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The Indian Air Force came into existence courtesy the British in 1933. At that time it came to be known as the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF). It served as an appendage to the Army and took part in operations against the Japanese Army in Burma during the Second World War.

In the 1980s, every 5 year old in Pakistan wanted to become a commando or a pilot. Nobody wanted to become an accountant or an architect or a civil engineer. Ever wonder why? I’ll tell you why.

Even during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi most Sikhs were seconded to command Southern Command. Perhaps this had something to do with ‘operation’ blue star where the Join Indian Army assaulted the Golden temple in complete disregard of all canons of civilized behaviour. It was a sad occasion and disturbed all right thinking people..

Crete is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea of the coast of Greece. Hitler ordered a Para invasion of the Island. The battle is a landmark battle as for the first time an entire invasion was carried out from the air. The campaign as a trail blazer is important as Hitler landed troops through gliders who surprised the British. This attack from the air is important as it showed the power of an airborne assault. Crete was captured by this audacious move.

Inevitably Lt Col Manohar is compared with his contemporaries such as Khushwant Singh, Kamala Markandeya and Mulk Raj Anand. But his writings had a different stamp as he wrote on the conflict between the imperial power and Indians differently. His characterization of the British was always positive.

I wrote to Perkim, the Islamic Welfare Association founded by Tunku, and told them my situation and asked to see the Tunku as requested by the Muslim leader who was in jail with me. The reply was prompt and to my surprise they requested permission to print my letter in the Islamic Herald. It was the beginning of my very fortunate and happy friendship with the Tunku.

I’m not sure what happened, but what the search engine brought up were a few thousand pages of atheist and agnostic sites, spewing their hatred, and so called proofs that the concept of God is ludicrous, and it’s a horrible plague on the world. Several sites spoke of how we have to free ourselves of the “Sarah Palin Affect.” Arrested by what Sarah Palin had to do with all this, I had to dig deeper.

Manohar Malgonkar carved a niche for himself as a powerful Indian English writer and his books can be still be purchased. Now that he is no more let us salute the man who did the Indian Army proud with his books.