India-Pakistan war in 1971 concluded with the liberation of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh, but 3,843 Indian soldiers were killed and 9,851 wounded in the 13-day-long war. It also resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan, with the loss of its eastern wing and capture of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war- the highest number since World War II. Pakistan army was not only outwitted but also outmanoeuvred- and it collapsed. India’s victory was a result of meticulous planned and troops were told to wrap up the war before the Americans and the Chinese could intervene.
While the nation is celebrating golden jubilee of 1971 India-Pakistan war, several books are coming out on the occasion.
1971: Stories of Grit and Glory from the Indo-Pak War by Ian Cardozo and Remembered Glory- True Stories from 1971 War, are in the series of books to commemorate the event and keep the public memory alive.
Major General Cardozo, India’s first war-disabled military officer to head a brigade and a battalion, has come out the new book titled 1971 Stories of Grit and Glory from the Indo-Pak War. He has dedicated it to the men and women of the Indian armed forces, the Mukti Bahini and the people of India and Bangladesh, who stood together in this moment of trial and ultimately tasted victory in war.
The book is based on true stories on personal experiences of participation, on oral and written narratives, and on historical facts and recorded interviews of officers and soldiers of both sides, conducted after the was was ended.
The inspiring stories like the hunt for India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, Long shot at Longewala, Mission Karachi, A Bullet for breakfast and the gates of Rattoke, the book has all the elements for the reader.
The officers from the Indian Army led from the front in the war, and therefore, the casualty rate of officers is very high in terms of percentage. Even Maj Gen Cardozo’s 4th Battalion of the 5th Gorkha Rifles, entered the 1971 war with 18 officers, but at the end of the war, four were killed and seven badly injured. Only seven were left unscathed or with minor injuries.
From the tragedy of the INS Khukri and its courageous Captain, who went down with his ship, and to the moral courage of a Commanding Officer of Gorkha battalion who stood up to his seniors and rejected their plan to capture an enemy, the book is the collection of stories pieced together through interviews with survivors and their families.
Touching stories like how Maj Gen Cardozo was transported by helicopter to a battlefront in Sylhet, deep inside East Pakistan territory find their way into the book. After stepping on a Pakistani minefield, Maj Gen Cardozo injured his leg, and had to use his own Khukri (a curved blade) to amputate his own leg.
While talking about the book, former army chief General V.P. Malik said that he has never learnt about a war through such vivid, personalised and humane stories. And admiral Arun Prakash, former Navy chief, who himself had participated in the 1971 war calls it a must read for every Indian especially Gen X and millennials.
Remembered Glory- True stories from 1971 War is an anecdotal narration of stories by who were there and witnessed events unfolding in front of their eyes. And the contributors are now free from the limitations that get imposed both by the service regulations and impact of events that may have happened in the recent past. It is written by Milind Manohar Wagle and Colonel Ajay K Raina. Milind is a sports commentator, who has covered not only 25 Olympic sports but also multiple military events including President’s Fleet Review. Col Raina is a veteran gunner. The gallantry awardee of Rashtriya Rifles, has authored 10 books as well. They have interviewed as many as 200 war heroes of the 1971 war and have compiled almost 50 true stories about war from the men who have seen events unfolding in front of their eyes and have participated in these heroic acts of bravery.
The book has the story on India’s first surgical strike. Described by the then 2Lt Baljit Singh Gill, who was commanding 31 JAT, tasked to carry out the deep strike mission into Chittagong Hill tracts in East Pakistan, days before the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan. Besides, India’s first surgical strike, the book has 44 narrative stories.
Title: 1971-Stories of Grit and Glory from the Indo-Pak War by Ian Cardozo
Author: Ian Cardozo
Publisher: Ebury Press by Penguin Random House India
Price: Rs. 399
Title: Remembered Glory- True stories from 1971 War
Author: Milind Manohar Wagle and Colonel Ajay K Raina
Publisher: Military History Research Foundation
Price: Rs. 399