Truth behind Laungewala battle

Regarding the news item “Laungewala battle: AOP overreacting” (March 7), I ask Lt. Col C. S. Dhillon and others who may hold the same views: “Were you there at Laungewala on the fateful day of December 5, 1971?” I further ask them, please read my article published in The Tribune (Sunday Reading) “Laungewala battle: the untold story” (October 12, 1997), which was published after the release of the film “Border”. That was an eyewitness account of this battle.

I had stated then that the film “Border” has made a mockery of the ethos and professionalism of the Indian Army by depicting scenes like Sunny Deol (Major Chandpuri) dragging a JCO by the collar and abusing him in front of his company just because this JCO had started dancing on the grant of leave which he had asked for to look after his wife suffering from cancer and many other scenes which go against the ethos of the military leadership in our Army. I don’t know why the Army has patronised this film.


Capt. P. S. Sangha, my most most experienced AOP pilot, was above Laungewala for four hours and 40 minutes from the first light and then I was above Laungewala till 1.30 pm when I had to forceland due to an emergency on the helipad which by then was in the no-man’s-land.

Subsequently, I stayed on the Laungewala post till 3.30 pm when I directed another Hunter mission by rushing back to my aircraft. Then I went back to brief the GOC and returned before the last light to retrieve my aircraft from the no-man’s land. By 3.30 pm between Sangha and me, we had got 20 tanks and scores of vehicles destroyed by Hunters.

I have never questioned the courage of Major Chandpuri. In the article I had stated: “However, I compliment Maj (later Brig) K S Chandpuri, who deserved his awared for keeping his command together against impossible odds. He and his men were in the jaws of death and one requires a lion’s heart and nerves of steel to face such a situation. His tactical withdrawl of a few hundred yards from the post was a correct military decision under the circumstances”.

Why rake up the issue after 37 years? It is not me but the Army that has taken out skeletons from the cupboards by giving such an account of the battle to the RM. I had written to the then Army Chief in August, 1997, to put the record of this battle straight but nothing happened.

Maj-Gen ATMA SINGH, New Delhi

Punjab-HP pact

I endorse your views in the editorial “Regional cooperation” (March 11). Punjab and Haryana had raised an unnecessary hue and cry over the tax package given to Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal and Jammu & Kashmir by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India.

Nobody has spared a thought for the poor Himachal Pradesh. The Army quota for recruitment from Himachal Pradesh has been reduced considerably, but nobody has shed any tears. If not politically, strategically Himachal Pradesh is an important state having its borders with Tibbet and China. Though it is a small state, its jawans have been making supreme sacrifices for the safety of the nation.

The agreement reached between the two Chief Ministers reflects the high thinking, as it contains the sharing of power during the peak periods (fortunately both states have different peak periods), construction of border roads leading to important Himachal Pradesh industrial areas and linking of Naina Devi and Anandpur Sahib with a ropeway. These are small but important matters if both have faith in each other there is no reason why these and other matters cannot be resolved.


Forget it

This refers to V.P. Mehta’s letter “Netaji: the mystery deepens” (March 13) and earlier write-ups on the subject. What do we gain by raising and re-raising the issue time and again and keeping the controversy alive? Why waste our time and energy and newspaper space on a dead issue? Shouldn’t we allow the matter to rest?

Wg-Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Jodhaa Akbar: nothing objectionable

The agitations against the screening of Jodhaa Akbar compelled one to watch the movie. There is nothing in the film which in any way depicts the Rajputs or any other ruler in a bad light. Nor there is any derogatory reference of any kind. The nuptial bond between Jodhaa and Akbar was an astute political step which is well known in history. The Rajput rulers and chieftains were always involved in internecine fights, which have been depicted in the movie.

Rajput honour has been held high by the character of Jodhaa Bai. To make the movie worth watching certain liberties have to be taken like the romantic and sword dual scenes between the two and the same has been acknowledged by the maker in the titles. One cannot resist comparing Jodhaa Akbar with K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Aazam (1961).

While the former has been mounted on lavish and colourful sets with latest cinematographic and sound effects, it comes nowhere near the great acting, dialogue delivery ad musical score of the latter.

The dance and song “Mohe panghat pe nand lal chhed gayo re” and the aesthetically performed love scenes with the background song Jogan ban ke sung by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (the only song for a film for which he charged Rs 25, 000 in those days) were the hallmarks of the great pic.

Brig H. S. Sandhu (retd), Panchkula



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