Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Munnar –Kashmir of South India!


While Kerala itself is known for its magical beauty, Munnar in the Idukki district is famous as one of the most visited hill stations in God's own country. Located in the Western Ghats at a towering height of 6,000ft, this scenic hill station is a true paradise for travellers, visitors and tourists. Munnar is a town in the Western Ghats mountain range in south India’s Kerala state. A hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite, it's surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the late 19th century. Eravikulam National Park, a habitat for the endangered mountain goat Nilgiri tahr, is also home to the Lakkam Waterfalls and hiking trails and 2,695m-tall Anamudi Peak are the major attractions.

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Coorg, Ooty, Munnar, Wayanad, Kodaikanal, Idukki, Chikmagalur, Savandurga, Yercaud, Coonoor, Kudremukh, Yelagiri, Kotagir and many more are the popular hill stations in South India. Munnar, one of the most famous hill stations, has the world's largest exotic tea estates and is known to be the epitome of natural beauty, and is popularly known as the Kashmir of south India. While Kerala itself is known for its magical beauty, Munnar in the Idukki district is acclaimed as one of the most desirable hill stations in God's own country. Located in the Western Ghats at a towering height of 6,000ft, this scenic hill station is a true paradise for travellers and tourists who love to explore new places.

Munnar rises as three mountain streams merge  - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. 1,600 m above sea- level, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in south India. The top officials would escape the summer heat by relaxing in the hill stations.

Munnar town is situated on the Kannan Devan Hills village in Devikulam taluk and is the largest panchayat in the Idukki district covering an area of nearly 557 square kilometers. One of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in Kerala, Munnar is replete with resorts and lodging facilities that fit a wide range of budget. Sprawling tea plantations, picturesque towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years will bloom next in 2030. Munnar also has the highest peak in south India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. 

Munnar came to be known to the outside world in the 1870s with the visit of the British resident of the then Travancore kingdom John Daniel Munro. Munro, who visited the place as part of settling the border dispute between Travancore and the nearby state of Madras literally fell for the beauty of the region.

Munnar is considered to be far better than Ooty and Kodaikanal because of its serene beauty. It is also less crowded as compared to Ooty and Kodaikanal. If you go to Munnar, then Anaimudi is a must visit. It’s the highest point in the peninsular region of south India and is 10-16 km from the Munnar town.

Munnar is a town and hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres above mean sea level, in the Western Ghats mountain range. Munnar is also popularly called the Kashmir of south India and is a favourite honeymoon destination. One of nature's most mesmerizing creations, the Attukal Waterfalls in Munnar is truly spectacular. Set amidst looming hills and the thick forests, this scenic spot is ideal for a family picnic or a romantic evening stroll. Tourists are mesmerized by this panoramic view of natural beauty.

The aesthetically mounted heads of tigers — relics from the days of the British Raj — can still be seen in most planters' clubs in Munnar, Kodaikanal and the Nilgiris. The national animal, the tiger ('Panthera tigris') is the largest of the cat species. Tea County Munnar is a gorgeous honeymoon resort in Munnar which is located amidst the dense forests making you capture the stunning sights of the rolling hill plantations. The soothing sound of chirping birds and the misty fragrance of vibrant flora makes it one of the best places to stay in Munnar for couples and others.

The former Kunda Valley Railway in Munnar was destroyed by a flood in 1924, but tourism officials are considering reconstructing the railway line to attract tourists. This will make it very easy and convenient for tourists to reach Munnar.

Most of the native flora and fauna of Munnar have disappeared due to severe habitat fragmentation resultant from the creation of the plantations. However, some species continue to survive and thrive in several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Manjampatti Valley and the Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, the Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park to the north, the Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east.These protected areas are especially known for several threatened and endemic species including Nilgiri Thar, the grizzled giant squirrel, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, elephant, the gaur, the Nilgiri langur, the sambar, and the Neelakurinji (that blossoms only once in twelve years).

There are four major directions in Munnar - Mattupatty Direction, Thekkedy Direction, Adimaly Direction and Coimbatore Direction. The climate and tea plantations are the main reason for tourism in Munnar. Tourists come here to see the plush green carpet that is strewn all around. The tourist count increases every year with a major number during the months of April–May when summer vacations begin across the country. In 2018, a large number of tourists and visitors arrived during the months of August–September to see the spectacle of the Kurinjiin full bloom, which happens once in 12 years.

For tourists on the move, short of time and to explore many more places, a two day trip is ideal to cover Munnar. Day one is spent to view and soak in the panoramic view, atmosphere and beauty of the place. Day 2-  after breakfast, sightseeing travel to Echo point, Mattupetty lake and Dam Eravikulam National Park , Tea Museum, Kundala dam, Photo point, Shooting point, Top station, Tea plantation tour , Hydel park, Rose garden, Bating National park , elephant ride etc.

It's absolutely trouble-free to find hotels in OYO Rooms. Most of the resorts will permit couples, along with their local ID proof. If on a vacation with your partner, book a couple friendly rooms in a good hotel in Munnar, for absolute privacy and fun. One of the best restaurants in Munnar, the Saravana Bhavan, it’s known for its delicious assortment of typical South Indian dishes like Dosas, Idlis, Appams and Sambhar.

There are many resorts in Munnar to suit your budget and you can choose from a wide range. Another place suggested for a comfortable stay in Munnar, is Pallivasal Chithirapuram located at the most scenic location in Munnar, the bonus is one can enjoy the beautiful tea plantation view from the hotel rooms. The hill station does not witness snowfall and even then numerous tourists throng Munnar in the month of December and January during Christmas and New Year. Ideal time to visit Munnar is December to February: The winter months are by far the best time to visit Munnar since the weather is pleasant. March to May. March marks the beginning of summer in Munnar.

Blame it on the climate change, the intensity of snowfall have reduced in the past few years but the temperature still goes downhill below zero degrees sometimes even  in the middle of February in Munnar. Winter here is from September to November and January to March. The best time to visit Munnar would be October to November and from January to May when it is comfortably cold. There may be occasional rains which will give a misty experience of Munnar.

Here are our pick of four Munnar specialties which you can buy before you head back home from your enjoyable Munnar trip – fresh Spices, Tea, is perhaps the best Munnar specialty that you should take back from your visit, local Chocolates which are delicious with its own special flavour and Aromatic Oils.

You can reach Munnar - By Air: The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is around 125 km away from Munnar. The Coimbatore and Madurai airports in Tamilnadu are about 165 km from Munnar.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is located at Kochi or Ernakulam.

By Road: Once you land in Kochi, Aluva or Ernakulam you can hire a cab or take a bus to Munnar. Kochi to Munnar Taxi fare – you can choose from the wide range of Kochi to Munnar car rental options, approximately Rs 2000, 2500 to 3000 one way, depending on the model of the vehicle, AC Sedan, AC SUV large to AC Minibus.

Munnar is well connected by both, national highways, state highways and rural roads. The town lies in the Kochi - Dhanushkodi National highway (N.H 49), about 130 km from Cochin, 31 km from Adimali, 85 km from Udumalpettu in Tamil Nadu and 60 km from Neriyamangalam. Distance from major cities,from Kochi - Ernakulam it’s about 150 km by road.

Also read: Say Cheers in Bengaluru! *   All about food

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Can all the nuclear bombs wipe out humanity?

It’s always said a nuclear war will wipe out humanity and will bring about the end of this world. Nothing that humans do will wipe out humanity off the face of this Earth, writes American astronomer Seth Shostak in Quartz. Even if all the nuclear powers used all their bombs together, billions of us would survive.

10,000 is the approximate number of nuclear weapons in the world at present and 7.5 billion is the current human population. The worst-case scenario will be 1.6 billion deaths. 6 billion will survive, roughly equal to the world population in 1999.

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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Where Meghdoot Force dare!

The exploits of Meghdoot Force Commandos undertaken in September 1965 during the Indo-Pak war was daring and helped the army to move forward. Meghdoots, raised and led by Major Megh Singh, the creator of Indian Special Forces, the first Commanding Officer of 9 Para Commando now 9 Parachute Special Force. Lt Col Megh Singh, born on 1 March 1924, an Indian military officer with foresight. Hailing from Rajasthan, and from a Rathore Rajput family, he joined the Patiala State forces. Lt Col Megh Singh is known as a person who created the Special Forces in India. His creation was a role model for the other Special Forces and has served the nation at times of need.

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Lt Col Megh Singh is the person who created the Special Forces in India. Then Maj Megh Singh who was surpassed for the promotion to Lt Colonel approached Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh and he volunteered to raise a Special Commando for India. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh accepted Maj Megh Singh's proposal. Maj Megh Singh raised a special force of volunteers personally chosen by him. The formation was not formally authorized by the Government so it was informally named as the 'Meghdoot force' in the name of Maj Megh Singh. Harbaksh Singh in his book ‘In the Line of Duty: A soldier remembers’ mentions that Megh Singh was demoted to Major after a court-martial and after his daring raid across the enemy line when he returned with a bullet injury in his thigh, Harbaksh Singh again promoted him as a Lt Colonel.


He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his bravery in battle. His Vir Chakra citation reads as under: Lieutenant Colonel Megh Singh, then a Major, with a Brigade in Jammu and Kashmir, successfully conducted three important raids into enemy territory from 1 to 11 September 1965. On 2 September, his force blew up a big culvert on the Kotli Bandigopalpur road, disrupting the enemy's line of communication inside their territory. On 6 September, his column captured two important piquets Neja Pir and Ari Dhok. Again on 10 September, his column went two miles deep into enemy territory and affected the Uri-Poonch link-up at Kahuta in spite of heavy enemy fire. In all these actions, by his exemplary courage and initiative, Lieutenant Colonel Megh Singh inspired confidence in the volunteers under him, causing confusion and casualties in enemy camps and facilitating the success of the brigade's operational plan.

So, just a company size force without, any fire support was able to capture two important enemy held posts in depth with just one wounded. In comparison Raja and Chand Tekri were captured only after heavy fighting and a very large number of casualties. With capture of Aridhok the route to Kahuta was wide open and Meghdoots had ensured that the elusive Uri Poonch link up now looked a real possibility for the Indian Army. Thus the Mission Next ended for the Meghdoot Force with success.

Also read: India-China diplomatic row almost erupted into a full scale war in 1967

                 How a Cargo Ship helped win World War 2

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Army Day

In India, Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year. On January 15, 1949, the command of the Indian army was handed over from Gen Sir Francis Butcher to Lieutenant General KM Cariappa. Army Day marks the transfer of power from the British to Independent India, an important event in Indian history.

The Day is marked by a display of military strength at the Cariappa Parade ground in Delhi cantonment. The parade showcases various routines such as aerial stunts and bike pyramids. Bravery awards such as unit credentials and Sena medals are also presented to deserving personnel.

According to Global Firepower Estimates, India has the second largest military manpower in the world. As of 2019, total available active military manpower is 13, 62, 500 personnel.

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Mangeshi Temple, Goa, India
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Monday, 12 October 2020

4 Places Perfect to Retire in Western India.


After checking out many towns and cities located on western India, we short-listed four places ideal for senior citizens to spend their twilight years peacefully, live comfortably and at the same time keeping in mind the senior citizens well being and movement or their close family, friends and relatives who wish to visit them as these places which are tourist spots too.......


Retirement can be an ideal opportunity to relocate to a more peaceful place that is affordable and has favorable weather. However, leaving the big city can be rather difficult if you are used city life and many conveniences. So, we suggest a few places that will give you the best of both worlds. These places were chosen on the basis of the location, cost, local environment, ease of procuring provisions, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and other items with shopping mall at a convenient distance, population, connectivity to other cities by road, railway and air, local cuisine and medical facilities, etc, and also keeping in mind about senior citizens travel and their families visiting them. After checking out many towns and cities located on western India, we short-listed four places ideal for senior citizens to spend their twilight years peacefully, live comfortably and at the same time keeping in mind, them senior citizens or their close family, friends and relatives who wish to visit them as these places, which are tourist spots too.

Pune:

The cultural capital of Maharastra. Also know for its old educational institutions. Is often said to be the best place to grow old in apart from Belgaum, especially when it’s the retired enjoying a decent income during retirement. From students, artists to IT professionals, and now retired people prefer Pune. The cost of living is cheaper than Mumbai which is crowded, polluted and expensive. Pune is known for its elite educational institutes, world class medical facilities and several tourist and religious destinations. When it comes to health care, the city is the place to be in with good medical facilities available closeby. Hotels and resorts are located nearby. Pune is served by rail, road and air. Spoken languages – Marathi, Hindi, English and other languages.

Goa:

It’s not only picturesque, but it seems to provide just the right atmosphere and environment needed for an elderly to live an independent and peaceful life. Here you can live a life with fun and liesure. Life after retirement at the beach sounds relaxing and it gets better when you are in Goa. With tourism and tropical climate it could be your dream destination after retirement. Old temples and churches add value. It’s known for it’s seafood and vegetarian fare. Goa is known for its hotels and resorts. Goa too is served by rail, road and air. Spoken languages – Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and other languages.

Mangalore:

Not only does it boast of the old and new structures, but lush greenery, virgin beaches and friendly people. It’s fertile for the retired folks. The senior citizens can lead a peaceful and happy life. Goa to the north and Kerala to the south, make it an ideal location to spend a few days in these beautiful tourist spots for a change.There are old temples, churches and mosques for the devoted. When it comes to health of senior citizens, the city has many medical facilities. It is known for its medical tourism with people from Kerala and Arabs from Gulf coming for good medical treatment. The place is also known for academics with many reputed colleges and institutions located in and around the city. Good seafood and vegetarian cuisine is on offer. Good hotels and resorts are located nearby. Mangalore too is is served by rail, road and air. Spoken languages – Kannada, Tulu, Konkani, Hindi, English and other languages.

Kerala:

God’s own country. Know for its palm trees, greenery, backwaters and abdunant nature, is a place to be in. And since most young men are out in Gulf and elsewhere, you get to see a lot of elderly folks. Some of the towns and cities like Calicut, Cannore, Ernakulam and Cochin are ideal places to retire. Prominent sectors are tourism, petrochemical refining, industries allied to rubber, seafood export and agricultural products such as spices, bananas and coconuts.  Kochi is also an emerging destination for the IT industry. The tourism-driven economy also has had a positive impact on the growth of the health sector. Alternative medicine centres, Ayurveda are quite prominent. The towns and cities have good hotels and resorts. The cities mentioned here  are served by rail, road and air. Spoken languages – Malayalam, English, Hindi and other languages.

The readers can suggest other perfect places to retire, do mention them for the benefit of our readers, specially senior citizens who can spend their retired lives peacefully and happily. 

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Food Travel – The journey of the humble pav

Vindaloo, Sorpotel, etc, the Portuguese brought all these cuisine to India, mainly Goa. But there is another Portuguese contribution which many may not even know. It is the humble pao or pav as we know it. And it is from Goa that bread first travelled to Mangalore and then on to Bombay, now Mumbai and became a staple amongst the locals. Initially pav was mainly preferred by Christians in Goa and Mangalore; and kids, in lighter vein teased the bread-eaters as pav-wallas. But now everyone, including households love to have pav with the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes replacing the age hold rotis which is cumbersome to make, and pav is easily available of the shelf from many bakeries dotted around the towns and cities.

In the busy market, around Kalbadevi area of Mumbai where the cotton exchange was located, Gujarati traders would wait for the cotton prices to come from New York late in the evening; to beat the hunger they would love to have Pav bhaji, pav and mix vegetable. And the Kutchis introduced Dabeli, again pav with mix vegetarian snack. In the early seventies, Vada pav made a quiet entry in Bombay. Batatavada, a favourite of Gujaratis and Maharastrian cuisine was placed inside a pav after being sliced open, with a sprinkling of red dry powder chatni or green wet chatni. It became popular as a Maharastrian snack, and is now available all over, in roadside outlets, handcarts, fast food centres and even in restaurants. It has become the simple and popular local vegetarian hamburger! It is cheap and filling, one can have a quick bite while on the move. The British white bread was utilised mainly to make sandwiches, considered a bit elitist among the common man.

Also read: All about food



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Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Sinking of INS Kukri

INS Khukri was a Type 14 frigate of the Indian Navy. She was sunk off the coast of Diu, Gujarat, India by the Pakistan Navy Daphné-class submarine Hangor on 9 December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. This was the first warship sunk in action by a submarine since the Korean War.Torpedoed and sunk by Pakistan Navy submarine PNS Hangor on 9 December 1971

INS Khukri was one of the Blackwood anti-submarine frigates built by Britain in the 1950s and inducted into the Indian Navy towards the end of 1959. The Khukri, the Kirpan and the Kuthar were designated as ‘second class anti-submarine frigates’.

During the 1971 war these three anti-submarine frigates were pitted against Pakistan’s Daphne class submarines. These submarines were built in France in the late 1960s and were the best conventional submarines of that time. Pakistan had three of them – the Hangor, the Mangro and the Shushuk. The range of the sonars aboard the F-14 Squadron, that is, on the Khukri, Kirpan and Kuthar was approximately 2,500 m whereas the detection capability of the Daphne submarines was approximately 25,000 m, that is, ten times more.

INS Khukri went down with 18 officers and 178 sailors, including its captain Mahendra Nath Mulla (awarded MVC posthumously). Young technical officer V.K. Jain, working with the experimental sonar, went down too.


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A story of the Western Naval command Bombay Indian Naval Ship INS Khukri which was sunk in the 71 War - Letter by retired Naval Officer Allan Rodrigues to Ms. Ameeta Mulla Wattal in response to an article written by Ms. Ameeta, on why her father Capt. Mulla chose to go down with his ship, INS Khukri in 1971:

December 23, 2010

Dear Ms. Ameeta Mulla Wattal,

I am an ex- Indian naval officer who left the service honourably in 1994. I live in New Zealand, and work in Australia and New Zealand these days.

This email refers to an article you wrote some five years ago very poignantly, on your father the Late Captain Mulla, pondering why he chose to go down with his ship.

The article obviously struck a chord with many of your readers, and in the way of the internet, travelled the world before it entered my mail box a few days ago, via a social network maintained by the 42nd NDA and 51st IMA course.

I did not know your father personally, but I feel I have always known him and for what he stood for, all of my adult life. I missed the fighting in 1971 as I was cadet in the NDA at the time, and only passed out and joined a warship at sea in June 1972, six months after the war ended. In the event I became an Anti Submarine specialist and along the way, I ended up commanding three warships including INS Himgiri (also an anti submarine frigate, although a more modernised version of the original Khukri). I retired after 20 years, joined industry, and eventually moved across the Pacific and the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.

I only say this because it has some context to the comments I make below, on the decision by your father to go down with his ship. In doing so I hope to capture the circumstances (and perhaps the greater purpose) of why captains of warships in extreme circumstances, take such drastic actions that seem to lack purpose or reason (particularly to the public at large). I'm sure many naval officers of senior rank and certainly more qualified than me, may well have commented at length after reading your article. I just felt I might throw some light on a take that has largely been neglected. I know the pain never goes away and I apologise for any anguish I might give you in the process, but I do believe that Captain Mulla did something for the service that night, that has not been either understood or recognised, by both the navy, and the public at large.

The Indian Navy of 1971 was a different beast from the one we have today. Little was known about Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) at the time. We commissioned our first submarine in 1968 in the then Soviet Union, and had barely begun operating a fledgling submarine arm by 1970. Pakistan by contrast, had been operating submarines since the early sixties. Ships like the Khukri and Kirpan supposedly specialised in ASW, formed the vanguard against the fight against Pakistani submarines. They had little in the way of operational experience against submarines, and even less knowledge about the ocean environment.

The physics of detection can be explained in simple non technical terms. The Khukri had sonar called the Sonar 170 which was the best we had at the time. It had a maximum range (in laboratory conditions) of only 1500 yards. We knew little about the harsh nature of the environment underwater.

The seas in the tropical waters off India's coastline are heated up in the morning and afternoons, raising surface temperatures to ambient levels. The worst effect is in the afternoons. The laws of physics then apply. They literally bend the sonar waves downwards, severely limiting detection range. Since deeper waters are ice cold, there is meeting point of the warm waters on the top and the cold waters below. This meeting point is called the "layer" where the sonar beam bounces off and is almost totally reflected upwards. There is very little penetration below the layer. These layers lie between 30 and 60 metres depth in tropical waters, and are exploited by expert submariners who are able to hide under it.

It took us another 15 years after the war, all which I was professionally involved with in one way or then other, to fully understand the nature of anti-submarine warfare, and to learn how to work with the physical limitations imposed by a hostile ocean underwater environment.

Submarines on the other hand are not as handicapped, as they do not need to transmit on their sonars to detect a ship. Their engines are silent. They can consequently listen out for a warship and even identify a type of ship and its signature from the sound of its engines. Skilled submariners hide beneath the layer and approach with stealth. They only transmit at the last possible moment when they need a final range to fire their torpedos.

Warships at sea in 1971 (and Captain Mulla in particular) would have been more than aware of these limitations. They would have known two simple facts. That a submarine at sea would have already detected a surface ship long before the ship had even reached any kind of detection range; That even if the warship did detect the submarine, it would be at the penultimate moment, when the submarine had already fired, (or was on the verge of firing) its torpedoes, giving the warship a few minutes at best, to take avoiding action, let alone counterattack.

The Pak submarine that sank the Khukri used its environment to maximum advantage. In hind sight and over the years, we developed better sonars and better tactics. We employed dedicated ASW aircraft with sonobuoys and magnetic detectors, helicopter with dunking sonars, and yes we spent a lot of time learning the harsh facts of the ocean environment we were forced to operate in.

This is the context in which ships put to sea in 1971, against an adversary who was well versed in using submarines to maximum advantage. Our own ASW ships had little in the way of riposte or as much experience we would have liked to have had before the war of fighting submarines.

In the event every sailor at sea recognises a moment of truth, when all of his training and skills are put to the ultimate test. It is the moment when the ship beats to quarters and goes into action against an enemy in sight, or an enemy that has been detected.

Khukri and Kirpan were operating in submarine infested waters. The ship would have gone to "action stations" against a submarine many times over, in the days and nights preceding the sinking of the Khukri, sometimes for genuine reasons, sometimes for false alarms. All of this would have exhausted the crew and formed the "fog of war", that hindsight experts, armchair generals/admirals and the public at large never quite get.

Each time the crew of the Khukri beat to quarters and battened down for action, a clarion call would have been broadcast on its tannoy “Hands to action stations_ assume first degree anti-submarine readiness - assume damage control state one condition Zulu”. The crew of the Khukri would have known fully level, that they were going against a committed enemy, and that the dice were loaded against them. Each of them would have been wondering whether they were going to come out of the action alive or dead. This is an age old fear that men have, and then learn to conquer, when they go to sea and to war. It is the nature of the beast. The army and the air force face similar issues, which they deal with in their own inimitable way.

The people most at risk on board the Khukri that night would have been its technical departments; engineering and electrical officers and sailors, closed up at action stations in the bowels of the ship three and four decks below the waterline, keeping the engines and the machinery running, so that their captain could fight. Each of them knew if a torpedo were to hit, it would do so well above where they were located, and that the chances of them surviving would be a lot less than those sailors who were fortunate to be located on the upper decks, and above the waterline.

It takes a special kind of motivation to get these men to go down into the bowels of a fighting ship whilst in action against a submarine. They do so each time out of a sense of duty that the ship cannot fight without them and mostly because they recognise that one single unspoken truth… That their captain will not forsake them; that their captain will not leave them behind. That is the crux of the why, and the reason why captains at sea honour this unspoken agreement.

Captain Mulla would have known that many of his boys were trapped (but yet alive) in the bowels of his ship when it went down, in the few minutes after the torpedoes hit. He tried to help as many as he could, but I suspect he could not bring himself to save himself, whilst his boys were dying down below. That he chose to go down is a personal decision, perhaps even a moral decision; but it was a decision that set a standard that will save lives in future actions. It forced all of us who came after him, and who were privileged to command men in peace and war, to recognise that undeniable and unspoken bond between fighting men … that you fight your ship against an enemy (or the ocean in a storm), with what you have, and to the best of your ability, and that come what may, you never forsake your troops or leave a man under your command, behind you.


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What Captain Mulla did that fateful day has had an enormous and positive impact on the service he loved and on the men who continue to serve it to this day. It reminds every one of us chosen to command of the qualities of leadership needed under duress, and of the ultimate responsibility we have to the families of the men we command; "You never forsake your men – You never leave a man behind".

I know that this hardly helps when trying to explain all of this to the family of a captain who makes the ultimate sacrifice. Nor does it assuage the grief of a young girl trying to understand why her father chose to voluntarily die, rather than save himself. For a fledgling service post independent India trying to forge its own traditions independent of the Royal Indian Navy of yore, the impact was enormous. It was one of the many actions in the 1971 war that made us equal partners with the Army and Air force in the defence of independent India.

I am reminded of the last few stanzas of Ronald Hopwood"s classic poem; "Our Fathers" that I quote below?

“When we've raced the seagulls, run submerged across the Bay,

When we've tapped a conversation fifteen hundred miles away,

When the gyros spin superbly, when we've done away with coals,

And the tanks are full of fuel, and the targets full of holes,

When the margin's full of safety,

when the weakest in the fleet Is a Hyper-Super-Dreadnought,

when the squadrons are complete.

Let us pause awhile and ponder, in the light of days gone by,

With their strange old ships and weapons, what our Fathers did, and why,

Then if still we dare to argue that we're just as good as they,

We can seek the God of Battles on our knees, and humbly pray

That the work we leave behind us, when our earthly race is run,

May be half as well completed as our Fathers' work was done”.

 

Allan Rodrigues

Director

NE

Also read:  How Cargo Ship helped win World War-2

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How do the cruise ships manage?

How do cruise ships on high seas feed their passengers? Feeding a shipload of tourists is not a simple task. Do you know the world’s biggest pizza joints are on the sea. Here are the logistics of two cruise ships, one small and the other, modern and extra large.

Symhony of the Seas

This cruise ship has capacity for accommodating 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew members. The food consumed - 3,200 pizza slices per hour, 4,400 kg chicken per week, 60,000 eggs per week, 9,070 kg potatoes and 317 kg ice cream. 1.8 million litres of potable water used on the Symphony of the Seas daily.

The Viking Orion

This comparatively smaller cruise ship consumes 5,000 eggs a day, 4,000 cups of tea a day and 10,000 dishes are washed daily.

Managing the stock of vegetables, meat, spices, other ingredients and alcohol, cooking different cuisines, serving the meals to passengers and crew, and washing the utensils and dishes are no mean task. But the kitchen staff and crew manage it in clockwork precision, as breakfast, meals, etc have to be served on time, and round the clock. Now drinking water isn’t a problem for ships. They either distill seawater using their engine heat and steam, or use reverse osmosis.

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Picture Post:

Taj Mahal at Agra, India

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