Anant Singh's Reviews > Himalayan Blunder: The Angry Truth About India's Most Crushing Military Disaster

Himalayan Blunder by Brigadier John Parashuram D...
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Jul 23, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: indian-non-fiction
Read from August 11 to 23, 2010

Just finished "Himalayan Blunders" written by Brigadier John Dalvi. It was my first book on Indo-Sino War and I am thankful for orkut Non-Fiction community to suggest me for reading this book. Book was banned as soon as it got published and I know the reason after reading it. John was in charge of 7th Brigade who took the responsibility of Handling the Chinese crisis along the Tibetan border. The book is full of agony , frustration and anger which author experienced during those days.

He coined a term "Non - Violence war" given by the civil authority to him. "Higher Authority" which includes Prime Minister (Nehru) , Defence Minister (Menon) and General (Kaul) where the deciding one for the war. The book is divided into various part :

1. This part shows the Chinese aggression along the border of NEFA and Ladhak and how Nehru dismissed it as just a regular petrol done by Chinese. He carried along with the path of brotherhood and thus did some blundering mistakes like allowing senior generals from china to see all the establishment of Army along the NEFA. He also overlooked the requirement of Army for the arms and ammunition which lead army to use World War II arms against the Chinese. Kaul and Menon also overlooked the basic requirement which is needed to develop a strong front by India against China. Better roads , good clothing , arms and ammunition , better communication and co-ordination.

2. As Chinese were growing strong on NEFA front building better roads , better communication India were still in hope that Chinese will not attack India and thus Nehru pointed basic requirement as un necessary expenditure on part of Army. John further adds how Chinese slowly and slowly created a better fighting position and how Army were helpless despite of being sending continuous reminder to Higher Authority. In this part he also adds how Army generals were promoted to serve the interest of Nehru and Menon thus leaving a disarray in Army. Finally they were told to shift there bases from Punjab and Agra to NEFA as Chinese strike First on 15th sept. During 15th Sept and Till 10th Oct (day when Chinese finally attacked) there were no clear thoughts and chain of command. Nehru was on long trip to foreign land , Desai accompanying him , Menon was in New York and Kaul holidaying in Jammu. 7th Brigade was created during this period comprising of Rajputs , Sikhs and Punjabi's who had no knowledge of High altitude and Mountains. Gorkhas and Assam Regiment were ignored. 7th Brigade were told to shift there bases on Altitude which ranged from 10000 to 15000 Feet with no Roads and clothing they were just like a Police along the Border. For moving 2 Miles only it took days and every solider were supplied with a 40 Rounds of ammunition and basic clothing. There were no boots , gloves , kerosene , foods and medicine.

3. As they set up there bases along the borders, John quickly analyzed the preparation of Chinese and how they are planing a massive strike. He took a note of around 20,000 soldiers supported by good artillery and mortar regiment. He continuously sent a reminder about the poor preparation of Army against Chinese which felt on deaf people , he also added that it would be crime and murder of soldier to make them fight against this mighty Chinese. But Nehru and Menon insists that Chinese would not do anything and thus they should keep there present positions. Among all problems a major one was to keep Army in there present status by providing food , clothing , arms and shelter, which Civil authority ignored and thus keeping a 3000 soldiers in good condition was a challenge for John. He accounted that Air Force did very little to help the army and chosen dropping zone of Air Force took 2 3 days for them to collect things. The things dropped were of no use as only 20% of them could be collected and rest get lost in those chilling and windy conditions. John , recounted how Army was ignored and soldiers suffered pathetic condition with Brave Hearts.

4. After 10th October 1962 , everything changed Chinese finally attacked and killed Indian Soldiers who were short of Ammunition and communication. John , took some examples of the bravery shown by Sikhs , rajputs and Gorkhas. Along a Tsangle pass only 100 Rajputs controlled 2000 Chinese and made them run for there money , after 5th Attempt Chinese were able to overcome them as Rajputs were left with no ammunition to fight. Same were the story of Gorkhas and Sikhs who fought with waves of thousands of Chinese who attacked there post. One Chinese General Quoted after the War "Indian Army Need everything , Except Courage" ....

5. In Final chapter John , pin pointed the mistake done by Generals and Politicians who were responsible for the Death of some 2000 Soldiers along the Indo - Sino border. He also accounted that People of India were so ignorant about the tragedy and till now no one is blamed for this grave defeat which costs us loosing some 1200 miles of land to Chinese. He cited the example of random orders and poor infrastructure which could have been improved and arrogance of Nehru Menon made this defeat more painful. There were around 4 lakh soldiers in India and that point but only 3000 were trusted to defeat Chinese.

After "Love Story" this book made me cry with the plight of Army and condition in which our soldiers defended the border with all courage and bravery. It needs to be above Profession and Career to do something like this which we can only imagine. Wonder what takes these soldiers to give there life and protect us , as John summed up " The thought of Mother Nation, kept these Soldiers alive and fight"....

"Just a Plain Salute" .... Jai Hind
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Shrirashmi can u pls tell me where u got the book? because am reading the translated version. very difficult to find the english version in Chennai!

message 2: by Anant (last edited Sep 20, 2010 09:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anant Singh Shrirashmi wrote: "can u pls tell me where u got the book? because am reading the translated version. very difficult to find the english version in Chennai!"

Hi Shrirashmi,

I ordered the book from the publisher, it was banned and thus limited copies are available though the publisher can be contacted and they will send you the book.

Please try with your local book seller and ask him if he can order the same.


Shrirashmi oh okay. thank you very much for that!!

message 4: by Jigish (new)

Jigish Anant ji,

Could you kindly confirm the one available on Amazon on the link below is the same one that you read. (506 pages.) I want to confirm before I order...Thank you very much...

message 5: by Deepak (new) - added it

Deepak Hi Anand, I tried searching for this book in all the famous book stores, for no go. Please suggest me any of the stores of the sites from where i can get this book.. i'd love to read this book. please suggest.

message 6: by Saurabh (new) - added it

Saurabh Sharma This book is now available on flipkart:

message 7: by Dhiraj (new)

Dhiraj Kadao But why this has been banned?

message 8: by Tapas (new) - added it

Tapas Bhattachajee I just ordered in flipkart(English version ) place online order...I am sure,it will b shipped.

Sanjay I read this book somewhere in 1978.Got a copy while walking in Connaught place.This book really made me think about how soldiers are made fodder by our politicians. Salute to yhem.!

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