disable text selection

Search This Blog

Content Copyright © 2012-2016 by Kushal.Mucon. All rights reserved.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Lifes of the Generals - Part 2

(Anecdotes about Field Marshal Cariappa)

by Mookonda Nitin Kushalappa

Field Marshal Cariappa was commissioned into the army in 1919. This was just after the first world war and he was sent to Mesopotamia (Iraq). During World War II Cariappa served in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Burma (Myanmar). For his service during the Second World War, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He was the first Indian to command a battalion. In 1944 he became the first Indian Brigadier. In 1947, as a Major General, Cariappa was one of two Indian army officers sent to the Imperial Defence College in Camberley, U. K., to receive training. He also helped re-organise the Indian army and worked on the partition of the Army between India and Pakistan that year.
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing
Photos of Cariappa's parents and the statue of the Jawan, on a mantel.

Cariappa had begun to urge India to prepare against China. As C-in-C, Cariappa first informed Nehru about a possible threat from China around a decade in advance. But Nehru dismissed the statement harshly, believing that China would indeed defend India's North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) rather than attack it!

Cariappa was religious and a devotee of Sai Baba. While Cariappa was fluent in Kodava, Kannada and English, people used to make fun of his Hindi. According to his son, K. C. Nanda Cariappa in his 2007 book Field Marshal K M Cariappa on his father, “he made gaffes and dropped bricks” when he addressed the troops in the language. But despite that drawback the Field Marshal made an effort to verbally reach out to the families of the Indian soldiers.
Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and indoor
Cariappa at his regiment's temple, 1960.

According to Major General Arjun Muthanna, Cariappa and Thimayya belonged to a generation of Indian officers who set the tone for making the Indian army apolitical and ensured that the army served the nation and not the other way around. Their belief in democracy contrasted the state in Pakistan where military dictatorships became the norm. Cariappa was a pioneer, the earliest among Indians to rise up the British Indian army ranks. It was a time when the British army were leaving India. Hence the early Indian officers had to rise to the challenge and shoulder additional roles in a very short time.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing
1992 Bangalore photo.
Ailing Cariappa taken care of by Havildar Vijayan who was by his side upon his death.
G. G. Rajendra Kumar, grandson of freedom fighter Gundugutti Manjunathayya, recalls being accompanied by his grandmother as a kid on a visit to Cariappa’s house. Upon the grandmother’s insistence Cariappa had tea served to her exceptionally in a native lota (small steel cup) instead of the regular European ceramic teacup.

Image may contain: house, tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature
Roshanara, Cariappa's house.

Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa narrates an anecdote about the Field Marshal, on their www.ainmane.com website. “During the 1965 war, Cariappa’s son K. C. Nanda Cariappa, an Indian Air Force pilot then, was shot down over Pakistan and was taken as a POW. Ayub Khan, the President of Pakistan who knew Cariappa well, having worked with him before Independence, informed him that his son would not be kept in a POW Camp like other Indian POWs and would be moved to better accommodation. Cariappa politely declined the offer, saying every soldier in the Indian Army was his son, so he could not request special privileges for only one son.”

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, sky and outdoor
Field Marshal Cariappa's statue, Madikeri.
Photo by the Author (Mookonda Nitin Kushalappa).

Other Photo Sources :
From the book 'Field Marshal K M Cariappa' (Niyogi books, 2007) by his son Air Marshal K C Cariappa.

Captions :
1. Cariappa, fifth from right, back row, 1920, Mesopotamia.
2. Cariappa (in white, in the middle) during his wedding, 1937, Bangalore.
3. Cariappa with his son, in Quetta, 1940.
4. Cariappa seated at the right end, at a Commanders' conference, Delhi, 1948.

No comments:

Post a Comment