From: pradyot mallick <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 1:16 PM
Subject: Liberation of Ladakh
1. We, the fauzi community, will remain eternally grateful to Lt Gen Baljit Singh (Retd) for providing the documentary on Liberation of Ladakh by that maverick Serbjeet Singh.
2. Please read the history of this documentary at : http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2015/01/a-non-combatent-who-witnessed-and.html#more
3. About a year back I have sent this 29 minute video documentary to all Comd/Corps HQ /Cat A Est/ and formations of Northern Command by the means of DVD. Recently a DVD was sent to Kargil Brigade Commander again.
4. I have now put this documentary in You Tube. This is available at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5nf8wWTcPM&feature=youtu.be
5. This is a National Asset. I would request you to give the widest publicity it deserves. SC at ADGPI may kindly note.
6. May I request Gen VP Malik to kindly throw some light on the issue raised by Lt Gen Baljit, "But praise be God that on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Zoji La (Nov, 1997), SS put up an exhibition of his paintings, sketches and photographs at the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi. After the inauguration by General V P Malik, PVSM, AVSM, Chief of The Army Staff, SS graciously bequeathed the entire collection to the Indian Army, for display as deemed fit. And in 1999, the Army Headquarters released a limited edition of the Book "Zoji La: 1 November 1948", published by Vanity Books and funded by the BPL." Is it possible to know where these may be lying. In case we can get hold of these pearls it will be a great achievement.
7. I would also request Lt Gen SK Sinha to give some comments on this documentary. Possibly he is the only one we have today who was there, seeing the operations unfold.Unfortunately I learn that he is not keeping well and admitted in R&R Hospital. We pray for his speedy recovery. After all somebody who has taken part in WWII Burma Campaign immediately followed by ops in Indonesia, who was at MO when India was divided with Field Marshal as GI and Yahiya as one of his colleagues, have to give some interesting titbits of this remarkable operation.
8. May I also request that die hard 7th Cav man HE Lt Gen AK Singh (Retd) to give his comments.
8. Why should you view this documentary? To Quote Gen Baljit :
This is a documentary shot on location of in battles for liberation of Ladakh by that maverick Serbjeet Singh, film maker and painter who participated in the first flight to Leh (24 May, 1948). Watch the history-making exploits of the Stuart Tanks of 7 Cavalry beyond Zoji La and all other engagements culminating with the capture of Kargil, on 23 November, 1948. Unfortunately the 16 mm cine film of the J&K Battles shot on location by SS, between May 1948 and January 1949 is not available to us.
Fortunately, Karamjit Singh (the son of SS), had retrieved some footage from the original Film and supplementing it with appropriate recent aerial photography, created an impressive DVD titled "THE LIBERATION OF LADAKH". This DVD has some vintage visuals and voice recordings of Lieut General K M Cariappa, OBE, exhorting his Commanders during a visit to the battle-field, and of Major General K S Thimayya, DSO, whose voice validates the actions as they unfold with gems such as "this is supreme vindication of upright manhood" following the break-out from Zoji La, and Lieut Colonel R S "Sparrow" (among others), briefing their subordinate commanders at various stages of the war, and all of it seen to the soothing back-ground music provided by Mrs. Shanta SS.
How did Serbjeet Singh got into the thick of battle in 1948 ? It had its beginnings on the lawns of the Civil Lines Club, Jullander, on a balmy winters evening in February, 1948. SS was screening his 16 mm film on "Life In The Himalayas", especially for Dr Gopi Chand Bhargava, the Chief Minister of the then Punjab State. Within minutes of commencement, "in strode a tall man who was received by the Chief Minister. That gentleman was Major General K S Thimayya, DSO, GOC Jullander Area."* Evidently the General was so impressed by the film that he decided to encourage SS to document the combat actions of India's fledgling Army in J&K, with the offer to SS and his younger brother thus, "If you boys are prepared to make a film on the war in Kashmir, I will send a signal to the GOC-in-C Western Command to help you. Come to my office tomorrow, in the Cantonment."
Shortly, Gen Thimayya was appointed to command the newly raised Sri Division (later 19 Div) and on encountering SS in his ADC's room, the General said, "I have been posted to Srinagar. Now there is no problem. Get ready to go!" By early May 1948, the General and his protégé, loaded with the paraphernalia of film-makers and artists, had arrived in Srinagar. And what followed is best summed up by SS; "Thimayya sent us all over the front in Kashmir, starting from establishing a piquet at 16,000 ft, above Zoji La on the Bodh Kulan Ganj cliffs, to the battle in the Gurais Valley and the operations in the Uri Sector. The finale came with the historic battle of Zoji La."
9. Happy viewing!
PS. There are problems. Why we do not have an Army Museum whereas Air Force, Railways etc have, why we are so poor in our own Military History, there are host of SUCH issues. I am keeping these away for some other day. If you want to sing larao on these issues I am game.
-- Srimadbhagvadgita, Chapter 2, verse 47