In Memory of My Father: Brig. John Dalvi

A heartwarming obituary written by Michael Dalvi, son of the iconic Brig. John Parashram Dalvi, the author of the landmark book, 'The Himalayan Blunder, on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary.

In Memory of My Father: Brig. John Dalvi

The man you see here in uniform, in which he took such great pride joy & honour, would have been 100 years of age today. It is my honour, privilege and pride to be his son. He is flanked by insignias of the Indian Army and his beloved Battalion, 4th {Rajput} Guards. Commissioned (Indian Military Academy, Dehradun) at age 21 he went straight off to do battle with the Japanese in Burma with his Regiment, 10/5 Baloch.                  

In 1962 he went off to do battle again. This time the Chinese, as Commander 7 Brigade then based in Towang, NEFA. Our collective energies are currently deeply absorbed in the Chinese challenge facing our nation. It's as good a time as ever, indeed imperative, that at this crucial & critical time, we honour and respect the memory of the bravest of the brave of our warriors who have selflessly done battle before in the service of our nation, and, learn from the hard lessons of history.

Never ever again, must a proud commander, of the finest fighting men in the world, have to go to a premature grave with the deaths of his men & officers on his conscience. Even if for no fault of his! That his troops, under-clothed, armed with obsolete weapons, under fed and woefully ill-equipped for mountain warfare fought to the bitter end is a tribute to the discipline, training, fortitude and indomitable spirit of the Indian Army.

They died with honour, often, to the last man and the last bullet and not before inflicting huge casualties on an enemy militarily and psychologically unprepared for such intrepidness! We must never forget that fact, sitting in the cozy comfort of our safe houses rendered secure by the daily sacrifice of our troops!

To quote Macaulay: "How can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?"                          

And I pray God that no man should have to witness his father's gradual but inexorable mental and physical deterioration & decline.From a conscience debilitatingly burdened, tormented, riddled with bitterness, anger, frustration helplessness and guilt for those who didn't make it back! This guilt eventually destroyed his soul.

It gnawed at the very core of his being from living each day with the  memory of men of steel who followed blindly, into impossible situations, against unimaginable odds, and in many cases certain death, driven to great heights of valour only for the Izzat of their paltans, their army, and the honour and security of their country, and let the guilty, and their political successors contemplate, the great crime of sending brave men to do battle against AK47's with WW I obsolete .303 Lee Enfield bolt action rifles, and with not enough ammunition to fight a relentless enemy. Often resorting to hand to hand combat and using the weapons of fallen Chinese soldiers.                  

Whilst the guilty, sitting in their air conditioned offices in Delhi, ordered coffee percolators, standard lamps made from shells, and others civilian items to be produced in ordnance factors. These were criminals. Make no mistake about that. History has labelled them thus. For the sheer brazen and brutal heartlessness of their crimes of omissions and commissions against a simple, trusting, loyal & dedicated soldiery! I only hope those who currently control and conduct the destiny of our great country, and our  unquestioning uniformed bravehearts learn from the hindsight of history.                                    

It's done & dusted sir. You are dead and gone ages ago but your army, that was your life, lives and fights on. RIP sir wherever you be, and, hopefully, till we meet again to clink pewter tankards of your favourite tipple; chilled to perfection.

(This obituary has been written by Michael Dalvi, son of late Brigadier John Parashram Dalvi. Views expressed are the authors and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')

Victory India Magazine: July 2020 (Debut Issue)
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Victory India Magazine: July 2020 (Debut Issue)

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E-Book: Himalayan Blunder by Brig. John Dalvi (1969)
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E-Book: Himalayan Blunder by Brig. John Dalvi (1969)

It is the honour of Mission Victory India (MVI) to make available the great military classic Himalyan Blunder authored by the late Brig John Dalvi to the public at large.


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