with the long-term debilitating consequences. Therefore, the prize has to justify the cost-benefit-ratio. In what may be termed as a repeat of 1962, the China-Pakistan combine will impose war on India at a time of their choosing which may be sooner than one can imagine.
China will go for the jugular by landing its airborne divisions and choking the 200-km long Siliguri Corridor that is merely 28 km to 60 km wide. On one side, we have Nepal , which is now almost a colony of China . On the other side, Bhutan is under pressure from Beijing to toe its line. 
This implies that the entire North-East region may be cut off from the Indian mainland. Apart from this region adding to flank protection as far as Tibet is concerned, China will gain direct access to Bangladesh and easier access to Myanmar .
Simultaneously, Pakistan will attack the Western front to unhook Jammu and Kashmir from India after creating sufficient internal turmoil to soften the target. China has always supported and will readily accept Jammu and Kashmir to be part of Pakistan . In the event of Pakistani success, China can hive off large chunks of territory in Ladakh to suit its strategic interests. Besides, the key advantage to China will be securing the flanks of alternative supply route from Gwaddar to Xingjian Province . This two-front war will also guarantee China ’s position as the undisputed leader in Asia substantially reducing the preeminence of the USA .
In order to deter the China-Pakistan combine from inflicting war, India will need to rapidly equip its Army and the Air Force with deep offensive capabilities and phenomenal maneuverability even as it builds up a blue-water navy. 
Indian intelligence agencies should gear up to support separatist forces inside Tibet and Pakistan . In addition, Indian foreign policy must decisively leverage the influence of democracies in Asia and the West, particularly the USA .
The coming years will witness the territorial integrity of the nation coming under severe stress due to threats posed by the Great Chinese Game.
Bharat Verma  A former Cavalry Officer is Editor, IDR, frequently appears on television as a commentator and is author of the books,Under Fire, Fault Lines and Indian Armed Forces.

               Making of 'Bhowani Junction'


Bhowani Junction –a brief but memorable encounter with Hollywood
Fiction and fact meeting in Pakistan when new country was smiling and full of fun.  Hollywood dropped in for a brief but memorable encounter.
John Masters was a British army officer and famous author.  His novels dealt with life in British India.  John’s own background fully qualified him for the task.  His family had long association with India going back to 1805 when his great-great grandfather came to India with 8th Light Dragoons.  His great grandfather was headmster of La Martiniere school in Calcutta and his grandfather served with Indian police.  His father served with 16th Rajputs while three uncles served with 34th Sikh Pioneers, 104th and 119th Hyderabad Infantry.  John joined 1933 batch of Sandhurst and commissioned in August 1934.  John joined 2nd Battalion of 4th Gurkha Rifles.  He left army and became a celebrated author writing historical novels about India.  His observations about Indian life are amazing and famous Indian author Khushwant Singh said that Kipling knew India but Masters knew Indians.
In 1954, he wrote Bhowani Junction which was an instant hit. This novel was set in 1946 around the life of an Anglo-Indian girl Victoria Jones in a rapidly changing world.  She has three affairs with an Indian, Anglo-Indian and a British.  The political background of the novel is India’s march towards partition and struggle between non-violent movement of Congress and violent Communists.
In 1955, MGM studio decided to make an epic  movie of this best selling  novel.  Ava Gardner was chosen for the role of Victoria Jones and British born Hollywood star Stewart Granger for the role of Colonel Rodney Savage.  MGM wanted to film at location in India.  The geographic location of fictional Bhowani Junction was most likely Jhansi and Colonel Savage was Commanding Officer of a Gurkha battalion.  Indian government was not comfortable with the novel’s theme and many considered it as insulting to Indians.  Indian government insisted on seeing and approving the script.  Indian tax collectors wanted more than fair share including twelve percent of the net world profit.  MGM decided to approach Pakistan and Pakistan government offered all the asistance as well as waiving all taxes.
In early1955, film crew from Hollywood and London landed in Lahore.  Many scenes were filmed at Lahore railway station, Shalimar Gardens and Shah Almi market.  Film crew stayed at Falleti’s Hotel and room 55;the two room suite where Ava stayed was later named Ava Gardner suite.  There were many interesting incidents during crew’s stay in Lahore.  One day, Ava ran out of bathroom stark naked shrieking with fear and chased by a large bat. Someone handed her a large bath towel while others chased the bat with tennis racket.  A luch buffet was arranged in hotel’s garden where film crew and local elite were invited.  As soon as food platters were laid out, dozens of squawking crows attacked the party plucking food from the plates of guests.  Many guests ran away in panic.
Mathews who played the role of Ranjit recalled that one night he and Ava hopped on a tonga and went to the house of a dancing girl in the infamous street.  One local recognized Ava and insisted to escort them for their safety.  The musicians in their excitement tried to play the only western music they knew for their celebrity guests.  Ava shouted, ‘Goddammit; that’s the Isles of Capri’, can’t you play something else.  Nervous musicians palyed the same song but much faster.  Incidentally, Ava’s husband Frank Sinatra sang this song for his album Come Fly With Me in 1958.   There is another story that a die hard Lahori fan of Ava later managed to get the pillow from Ava’s bedroom and fifty years later still had his prized possession.  In 1947, mass migration on both sides saw departure of Sikhs from Lahore and most Sikh Gurdwaras were closed.  For one scene about Sikhs, Pakistan government opened a Sikh temple and allowed many Sikhs from across the border to participate in the scene.
Bhawani Junction
Ava Gardner and Stewart Granger arrive at Lahore Airport,1955.  Photo;Nadeem Paracha
Pakistan army and police provided soldiers for the film.  5th Battalion of 13th Frontier Force Rifles (now 10 Frontier Force Regiment) then commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Shah Khan provided officers and soldiers for the film.  It was a motorized infantry battalion and part of 3rd Armoured Brigade along with 5th Probyn’s Horse.  Frontier Force Regiment and Frontier Force Rifles is nick named PIFFERS.  Some other officers;Agha Aman Shah and Shah Rafi Alam of 5th Probyn’s Horse were also assigned to assist the film crew.  Some suggest that another battalion First Battalion of 13th Frontier Force Rifles (now 7 Frontier Force Regiment) also provided help.  In fact, in movie Colonel Savage was commanding First Battalion of 13th Frontier Force Rifles.  One can see some grizzly PIFFER Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) in the movie; many probably veterans of Second World War.  In one scene, Victoria and Savage dance with PIFFER soldiers while regimental band is playing the tunes.  There is an incident involving Lieutenant Colonel Aslam Khan and probably he was commanding 1/13 FFR.  It is not clear whether it was a coincidence or someone in Pakistan army had read the novel as in novel Colonel Rodney Savage commands a fictional 1/13 Gurkha Rifles and in movie he commands real 1/13 Frontier Force Rifles.  These battalions were part of 7 Golden Arrow division and in movie Golden Arrow is visible on arm of Colonel Savage.  When venue of shooting was changed from India to Pakistan, Gurkha Rifles was replaced by Frontier Force Rifles and Johnny Gurkha had to make room for the Pathan. Most of the soldiers were Pathans and there are some exchanges in Pushtu in the movie.
One day everything was all set for the shoot with all the crew in place and hundreds of extras ready for a major scene.  A crisis situation developed as Granger’s well pressed uniform was missing.  Ava Gardner was having conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Aslam Khan.  She noticed that he was of same built as Granger.  She suggested to Granger that ‘I just know that the dashing Colonel’s uniform would be a perfect fit for you, Stewart. Don’t you think so Colonel?’ Then, holding Colonel Aslam’s arm, she said to George Cukor: ‘We are making history here Colonel, aren’t we George?’ Years later, Stewart recalling the incident to Mahmud Sipra said,“I wonder how the good Colonel explained away Ava’s make up on his uniform.”
Bhawani Junction 02
Ava Gardner shooting a scene at the Lahore Railway Station in 1955. Photo; Nadeem Paracha
There was an incident involving Stewart Granger and a young Pakistani cavalry officer Shah Rafi Alam.  The story goes that Granger got upset when he saw Ava sitting in Rafi’s lap.   The two came to blows and Rafi hit him on nose.  This is folklore and not true.  Actual story is totally different.  An EME company was assigned for the film production providing cranes and dozers for the sets.   It was commanded by an old British officer.  Some British officers had decided to stay back in Pakistan on contract and this officer was part of that group.   One day, this EME company failed to bring all the necessary equipment and shoot scheduled for the day had to be cancelled. In the evening,actors and some Pakistani army officers were having drinks in the lawn.  The old EME Major was seen arriving to join the party.  Seeing him, Stewart Granger acidly remarked that, “We had to loose the Empire with men like him at the helm.” Rafi lost his temper and strongly reacted.  Some very hot words were exchanged between Granger and Rafi but there was no physical contact.  Only a chap like Rafi could take such a stance not to be cowed by any celebrity.
Bhawani Junction 01
Pakistani fans gather around the main cast of Bhowani Junction on the film’s sets in Lahore,1955  Photo; Nadeem Paracha
Film was completed in England and Hollywood.  First sneak previews caused uproar about many things in the movie including race.  Inter-racial relationship was a taboo in Europe and United States of 1950s.  Many scenes where Victoria kissed Anglo Indian Patrick and Indian Ranjeet were deleted despite the fact that all actors were either British or American.  In novel, Patrick and Victoria narrate their experiences but in movie Colonel Savage is the sole narrator.  The ending was also completely changed.  In novel, Victoria finally joins Patrick but film ending was revised where Patrick dies a heroic death and Savage would come back from early retirement in England to join Victoria in India.  Film director George Cukor actually cried about all these changes.  He protested loudly with tears in his eyes and said, “Listen, I made a good movie here.  You are crucifying this movie and turning it into a goddamn Hollywood love story,and it’s going to be crap”.  Ava was in full agreement that a good film was ‘seriously damaged, oversimplified, and over sentimentalized’ after preview audiences didn’t approve of certain aspects of the film.
If Bhowani Junction was released in its original form,it was likely to become an epic film in league with Gone with the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia.  However, film was still a success.  Ava also liked her role in the film.  In her last days, Ava would watch her old movies alone. She watched Bhowani Junction and called Stewart Granger in Los Angeles asking him “were we really that beautiful,honey?”  Stewart replied “You were, my sweet.  You still are”.  Rest in peace Ava; You are beautiful in the eyes of a whole generation enchanted by you.

Indian Navy's dubious safety record worrisome for national security

INS Sindhurakshak sank in Mumbai after two blasts ripped through its hull on August 14.
INS Sindhurakshak sank in Mumbai after two blasts ripped through its hull on August 14.
In November 2011, the Indian Navy was particularly incensed with what a US naval lieutenant had posted on a blog. The unnamed lieutenant, who spent four days on destroyer INS Delhi in the Arabian Sea as part of an exchange programme, called the Indian crew "generally clueless", with "almost zero seamanship skills". This was one in a long, harsh critique of what he saw on the frontline warship. The blog was removed days after it was posted.
Did the blog touch a raw nerve? Just 10 months earlier, the naval frigate INS Vindhyagiri collided with a merchant tanker in Mumbai harbour sank. It was the fourth time a warship was completely written off in 23 years. Since 1990, the Indian Navy has lost one warship in peacetime every five years. Since 2004, it has lost one naval combatant every two years. Few global navies have such a dubious record. Five days after the August 14 explosion destroyed INS Sindhurakshak, killing 18 crew members, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told Rajya Sabha that "preliminary probe indicated the blast was due to possible ignition of armament". Armed with torpedoes and missiles, the submarine was fully fuelled and ready to sail for patrol early next morning.
Former southern naval chief Vice Admiral K.N. Sushil (retired) cautions it is too early to conclude it sank due to negligence. Evidence points to a blast in an oxygen-powered torpedo, he says. "The Navy must do a forensic examination to pinpoint the cause," he says.
What is worrying is that with each warship loss, key maritime capabilities are being lost. The Sindhurakshak had returned from Russia four months ago, and after a two-and-a-half year refit, was the Navy's most potent conventional submarine. The frigate INS Vindhyagiri was the only warship that could control spy drones far out at sea.
Peacetime losses of warships are not uncommon. Since the World War II, the US Navy has lost 16 warships in accidents. Russia's nuclear submarine Kursk sank in August 2000 after a faulty torpedo exploded during a training exercise. But in case of the smaller Indian Navy-it only has 30 frontline warships and 14 submarines-they point to a far disturbing trend, of human rather than technical error. The Prahar and Vindhyagiri collided with lumbering merchant vessels. The INS Agray was cut into half in 2004 when a crew member tossed a misfired anti-submarine rocket overboard. The spate of accidents comes at a time when the fleet is expanding in both size and complexity. Last year, it acquired INS Chakra, its first nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia. It is set to induct its largest ship, the 44,000-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, from Russia this year. Former eastern naval commander Vice Admiral A.K. Singh (retired) slams the Government's apathy. "The Navy is operating vessels long past their service years of 25 and 30 years as the government doesn't sanction new ones in time," he says.
Ageing ships alone do not explain other accidents and collisions. Naval officials say there are a series of smaller mishaps that point to Standard Operating Procedures (sops) not being followed. The August 2009 collision of the missile corvette INS Kuthar with destroyer INS Ranvir in the Bay of Bengal was traced to a rudder failure, compounded by a flawed manoeuvre. In 2010, three crew men on destroyer INS Mumbai were instantly killed when an AK-630 Gatling gun went off as safety drills were not followed. The submarine INS Sindhughosh collided twice; once with a fishing boat in 2006 and once with a merchant vessel in 2007. "The Navy has put in place multiple, institutionalised methods and procedures towards enhancing safety," a naval spokesperson said, responding to a questionnaire. "Each type of unit has a Safety Class Authority that oversees safety aspects and guides safety related policy. On completion of major repairs, all units undergo a safety audit, prior joining respective formations."
"The problem is that we aren't empowering our young officers," admits a senior naval officer, echoing what the US navy blogger said. Experience levels have suffered as there is a mismatch between number of warships and officers. Each year, 60 captain-ranked officers vie for the command of 15-20 warships. "A decade ago, a captain got two 18-month long sea tenures, allowing him to build up experience; today he gets only one," says a naval officer."Adequate sea tenures are provided to all concerned," a naval spokesperson said.In 2006, then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee pulled Navy brass up after a spate of accidents. Accidents have however continued despite 'safety stand down' procedures performed on all warships every quarter, and court-martials. The loss of the Sindhurakshak has now pushed them to unacceptable levels.