An Omnibus On Our Security
This volume contains an anthology of writings over the last about ten years of Arvindar Singh, a well-known scribe in the journalistic circles of Delhi and Uttarakhand. The author has meticulously dealt with the topics he chose to work upon and produced writings which are of great stimulant value to a productive mind. The 240-page book contains 45 chapters in three sections. The various chapters of the book have been arranged according to a certain groupings for the ease of the reader. The author, it seems, has deliberately tried to give importance to those themes like the defence of secular fabric of our country priorities in the first section entitled “Nation and Defence” and on which the author has been writing for a considerable period.
The section on “Personalities” deals with a wide spectrum of individuals from various walks of life, who have made an impact on our public life as well as other walks of existence. It was necessary that the lives of these renowned persons got reproduced. The section dealing with “Miscellany” addresses general topics, which are both relevant and of literary value as it gives the jest of various books the author has reviewed among other things. Some chapters have been written specifically for the book and therefore do not have any reference to any publication. The chapter on Dehradun, the city which has been author’s home for more than 25 years, is one such example. It has been said that the place you live in, your occupation and the person whom you take as your partner for life is your destiny and nothing can alter it. So the author thought it only fitting that he pays tribute to the city which took him into its bosom.
The chapters “Those Whom I Have Known” and “The Madras Regiment and Lt Gen Mohindar Singh” are also chapters which have been exclusively written for this volume. In the chapter “Those Whom I Have Known” the author has given a bit of an autobiographical glimpse of some eminent personalities and some who have played an important role in his life’s experiences in various ways. Some glimpses of Uttarakhand and its personalities were inevitable as author’s home state has formed a definite niche on national level over the years, as this small state has produced many a man or woman of substance. Dehradun has often been referred to as the intellectual capital of northern India. With its lush greenery, interesting book-shops and well stocked libraries there is no doubt that the city has become a hub for the “thinking man” or “thinking woman”.
In one chapter, the author writes that on January 26, 2002, the government conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force on Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, a doughty warrior of yore. This was a significant decision making him the first Air Force Officer and the third Indian after Field Marshal KM Carriappa and SHFJ Manekshaw, to hold the Five Star Rank. Arjan Singh’s name invariably brings to mind memories of the 1965 war, during which our boys in blue pounded the Pakistani Army and Air Force in Sialkot, Lahore and other sectors as well, thereby preventing to a large extent any penetration by the Pakistani Air Force on our vital installations. But the 83-year-old former fighter pilot has much more to talk about. Indeed, the book is a good read to anyone who wants to know the twists and turns in the contemporary history of the modern Indian State.
By Ashok Kumar