Archive for the ‘battle of panipatt’ Category

An ode to the gunners

This piece of article is from the Indian Express and shows the importance of the gunners in the Armies the oldest piece of the armed forces.

Gopal K. Piplani  
Published : Sep 28, 2005 at 0000 hrs IST

The largest and most elite Indian Army regiment — the Regiment of Artillery — celebrates its 179th raising day tomorrow. It was on September 28, 1827, that it was Indianised with the raising of the 5 Bombay Mountain Battery. This unit has an unbroken record of service since then and presently forms a part of the 57 Field Regiment. It has the glory of being conferred with 11 honour titles to date. Other units of that vintage include the 1 Kohat, 2 Derajat and 4 Hazara Mountain Batteries.
Babur is credited with being the first to use artillery in India, in the first Battle of Panipat (1526). Then, artillery was used in wars throughout the Mughal period and later during the reign of the Marathas under Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the East India Company.
‘Gunners’ are a breed of professional warriors. The Regiment of Artillery has a history of dauntless grit and selfless sacrifice. Its valour during the military operations of 1948, 1962, 1965 and 1971 is much celebrated. Names like Dinshaw Mistri at Naushera (J&K, 1948); 2/Lt Goswami and his TA Gurdip Singh VrC, of 13 field Regiment, at Chushul (Ladakh, 1962); Major S.K. Mathur at Kanjarkot (Kutch, 1965) and Brigadier Tom Pandey (Bangladesh, ’71), are still remembered. They were all awarded the Maha Vir Chakras for their gallantry and devotion to duty.
Talking about the gunner fraternity, the French go ga-ga about their gunner — General Napoleon — even today. The British still adore their master gunners, Lord Alanbrooke and Air Defence C-in-C, General Sir Freddie Pile, of 1939-45 vintage. The Indian gunners, too, hold their institutions and legends in high regard. And why not, seeing that it was this regiment that has given the nation four army chiefs?
The other half of this revered institution is The School of Artillery, Deolali. It is the Malgudi of gunners. Located along with it is the Artillery Training Centre and its welfare wing, the Artillery Association, at Nasik Road Camp. There is another training centre at Hyderabad. Together they have become the temples of learning, training, bonding and caring.
The gunner’s motto — ‘Sarvatra: Izzat-O-Iqbal’ (everywhere with honour and glory) — is a reflection of their professional ethos and values. Their colours are their guns. In its 178th year, this formidable part of the Indian Army is alive and ticking.
September 28 will be marked by prayers, mess parties and barakhanas where all ranks join in. The gunners will pay their respect to their colours and heroes — both living and dead. It will also be a time for them to rededicate themselves to the high traditions and professional values of their distinguished forbears.

The writer is a member of the Academic Council of Bangalore University

Well armed


Source: expressindia
Posted: Mar 24, 2008 at 2322 hrs IST

No legacy is as rich as history. It is who we are that is responsible for what we are in the final analysis. Trying nobly to preserve and enrich his history and that of his fellow compatriots, Rakesh Dhawade, director of Institute of Research and Development in Oriental Studies –Arms and Armour (IRDOS), believes his amassment of arms and armour speaks volumes about the past.

“People look at weapons and they associate them with violence. We look at them and we see human craftsmanship, the marvel of metallurgy, artistic application of science and even a narrative of the psycho-sociology as well as economics of an era. My institute wants to wash this negative notion and provide people that second perspective on weapons. They are not just for destruction but instruction too, in that they are an account of the progression of various spheres of the life of mankind in a certain period of history,” asserts Dhawade.

His entire collection of arms and armour has been trickling through generations in his family like a hallowed family heirloom. “My story of arms collection goes back in time, literally”, says Dhawade. “My surname, Dhawade, means a person who took iron ore out of the furnace and moulded it. All these weapons have been bequeathed to me by my forefathers who were in this profession, and to them by theirs”.

And when he speaks of forefathers, it is a lineage seven generations from which he has inherited an association with the defense of the land, from the Battle of Panipat right up to the Kargil war. So arms collection was more hereditary than a hobby. “In our collection we have every possible variety of Indian weapons ever used, be it daggers, battleaxes, spearheads, swords, weapons used in cavalry and even weapons like rifles from recent history. The ones that we do not possess, like horse armour, we have tried to replicate them by doing a lot of research”.

The sphere of activity of IRDOS, executed by Rakesh and wife Varsha, includes collection, exhibition, protection and conservation of the arms and armour. “What people fail to realise is that the preservation of the conglomeration of these arms is just as crucial as its collection. We need to safeguard this rich heritage of ours for the future,” he says. Living up to the motto of his institute – preserving past for the future – IRDOS has a functional laboratory and conservation cell devoted to the care and cure for the extensive and diverse artifacts under its patronage.

As far as showcasing these weapons is concerned, Rakesh did his first exhibition in his fifth standard. IRDOS has drafted a list of several occasions on which they hold exhibitions of the weaponry in collaboration with other organizations and trusts. These occasions include the birthdays, coronation days and death anniversaries of national luminaries like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and others. “Our last exhibition was held on Shiv Jayanti and we plan one this month and two in the month of June. My undying reverence for the sacrifice of these great men fuels this initiative”, Dhawade reveals.

Dhawade has written 11 research papers, three of which have been published in the UK. But a problem that he faces is the space required to lodge or display his arms collection. “We do not have the adequate funds required to buy the land to erect a museum, though I am trying to get some land,” he says. Dhawade does not believe in donations. His entire enterprise is self-funded. Currently all his weaponry is housed in warehouses and stores across the city.

He feels strongly about the preservation of his consanguineous collection. He avers, “Actually, it used to be a passion. Now it is my life. I felt there was a lacuna in this subject and I have been trying to bridge that by my research for some 25 years now. I cannot think of doing anything other than dedicating my life to the cause of restitution and promotion of this collection. We cannot forget the legends that made history, or the priceless, timeless specimens of antiquity that went in its making”.