Archive for February 18th, 2019

Unorthodox Stationery

February 18, 2019

Humor in Uniform

UNORTHODOX STATIONERY

On page 58 of his war memoir  “Himalayan Blunder”  (The Curtain Raiser to the Sino-Indian War of 1962)  Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi narrates an amusing story.

This anecdote pertains to the ill-fated “forward policy” which happened in NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) sometime in 1960.

Indian Army Troops were being hastily rushed up into the Himalayan Mountains towards the China Border without any administrative or logistic arrangements.

A Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion – a Lieutenant Colonel famous for his pungent wit and sense of humor – got so fed up with the absence of any sort of supply system that he decided to use some heavy sarcasm and act in a facetious manner.

He is reported to have sent one of his monthly routine reports on a chapati.

(A chapati is unleavened flat-bread) 

Here is a picture of Chapati.

chapatiroti

Let’s come back to the story of the maverick Commanding Officer who sent one of his monthly routine reports written on a chapati.

Yes – believe it or not – the Commanding Officer sent his report to a higher formation “written” on a CHAPATI 

This caused some consternation in Army Head Quarters and the officer was asked to forward his “explanation”.

In reply – the Commanding Officer sent his now classic retort:

“I regret the unorthodox nature of my stationery – but atta (wheat flour) is the only commodity available for fighting, for feeding, and for futile correspondence…” 

I remember someone once telling us that the commanding officer who sent this hilarious reply was none other than Eric Vas [Lt Gen EA Vas (15 May 1923-18 Aug 2009)].

A retired army officer who was serving there in NEFA at that time (1960-61) also confirmed this anecdote.

The officer also told me that as a punishment for his “sense of humor” Lt Col Eric Vas was removed from command of the infantry battalion and was posted to a Girls NCC Battalion in Mumbai (Bombay).

But after the 1962 debacle – the new Defence Minister YB Chavan who was impressed by Lt Col Eric Vas – brought him back into the mainstream army – and resurrected his military career.

General EA Vas  had a distinguished military career and retired as the Eastern Army Commander in the rank of Lieutenant General.

I wonder whether we have such Generals today – who display such great wit to put their point across – and who have such a delightful great sense of humor.

The Moral of the Story is:

HUMOR PREVAILS EVEN IN ADVERSITY

And – more importantly:

“HUMOR IN UNIFORM ROCKS” 

Dear Reader: Please click link below to read an anecdote on Micromanagement narrated to us by General Eric Vas…

https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/a-lesson-in-micromanagement/

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. This story isa work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/humor-in-uniform-unorthodox-stationery.html

Also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/humor-in-uniform-unorthodox-stationery/

A Lesson in “Micromanagement”

February 18, 2019

Humor in Uniform

A LESSON IN MICROMANAGEMENT

I can never forget this anecdote, maybe apocryphal,  narrated by General Eric Vas [Lt Gen EA Vas (15 May 1923 – 18 Aug 2009)] during a lecture he delivered at IAT Pune on “Leadership” many years ago (probably in the mid-1980s)

While taking rounds of his infantry battalion deployed in mountainous terrain  he found that a post was dangerously sited – it was located directly in the enemy line of fire.

He told the post commander, an NCO, to move the post to a safer location which he indicated.

During his next rounds a few days later – he found the post at the same location.

When he angrily asked the NCO why they had not relocated the post – the NCO said that the troops were happy in the present location.

Seeing the reluctance of the men to relocate the post – he gave express orders that the post was to be moved immediately – and he personally supervised the relocation of the post to a new safer location.

One week later – when he paid a surprise visit – he found that the post was back at the previous dangerous location.

He asked the JCO why his orders were not being obeyed.

He told the JCO to explain to the NCO and soldiers that the present location was dangerous – and that they would die – the moment the first shot was fired.

The JCO spoke to the NCO and soldiers for some time.

Then the JCO came back to Eric Vas and said in Hindi:

साहब  वोह बोल रहे हैं कि वोह यहाँ खुश हैं 

Sahab – woh bol rahe hain ki woh yahan khush hai

(Sir  they are saying that they are happy here at this location…)”

An exasperated Eric Vas said to the JCO:

“But tell them that this place is dangerous and they will all die  वोह मरेंगे…”

The JCO replied:

साहब – अगर वोह खुश हैं – तो रहने दो – वोह मरेंगे – लेकिन खुशी से मरेंगे  

Sahab – agar woh yahan khush hain to rehene do – woh marenge – lekin khushi se marenge

(Sir – if they are happy here – let them be – they will die – but they will die “happily”…)

Moral of the Story: 

In the Military – as an Officer – Manage – But – Never Micromanage 

Dear Reader: Please click the link below to read about an hilarious anecdote about General EA Vas that happened in the 1960s before the 1962 India-China War –Unorthodox Stationery

https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/unorthodox-stationery/

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. This story isa work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2014/03/humor-in-uniform-lesson-in.html

This Story is also reposted at urls: https://karve.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/military-officer-like-qualities-olq-in-the-military-as-an-officer-manage-but-never-micromanage/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2015/10/humor-in-uniform-micromanagement.html

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