Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why they chose to go down with the ship by Ms Ameeta Mulla Qattal

Why they chose to go down with the ship

Ameeta Mulla Qattal
Thu Dec 09 2010

The dark night of December 9, 1971, is imprinted on my mind like a scar. Thirty-nine years ago during India’s war with Pakistan, two vintage anti-submarine frigates that my father, the late Captain Mahender Nath Mulla, commanded, were ordered to hunt and destroy a Pakistani submarine lurking off the coast of Diu. The operation was doomed from the beginning. Like in Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, the brave men went into the night as commanded.

One of the two frigates was torpedoed by the modern Pakistani submarine, the PNS Hangor.The INS Khukri sank, taking 178 Indian naval ratings and 18 officers including my father to their watery graves. It was reported that the captain of the ship showed extraordinary courage during those last minutes of his life, helping save as many of his men as he could and not abandoning his vessel. He went down with his ship, along with the other brave soldiers.

A Mahavir Chakra was awarded to him posthumously.

I have often wondered what made my father decide to go down with his ship. Was it a quest for immortality beyond death? Or was it an old naval tradition? Or did he make the choice because he felt it was the right thing to do? My sister and I had come home on vacation before the war. The anti-aircraft guns that lit up the night of December 5 in Bombay were, for us, a display of fireworks. War and death were just fast-moving images of action movies seen in the security of the United Services Club from where we could make an exit.

This innocence was torn apart on that December night. The torpedo that struck INS Khukri was not the screenplay of a film. This real-life battle had no exits. The news of the sinking of the Khukri was brought home to my mother along with weak assurances that the captain of the ship had been rescued. I recall that my mother felt a hopeless despair because she knew that her husband would not put his own safety before the safety of his men. The period immediately after the war was marked by euphoria and Indians drank, in the words of Ramachandra Guha, “the elixir of victory”.

The loss of a ship was collateral damage in the theatre of war: an awkward event, perhaps best forgotten, especially because the larger war had been won. With the passage of time my mother became involved with the widows of the sailors. The Khukri story repeats itself in different ways. It is the grand narrative of national success and the achievements of a few that frequently submerge the narratives of small folk who live their lives battling unknown enemies and are often deprived of little compensations.

Why is it that the voices of widows and mothers of the “shahids” of Kargil or Kashmir remain submerged like that ill-fated frigate? Has our moral space become so limited that those who have been elected or selected to serve this nation have no need for ethical barometers? What a cruel joke it is when these protectors create an “Adarsh” (ideal) housing society on the foundations of a Khukri Park.

My battle for life commenced after 1971. The sinking of the Khukri was my leitmotif and I never transcended the ideals that my father lived and died for. I remember him telling me: “Never call your best action a sacrifice. If one fights for a cause, it is because one cannot live with the way things are”.

His sacrifice influenced me to be a teacher. It is a choice I have never regretted.

On that fateful night, he helped as many sailors he could to the safety of lifeboats. When he had done his duty he took his decision to go down with his ship. I suppose he saw himself as the ship’s master, nurtured by his ideals. He made the choice not because it was the right thing to do, nor because it was expected of him, but because knowing him as I did, it was the only thing he would do. He was the first captain of independent India’s navy to go down with his ship and hopefully the last.

One such man is enough to bring honour to an entire nation for a lifetime.

The writer is principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road, New Delhi & the daughter of the late Captain Mahender Nath Mulla, MVC.

Donations by Col Dhaliwal

From: col h s kaushal [mailto:colhsk@gmail.com]
Sent: 07 February 2011 11:32
To: CS.Kamboj@yahoo.in
Cc: dalbir404

Dear Sir,
A cheque for Rs.10,000/- towards donation for IESM Rally on 6 March
has been sent by COL D.S.DHALIWAL, Membership No. 009528L. He is the
Convener Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib district who has been sponspered
by me. Please note his email ID. dalbir404@gmail.com for direct
mailing. I have circulated your mail for donation widely. Hope more
donation will pour in.
Col H S Kaushal
Convener Ambala district

Donations By Lt Gen IM Ahuja and Maj DV Rao

Dear Sir

The following Donations have been gratefully received and amount deposited in the account.

Lt Gen I M Ahuja 10000/-
Maj DVR Rao 1000/-
The HDFC Bank receipt is enclosed as also the Donation forms.

Also enclosed is a note from Lt Gen Ahuja.

Thank you Gen Ahuja and Maj Rao for your kind generosity.



Cdr Ravindra Waman Pathak
Member Governing Body and Pension Cell IESM
1 Surashri,1146 Lakaki Road

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Donation of Rs 10000 by Mrs Lalita Patil w/o Late Wg Cdr Ashok patil

From: sushan1005@yahoo.com
Subject: Mrs Lalita Patil's surprise visit
To: raviwarsha@gmail.com
CC: pensioncell_iesm@yahoogroups.co.in

Dear Ravi,
Mrs Lalita Ashok Patil w/o late Wg Cdr Ashok Patil called on us yesterday. I had settled her pension arrears etc about six months back. She stays at Kolhapur and thus I had forgotten about this case.She wanted to become member of IESM but could not visit Pune all these days.I gave her application form and asked to donate voluntarily. She gave me a cheque for Rs 10,000/- alongwith the application.She has also, on my request ,agreed to assemble exclusive meet for widows at Kolhapur in next few months. I have handed over additional membership forms for this purpose.
I will be handing over her application and cheque this evening to you.
We must promptly send her a donation receipt. Cdr NP Jain's receipt is still awaited.
Gp Capt SS Phatak(retd)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Dear Friends,
Jai Hind,
A few minutes ago, President Retired Defence Officers’ Association (RDOA) rang up.

He is very disturbed because some veteran officers, who have no clue of the problem and do not know about existence of RDOA, are planning to file another case with AFT/Supreme Court about the Rank Pay Case. Some selfish lawyers, in order to make quick buck, are further adding fuel to fire.

Those of you who do not know, RDOA was specially created by some dedicated veterans to fight the case of Rank Pay. The President of the Association and his dedicated team has done exceedingly well.

The Association has been regularly informing all its members about the progress of the case and has also been keeping "Report My Signal" informed about it. In turn, "Report My Signal" has been keeping you all informed about it.

The team of lawyers employed for this case is headed by top lawyer Shree Harish Salve, Former Solicitor General of India.
Most of you must be aware that Mr Salve on TV had expressed shock about the way Govt of India has been denying justice to Defence Services Veterans of India. The other members of the team are Shree Mahabir Singh, another top lawyer of Supreme Court, Gp Capt Bhatti and Smt Aishwarya Bhatti.

The next hearing of the case is on 24 Feb 2011. It is most likely to be decided in our favour on that date.
It is assured to you all that when this case is decided in our favour, it will be applicable to all veteran and serving officers of the three services.

If any other ill informed ESM group, misguided by selfish lawyers, files a fresh case about Rank Pay Case, the present case will go for a six. Choice is yours.

I request all the veterans receiving this email to kindly disseminate the contents of this email to maximum number of retired and serving officers of the Indian Defence Services, spread all over the world.

We will keep you informed about further progress of the case – till then please relax.

You may also visit the website of RDOA to learn complete details of the case - http://sites.google.com/site/rdoaindia/ .

Vande Matram
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

Visit to CBD Belapur 29 Jan 2011 ..Brig Luktuke/Lt Col Vinod Patil and Cdr Pathak

Dear Sir

As planned Brig Luktuke/Lt Col Vinod Patil and self visited CBD Belapur on 29 Jan 2011 and attended the meet organized by Ex Servicemen League CBD headed by Cdr D S Yadav

The meet was attended by about 100 Veterans and families.

After the briefing there was a lot of enthusiasm and some members joined on the spot.Many applications have been taken for individual membership and the Ex Servicemen League CBD headed by Cdr D S Yadav is expected to complete all formalities and join as Associate Member soon.Their membership strength is about 430.

Photos of the meet are enclosed.



Donations recd for 6 March 2011 rally

Name Mem # Amount Remarks Total

RAdm xx xxxxxxxxx xxxMno 1388 Rs. 20,000 For tea etc 20,000
Lt Col B Shyam Sunder Mno 11217 Rs. 5,500 General 25,500
Col AK Diwakar Mno 9085 Rs. 3,000 General 28,500
Lt Cdr MG Mehendale Mno 10859 Rs. 10,000 General 38,500
Lt Col JK Barry Mno 888 Rs. 5,000 General 43,500

Rank Pay case in Supreme court..24 Feb 2011 next date

From: RDOA India
Subject: Re: Fw: [IESM_GovBody] Fw: Approx Arrears Of Fourth Pay Commission
To: "ramantn sarma"
Date: Wednesday, 2 February, 2011, 10:43 AM

Dear Veteran,
There is no need for anybody to seek intervention in the case. It will only delay matters further. The verdict has already been given by the apex court.
The court has to decide on the appeal filed by the Govt for modification of order for which the date has been fixed as 24 Feb 2010.Kindly wait for that and please tell others also not to be trigger happy on going to courts. RDOA does not want the issue to get messed up. By doing so we would only be playing the govts card.
col satwant singh
sect RDOA