My identification with the work was so complete that I even went to the extent of neglecting the welfare of my family.
In May 1995, my wife was expecting our second child. She asked me to take leave during the expected delivery period. I had however passed the matter off saying that since I was with her, there was no necessity of taking leave.
I was awaiting the arrival of my top class source and did not want to miss him. The brigade was out on an exercise. There was none in Samba except for Major S.P. Sharma, the BM, who attended to the routine operational work. The BM also insisted on me to take leave and attend to my wife. My taking leave was also necessary due to the fact that our first child was only an year and a couple of months old. `How do you expect dammit, your wife to manage affairs alone? Take leave and stay home.' The BM advised. Still, I did not take leave, and the arrival of my source coincided with the arrival of our second daughter.
It was a stormy night; all light connections were snapped by falling trees, plunging the entire area into fearsome darkness. It was the time when my wife lay unconscious on the improvised delivery table. The civil lady doctor who was attending to the delivery case, found herself helpless. What could she do in the dark? There was no light nor were there any arrangements for such an emergency.
None else was at home except Mrs. Arya, the wife of my counterpart in the int Bureau. The cordial relations between me and Mr. Arya had slowly developed into a family friendship. It was because of this bond that Mrs. Arya, an extremely charming lady had come to stay with us to provide necessary help.
Seeing the lights off, the doctor woke up Mrs. Arya who had dozed off at the doctor's forecast that the delivery would take another two or three hours. She get up from the chair looking into the darkness and trying to regain control of her disturbed senses ; searching in vain for something which could produce light. Both of them tried to enquire from my wife, who was moaning in a semi-conscious state, whether there was any torch or even a matchbox in the house. But there was no reply from my wife, nor was I in the house to procure one. Suddenly, Mrs. Arya ran to the adjacent house, the house of the DAA and QMG of the brigade, and returned with a torch. And it was with the aid of that torch that the doctor, with her expert and deft hands, conducted the delivery.
The wife of the DAA and QMG, after giving the torch, went and woke up the ladies of the neighboring houses as the married officers' accommodation in the brigade Hqs was very compact. Within minutes, all rushed to my house. Mrs. Borwanker, wife of the Commander wisely, brought the emergency light from her house, which subsequently proved a great help.
Meanwhike, Ritu, my daughter, had woken up and was crying uncheched, probably due to the darkness and the noise in the adjoining room. She had fallen off the cot and, dragging herself on her knees to find the way out from the room, was calling "Papa-a-a-a", the only word she had learnt to utter. But Papa was nowhere within hearing distance.
Suddenly hearing the child carying, Mrs. Arya rushed to the room picked her up and brought her to where the congregation was enquiring about me.
`Where's that officer?' someone enquired, and every one abused me, when told that my source had come and I had gone to receive him.
It was 1:30 A.M. when I arrived in the jeep. I was so happy that I felt on top of the world. My joy multiplied, when I heared the cry of the new born babe, while entering the compound. But it was shortlived.
As I entered the house, I was greeted with rebukes by Mrs. Borwanker and the other ladies.
"Captain Rathaur, you're a fool - a stupid fool. Aren't you? Your wife lay on the deathbed and you.... oblivious of the danger running after your sources... Couldn't this damn work of yours have been done in the morning?" Mrs. Borwanker snapped at me and without further pause continued, "No male member is at home. God forbid, if something had gone worng, how did you expect these two ladies to have done anything? Do you know, delivery, is the second birth of a lady?... My son, we all know the craze you've for your work, but neither this craze nor anything else would have come to your deliverance, in case anything wrong had happened to your lady.... Look here! People are apt to pay lip service for a few days. Thereafter they forget. It's you, who have to face the brunt of life alone ! Understand?"
My happiness melted like a suger cube. I realised my grave folly of having shown utter disregard to my other duties - duties to my wife and the child. Even though such disregard was out of ignorance and the result of my enthusiasm, still it was a great folly. Realising my mistake, I felt a stab in my heart. My face looked ashen. I heard, as if in slumber, Mrs. Borwanker congratulating and assuring me : "Don't worry now, both child and the mother are okay."
I found myself overcome by a feeling of profound affection for my wife and the child. Casting a casual glance at other ladies who looked at me with contempt, I rushed inside, throwing the hand bag in the air, and not caring about the presence of so many ladies, embraced my wife while she lay on the table. Then, cupping her face in my hands, I planted a most affectionate and tender kiss on her lips, saying, "Please forgive me my Sabu my love...."
My wife tried to protest against this open display of love but could not stop me due to utter weakness.
"Captain Rathaur you're shameless, and have little consideration for the presence of others, that too ladies." Someone spoke among the crowd and then I heard a simultaneous burst of laughter. "Looks like he's suffering from mental disorder", remarked another, and there was more laughter.
Realising that I had made myself the centre of attraction, I felt ashamed. But to hide my feelings I lifted, our couple of hours old daughter - tenderly curled her up against my chest, then brought her to my face. I looked intently into her face and closed my eyes. Then muttering incoherently I placed my cheek affectionately against her delicate face. The child cried. "You're welcome my child in the happy trio," said I lovingly. Then I fondled the crying child and placed her back on the bed.
I faced the ladies - admitting my guilt in absenting myself at the crucial time and expressed my gratitude for each one separately for their kind act of coming at a time when their help came in handy.
In the morning, I could nor resist the temptation and confided to my wife, "Sabu I'm very sorry for last night. But I couldn't help it, and I would not repent it either: for, the news given by this source is such that it would make the higher-ups jump in their chairs. It is fantastic, and there is no reason to disbelieve it. The source's been placed as a very reliable one by the people concerned at the Corps Hqs." The information was about an entirely new corps that Pakistan was raising.
The outcome of war between hostile nations depends upon many factors, such as the ability to mobilise national resources at the correct time and place. But the most important of such factors is the battle fought on the ground between the opposing forces. The battles are again influenced by a number of factors, like the Order of Battle (Orbat), strength and disposition of the enemy; the type of weapons and the equipment used; the administrative backing, so on and so forth. One among these factors is the strength and location of the enemy reserve force. Victory in battle is ensured for the side that makes judicious and timely use of such a force. Thus every effort is made by both sides to maintain superiority of numbers over the other, by creating reserves. To enable a commander to appreciate the situation and to make a proper plan, the opponent's reserves with special reference to their location must be known. Therefore, offensive intelligence plays a vital role in winning battles. Hence acquiring intelligence is a continuous process: it must not cease even for a day.
So raising a corps which consisted of three divisions, by Pakistan, was quite significant in itself. If my information was correct, then the balance of power had now swung heavily in Pakistan's favour. Not knowing about this corps would play havoc in the war.
A corps is not a small body of troops. To raise such a huge force, or to counterbalance it, is not a joke. It requires time, men and huge national resources. Such resources may have to be diverted which might otherwise be earmarked for different projects, thus affecting and jeopardising the economy of the nation. This has grave effects when such resources are required to be mobilised all of a sudden. However, if such a force is to be raised over a reasonable period of time, it is a much less burden on the economy. Therefore, timely information about the change in the Orbat of enemy forces assumes paramount importance.
Hence, it was natural for me to feel happy. I had already received the news from one of my sources that Pakistan was planning to raise a corps; but then, I had not forwarded the report owing to a fear that it might be a false one. In order to confirm its correctness, I had waited for the arrival of my ace source. And it was because of this reason that I had refused to take this most needed leave, to be with my wife during the birth of our second child.
After having told my wife, I went to the BM and broke the news. Then I waited for Major Jolly, to whom I had already conveyed the message on the telephone, about the arrival of the source.
Major S.C. Jolly arrived at the brigade Hqs about 10 A.M. I enquired about his late arrival.
"I was in the exercise location when I received your telephonic message," Major Jolly replied and continued, "I then went to Nagrota, collected the money and am now coming straight from there.... Why? Is there any news?"
"Yes, sir. And the news is too fantastic to be true. And if it is, then it will be a matter of real concern," I led Major Jolly to the safe house where the source was lodged.
The debriefing took approximately three hours. The report was prepared. It was the report on Pakistan raising a new XI Corps and its affiliated formations i.e. 9, 14 and 16 divisions. Major Jolly was hesitant to forward the report in case it was false. Both of us discussed the impact of this information separately for a considerable time. Finally, I prevailed upon him saying, "In case the report is correct, then?... We can't carry out spot evaluation. Let this be done at the higher Hqs. In any case, there are other means at the Army Hqs to confirm it."
So the report was finally forwarded and was confirmed by Army Hqs in Oct / Nov 1975. I was the first to receive and forward this vital piece of information at a time when the corps was just in an embryo after a few days of its inception. I was rewarded with an appreciation letter from the GOC 16 Corps.
I was being recommended for the Vishishta Seva Medal (VSM) for my outstanding services, but it was postponed following my own request. I was misled by Major Subhash the Officer Commanding and then by Major S.c. Jolly, who told me that I would be recommended for the Ati Vishishta Seva Medal (AVSM) if I could get the Operational Orders of either 8 or 15 Pakistan Infantry Divisions, preferably both; You see such recommendations are made only once in a while" I was advised. And I had agreed, because I was sure to do that.
It's said that; a thing which is not fated cannot be achieved. It was true in my case also. Major jolly had received his posting order.
Soon after Major Jolly's posting out, I found that my top sources did not turn up on the fixed dates, nor were they to come again in the future. My hopes were centred on the performance of these sources and they became extinct with the extinction of the sources.
I had taken all precautions for the safety of the sources and yet they were neutralized. But I did not lose heart and continued to direct my efforts to re-establish the work with the help of my other couriers and contacts. Although, I did so before I could re-establish my contacts properly, I found myself posted out.
Major Jolly's posting, I felt was a personal loss, because of the rapport we had established with each other. Jolly had always praised and pampered me. So I thought, `My luck has probably run out with the posting of Major Jolly.'
Major Madan came as the relieving officer in place of Jolly. I tried to establish the same relations with Madan, but the efforts were like planting trees in barren rocks.
The misfortune did not stop here, I also fell from the high pedestal of esteem of my General Officer Commanding, by causing a personal annoyance to him.
|Preface | Temporary Duty | The Move Order | The Train Journey | The Reception | The Army HQ | Close Arrest | The Interrogation | Background | The Intelligence | The Security | The Devil | The Confession | The Foundation Stone | The Great Detectives | The Corroborations | An Approver | Confrontaions | Hibernations | Leading to the Trails | Fairy Tales | Into the Fire | Army Procedure | As a Winess | Meeting with Family | Habeas Corpus | Death of Democracy | The Trial | Prosecution Case | The Defence | The Press | Rebuttal | Aftermath | Mystery | Postscript | Annexure I | Home ||