Sunday, 11 September 2016

Gorkha Hat and Maroon Beret: Everyman an Emperor

Gorkha Hat And Maroon Beret is a personal memoir of four decades of life in the Indian Army, as experienced by Lieutenant General Chandra Shekhar, former Vice Chief of the Indian Army (1997-2000). It recounts the rewards and rigours of his long and distinguished military career, after he was commissioned in the 2/4 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1959. The book additionally contains larger reflections on the ethos and training of the Indian Army, and its seminal role in shaping the lives of not just military personnel, but the entire nation.
It also records valuable insights and suggestions about the way in which the institutional framework of the Indian Army can be further strengthened, especially after the experience of the Kargil War, at which time Lieutenant General Chandra Shekhar was the Vice Chief of the Indian Army.
Written in an engaging style, and from the vantage point of his varied command and staff experiences in various defence formations all over the country, the book is published at a time when 200 years of the raising of the first battalion of the famed Gorkha Rifles have just gone by. It will be of lasting interest to military and laypeople alike.

Excerpt from a review of the book by Major General R Naidu:
“Gorkha Hat and Maroon Beret” was so riveting that I finished it in one sitting on a train journey. It is the story of an eventful life in the army. A sense of excellence is evident at every step - in school and college days; first time success in the entrance exam for the NDA; superlative gradings in all the formative courses; promotion to the highest rank as a natural result of excellence at each rank. There never was an occasion for a representation as is the wont even in senior ranks of late.
To add to it, ancestry – a soldier father with soldierly virtues which were so obviously implanted for integrity and industry; physical fitness and ability in sports as a result of the background of a hardy child of the mountains; the genes of a hill boy so suited to a life in the army and that too in the infantry.
Moving on to the land mark achievement of the command of the Para Brigade with great distinction; the jumps accomplished in such short order; and the transition from an operations and training-addicted leader to looking after the welfare and comforts of the troops as the Army Commander of Central Command, speaks highly of a human and humane side of the author.
 The Kargil Operations discussed in the book, throw up many issues for critical observation and reflection. Only our troops can react the way they did once we decided to take action to evict the intruders. All in all, a great book and of great value to the service readership.

Major General R Naidu 

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