The book Himalayan Blunder by Brig JP Dalvi has been acknowledged as an all time military classic. Released in 1969 it has valuable military lessons that remain valid today even after 30 years.
The book was made available for free reading by Michael Dalvi ,son of Brig Dalvi on the occasion of his father's 100th birth anniversary in 2020. Jul 2020 (inaugural ) issue of Victory India Magazine was dedicated to all ranks of 7 Infantry brigade that laid down their life in the Battle of Namka Chu in the 1962 debacle . The Victory India issue of Jul 20 published a befitting Book Review to the book written by Cdr Vikram Karve. Link for the same is provided below for all keen readers .
The link of the book Himalayan Blunder is now once again given for free reading :
In addition to the book the valuable lessons of this book extracted from it are given below for the benefit of all concerned, especially the military commanders at all levels .
LESSONS FROM BOOK
- India has a near unbroken record of military failures through the ages.
- My countrymen were so conscious of what they owed Nehru that they did not want to hear about his faults.
- Seldom has the bravery of Indian soldier been utilised to win battlefield victories and thus attain political objectives.
- Friendly gestures by enemy cannot be used as an excuse for improvident hopes military inaction and neglect.
- Crash programmes have no place in long term planning.
- Nehru won his Pyrrhic victory but lived to regret it.
- Thimayya needed no lessons in elementary patriotism.
- Are the nation's leaders supposed to dispense with military principles and prudence under pressure from as nebulous a factor as public opinion?
- Public opinion is an unsatisfactory reason for abandoning the basic canons of war.
- It is the duty of soldiers to obey; it is equally the duty of senior soldiers on rare occasions to say that certain orders cannot be obeyed.
- Kaul met most of the important politicians and govt officials long before he would have done in the line of duty.
- Anyone who had his ear and confidence wielded immense power.
- An order more easy to issue than obey - "Fight last man last round."
- Indian army had got into the questionable habit of rushing senior officers to the front on every occasion.
- Wars are not decided in the corridors of the central secretariat, wars are not based on wishful thinking and wars are not rash promises or improvident expectations. The Himalayan mountains cannot be ignored on the plea of urgent political necessity.
- To be right and over ruled is not forgiven to persons in responsible positions.
- Army Cdr Gen Sen appeared to be a malignant shadow over the military horizon.
- If the attacking troops do not have a reasonable chance of success then they have been ordered to be murdered.
- Indian army is not a mercenary army and does not expect special monetary inducements to do its duty.
- We were asked to be Lions in action and dogs in obedience.
- The govt had become a prisoner of its own facile pronouncements.
- Generals of the Army should serve in anonymity and should have no outside sponsorship. They can ill afford to be controversial figures.
- Nehru's long era of undisputed rule had reached a penumbra.
- Indian Army needs almost everything except courage.
- Indian politicians and civil servants ensure that the army is always asking, begging, pleading and justifying.
- Only if the politicians will appreciate how damaging their casual utterances can be to officialdom they may learn the virtues of silence.
- Bluffing the Indian people was easy; it was not so easy to bluff the Chinese.
- War is not a game of giant geniuses who rely on hunches. It is a game with many humble players. Each contributing his mite to the over-all effort.
- The natural sense of duty and discipline of the officer corps was mistaken for servility and weakness.
- Indian politicians are the only ones in the world who have had no experience of war.
- The trade union of the staff College qualified officers in army is very strong.
- There was a rift between the 'Brass' and the 'Boots'.
- Military disaster is often national decline exposed in the violence of battle.
It is hoped that maximum readers ,especially from military fraternity benefit from the above book and the valuable lessons that it offers to the Armed forces and the Nation. Courtesy: late Brig John Dalvi and Michael Dalvi
(Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India)