Author Topic: उत्तराखंड पर विद्वानों के लेख व निबंध- ARTICLE ON UTTARAKHAND BY LEARNED PEOPLE  (Read 16979 times)

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Under this thread. We will bring various articles written on Uttarakhand and its organization by learned people of different sections.

M S Mehta

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2007, 12:08:28 PM »

The following article has been written by Col Narendra Bhatia who served in Kumoan Regiment..

'Beru Pakyo Barah Massa…KUMAON Paltan Teri Topi and The Baal Mithai'…
Col N N Bhatia (Retd)
My first exposure with the KUMAON Region was over half a century back in 1955 as a young student in the A N Jha Govt High School in Rudrapur then an obscure small Tarai farmers' town where they came regularly to sell their crops and purchase their daily needs.  But it was in 1957 that I was first mesmerised with the KUMAON Hills when I went to Nainital as part of our school's sports team to participate in Nainital District Schools' Athletics Meet. Having traveled in the lower class seat on the rear wheel of the over crowded rickety UP Roadways bus, I landed in Nainital with a spinning head and awful nausea that put an end to my yet to start athletics career. But the love blooming for the KUMAON Hills had been by then kindled with in me. It was Major Prem Bhatia - my elder brother who was commissioned in 6 KUMAON on 4 Dec 1954 and was then serving in The KUMAON Regimental Centre, Ranikhet who had ignited The KUMAON passion with in me. Our great Regiment has produced many brave soldiers and generals but it's my late brother Major Prem Bhatia, Vir Chakra, Hero of the Battle of Walong who has ever remained my sole role model for me. He was severely wounded in the Battle of Walong and survived but the tragic scooter accident on the last day of his staff College Course in Wellington on 28 Feb 1965 cut short his promising career putting our family in the shocking gloom for ever. I was shattered, devastated and cannot not believe the tragic truth even now. Yes, I always miss him and salute him for ever... It’s a matter of pride that his son Col Arvind Bhatia after successfully commanding 6 KUMAON has done LDMC & now posted as Col Q in HQ Delhi & Rajasthan Area.
 The 'KUMAON Dev Bhoomi' or 'The Abode of Gods' is the land of the Mahakali and its major right bank tributaries, the Gori Ganga, the Dhauli Ganga and the Ram Ganga. Like the other major source rivers of the Ganga, the Mahakali too, originates North of the Great Himalayan crest zone and forces a passage through the main range, to merge with the Ganga in the distant plains. Thus, KUMAON is one of the five geographical zones of the Himalayas - Nepal, Kurmanchal, Kedarkhand, Jalandharkhand and Kashmir as mentioned in our ancient textbooks.
The word 'KUMAON' means different things for different people in our nucleus family. For my late brother and me perhaps it always meant our great Regiment – the KUMAON Paltan and teri topi, the bulas singing "Beru Pakyo Barah Massa…" and other haunting KUMAONI folk songs, community dancing in rhythmic but vigorous steps, fascinating snow capped Nanda Devi and Trishul peaks, the Jim Corbett Park, the Swiss Hotel and Naini Lake in Nanital, The Jhula Devi and Kalika Mandir, The West View Hotel, ever blooming blood red rhododendrons whose syrupy juice  rejuvenates tired mind, body and soul, the pine & oak trees touching the sky, The KUMAON Regimental Centre and Col Ram Singh, affectionately called 'Datta' by my age group, some of the amazing fauna and flora and animals in Dikhala, Jhrina and Bijrani ranges made immortal by 'Bull' nick name for Col Narinder Kumar, a great KUMAONI pioneer in the mountaineering . Then the  Officer's Mess waiter late Sarju  who had joined as a small orphan boy when the Regimental Centre was in Agra, was a store house of the Regimental information and anecdotes about the crockery, cutlery, drinks, cocktails and both British and Indian Sahibs. According to him, Srinagesh, Timmy, Bahadur, Bhagwati (IC-1) and NK Sinha (IC-420) were always professionally better than the British Sahibs.  He would get his daily quota of a large peg of rum courtesy the young dinning members of the Officers' Mess and if he ever got two large ones, he would demonstrate how to pot all the three billiards balls in one shot ! He served, retired and died only for 'The KUMAON Regimental Centre Officers' Mess' ! 'The Bravest of the Brave 13 KUMAON in which I was commissioned in 1963 is the only unit decorated with Param Vir Chakra and The Ashok Chakra (highest gallantry awards in war & peace times respectively), 2 KUMAON (Berar), the oldest Paltan of the Regiment that I had privilege to command and late Majs Som Nath Sharma and Shaitan Singh both decorated with posthumous Param Vir Chakras. The list can perhaps carry on and on endlessly…!!For my late old parents, it was taking a stroll on the Mall at Ranikhet and hear with pride deeds of their  late son Major Prem Bhatia, Vir Chakra with moist eyes with  chance acqittances of their brave son. For my wife, it is the fascination of Jhula Devi Temple, Kainchi Mandir or idyllic surroundings of the Kausani rightly called as the 'Switzerland of the East'. For my daughter and son, it is synonymous with their alma maters in St Mary's School Nainital, Conossa Convent Ranikhet or the town's Baal Mithai that has blend of roasted khoya, jaggery and childhood memories. Though I retired from the Army in 1995, our daughter Neerja as Head of the Confederation Of Indian Industry in Singapore and son Gaurav as skipper of The Japanese 'K' Line Merchant Navy Ship, ever since I can recall, look for the Baal Mithai from any one coming from the KUMAON Hills. Nothing thrills them more than a big bite of ubiquitous Baal Mithai. It is indeed a major logistic nightmare for me now to keep regular supply of the Baal Mithai to both of them especially when professionally they are on globe trotting spree and I no more reside in The KUMAON Hills..!!
Incidentally, for many known and unknown reasons the Joga Shah in Almora was the only one who made the best Baal Mithai with the famous creamy milk brought from the village Phalsima near Almora. He was a genius who invented sausage shaped dark brown mithai wrapped in sugar dipped khas khas seeds. Later, commercialasation and competition led to cutting the cost and sweet shops started covering it with sugary homeopathic pills. After Joga, Routela brothers  - khem Singh and Mohan Singh made fortune selling Baal Mithai. The story goes that Joga Shah was actually a Christian called Joga Isai who became Hindu after invention and popularity of the Baal Mithai.
Incidentally, though we all know that our great Regiment is successor to the erstwhile The Hyderabad Regiment, mostly very little is known about the origin and mythological significance of the word KUMAON. The word KUMAON is derived from the word "Kurmanchal" meaning Land of the "Kurm" avatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, preserver of the Hindu Trinity). According to the Hindu mythology, Adi Kailash (also known as Chotta Kailash) in the KUMAON Region is one of the three residences of Lord Kailash (Shiva) and  Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikey.
The original inhabitants of the KUMAON Region are said to have been the Kols related to the Mund, ethnic group. One of their groups migrated to The KUMAON Region after the Dravidians defeated them. The Shilpkars of The KUMAON area are said to be the descendants of the Kols. The Kirats are believed to have been the ancestors of the tribes, which are today known as Shaukas, Banrajis. Tharus and Boksas. While the Shaukas were active from the Tarai to Tibet region, the Tharus and Boksas confined themselves to the Tarai while the Banrajis always lived in 'splendid' isolation.
Historically, evidence of Mesolithic period (middle Stone Age) settlements has been found in the KUMAON Region, as indicated by the paintings at rock shelter at Lake Udyar. The first known ruling dynasty of the KUMAON Region was The Kunindas who reigned from 500 B.C. to 600 A.D followed by The Katyuri kings who ruled the region from 7th to the 11th century with their capital at Baijnath near Kausani. The 900-year-old sun temple of Katarmal was built by the Katyuri dynasty on a hilltop-facing East opposite Almora. It is said that in the 16th century, Chatrapati Shivaji had acquired shilas from the sacred river of Kali Gandki for making idol of  Bhavani Devi in Pratapgad. But the creation of the modern KUMAON Region in the 17th century AD is credited to the Chand Dynasty of Pithoragarh, with their centrally located Capital at Almora while Binsar was the summer capital. The Chand rulers over a period of two centuries built magnificent Jageshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. After formation of Uttranchal and now Uttrakhand , all credit goes to Sh ND Tiwari for bringing The KUMAON Region to world tourism map along with its all round development.
The region of Nainital was once called the 'City of Lakes' or 'Chakta' as there were 60 lakes in the area. Beside the Naini Lake, which is the major attraction of the region, the other lakes are at Bhimtal, Naukhuchiatal , Khurpatal, Sattal and Shymaltal. Incidentally, the British discovered the lake paradise of Nainital in 1841 that was subsequently used as the summer capital of the United Provinces.  As a matter of historical fact, it was also considered to shift India's capital to Nainital but geophysical survey ruled out construction of railway line due to fragile nature of the hills and thus finally Shimla got that honour. Beside the scenic beauty, Nainital is famous for its lake, excellent schools, space observatory and hotels that can suit from a pauper to a prince. Legend has it that three ancient sages reached here on a pilgrimage, and, finding no water to drink, dug a hole here rerouting the waters of the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. Yet another story has deeper routes in Hinduism. It says that when Lord Shiva carried the charred body of his wife Sati (after she jumped into the sacrificial fire on being insulted by her father), one of her eyes fell in Nainital giving rise to the eye-shaped Naini Lake.
Though KUMAONIS are worshippers of Ma Kalika or Shakti and Lord Shiva, they have rich traditions of folk deity worship. The heroes of some long - forgotten age have later on become folk gods and they give expression to the popular beliefs of the people in the large number of the temples that abound the region.
 Atop a small ridge, known as Devithan, in the village of Umagarh at Ramgarh, the famous Hindi poetess Mahadevi Verma had bought some land in 1937 and constructed a small bungalow. Every year during summer months she would visit this place along with her family of numerous birds and animals and immerse her self in the twin tasks of literary creation and social work. While visiting Almora in 1899, Swami Vivekananda referred to the KUMAON Himalayas as the land of their forefather's dream…He said, ’I have attempted again and again to live here forever, and although the time was not ripe, and I had work to do and was whirled away outside of this holy place yet I sincerely pray and hope, and almost believe, my last days will be here of all places on earth.... these mountains are associated with the best memories of our race.' The great sage meditated at kakrighat on the Kosi River and found the oneness between the macrocosm and microcosm; the spot where he fainted and was revived by a local Muslim gentleman in the house of Sri Badri Sah, where he first lived, the Thompson House from where he preached his disciples and the cave at Kasar Devi where he experienced 'The Divine' have all become attractive tourist spots. In 1903 Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore had visited Ramgarh in order to give his ailing daughter a chance to recuperate. He walked on foot from Kathgodam to Bhimtal where his Swiss admirer Mr. Daniel who took Gurudev to Ramgarh received him. For a while Gurudev stayed at Ramgarh as Mr. Daniel's guest. However, soon Mr. Daniel had a house constructed for Gurudev on a high ridge, now renamed as 'Tagore Top', situated at a height of 8500 feet above sea level. Gurudev had christened the house "Gitanjali" and it was here that he had started writing his immortal masterpiece 'Gitanjali'. No wonder, while Mahatma Gandhi called Kausani in its natural beauty and tranquility as the Switzerland of the East, Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore was inspired to compose his Gitanjali in Ramgarh. 
Mukteshwar, Ranikhet, Kausani, Bageshwar, Baijnath, Jogeshwar, Binsar, Almora, Ramgarh, Bhimtal and Jim Corbett Park attract any one for their scenic beauty. KUMAON is, or rather was, classic tiger country. Now-a-days most of region's remaining tigers are rehabilitated in the Jim Corbett National Park- India's first National Park situated in the lower KUMAON Hills near Ramnagar. Due to excessive tourism, lack of job opportunities and commercialisation has led to vendalisation of these sacred places by the Forests and the Bureaucratic Mafias that sinks hearts of all those who love these majestic hills.

 Pant Nagar, Rudrapur, Haldwani and Kathgodam, the railhead in foothills are the other upcoming commercial centers. This region is a paradise for adventure sports of sheer variety ranging from mountaineering, trekking, skiing, skating, biking, rafting, angling, yachting, canoeing, kayaking, ballooning, and wild life safaris while golf has become another big attraction. 

So this is how the story of the 'Beru Pakyo Barah Massa…KUMAON Paltan Teri Topi and The Baal Mithai' as a part of our lives so dear to all of us unfolds… 





Attarah November Basath Ko ...Rewari Motor Adde Par… kaddi…Choorma and Veer Ahirýs of The KUMAON Regiment


Col N N Bhatia (Retd)
How can a man die better,
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And temples of his gods."
(Soul stirring inscription on  the 13 KUMAON War Memorial at Chushul, Ladakh in the memory of the fallen comrades in The Battle of Rezangla).
After the partition of undivided India into two independent nations as India and Pakistan, our family in 1948 migrated to then small dusty semi-desert like obscure town Gurgaon, then the southern most district of the erstwhile State of Punjab. Though at that time, totally unconcerned, I came to know some of my hardy, thrifty and simple Yadav college friends.  However, at that time, I did not know that Ahir and Yadav were synonymous and the same side of the coin. I was also then least aware how in my later life, Ahirs would be the most influencing and dominating factors in my rest of the life. 
It was Major Prem Bhatia - my elder brother commissioned in the 6 KUMAON on 4 Dec 1954 who had ignited the KUMAON passion with in me. Our great Regiment has produced many brave soldiers and generals but it's my late brother Major Prem Bhatia, Vir Chakra, Hero of the Battle of Walong who has ever remained my sole role model for me. As I grew up, I learnt with amazement from him that  25% of the strength of his Paltan and 2 KUMAON (Berar) were Ahirs. Later when they were transferred to 13 KUMAON he was emotionally very upset as Ahirs in his C Company, beside being professionally excellent soldiers, were equally good sportsmen always ensuring that his Company was the Champion Banner Company and that 6 KUMAON could easily win all formation sports events. Similarly there were Kumaonis in 13 KUMAON that were transferred to 2 KUMAON (Berar) and 6 KUMAON for equal numbers of Ahirs. Nothing thrilled me more when I got a telegram from my brother conveying me, "You are  being commissioned in 13 KUMAON  of Late Major Shaitan Singh PVC of the REZANGLA fame' just before my passing out parade from the IMA in 1963. I was indeed the most fortunate one to be then commissioned in the Rezangla famed first pure Ahir Paltan of the Regiment.
Ahirs, Yadavs or Yadavas reside throughout the country especially in Haryana. They include the Abhiras or Ahirs of the Northern India, Raos of Haryana, Gwallas of Uttar Pradesh, Mandals of Bihar, Pradhans of Orissa, Yadavs of Rajasthan, Ghoshals of Bengal, Gopas and Reddys of Andhra Pradesh and Wadeyars of Karnataka. The Jats often look low upon them but the Ahirs call themselves Somavanshi Kshatriyas. The Yadav contribution to the composite kaleidoscopic culture of India is immense - the nomadic art forms, the Abhira language that is Apabhramsa Devnagari, the Raslilas and certain ragas like Ahir-Bhairav, Abhirika, Gopiksha, Kannada Guala and perhaps most of all, The Krishna Cult.
Although Yadavs or the Ahirs form one composite group and are an important community of Haryana, but numerically they constitute less than 10 % of the total population. Most of them live in the region around Rewari and Narnaul which is therefore known as Ahirwal or the abode of the Ahirs. Their origin is controversial. Some historians hold that they were a powerful race of nomad cowherds from the Eastern or Central Asia who entered India from the Punjab in large hordes about the same time as the Sakas and the Yuehchis in 1st  or 2nd century BC and gradually spread over large parts of the Northern, Eastern and Central India often called as cow belt of the country. Other views are that they came from Syria or Asia Minor about the beginning of the Christian era; were Dravidians; sprang from the Aayars of Tamil Nadu; lived in India long before the Aryan invasion; were descendants of the Yadavs of the Lunar family of Pururavas Aila; and that their original habitat was the region between the Rivers Sutluj and  Yamuna from where they migrated beyond Mathura in the East and  Gujarat and Maharashtra in the South . The Ahirs of Mathura region were known to be peace loving cowherds where as the Ahirs of Rewari and Mahendargarh were powerful and accomplished warriors. The off shoots from the kidnapped women or widows were known as Yaduvanshis, while the ones with Ahir fathers were called Yadavs. Out of these Yadavs, many have been categorised into backward classes where as the rest of them are flourishing farmers in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Incidentally, though we all know about Ahirs and Haryana but very few know that the word Haryana has been derived from its ancient inhabitants Abhirayana that got changed to Ahirayana over a period and to present day Haryana. Similarly The name 'Abhira' stemed from Abhira or the fearless, the honour they earned after the Battle of the Mahabharata. In the 1st AD, invading Scythians and Kushans forced Ahirs out of their land to lower Rajasthan in the Aravali Region. In Marwar, Saurashtra and Maharashtra they served the local rulers and established their own Kingdoms. Ishwar Sena, a great Ahir General, became master of the Western Deccan and became King whose descendants continued to rule the region for nine generations. For centuries the Ahirs were eclipsed as a political power in Haryana until the time of the Pratihera dynasty. In time they became independent rulers of south-western Haryana.
Rao Tula Ram was one of the most important Ahir leaders of the 1857 War of Independence. He was born on 9 Dec1825 in the well known Rao family in village Rampura in Rewari. He was educated according to the then prevalent customs and knew Persian, Urdu, Hindi and a smattering of English. In November 1839, Rao Tula Ram ascended the throne on the death of his father. Along with Meerut, the people of Rewari under the dynamic leadership of Rao Tula Ram and his cousin Gopal Dev revolted against the Raj in a big way. He fought many battles against British Raj along with the forces of the last Moughal King Bahadur Shah, the Marathas and the Rajput princes. The battle of Narnaul was undoubtedly one of the most decisive battles of the Uprising of 1857 fought by Rao Tula Ram that left English jubilant over their success.  On l7 May 1857, the Rao went to the tehsil headquarters at Rewari with four to five hundred followers and deposed the tahsildar and the thanedar. They appropriated the cash from the tehsil treasury, took all the government buildings in their possession and proclaimed, under the sanction of Emperor Bahadur Shah, their rule over the Pargana of Rewari, Bhora and Shahjahanpur. Their headquarters was in Rampura, a small fortified village, one mile south-west of Rewari. While Tula Ram became the Raja, he appointed his cousin Gopal Dev as his Commander-in-Chief. However, the Britishers sent a 1500 strong column under Colonel Gerrard, an officer of conspicuous merit who on 6 Oct 1857who captured Rampura mud fort after minor skirmishes. On November 16, while Gerrard forces were bogged down in the desert terrain at Nasibpur, a small village two miles North West of Narnaul, the rebel forces under Rao Tula Ram pounced on them. Rao Tula Ram's first charge was irresistible and the British forces scattered before them. The Patiala Infantry and the Multani Horse of the British forces were completely disheartened but the Guides and the Carabineers came to their rescue and saved the situation under intense artillery fire.  But soon the situation took an unexpected turn when Col Gerrand was mortally wounded by a musket ball demoralising the the British. Rao Tula Ram took advantage of the situation swooped down upon them forcing them to withdraw. However, though his forces fought valiantly, suffering heavy causalities they could not with stand intense artillery bombardment followed by repeated charges by the British cavalry and infantry and were forced to retreat. The pursuit of the fleeing soldiers was quick and inexorable, and they were very soon driven out of the town. After a little fighting Rao Tula Ram lost the day and, when the sun went down, there remained none in Narnaul except heaps of corpses here and there but Rao Tula Ram managed to escaped to Rajasthan and joined Tantia Tope's forces. Since he was refused pardon after the revolt, he escaped to Iran in 1862 and then to Afghanistan in the winter of 1862, where he died of dysentery at Kabul on 23 Sep 1863 at a young age of 38. Gopal Dev also died in oblivion in 1862 and both were dispossessed of their Jagirs. Many raganis have been composed and sung by the Ahirs as folklores glorifying their valour and honour.
Though we all know Rewari is 'Garh' of the Ahirs, very little is even known by the locals how it was named. During the Mahabharata period there was a king named Rewat who had a daughter named as Rewati who founded a city named 'Rewa wadi', after his daughter. Later Rewati got married to Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Much later the city Rewa wadi became known as Rewari. The Lal Masjid near the old courts is said to have been built during the regime of Mughal emperor Akbar in the year 1570. Similarly, Mahendergarh town was previously known as Kanaud which took its name from the Kanaudia Brahmans. During 17th century  a fort at Mahendergarh  was built by the Maratha Ruler Tantia Tope. This fort was named as Mahendergarh in 1861 by Narinder Singh, the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala, in honour of his son Mohinder Singh and consequently the town came to be known as Mahendergarh.
In the Indo-China war of 1962, almost all the Ahirs hailing from the Ahirwal region of Southern Haryana serving in 13 KUMAON set an unparallel example in the military history of India by defending their motherland at frozen windy heights of  Rezangla in Ladakh district of Jammu & Kashmir.

The battle of Rezangla fought against the Chinese hordes on 18 November1962 on a ridge 17,000 feet  above sea level, overlooking the strategic Chushul plains in Ladakh, is one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Indian Army and the Ahirs. This battle   has been compared by many military historians with the famed battles of Thermopylae and Saragarhi. The ill clad and ill equipped Ahirs of the Charlie Company of the 13 KUMAON  led by undaunted leadership of Major Shaitan Singh ferociously fought  till 'the last man and the last round' in blood freezing minus 30 degree temperature. Of the 120 defenders, only three survived who were seriously wounded. The rest, including Major Shaitan Singh who was awarded Param Vir Chakra posthumously, were discovered after the winter, frozen in their trenches, holding their weapons but with no ammunition to fire and defend. Of the 120 martyrs, 114 were Ahirs from the Ahirwar heartland of Rewari - Mohindergarh belt  in Haryana.  Even Bollywood was inspired to make a film Haqeeqat on this classic battle. Major-General Ian Cardozo, in his book 'Param Vir, Our Heroes In Battle' writes, "When Rezangla was later revisited, dead jawans were found in the trenches still holding on to their weapons... every single man of this Company was found dead in his trench with several bullet or splinter wounds. The 2-inch mortar man died with a bomb still in his hand. The medical orderly     Lance Naik Dhaiya had a syringe and bandage in his hands when the Chinese bullet hit him... Of the thousand mortar bombs with the defenders all but seven had been fired and the rest were ready to be fired when the mortar section was overrun." Nk Sing Ram, a wrestler of repute almost killed one dozen Chinese single handily after his ammunition was exhausted. The heroes who were awarded the Vir Chakra in 1962 defending Rezang La were Naik Hukum Chand (posthumous), Naik Gulab Singh Yadav, Lance-Naik Ram Singh (posthumous), Sub Ram Kumar and Sub Ram Chander while Hav Phool Singh and   Nk  Sing Ram (posthumously) were awarded Sena Medals respectively. DK Publications in their book 'The Gods of Valour' unfold the story of the chivalry and sacrifice of the Charlie Company of the 13 KUMAON in the Battle of Rezangla. All these brave Ahir sons  hail from Rewari where in Gudiani village a  replica of Chushul Rezangla Memorial has been built in the memory of the fallen heroes. In all functions in all the Ahir units in the Indian Army and  specially in Ahirwal heartland and 13 KUMAON, ragainis like 'Attarah November Basath  ko Ik Hua Ghore Sangram Suno Jawanon...' and 'Rewari Motor Adde Par Unth Par Sawar Tha..' are sung in unison with full josh and missionary zeal. In 1994, late Sub Sujjan Singh of 13 KUMAON from Kanina  had  the unique distinction of being awarded Ashok Chakra -the highest peace time award while fighting militants in Kupwara in the Kashmir  valley. For its excellent services in the defence of the country, 13 KUMAON was also awarded 'The Bravest of the Brave' Trophy by the then COAS Gen NC Vij. Beside 13 KUMAON, many brave Ahir soldiers from Haryana and other parts of the country have made their mark in the various wars fought by the Indian Army and won gallantry medals. Among them are Brig RS Yadav, MVC, Commodore BB Yadav, MVC,  and  Leading Seaman CS Yadav, MVC. Many Ahirs excelled in Kargil war and insurgencies in Punjab, J&K and the North East.  Havildar Umrao Singh of Palra village in jhajjar (Rohtak) was the only Ahir and gunner awarded Victoria Cross in Arakans during Burma Campaign in the Second World War Smart, erect, slim and handsome when he went for Victoria Cross Reunion in UK some years back, Queen Elizabeth II was so impressed by him that she went and shook hand with Umrao Singh. This brave son of Haryana died at the age of 85 years on 21 November 2005   and was cremated with full military honours in his native village Palra.
The Ahirs  are not only good soldiers but equally good sportsmen, farmers, businessmen, educationists, artists, politicians ( likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rao Barinder Singh, Col Rao Ram Singh etc)  and administrators. Swami Ram Dev, the modern Yoga Guru of the international fame is another notable Ahir from the Ahirwal region. But given an opportunity their first love after farming is soldiering.  In a big Kosli like Ahir village, it is not unusual to find a recruit and a general in the Army from the same family.  They have simple frugal vegetarian food habits and love their  community hooka, kaddi, butter milk or lassi, pure ghee and choorma - a delicacy made from crushed chapattis mashed with liberal amount of pure ghee, nuts and jaggery though younger modern  urban. Generation Ahirs are being attracted towards McDonalds, non-vegetarian dishes, booze and fast food.  In 13 KUMAON, Ahir Jawans accepted officers only if they could run, play and sing raganis as good as they could. Maintenance of discipline in the Ahir unit is perhaps the easiest in the Indian Army.
 Lately some Ahir leaders had been vociferously demanding for a separate Ahir Regiment in the Indian Army which is a political decision to be taken by the Central Government. However, the  proud military traditions of the  bravery, sacrifices, discipline, leadership and valour of the Ahirs in The KUMAON Regiment and other arms & services of the Indian Army is second to none. It is a matter of great pride that both the Kumaonis from the Hills and Ahirs from the plains blend so well in our  great Regiment adding to combat effectiveness.

It  is again a matter of  great pride that the present Colonel of The KUMAON Regiment,  Lt Gen  Satyevir Yadav, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM is NOT only highly decorated veteran of the Kargil War  but also professionally  an upright  senior officer who is a fine mix of an excellent KUMAONI and a Ahir from the heartland of the Ahirwal in Haryana. It was therefore, a matter of great emotional bounding for a   retired officer like me in the company of two 13 KUMAON veterans - Maj Gen RK Khanna, VSM and Brig BS Lamba to visit Kanina in Mohindergarh district on 25 March 2007 to participate in Ex-Servicemen Rally well organised by retired Sub Maj (Hony Capt) Balwant Singh of 13 KUMAON and addressed by the Colonel of the Regiment. It is still a matter of immense pride for all of us that as a non Intelligence Corps cadre, Sub Maj (Hony Capt) Balwant Singh was rated as the instructor in the Intelligence school for over 10 years. We were equally sad to learn that Sub Maj (Hony Capt) Ram Singh, rated as the best 3 inch Mortar instructor for over a decade in The Infantry School, Mhow and one of the former enterprising Subedar Majors of the 13 KUMAON  was no more. Incidentally Ram Singh was enrolled in 2 KUMAON (Berar) the unit I had the privilege to command and later transferred to 13 KUMAON.  Thus, meeting old Ahir veterans of 13 KUMAON who  who groomed  us as young officers  over 4 decades back was quite rightly emotionally most super charging. Needless to say the singing of ragni 'Attarah November Basath Ko Ik Huwa Ghor Sangram...' was nothing but a grand finale to this most nostalgic event.
So this is how the story of Ahirs in The KUMAON Regiment goes on and on and on motivating generations to come....
The Beraris of The KUMAON Regiment   
Col N N Bhatia   (Retd)

2nd Battalion the KUMAON Regiment, popularly known   2 KUMAON (Berar) is one of the oldest battalions of the Indian Army with a glorious past. Though we all know that the KUMAON Regiment's fore runner was the Nizam’s Hyderabad Regiment, very little is known about the 2 KUMAON's Berar connection.

History of Berar


 The origin of the name Berar is not known, but perhaps it may be a corruption of Vidharba, the name of a kingdom in the Deccan during the period of the Mahabharata. The history of the Berar belongs generally to that of the Deccan, under the sway of the various dynasties who successively ruled   Southern India but first authentic records show it as the part of the Andhra or the Satvavahna Empire.
Berar Province, known also as the Hyderabad Assigned Districts, was a former province of British India. The province, formerly ruled by the Nizam of Hyderabad, was administered by the British after 1853, although the Nizam retained formal sovereignty over the province. After October 1, 1903 administration of the province was placed under the Commissioner-General for the Central Provinces, which was renamed as the Central Provinces and Berar. The total area of the province was 113,281 square miles. It is now part of   Vidarbha region of the Maharashtra. The boundaries of Berar have changed historically, but the British province corresponds to Maharashtra's Amravati region.


 In the 12 th century, Berar came under the sway of the Yadavas of Deogiri and remained in their possession till the Muslim invasions at the end of the 13 th century. On the establishment of the Bahamani   Sultanate in the Deccan (1348), Berar was constituted one of the five provinces into which their kingdom was divided, being governed by great nobles, with a separate army. The perils of this system becoming apparent, the province was again divided in 1478 into two separate provinces, named after their capitals   Gawil and Mahur. The Bahmani dynasty was, however, already tottering to its fall and in 1490 Imad –ul- Malik Governor of Gawil who had formerly held all Berar, proclaimed independence, annexed Mahur to his new kingdom and had capital at   Ellichpur. Imad-ul-Mulk was by birth a Kanarese Hindu, who had been captured as a boy in one of the expeditions against the Vijayanagar Empire and brought up as a Muslim. He died in   1504 and his direct descendants held the sultanate of Berar until 1561, when Burhan Imad Shah was deposed by his minister Tufal Khan, who assumed the kingship. This gave a pretext for the intervention of   Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahemdnagar, who invaded Berar in 1572, killed Tufal Khan and annexed Berar in his own dominion.


In 1595 Shah Murad, son of the Moughal  Emperor Akbar, besieged Ahmednagar, and was bought off by the formal cession of Berar. Murad, founding the city of Shahpur, fixed his seat at Berar. After his death in 1598, Akbar conquered Deccan and united   the province with Ahmednagar and Kandesh under his other son Danyal as the Governor. After Akbar's death (1601), Berar once more became independent under the   Ethiopian Malik Ambar but in the first year of Shah Jahan’s reign it was again brought under the sway of the Mughal Empire. Towards the close of the 17 th century the province began to be overrun by the Marathas and in 1718 the Mughal Empire formally recognised their right to levy tribute from the unhappy population.


In 1724 Qamar-ud-din who was an astute general and administrator was given the title of the   Nizam –ul – Mulk Asif Jah established the independent line of the Asif Jahi Nizams of Hyderabad, and thenceforth the latter claimed to be de jure sovereigns of Berar, with exception of certain districts (Mehkar, Umarkhed, etc.) ceded to the Maratha   Peshwas in 1760 and 1795. The claim was contested by the Maratha  Bhonsale Rajas of Nagpur for more than half a century who was forced to  cede his territories west of the Wardha, Gawilgarh and Narnala to the Nizam, together with some tracts about Sindkhed and Jalna   held by the  Scandia. By a treaty of 1822, the Maratha lost right  to levy tribute and the Wardha River was fixed as the Eastern boundary of Berar and the Melghat and adjoining districts in the plains were assigned to the Nizam in exchange for the districts East of the Wardha held by the Peshwa. Qamar-ud-din was an astute general and an equally able administrator.


Though Berar was no longer oppressed by its Maratha taskmasters nor harried by Pindari and   Bhil raiders, it remained long a prey to the turbulent elements let loose by the sudden cessation of the wars. From time to time bands of soldiers, whom the government was powerless to control, scoured the country, and rebellion succeeded rebellion till 1859, when the last fight against open rebels took place at Chichamba near Risod.


Meanwhile the misery of the country was increased by the reckless raising of loans by the Nizam's government. At last the British government intervened, and in 1853 a new treaty was signed with the Nizam, under which the Hyderabad Contingent was to be maintained by the British Government and for the pay of this force and other claims, certain districts were assigned to the   British East India Company.  However, these "Hyderabad Assigned Districts" popularly forming the Province of Berar coincided in extent neither with the Berar of the Nizams nor with the old Mughal Province. In 1860, by another treaty   it was agreed that Berar should be held in trust by the British Government.


Under British control it rapidly recovered its prosperity. Thousands of Marathi farmers who had emigrated across the Wardha to the Peshwas dominions, in order to escape the ruinous fiscal system of the Nizam's Government, now returned. The American Civil war also gave an immense stimulus to the cotton trade. The laying of the railway line across the province provided further employment, to locals making them rapidly prosperous and contented.

On October 1, 1903, Berar was placed under the administration of the British Commissioner General of the Central Provinces, which henceforth became known as the Central Provinces and Berar. After India's independence in 1947, the Central Provinces and Berar became a province of India, and in 1950 became the Indian   state of Madhya Pradesh. In 1956, the Indian states were reorganised along linguistic lines, and Berar and Nagpur became part of Bombay State. In 1960, Bombay State was split along linguistic lines, and the southern Marathi-speaking portion of the state, including Berar, became the new state of   Maharashtra.


 2 nd Battalion (Berar) The KUMAON Regiment


 It had become a fashion those days for the Indian rulers to employ Europeans - the French, the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese to train their armies. Around 1780s the refusal of the British in his struggle against the Marathas, Nizam took help of the French trader turned soldier Raymond helped Nizam's Army by raising ten well equipped and trained battalions that bore the colours of the French Republic and 2KUMAON (Berar) traces its origin to one of these raised battalions ! Eventually, the British prevailed and the East India Company, in the course of the history took over the crumbling Mughal Empire.   By 1780, the Nizam's struggle for supremacy in the Southern India brought into hotch potch existence of feudal regular and non regular troops who were the forerunners of the KUMAON Regiment. The 2/19 Hyderabad Regiment (Berar) traces its history between 1780-1783 and was named Nizam's Regular Berar Infantry in 1797. In 1813, it was redesignated as 1st Battalion Berar Infantry for hunting down the bandits in the Berar province. It was renamed as 3 rd Regiment Nizam's Infantry in 1826 while in 1854 it became as 3 rd Regiment Infantry of the Hyderabad Contingent. In 1903 it became as 96 th Berar Infantry and eventually as 2 nd Battalion (Berar), The 19 th Hyderabad Regiment in 1922. In 1945 it got its present designation as 2nd Battalion (Berar) The KUMAON Regiment.
Much of the earlier history of the 2 KUMAON (Berar) was unfortunately lost as no official records were maintained in those days. The first known Commanding Officer of the Battalion was Captain Stanley (1851-1854) while Lt Col RK Macquoid commanded the Battalion for the longest period of 14 yrs from 23 Apr 1869 to 31 Mar1883. The first Indian Commanding Officer was Lt Col Padam Singh (20 Sep 1948 to 13 May 1949) who took over the command from the last British Commanding Officer Lt Col HS Stansfield. As part of the Nizam's Army, the class composition of the Battalion was Rohillas, Arabs and Sikhs. Thereafter, the infantry of the Hyderabad Contingent recruited Rajputs of the United Province as also the Muslims and some low caste Hindus from the Deccan. In 1945, after redesignation of the Hyderabad Regiment as the KUMAON Regiment, the class composition of the Battalion became 75 % Kumaonis and 25 % Ahirs. In 1960, the Ahirs were exchanged with equal numbers of the Kumaonis from 13 KUMAON and both the units became pure Kumaonis and Ahirs respectively.
Command of The Beraris
   Though I was commissioned and groomed in 13 KUMAON, I was destined to command Beraris in late 1983.I was really very humble to undertake this very honourable but challenging task being fully aware that my all predecessors were professionally very upright officers. I prayed Goddess Kalika, the deity of the Regiment to give me the strength, wisdom and guidance in my sacred task. With the support of my professionally very sound second in command Major Kuttappa, equally efficient and dedicated Sub Maj Amar Singh, other JCOs and senior NCOs and bunch of live wire young officers like Bobby Mathews, Ajai Ohri, Mamgain, Perty and Sharma, I took no time to settle down as a thorough bred Berari as per the maxim of the Paltan," Once a Berari is always a Berari." We excelled in all the fields- training, administration, sports, operational commitments, internal security duties in the wake of Ahemdabad anti- reservation cum communal riots, Operation Blue Star, combating ONGC's Kadi Oil Well fire, professional courses or even plantation of the trees in   the new cantonment of Gandhinagar. The Beraris had such refined Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and traditions that command became that much easier but effective. However, I had regret or two - firstly, like our present day some what unlucky and complacent World Cup Cricket team, Beraris lost the formation's Inter Battalion Support Weapons' Competition while my command tenure came to the end. However, I was delighted to learn in the Assam Rifles where I was posted that eventually the Beraris had won the said competition with a clean sweep the following year.
It is a little known fact that the Deccan Horse –one of the oldest and finest armoured corps regiments of the Indian Army is an off shoot of the Beraris. In 1983 in Hissar when the Deccan Horse was celebrating its raising day, I had the opportunity-to meet the then Chief of the Army Staff Gen Arun Vaidya, MVC who was a distinguished officer from the Deccan Horse. Incidentally, all Chiefs' of the Army Staff except Gen Vaidya, MVC had visited the Beraris and signed its historical Visitor's Book in the Officers' Mess. I brought this little incident to the notice of the Chief. We were very pleasantly surprised and honoured that once we were settled in Gandhinagar our new peace station, General & Mrs Vaidya visited the Battalion on a personal visit and signed the Officer's Mess Visitor's Book. Incidentally, at Gandhinagar our GOC was Maj Gen Afsir Karim who was commissioned in the Beraris but volunteered to be a Paratrooper. Nevertheless, he as a die hard Berari regularly visited the Battalion in Gandhinagar.
DownThe Memory Lane Nostalgia

I retired from the Army in 1995 and the Intelligence Bureau in 2003 and have settled down in Noida. I often meet Maj Gen Afsir Karim, AVSM during morning walks and so also Brig PN Kaul -another veteran Berari. I also often met Lt Gen Bhaiya, PVSM, AVSM** (Retd), who was our previous Colonel of the Regiment, so also Maj Gen Datt, VSM who commanded the Battalion in 1974-77 in our regimental get to gathers often held in Delhi. But nothing thrills me more than a rare phone call from an old Berari or a Special BRO or once a year sent New Year card from the Paltan. I feel very proud and happy to learn that Bobby after the tenure as an instructor in the Staff College and OTA is commanding a brigade in Barrackpore while Ajai Ohri is Col Q after his Higher Defence Management Course. I am equally happy to know that Mamgain who went to Intelligence Corps was not only awarded Sena Medal but is looking for bigger responsibilities after the Higher Command Course. Its great to know that Perty after his short service tenure is big wig in the corporate world as Head of the Administration of the Reliance Energy Power Plant coming up at Dadri near Noida while Kuttappa hung his boots prematurely and is well settled in Bangalore. Bajwa brothers are equally famous-the younger Bajwa was commissioned in 2 KUMAON (Berar) but commanded a different outfit. Senior Bajwa commanded the Beraris with distinction and after the NDC is now commanding a division in the western sector. It is a matter of great pride to learn that another die hard Berari Brigadier Bhupinder Singh, after successful command of the Brigade has been posted as the Commandant of the Regimental centre at Ranikhet. Meeting Gokran, my sahayak and Harish, my driver in the Paltan is always a great pleasure for me and my family.
 Everything about Beraris is nostalgic- whether it is their 100 years old leather sofa set always smelling fresh of wax and polish or equally old Visitors' Book in the Officer's Mess bearing signatures of Mr Montgomery, Capt Slim, Capt Ayub Khan, Mr Yahya Khan, Sir Sikandar Hayyat Khan or the various service chiefs after the independence. One cannot imagine the pleasure of drinking beer on a week day in a silver mug that is over 150 years old while snacks are served in equally old crockery and cutlery. One can read history by watching 150 years e old moth eaten colours proudly displayed in the Officers Mess.
The Berari Paltan is known for its strong spirited characteristics of taking the rough and the soft with aplomb. After independence the 'Turning Point' in the Battalion's history in terms of training, procedures ,     SOPs  both for war and peace, operational readiness, welfare, élan, aplomb and thorough professionalism was injected by Col Sewa Nath - an officer who meant business and professionalism .Col Sewa Nath was very unassuming but with an iron fist inside a kid glove. Likes of him produced soldiers like Havaldar (later Subedar & Honorary Captain) Mani Ram who got distinction in the Platoon Weapon's Course and was rated as the best weapons' instructor. However, it is Col Sewa Nath whose foresight and thoroughness in the basics which always matter the most at any unit level transformed the Battalion into a rough and unpolished diamond whose rough edges were softened by the later commanding officers. It’s heartening to learn that the Beraris are doing well under the stewardship of Col Vikramaditya Gupta and his team of officers and JCOs ably assisted by his effective Sub Maj Hari Chand.
 This GREAT PALTAN has served the nation for over 225 years from China, Burma, Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province, Afghanistan, Persia, Mesopotamia, Italy etc before independence and all theatres with in the country thereafter, proudly and silently. Like its story has no beginning, similarly there is no end to its immense services to the grateful nation. Thus, the Berari story goes on and on AND ON till eternity watched by those who retire and survive with pride and moisture in their gleaming eyes…..

                                COL N N Bhatia (Retd)
A 'Sher' is Born
My parents modern, educated, liberal with modest means were deeply influenced by the Arya Samaj movement in undivided Punjab. My father, eldest of 3 brothers and a sister was born in Bhulwal in Pakistan on 24 Dec1905. He was the first matriculate in his village. My grandfather, who was a cotton merchant, a Hakim and a wrestler fired, a volley from 12 bore gun and laddus were distributed in the entire village on his son's great educational achievement. My father wanted to be a doctor but premature demise of his father shattered his dream as there was no other earning member in the family then. He pursued pharmacist course in Bombay and joined a government job in Civil Hospital in Khushab. My mother was eldest of the 6 siblings-four sisters and two brothers. My maternal grandfather who belonged to Sargodha was a liberal educated young Station Master in British India Railways in Haripur Hazara where my mother was born on 5 Sep 1916. Our parents were married on 18 May 1931. My   mother, though married at a very young age, not only reared seven kids but also pursued her studies to become a post graduate in Hindi, beside doing  courses in stitching, embroidery and child care. In later years she pursued her passion in Vedic studies and both my parents were Presidents of the local Arya Samaj in Gurgaon. My mother also penned numerous articles that were published in various magazines on Vedic thoughts & so also on the uplift of down trodden women. While my father took great interest in construction of DAV School in the Urban Estate, Gurgaon and running of charitable dispensary, my mother used to organise collection of cloth and donations to stitch large number of clothing items for various orphanages run by the Arya Samaj. During 1962 war, our parents collected large number of donations of cash and gold for the war effort. These activities of our parents had profound effect on our entire family. 
On 17 Jul 1933 our parents were blessed with their first child. When my grandmother excitedly enquired my father about the first delivery and the child, my father proudly said 'Ek Sher paida huwa hai'. From that very moment onwards Prem, their eldest child was nicknamed 'Sher' & our parents addressed each other as 'Sher Di Mata" and 'Sher De Pita" respectively as mark of respect for each other and love for their first child. In fact the entire family irrespective of age or relationship, used to address them as 'Sher de Pita’ and ‘Sher di Ma’.
Prem being the first  eldest child in the entire family was loved and pampered immensely not only by our parents but all the aunts, uncles as well and both   the grandmothers.  He grew up as a very fair, smart, 6 feet tall, soft spoken, caring, handsome, well mannered young man who excelled both in sports and studies. He did his matriculation at the age of 13 ½ years and joined Hindu College in Delhi. He was not only good in studies but excelled in athletics, cricket, dramatics, adventure, swimming, photography and reading classics which continued to be his lasting passions in later life as well. Around this time, the partition and independence of the country took place and Prem came under the lasting influence of our awesome maternal uncle Group Captain KL Bhatia, Vir Chakra, who was not only a dare devil ace pilot but a man with dynamic and mesmarising  personality. He was not only the Hero of Burma War and Punch & Uri Battles, but one who had also landed his Dakota aircraft in Leh along with Air Commodore Mehar Singh, Maha Vir Chakra way back in 1948. Our uncle, after the 1948 Indo-Pakistan War, was posted as Station Commander Kheria in Agra, personally groomed and motivated Prem for career in the Armed Forces. Prem joined the Joint Services Wing, then popularly called as the JSW in Dec 50. He excelled in adventure, sports, academics and other extra curricular activities during the training and passed out well above in the order of merit on 4 Dec 1954 from the Military College, Dehradun   and  commissioned in the 6 th Battalion, The KUMAON Regiment. It was Prem who ignited the love for career in the Indian Army and the KUMAON passion in me. Nothing thrilled me more than to get a telegram from him on my passing out parade saying that I was commissioned in   13 KUMAON of Late Major Shaitan Singh, PVC of the  Rezangla fame. 
Soldiers' Officer and a Gentleman
Prem was truly a soldier first and then an officer and a gentleman with highest integrity, professionalism and human touch. He attended numerous army courses upgrading his professional and human relations skills. Once when he learnt that a sweeper of his subunit could not afford schooling of his otherwise bright son, Prem as a young subaltern sponsored scholarship from his modest emoluments ensuring the boy not only did his matric but also get a suitable job thereafter. When I was born, Prem was just 9 yrs old looking after the entire family till our mother was discharged from the hospital as our father was very busy getting tentage stitched for the war effort in his modest factory in Kanpur. One day he got late in the evening to carry home cooked dinner for the mother and finding huge gates of the Dufferin Hospital closed, he jumped over the gates with bruises over his body ensuring that our mother gets her dinner in time. He would often give lift on his bike to soldiers, officers and elderly people walking on the road side. I often in night saw him changing nappies and feeding their first baby daughter Archana so that my sister in law could get some much needed rest. In his entire service of 10 years, he served  9 years in the Regiment & the last year doing the prestigious Defence Services Staff College where he met his unfortunate death shattering the entire family, the Regiment and his Paltan 6 KUMAON. For most of his service in 6 KUMAON, he was Adjutant of the Battalion beside being a Company Commander. He excelled in sports, always wining 1 st position in long, high and steeple chase jumps. During his tenure in the KUMAON Regimental Centre under Lt Col Ram Singh as Commandant, he not only trained the recruits well but also was socially very popular. No social function in the Ranikhet Club, Officers Mess or individual officer's house was ever complete with out Prem being the Master of Ceremony. Prem was a unique blend of two extremes. At one moment you will find him well dressed in his black DJ dancing    fox-trotting on his favourite tunes, while in the very next moment you could find him sitting with the jawans sipping tea in the mug. He would take no time in reversing his roles. He used to drink very moderately in social gatherings and loved books and smoking. His favourite book was 'Gone With The Wind' that he had read number of times. He was   graceful ball room dancer and extensively played bridge, tennis and squash beside the troops' games like football, basketball and hockey. Prem was also instrumental in introducing cricket to recruits. It is a matter of great pride that during his tenure in the Regimental Centre, he trained large number of recruits to get commission in the armed forces. In fact, he was the main motivational force for me, our cousin Sindhi and many of my friends joining the Armed Forces as commissioned officers. He had a very fine sense of humour. Once his senior who was very fond of him jokingly said, 'Prem one day you will be the Chief of the Army Staff but how I wish your IC No was 7777 and not 7077'. Prem replied Sir, but in that case I would have been junior to 700 officers and thus over age to miss that rank by default. Little did any one then know how tragically this brave soldier's career would end abruptly in a tragic road accident on the last day of his Defence Services Officers Course in Wellington on 27 Feb 1965..!!
Hero of Battle of Walong
6 KUMAON under the command of Lt Col CN Madiah was deployed in the Walong Sector of the then North East Frontier Area (NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh) where they fought the Chinese at Kibtu and Ashi Hills with astounding grit and determination. During the fierce battle, 6 KUMAON was the only unit of the Indian army to launch a counter attack on the Chinese defences with limited resources but unlimited ferocity and aggression. 
The enemy had occupied Yellow and Green Pimples and other dominating heights to outflank 11 Infantry Brigade's defences at Walong, an isolated area from road communication that was then only air maintained. The Paltan was ordered to counter attack and clear the Chinese from these features. The epic battle began on 14 Nov 1962 when 6 KUMAON launched the attack with half its strength without any tangible artillery or air fire support. The fierce attack continued the whole day against very heavy Chinese resistance. Once the ammunition was exhausted, hand to hand battle ensued with both sides suffering heavy casualties.  To reclaim the lost ground, the Chinese counter attacked with greater ferocity at Tri junction on night 14/15 Nov. They pressed their attack with human wave after wave coming onto the tenacious hold of the gallant KUMAONIS who pushed back the Chinese during the day and 'ding dong' battle raged throughout the night. The brave KUMAONI bullas led by their gallant young officers like Prem who remained struck to their ground till 'the last man, last round'. The unrelenting enemy suffered very heavy losses at the hands of gritty KUMAONIS but eventually the enemy succeeded as there were no able bodied KUMAONIS left to defend. Whether it was Major Prem Bhatia, the Adjutant, firing the Light machine Gun or Capt Mathur, 2 Lt AS Khatri, late Lt Bikram Singh killed in the action, Capt BC Chopra, the RMO, late Naik Bahadur Singh and score of unsung heroes of 6 KUMAON who fought like wounded 'Man Eaters' of KUMAON  till there was an 'eerie silence'.
It is a matter of great pride that Prem not only kept on fighting in spite of severely wounded but during the previous day, personally hauled countless 3 inch Mortar bombs to the mortar position firing of which mounted enemy causalities that kept them at bay for a considerable period. After the cease fire, Prem though severely wounded refused self evacuation and organised an orderly withdrawal of the left over remnants of the Paltan as all officers senior to him were either taken as prisoners of war ( Ps OW ) or evacuated after having been wounded in earlier actions. 
On a final muster, the causalities of 6 KUMAON were placed at 404 : 11 Officers ( killed  2, wounded  5, taken prisoners 4 ); 12 JCOs ( killed  6, wounded 1, taken prisoners 5 ); 381 Other Ranks ( killed 111, wounded 107, taken prisoners163 ). Despite the heavy odds against them, the Paltan fought with boldness that is typical of the KUMAONIs. For the special acts of gallantry; the following were awarded Vir Chakras:
Major PN Bhatia
Capt RK Mathur
Capt BC Chopra, RMO
2 Lt AS khatri
Naik Bahadur Singh (posthumously)
The War Memorial built at Walong to honour the fallen comrades carries the following inscription:
                                  -BERNARD DOUGAL -               
                                JAI HIND
6 KUMAON celebrates 'Walong Day' every year on the 14 November, so that posterity continues to draw inspiration from the heroics deeds of their predecessors in the service and defence of our nation. 
Abrupt Tragic Ends The Illustrious Journey

After the war, Prem was air evacuated to Military Hospital, Lucknow where he was operated upon and 28 splinters were removed from his chest. During his sick leave, a special investiture was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan where along with other awardees he was decorated with Vir Chakra. Having been commissioned in 13 KUMAON of the REZANGLA fame, I had the unique privilege to attend this investiture. This is the time his son Arvind was also born.
Soon after, Prem added another feather to his glorious professional career by qualifying for the Staff Course at Wellington. He had successfully completed the course that finished on 27 Feb 1965 and was waiting for his posting orders that for some reasons had not come. My Battalion after the famous REZANGLA Battle had moved to Gaya as our peace station. On 1 March 1965 as I stepped out of my room to appear in our Retention Examination, the world for me, our family and the Regiment shattered. The Duty Clerk gave me a telegram regretting that Prem had died the previous day of road rage accident. A truck coming down the hill with engine switched off had rammed his scooter on that fateful Sunday morning with fatal head injury around 1000 hours on his way to Ooty Railway Station where he had gone for booking his luggage. For our family specially all the brothers and sisters, our old parents, my sister in law and her kids Archana and Arvind  the world seemed then had come to an  abrupt unexpected and devastating end. We were indeed shattered and till date not been able to reconcile with the rudest of the shocks that hit us unexpectedly and most devastatingly.
It is a matter of great pride that Prem's  son Arvind got commission in his father's Paltan, 6 KUMAON in Dec 1983, while daughter Archana got married to an officer from the DOGRA Regiment. After successful command of the 6 KUMAON, Arvind has done Higher Defence Management Course and now posted in Headquarters Delhi Area as Colonel Q, while Archana and family are well settled abroad.
 Knowing Prem was the greatest treasure and losing him the sharpest shooting pain. So this is the story of Late Major Prem Nath Bhatia, Vir Chakra, Hero of Walong, soldiers' soldier, sportsman, an officer and a gentleman, an illustrious son, brother, husband, father and above all a compassionate human being with infinite integrity, patience, missionary zeal, cheerfulness, purity of thoughts, conduct, absence of animosity and vanity that will inspire BHATIA Clan and the KUMAON Regiment for generations to come

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 01:09:09 PM »
The word 'Kumaon? for most people conjures up images of terraced hills, lush forests of pine trees, sal,deodar,rhodendron,chestnut and oak and of course classic tiger country and breath taking views of the snow capped Himalayas. The physical beauty of the land?s geography alone approaches the mythical: mountainous lake regions, the Great forests, rugged coastline, and vast potato fields. Those who have visited know that the region lies in the east of Uttarnchal down the valley of the great river Ramganga. Life moves a little more slowly, and the savoring of it is a little more important. It is easy to understand why a writer would feel drawn to this place. One such popular writer hails from this region ? Shivani Gaura Pant whose writing reflects a lot of culture and literature of the region.
A prolific writer of novels and short stories in Hindi , Shivani?s fans will recall one of her most popular novel, Krishnakali and other stories. Other well known works include Atithi, Pootovali, Ek thi Ramreti ,Manik, Surangma, Mayapuri, Aparadhini and a host of others that enticed and entertained readers for decades. In Hey Dattatreya - Folk culture and Literature of Kumaon introduces us to the region.In one of her earlier books, Amader Shantiniketan she recounts on the great times that she spent at the institution and her meeting with Rabindranath Tagore. She devoted another title Yatrik to her trip to London and the wedding of her son. In Shivani Ke Shryaas Kahaniyan she strikes a autobiographical note and Chareivati is an enchanting travelogue of her trip to Russia and the literary celebrities that she met at the time.
Born in 1923 in Saurashtra, Shivani Pant is still writing and her latest literary comments are on the lives of Americans and their attitude toward life. This came about on her recent visit to Boston to stay with her son Muktesh Pant and his family. Her two daughters Ira Pande and Mrinal Pande are also established writers. At the time of this interview, she had just shot off an article to the Hindi edition of Hindustan Times on this subject. In a telephonic interview with Lokvani, I asked her to elaborate on her latest writing, the future of Hindi and her present day activities
On the future of Hindi

I think it is very bright. As long as it is made easy to understand, people will want to learn it. This is the biggest treasure of Hindi. If you ask me, you should learn as many languages as you can. It strengthens the language. For instance, Urdu is a beautiful language. I went to Hyderabad once where they felicitated me at the University and I spoke in Hindi. Someone asked me if I could speak in English and I said ? How can I ? I am a Hindi writer and I assure you that I will speak in simple Hindi as much as I can?. Later, one gentleman came up to me and said ? even though I don?t know Hindi, I heard the music of your language just by listening to you. So you see, it is the same with Tamil, Telugu etc. Telugu Literature, as you know has so much Sanskrit in it. They are all enriched.
On her everyday routine

I live in Lucknow. Around 6.30 every morning, I go for a walk, then sit down to read my paper and have my cup of tea. I make my lunch and then I sit and write. There is no specific time. I don?t use the computer. I don?t dictate. I make drafts and write, but once I begin I make sure I finish. There is a wonderful library and I spend a lot of time here. Earlier, I was actively involved in a lot of activities. I was in the Audition board of AIR, the Railway Board and all that. I have traveled extensively too. I take it easy now. Now my life revolves round doing things here in Lucknow. I have recently adopted two girls whose education I take care of and they give me company. I am busy and happy. My four children are all well established and it is all because, she says in Hindi, ?Saraswati Ka Vardaan?. I have 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren and I feel very blessed.
On the American way of life

I like coming here, but only for a visit. I like to go back to Lucknow. America is a land of plenty and people here are affluent and the attitude is ?live life to the best?. People don?t worry so much about the future. Indian values are totally different. It teaches us that you leave everything behind. In India, I think there is still perseverance ,hard work and honesty and as long as we don?t imitate the wrong things, we will do well for ourselves. I was reading a book on Patanjali?s Yoga recently and it talked on how the West is constantly seeking spiritual enlightenment from the east. I am sure that our ?Samskriti? will survive for generations.
Acclaimed as one of the foremost writers of Hindi fiction, Shivani Pant?s latest novel ?Sone De? has delighted faithful readers and fans. Her gift of story telling is strong and well and living in this latest novel that Shivani says was inspired by the lines on a gravestone of a famous 15th century Urdu poet.

Thak Gaya Hoon Neend Aa Rahi Hai Sone De
Bahut Hein Zindagi Mene Diya Hai Saath Tere

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2007, 04:50:27 PM »

See this article. from Shree Kakesh of 

अगर मेरा गांव मेरा देश हो सकता है
तो म्यार पहाड़ क्यों नही?
मेरा पहाड़ लेकिन ऐसा कहने से ये सिर्फ मेरा  होकर नही रह जाता ये तो सब का है वैसे
ही जैसे मेरा भारत हर भारतवासी का भारत। खैर पहाड़ को आज दो अलग अलग दृष्टि से
देखने की कोशिश करते हैं, एक कल्पना के लोक में और दूसरा सच्चाई के धरातल में।
जिनकी नई-नई शादियां होती हैं हनीमून के लिये उनमें ज्यादातर की पहली या दूसरी पसंद
होती है कोई हिल स्टेशन। बच्चों की गर्मियों की छुट्टी होती है उनकी भी पहली या
दूसरी पसंद होता है कोई हिल स्टेशन,अब बूढ़े हो चले हैं धर्म कर्म करने मन हो चला
है तो भी याद आता है म्यार पहाड़ चार धाम की यात्रा के लिये।
पहाड़ की खूबसूरती होती ही ऐसी है कि किसी को भी बरबस अपनी तरफ आकर्षित कर ले,
वो ऊंची ऊंची पहाड़ियाँ, सर्दियों में बर्फ से ढकी वादियाँ, पहाड़ों को चुमने को बेताब
दिखते बादल,  मदमस्त किसी अलहड़ सी भागती पहाड़ी नदियां, सांप की तरह भागती हुई दिखायी देती सड़कें, कहीं दिखायी देते वो सीढ़ीनुमा खेत तो कहीं दिल को दहला देनी
वाली घाटियां, जाड़ों की गुनगुनी धूप और गर्मियों की शीतलता। शायद यही सब है जो
लोगों को अपनी और खिंचता है, बरबस उन्हें आकर्षित करता है अपने तरफ आने को।
लेकिन पहाड़ में रहने वाले के लिये,एक पहाड़ी के लिये ये शायद रोज की ही बात हो !!
मेरा पहाड़ से क्या रिश्ता है ये बताना मैं आवश्यक नहीं मानता पर पहाड़ मेरे लिये
माँ का आंचल है ,मिट्टी की सौंधी महक है , ‘हिसालू’ के टूटे मनके है ,
‘काफल’ को नमक-तेल में मिला कर बना स्वादिष्ट पदार्थ है ,
‘क़िलमोड़ी’ और ‘घिंघारू’
के स्वादिष्ट जंगली फल हैं ,
‘भट’ की ‘चुणकाणी’ है ,
‘घौत’ की दाल है ,
 मूली-दही डाल के ‘साना हुआ नीबू’ है 
‘बेड़ू पाको बारामासा’ है ,
‘मडुवे’ की रोटी है
’मादिरे’ का भात है ,
‘घट’ का पिसा हुआ आटा है ,
’ढिटालू’ की बंदूक है ,
‘पालक का कापा’ है ,
‘दाणिम की चटनी’ है।
मैं पहाड़ को किसी कवि की आँखों से नयी-नवेली दुल्हन की तरह भी देखता हूं जहां चीड़
और देवदारु के वनों के बीच सर सर सरकती हुई हवा कानों में फुसफुसाकर ना जाने क्या
कह जाती है और एक चिंतित और संवेदनशील व्यक्ति की तरह भी जो जन ,जंगल ,जमीन की
लड़ाई के लिये देह को ढाल बनाकर लड़ रहा है. लेकिन मैं नहीं देख पाता हूँ पहाड़ को
तो.. डिजिटल कैमरा लटकाये पर्यटक की भाँति जो हर खूबसूरत दृश्य को अपने कैमरे में
कैद कर अपने दोस्तों के साथ बांटने पर अपने की तीस-मारखां समझने लगता है।
पहाड़, शिव की जटा से निकली हुई गंगा है, कालिदास का अट्टाहास है, पहाड़ सत्य का
प्रतीक है, जीवन का साश्वत सत्य है। कठिन परिस्थितियों में भी हँस हँस कर जीने की
कला सिखाने वाली पाठशाला है. गाड़, गध्यारों और नौले का शीतल, निर्मल जल है,
तिमिल के पेड़ की छांह है, बांज और बुरांस का जंगल है, आदमखोर लकड़बग्घों की कर्मभूमि है।
मिट्टी में लिपटे,सिंगाणे के लिपोड़े को कमीज की बांह से पोछ्ते नौनिहालों की
क्रीड़ा-स्थली है।
मोव (गोबर) की डलिया को सर में ले जाती महिला की दिनचर्या है,
पिरूल सारती, ऊंचे ऊंचे भ्योलों में घास काटती औरत का जीवन है।
कैसे भूल सकता है कोई ऎसे पहाड़ को, पहाड़ तूने ही तो दी थी मुझे कठोर होकर जीवन की
आपाधापियों से लड़ने की शिक्षा। कैसे भूल सकता हूँ मैं असोज के महीने में सिर पर
घास के गट्ठर का ढोना, असोज में बारिश की तनिक आशंका से सूखी घास को सार के फटाफट
लूटे का बनाना, फटी एड़ियों को किसी क्रैक क्रीम से नहीं बल्कि तेल की बत्ती से
डामना फिर वैसलीन नहीं बल्कि मोम-तेल से उन चीरों को भरना, लीसे के छिलुके से
सुबह सुबह चूल्हे का जलाना, जाड़े के दिनों में सगड़ में गुपटाले लगा के आग का
तापना , “भड्डू” में पकी दाल के निराले स्वाद को पहचानना.
तू शिकायत कर सकता है
पहाड़ ..कि भाग गया मैं, प्रवासी हो गया, भूल गया मैं ….लेकिन तुझे क्या मालूम अभी
भी मुझे  इच्छा होती है “गरमपानी” के आलू के गुटके और रायता खाने की. अभी भी होली
में सुनता हूँ ‘तारी मास्साब’ की वो होली वाली कैसेट …अभी भी दशहरे में याद आते
है “सीता का स्वय़ंबर” , “अंगद रावण संवाद”, “लक्ष्मण की शक्ति”.
अभी भी ढूंढता हूँ ऎपण से सजे दरवाजे और घर के मन्दिर .अभी भी त्योहार में बनते हैं घर में पुए,सिंघल और बड़े. कहाँ भूल पाऊंगा मैं वो “बाल मिठाई” और “सिंघोड़ी”, मामू की दुकान
के छोले और जग्गन की कैंटीन के बिस्कुट।
तेरे को लगता होगा ना कि मैं भी पारखाऊ के बड़बाज्यू की तरह गप मारने लगा लेकिन सच
कहता हूं यार अभी भी जन्यू –पून्यू में जनेऊ बदलता हूं, चैत में “भिटोली” भेजता
हूं, घुघुतिया ऊतरैणी में विशेष रूप से नहाता हूं ( हाँ काले कव्वा ,काले कव्वा
कहने में शरम आती है ,झूठ क्यूं बोलूं ), तेरी बोजी मुझे पिछोड़े और नथ में ही
ज्यादा अच्छी लगती है .मंगल कार्यों में यहाँ परदेश में “शकुनाखर” तो नहीं होता
पर जोशी ज्यू को बुला कर दक्षिणा दे ही देता हूं .
तू तो मेरा दगड़िया रहा ठहरा.. अब तेरे को ना बोलूं तो किसे बोलूं .तू बुरा तो
नहीं मानेगा ना ..
मैं आऊंगा तेरे पास . गोलज्यू के थान पूजा दूंगा ..नारियल ,घंटी चढाऊंगा ..
बाहर से जरूर बदल गया हूँ पर अंदर से अभी भी वैसा ही हूँ रे ..तू फिकर मत करना हाँ..
ये भावनायें हर उस पहाड़ी की है जिसके रोम रोम में पहाड़ रचा बसा है, और ये नराई
अकेले की नराई नही है ये उन सब पहाड़ियों की नराई है जो पहाड़ से बहुत दूर
चले आये है,
अपने पहाड़ में एक कहावत है,
“पहाड़ का पानी
और पहाड़ की जवानी पहाड़ में नही रूकती“।
ये सिर्फ एक कहावत नही पहाड़ का सच है,
क्योंकि पानी नदियों के रास्ते नीचे मैदानों में चला जाता है और जवानी यानि कि
नवयुवक और नवयुवतियां रोजगार की तलाश में पहाड़ से दूर चले जाते हैं।
पहाड़ के दूर दराज गांवों में तो हालात और भी चिंताजनक हैं और यह तब है जब हमें आजादी मिले लगभग
६० साल तो हो ही गये हैं। इन गांवों से ज्यादातर युवक भारतीय सेनाओं में भर्ती होकर
चले जाते हैं रह जाती है महिलायें,बच्चे और बूढ़े। पहाड़ी शहरों में भी ऐसे कोई
उधोग धंधे नही जो युवाओं को रोक सके, जिंदगी की सच्चाई के सामने पहाड़ का प्यार
ज्यादा दिनों तक टिक नही पाता। लेकिन दूर जाने पर भी एक पहले प्यार की तरह यह प्यार आखिरी वक्त तक िदल में बसा रहता है।
यही प्यार उन लोगों से दूर जाने के बाद भी पहाड़ के लिये कुछ ना कुछ करवाता रहता
है, और पहाड़ इस आस में खामोश खड़ा इंतजार करता रहता है अपने बच्चों का शायद एक दिन
कहीं वो वापस लौटें और मुझे ना पा कहीं फिर से वापस ना चले जायें। पहाड़ों में शायद
यही आवाज अब भी गूँजती रहती है
“वादियां मेरा दामन,रास्ते मेरी बाहें जाओ मेरे
सिवा तुम कहाँ जाओगे”।
अगर आप अभी तक कभी म्यार पहाड़ में नही आये तो आओ (जाओ) और थोडा सा मेरे पहाड़ का
ठंडा पानी तो कम से कम पी लो !!!!

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2007, 04:51:57 PM »

One more...
Plight of Women in Uttarakhand – Pre 1912 to 2007By Rajender RawatThanks to the media, we have been exposed to the life and achievements of women in modern India. Whether such transformation is the result of promises and programmes of successive Governments or otherwise is a subject we may skirt for the time being. Despite the emancipation of women in cities and towns, we are also aware of the appalling plight of a large section of women in rural areas, as also in some pockets in urban areas. The canvas I have taken up is too large to handle. I will confine myself to the hill region of Uttarakhand for a first hand account of the centuries old and present day life of women. I hope to do some justice to this subject as I can still peep into the second decade of the Twentieth century. At one end of the continuum, my father’s sisters, two of them, one above 90 years of age and the other just below, are walking, eating, cooking, tilling, talking fit! At the other end of the continuum, I have a busload of female relatives subsisting in the village. Therefore, what I write will be largely true and will stand scrutiny. At times you may confront a hyperbole! Pardon me. It has become second habit now.Meera, from Gadoli is admitted in the Combined Medical Institute (CMI). She has head injuries and a broken leg. A number of her relatives from the village and Doon are here to see her treated. She is in coma. Her own simple but tough life has been disrupted – so has that of others who now must devote their time to be with her. For two weeks her condition remains the same – critical. Most of the meager earnings and savings of Dhan Singh have been spent. Now it is for the others to render financial aid. Relatives keep commuting from Nakraonda, Jogiwala, Harrawala, Niranjanpur, Premnagar and Siddhuwala doing all they can for Meera and Dhan Singh. Despite their efforts and prayers she dies. In a way she is more fortunate than many other women like her. Life for a maimed woman in the hills can be hell - for her and for those who have to care for her. Those who recover would envy Meera.How did Meera sustain such gruesome injuries? She was up on an oak tree cutting its leaves to feed the buffalo at home. This is a daily ritual. All women have to do this. There is no choice whatsoever. Over the last two centuries, or even more, my kin have knocked the trees down, to allow the livestock, goats and buffalo to feed while they themselves lay asleep under the shade of nearby trees! Wood was salvaged for fuel. Those were the days of plenty. Now, there are hardly any trees to be seen. Whatever little remains is on the very crest of the ridge – that too mutilated by cutting of foliage, to appear as stunted undernourished trees, more like hideous bonsais. Thus traditional forests that were contiguous to the village kept receding farther and farther away. Women trudge long distances with sharp sickles, tucked in their waist, to return with loads of leaves and twigs over their stooped backs.As forest cover has diminished, nay disappeared, the remaining trees cannot provide enough for competing clients. Leaves now remain at the very extremities of bare and precariously thin branches. Women must climb within arm’s distance to lop the tantalising foliage. Inevitably, they slip and fall on the uneven rocky ground below with grave consequences. Lacking any means of communication, help is sought by running back to the nearest village that is not close either. If the victim is lucky, she is carried back to the village where no worthwhile doctor is available. A much touted and VVIP-visited hospital at Chaki Sain, Patti Dhaijuli, where periodic politically-oriented-medical-camps are attended and given wide publicity, recommends evacuation to Pauri! Years of sad experience at Pauri Hospital suggest the bereaved to head for the orthopedic surgeons of Doon. What, you may ask. What is the Chaki Sain Hospital and the District Hospital Pauri meant for? Ask the successive Governments and Health Ministers. In 1957, I went to my village. I had to walk from Buba Khal for two days, crossing range after range, after a night halt at a horribly filthy inn at Kalgadi. Much later, a motor road came up and candle-light electricity came quite recently. Tapped water is still a distant dream – even in my own village - despite several elected MLAs who claim to be highly dynamic! Those days, patients like Meera just awaited sure death, or lived a maimed life to be slowly and surely, totally neglected with age.Now, with better roads, patients like Meera are bundled, as comfortably as possible, in Anand Singh’s (of Kutkhal) Willys jeep, and in 8 to 9 hours of non-stop driving are brought to the private orthopedic clinics in Doon. Would any resident of Doon like to be evacuated to a nearby hospital in a rickety jeep? The woman from the hills has no choice. This is the identical plight of all women of Uttarakhand. They travel all the distance, through winding roads, in a highly uncomfortable conveyance, under agonising pain to that hospital where you and I reach in a minute in an ambulance! Please visit Dr HK Johri, one of the eminent orthopedic surgeons of Doon, or if you have the time, all orthopedic surgeons in Uttarakhand, to discover the number of women who are victims of falls from trees while cutting leaves. From my own native place, four women have fallen from trees, been evacuated to Doon and one died after prolonged coma, over the last 4 years. These incidents have repetitively occurred in the past, too. This is what I remember ever since I was a child. I have seen trees in Uttarakhand reduced to tall spindly bare branches. At the very end of the bare branches are a few tufts of leaves. No one, howsoever deft in climbing trees, can reach them. I am sure, despite the hazard, women will reach out to them no matter what the consequences are. Our domestic help has bad news from the village. His wife, Bhagati Devi, while on an oak tree to cut leaves, has accidentally missed the branch with the sickle and instead, hit her leg with full force. She has a deep gash in the flesh and bone. The wound has gone septic and her leg is grotesquely swollen. This, for me, is the last straw and hence this article. Fetching fodder and fuel from far off trees has been the job of women since centuries while men are engaged in ploughing, smoking and gossiping.Does a woman of the hills too feel pain? She does but is capable of bearing it far better than her sisters elsewhere. She has no choice. With a horribly swollen and infected leg Bhagati Devi undertook the ordeal, was treated and is now back in the village to follow the same routine.The condition of women over the last 90 years or so has deteriorated rather than improved. Earlier, there was no migration to the plains. Joint family system and community labor ensured that all tasks related to agriculture were shared equally. During periods of drought and famine this region not only provided foodgrain for consumption but also seeds to the affected areas. Women collectively shared all chores. Today, men have migrated to the plains seeking odd jobs or to serve in the Armed/Para Military Forces. Women are left alone to look after the household, hoping their men will get leave during the harvesting and sowing seasons. People of the plains may not know that in the hills no one has any consolidated land holding. Land is spread over vast areas, often several kilometers apart, over rugged hilly terrain in the form of one or two small terraces at any one place. Thus the land owner has to move with his bullocks, plough, seeds and tools from place to place all by himself/herself as community labour is now non-existent. The entire effort is highly uneconomical and will seem ludicrous to the dweller in the plains. The net result is that distant terraces have been long abandoned and degraded due to disuse. People, whose granaries were once overflowing are today dependent on Government Ration Stores. Thus, the sole burden of the household, animal and land related work falls on the frail shoulders of women. No wonder they look emaciated and age prematurely.Add to this the exposure to marauding bears and leopards. More often than not, it is the woman who is the inevitable victim. This too she must bear over and above other deprivation and difficulty.For her, fetching fodder is one of the many chores – not only leaves from trees but also grass from slippery and precipitous slopes. Apart from this, she must rise well before the male members for morning ablution for which she has to trudge a longer distance. No community toilets exist. There is crying need for separate male and female toilets and baths. She then has to thresh the wheat, rice, millet, etc., well before the break of dawn, light the fire, cook a meal called Kalyar (you would like to call it brunch). She will then go to the fields, actually terraces spread over a wide area, to do weeding or harvesting depending upon the cropping season. In the evening, she and her siblings can be seen herding her meagre livestock home along a dusty path. Meanwhile, potable water must be fetched for the home from the Gadyera (nallah). Thus, with a cloth tied around the head, to mitigate the headache; with the saree ungracefully wrapped around the waist; with the grime and sweat of the day’s labor; with some of her upper garments somewhat wet with the water of the pitcher, she must make haste to prepare the second meal of the day. Even after all this her day’s work is not over. Depending on the season she must again apply herself to threshing, winnowing and grinding – a chore that mercifully is to be done in the courtyard. There is no recreation, welfare, medical cover (pre or post-natal) for her. Many have never ventured out – not even to Pauri, the District Headquarters, unless they are unfortunate to need medical evacuation to mend their bones. No pediatrician, gynecologist, female nurse or any other specialist is available within easy reach. Ponder over what you have just read. What have the ruling parties and local MLAs done? The peasants are fully aware of their self serving agenda. After being elected, they pay scant attention to those who elected them. It happens every time and will continue irrespective of the ruling party concerned. What the electorate, or shall we say the public, do in the future about the utter neglect meted out to them is a matter that time will only reveal? Coming back to the plight of women, the reader would be appalled to learn that when there is a hospital at Chaki Sain, patients have to go to Pauri, over winding roads, in immense discomfort pain and cost when a hospital exists close by? Why has the Government wasted scarce money, time and salary to sustain this white elephant when the most common and recurring ailments/ casualties cannot be treated in situ? Why can’t an orthopedic surgeon be posted within the Patti? Are we short of doctors? Any orthopedic surgeon, irrespective of his acumen is better than none at all in this remote region. In one of the stage-managed medical camps, a bank has donated an x-ray machine.This is rarely used. Is this what visionary leaders like Pandit Nehru down to Mnmohan Singh intended/intend for the rural area? The list of Yojnas is long, impressive enough to melt the hearts of overseas agencies to provide vast sums of money for schemes to benefit the poor in the rural areas.For long, all MLAs have displayed their oratorical and persuasive skills to make asses out of the electorate. Beware; the birds will come home to roost one day!The above accounts are no hyperboles. We are happy in towns and cities where, even if one has to pay through one’s nose, the basic amenities are available. The situation in the hills is bad. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the false claims made about the work being done in the hills. I do not visualise any better even in the next 20 years. Migration from the hills will continue; so will over exploitation of residual vegetation, water, land and electorate; so will degradation of hills, erosion of soil and ever increasing scarcity of water. For me, Uttarakhand is Dehradun, Haridwar, Haldwani, Ramnagar, Udham Singh Nagar. The rest is the rump of the state that has no economic strength. It has one solitary strength and that is ballot fodder.There is near total lack of medical care for the women in the hills. If you can take time of to see the records of the numerous orthopedic hospitals/departments, you will discover that a disproportionately large number of orthopedic cases of the hills are treated at Doon and other towns in the plains. If this be the case, what has the Government done in the hills over the last 60 years? That is why I dare to state that the condition will remain the same even over the next 20 years and more.One reads in local dailies about token ceremonial tree planting campaigns. I am appalled to read that our politicians state that Uttarakhand has rich forest cover – stated as a matter of pride. Pray, where in Uttarakhand do you see this barring “Dudhatoli” which perhaps can lay claim to possess the richest Deodar forest, and “The Valley of Flowers”. Even this exists with no thanks to anyone’s efforts barring “remoteness” and Forest department in that order of merit.There is a drive to open this area, i.e. Dudahtoli, to tourism, only to convert it to another polluted Dhanualti. Whatever has been done in terms of afforestation can be seen en route to Mussoorie and contiguous to a few villages thanks to the TA Battalion and some determined locals. Everywhere trees can only be seen at the very crown of peaks in Lower and Mid-Himalayas. It is hoped that the raising of TA companies in Uttarakhand will do a salutary job. The reader may wonder how the foregoing remarks have any relevance the plight of women. I wish to address all experts in the field of forestry and Uttarakhandis abroad to apprise the highlanders about the various types of quick-growing-fodder-providing trees, shrubs and grass that are suitable at various altitudes and cardinal faces of hillsides with varying water/moisture availability. I have tried to browse the internet and find myself confronted with volumes of salad dressing (preludes) and botanical/local names of vegetation suitable for fodder – but mostly applicable to deserts and plains. It will be very helpful if a variety of specific plants and seeds can be made available to the villagers to enable them to produce plentiful and alternate fodder; so that the oak trees can be left alone to regenerate themselves and perform their vital role to preserve ground water and top soil. A massive campaign to grow a variety of trees, shrubs and grass will not only provide succor to the women but it will serve as a vital prop for the eco-system. While traveling through the length and breadth of Uttarakhand, hasn’t one noticed bare, rocky, sparsely vegetated slopes often covered with cacti? Were these hills always like this? Probably not. Given the present desert like condition, would the sub species of Acacia adapt well here?These are grown all over in the Sahara & sub-Sahara regions of Africa as well as in Middle-East & in the Indian sub-continent. Experts have all the data about the nutritional value of the leaves/seeds in terms of protein.Prosopis Juliflora/Cineraria (Khejri) too are suited to arid conditions. Of course, advice of experts is needed to ensure that some of the species that are truly invasive do not engulf other cultivated areas. Locals use the foliage of Tilanj, Kharsu, Chamlau, Paiyan as fodder. Of these Tilanj is most prized. Can the forest department raise large number of saplings of these and other local and foreign species in their nurseries and provide them to the people for planting in their own land and forest land? This business of suggesting the type of vegetative matter that can be grown for fodder in the hills is best left to the experts whose help is sought and is the crying need of the hour.

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 09:34:31 AM »
LU bags project to revive tribal language
Asit Srivastava

Posted online: Friday , October 26, 2007 at 12:00:00

Updated: Thursday , October 25, 2007 at 11:45:33Print Email To Editor

Lucknow, October 25 The Lucknow University (LU) has bagged a project from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to revive one of the tribal languages, Raji, of Uttarakhand.
The project was offered to LU following significant work on the language by Dr Kavita Rastogi Reader of Linguistics department, LU, for the past nine years.

Since then she has been working with the Banrawat community—residing in nine small hamlets —Attodi, Jamtadi, Kimkhola, Bhktirva, Ganagaon, Kutachaurani, Kantoli and Chipaltara—of Pitthoragarh district, to revive the language.

Kavita is now in the process of documenting and preparing grammar for the Raji language.

A sum of around Rs 5 lakh has been allocated by the UGC for the same.

Kavita said: “The approval had come about 4 months ago. We will appoint a research scholar to assist us in the work. With the assistance from UGC, we plan to complete documentation and preparation of grammar, curriculum development and creation of community-learning centres at the earliest.”

Talking about her work, Kavita said: “In my visits, I saw that majority of the Banrawat community members were aware of the Hindi language. Taking this into account, I reproduced some Raji words in Devnagri script. The idea worked, the tribals, who had left the native language, evinced interest in learning Raji. This was because they got the feel of their local dialect from the script they were familiar with.”

“Following this, for making Raji popular amongst the tribe, I opted to conduct essay competitions at regular intervals in the villages inhabited by the tribal community,” added Kavita.

She adds, “The community has opted for Hindi and other languages to earn their livelihood.

As a result, with few takers for Raji, the language faced the threat of being wiped out.

The dwindling population of Banrawat made the situation worse for the survival of the language.

A study in 1998 had put the Banrawat’s strength at 667.

Anubhav / अनुभव उपाध्याय

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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 11:14:50 AM »
Mehta ji aapki Mera Pahad wali post maine modify ki hai woh Ashish ji ne nahi likhi hai Kakesh ji ne likhi hai.

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2007, 11:40:17 AM »
Man to make country proud by embarking on unusual journey

HE HAS truly got whatever it takes! Otherwise, this man wouldn't think of performing such a dangerous feat. Mobin Khan, 38, plans to drive a car in reverse gear on hill roads. He will embark on a gruelling 2,500-km journey across Uttarakhand for nearly a week beginning Sunday next.[/color]But make no mistake! Khan is not one of those eccentrics who risk their lives just to make or break records. That, however, doesn't mean that he is completely disinterested in making records of any kind or to be famous all over the world.

Khan is quite interested in that. In fact, this humble school dropout motor mechanic, who will embark on the amazing car journey from his hometown of Kashipur in district U S Nagar, is "very eagre to create a rather unbreakable" world record. "Yes, I do want to achieve that rather difficult feat by successfully driving a car in reverse gear on hill roads for 2,500 kms", says the soft-spoken mechanic with a steely resolve.

"I have, however, just one aim behind that and, that is, to do my country proud." And if you thought that was a rather tall claim, think again.For, Khan's name is already listed in the Limca Book of Records (India) for driving car in reverse gear on the 70-km stretch of a hill road from Kaladhungi to Nainital and back.

The feat which he completed "within three hours, was performed under full media glare on March 4, 2006." Subsequently, (4 October 2006) Khan undertook a similar journey, in which he drove car in reverse gear on hill roads for 410- km from Kashipur to Kausani, a famous hill station in the Kumaon Himalayas.

"I completed the whole journey within a short span of just 10 hours. All records of that feat including its video film have long been submitted to the London office of the Limca Book of Records", recalled the mechanic. He now wants to create "unbreakable world record by driving car in reverse gear on hill roads of Uttarakhand for a distance of 2,500 kms within the shortest possible time." And the habitual daredevil wants to achieve that feat this time around to "ensure that my name figures in the Guinness Book of World Records."

Incidentally, most of his itinerary this time around would comprise the high altitude areas falling in the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas. In fact, Khan also wants to achieve one more feat. He wants to do reverse driving up to "as far in the habitable spots in the Himalayas as Munsyari (Kumaon) and the famous Hindu places of worship like Badrinath and Kedarnath (Garhwal), I hope that nature exempts those inhospitable areas from snowfall during the days when I will be on journey."

Surprisingly, however, Khan will have to perform this seemingly amazing feat "without anybody's support." "The whole journey will cost me lakhs of rupees, for which no sponsor is really coming forward to support", says the mechanic.
According to him, he has already spent Rs 3.5 lakh in purchasing a brand new Alto car which he will reverse drive to finish his very difficult 2,500-km road journey.

In fact, says Khan, a reputed company he was fully confident would sponsor his programme withdrew its support at the eleventh hour. Yet, he is "going ahead with my enthusiasm as unflagging as ever."' What is it then that drives this poor mechanic to set the unbreakable record he is eagre to set.

"I am propelled by the never-say-die attitude of foreigners who gladly go in for the dangerous adventures sports like reverse driving on hill roads and similar activities which keeps them on their toes", Khan told HT.

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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जम्मू और उत्तराखण्ड की ग्रामीण संस्कृति एक जैसी- नरमोहीOct 29, 02:22 am

डीडीहाट(पिथौरागढ़)। डुंगर संस्कृति पर तीस पुस्तकें लिख चुके जम्मू कश्मीर के प्रसिद्ध लेखक शिव नरमोही ने कहा कि जम्मू कश्मीर और उत्तराखण्ड की ग्रामीण सभ्यता एक जैसी है। जम्मू की ग्रामीण सभ्यता को कई प्रयासों के बाद राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर पहचान मिल गई है परन्तु उत्तराखण्ड की ग्रामीण संस्कृति पहल के अभाव में दम तोड़ रही है।

उत्तराखण्ड के ग्रामीण संस्कृति के संबंध में जानकारी जुटाने डीडीहाट पहुंचे नरमोही ने बताया कि जम्मू की डुंगर संस्कृति को बचाने के अथक प्रयासों के बाद इस सभ्यता ने अपनी जो पहचान बनाई यही प्रयास उत्तराखण्ड में किया जाना जरूरी है। जम्मू के प्रसिद्ध लेखक श्री निरमोही को उनकी विशेष लेखनी के लिए राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर सम्मानित किया जा चुका है। उनको 27 वर्ष की उम्र में जम्मू के शिक्षा विभाग ने सर्वप्रथम पुरस्कृत किया। इसके बाद बाल पुस्तक के लिए 1980 में तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री शेख अब्दुल्ला ने सम्मानित किया। श्री नरमोही को जम्मू की डुंगर जाति पर शोध करने और पुस्तक लिखने के लिए जम्मू के संस्कृति विभाग द्वारा पुरस्कृत किया गया। इसके बाद वर्ष 2003 में पांडर लोक व संस्कृति पुस्तक के लिए तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री अटल विहारी बाजपेयी द्वारा पुरस्कृत किया गया। डुंगर संस्कृति पर लिखी गई विशेष पुस्तक के लिए कांग्रेस की राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्षा सोनिया गांधी ने भी श्री नरमोही को डुंगर रत्‍‌न से सम्मानित किया गया। डुंगर संस्कृति पर 30 पुस्तकें लिख चुके श्री नरमोही को पिछले वर्ष कटरा उधमपुर में आयोजित एक कार्यक्रम में दैनिक जागरण ने भी सम्मानित किया। जम्मू की डुंगर संस्कृति पर विशेष शोध करने वाले श्री नरमोही डुंगर का भाषीय परिचय, मंदिर, बौद्ध मठ और परिवेश पर अलग-अलग पुस्तकें लिख चुके

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2007, 11:09:37 AM »
Lakes of the Yore have Great Clues
by VK Joshi

Geography students know that the glaciers carve a 'U' shaped valley. Thus it is common perception that the glacier's limits end where the 'V' shaped valley carved by a river starts. Is it really like that or the limit of glaciation is controlled by some other natural agency too? This has been baffling the geologists since quite some time. If there was another agency, what it could be is yet another poser. Glaciers as such are a storehouse of past climatic information. With advanced techniques it is now possible to work out precisely the past climatic details by studying the remnants of glacial sediments and moraines.

Such areas that contain the clues of the past are unfortunately remote and quite inaccessible. It requires lot of grit and determination to reach those places and search for the clues. A team of six determined earth scientists and physicists including N. Juyal, M.G. Yadava and A.K. Singhvi from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad; R.K. Pant and N.K. Saini from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun and N. Basavaiah of Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Mumbai dared to threadbare the area around Garbyang, Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand and the information they could gather has proved to be of immense value

Juyal states in a joint paper published by the team in the prestigious journal PALAEO, that the higher Central Himalaya is a narrow strip of mountainous terrain between the Great Himalayan Range and the Indo-Tibetan water divide. This is a region that has preserved records of ancient glaciation. It is significant to note here that glacial melt water began to flow as rivers. The flow of these rivers got impounded, because the downstream side was somehow lifted up. Such uplifts are possible during massive earthquakes. Thus lakes were formed and such lakes lasted for considerable time and were eventually drained. Garbyang was one such lake. The drained waters of the lake exposed the sedimentary record of the lake. Such unaltered pages of the climatic and tectonic history of the Himalayas are highly sought for.

The Swiss launched a scientific expedition to the remote Himalayas in 1930s. Heim and Gansser two pioneering Swiss geologists found varve-like deposits at Garbyang. Glacial varve (Swedish varv) are the fine clays deposited in lakes by the glacial melt. These are deposited in fine layers, each representing a year of glacial melt. In other words varves or varvites (rocks) are useful tools to unfold the past glacial/climatic history.

Varves are exposed between Chhiyalekh to Gunji in the Kali River valley, record Juyal and his co-workers. Chhiyalekh pass at 3100 m is the divide that defines the southern limit of U-shaped Garbyang basin. Varves or the glacial lake sediments of Garbyang are estimated to be around 100 m thick. However, the steep cliffs make most of the succession inaccessible. Top 28 m part is accessible which was been studied by Juyal et al. The type of varves at Garbayang are typical of deposition in a lake that was already formed while the glacier existed, a fact confirmed by the terminal moraine that proved to be much older than the lake sediments.

Juyal and his team feel that the stream flow from the glacier was blocked by the terminal moraine. This led to the formation of a lake, which grew in size with the passage of time. Lake waters are always placid and calm. Geologists term such environments as low energy environments. In such conditions the finest of the sediments are deposited in layers. Snow melt increases with the advent of summers and thicker layers are formed, whereas during winters due to reduced snow melt the layer of sediments are thinner. One can count in such varves with ease, as to how many winters and summers the area has witnessed in the past.

The natural dam formed due to accumulation of moraines can not last for ever. The day it gives way, there is a sudden release of water from the impounded lake. This caused sudden influx of water from the source area. Naturally the energy regime of the lake had changed. In now the so called high energy environment larger grains started to get deposited. Thus Juyal reported gravel layers which marked the draining of the lake.

Trans Himadri Fault (THF) an ancient tectonic feature which was formed some 23 MA is a feature that dominates the southern margin of Garbayang lake. Geologists report that this fault though apparently dormant has been reactivated several times in the past at 19 MA, 11MA and again at the end of Pliocene, some 1.75 MA. Reactivation of a fault of such great magnitude implies massive earth movements.

A minute study of the 28 m of the layers of fine lake sediments and the thick moraines has yielded great clues.

Juyal and his co-workers conclude that during the past 1.75 million years glaciation in the Central Himalayas was controlled by the structure of the basin, which in turn depended on the tectonism. Thus THF limited the advance of the glaciers. As the glaciers advanced through the permissible space they generated plenty of glacial flour and moraines. The terminal moraines at the THF were responsible for damming of the melt water, leading to formation of the Garbayang Lake.

Earth's past climates deduced from the oxygen isotopes have revealed alternating warm and cold cycles. Called as Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) the climatic history has lots of fascinating things. For example in the past 2.35 million years about fifty such cycles have been reported. Though corroborative evidence for even half the numbers of such cycles have yet to be obtained, yet the work of Juyal and his colleagues is a step forward towards the past. According to them the sediments are equivalent to MIS stage 4.

Detailed study of varves revealed high frequency, low magnitude climatic oscillations between 18±3 and 13±2 thousand years (ka). Fine sediments of varves indicate prominent cooling between 12 and 11ka which is attributed to younger dryas. Younger Dryas represents the 'Big Freeze' between 12700 to 11500 years before present. It was a global phenomenon during which apparently everything remained frozen. Unlike today's global warming, had the media been developed a global cooling would have been the daily headlines!

Juyal and his colleagues observed seismicity with the help of preserved, deformed layers of the varves at Garbayang. A dating of these sediments indicated that THF was active between 20 and 17 ka and 14 and 13 ka. An active THF is something quite serious. Because in case the fault is reactivated to the scale on which it was operating in the days gone by, it can cause massive destruction. In addition to Juyal et al past seismicity in Grabayang area with the help of soft sediment deformation has also been confirmed by B.S. Kotlia and K.S. Rawat of the Kumaon University, Nainital. Kotilia and Rawat interpret liquefaction of sand layers due to past earthquake/s.

The Himalayas, especially the Central Himalayas have lots of clues still hidden under the sub-surface that need to be unearthed. These are the clues about the past tremors that shook the Himalayas or even made them rise. In the present context any information of such possibility is significant, because we are populating the calm mountains vigorously. An earthquake can lead to great loss of life in densely populated areas. Relief measures in Himalayas become a problem in such an eventuality because of disruption of communication links. It is better to take precautions.

The designs of earthquake resistant houses at present are as per a maximum anticipated shaking. The strength of the THF that has re-carved the entire valleys shows that a dense population can be an invitation to massacre if the fault decides to repeat its past.


October 28, 2007