Category Archives: 03 – The New Universe

My entry and absorption into the Air Force 1950 to 1954

JSW – The New Avataar for ISW

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The second term at Clement Town started with a number of changes. First of all, the name of our Academy was changed from AFA (the Armed Forces Academy) to NDA (the National Defence Academy). We were made to change our shoulder insignia to reflect the new name. We also had to change our cap badges. The AFA sported the Star of India as its cap badge. The motto printed on it was ‘Heaven’s Light Our Guide’ . I liked our old insignia and the motto. However, as we returned to the Academy, we were given out new cap badges and shoulder plates. The new cap badge was the newly constructed tri-service insignia over a three-fold motto panel that read ‘Service Before Self’ . It took only a few minutes to change into the new Avatar. Read the rest of this entry

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The First Term Ends

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And suddenly it was June. It really was hard to believe that we had spent six whole months in Dehradun and we were being asked to go home for a few days. From the moment we had arrived at the Inter-Servises Wing of the Armed Forces Academy at Dehradun in January 1950, time seemed to have assumed an illusive character. Our dawns merged into our dusks and our days dissolved into weeks and months without our quite realizing it. But indeed it was already summer and the Academy was shutting down for a break between terms. Read the rest of this entry

Camp Green Horn

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Camp Green-Horn was an enjoyable event for the first term cadets of ISW-AFA (the Inter Services Wing of the Armed Forces Academy). I was a cadet there in my first term in the first half of 1950. ISW AFA was located in Clement Town, a picturisque little cantonment close to Dehradun which at that time was a part of Uttar Pradesh. Our camp was located by the side of a small stream called Suswa. Beyond Suswa lay a reserved forest named after a small village Doiwalla that the forest enclosed. Our first camp named Green-Horn was located in that forest of Doiwalla range of the Aravalli. Read the rest of this entry

A Trip to Top Tibba

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We were still wet behind our ears so to speak. It was a day in early 1950, perhaps in late February or early March some time. By the pronoun ‘we’ here, I identify the young cadets of the third batch of ISW-AFA (Inter Services Wing of the Armed Forces Academy) at Clement Town Dehradun who had joined the Acdemy during the last week of January.

We had just about finished our ‘Drill Square’ test (which certified that we were considered fit to appear in public in uniform without disgracing ourselves) and were in the process of fitting in into the daily life of the Academy. A restricted holiday declared at short notice made the next weekend into a long one. Some of the young instructors thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to go out for a trek into the lower Himalayas. The snow cap in the Banderpunch range had started melting, but patches of snow were still visible on the northern slopes which lay in shadows for most of the day. These late winter / early spring days in the Doon valley were exquisite; all the dust in the sky washed away by the passing Western Disturbances. Bright sunshine and cool breeze, bright blue skies with streaks of very high cirrostratus clouds heightening the framework of dark blue/green Himalayas to the north and the grey/green Shiwalik to the south; Clement Town in such times was a beautiful place to stay in.

Lieutenant Saldanah, a short fair smart restless young exec officer from the Navy who was a Div Officer with Baker Squadron, was the main instigator of the idea and he soon gathered a bunch of other young officers around him. He picked an isolated peak called Top Tibba as his target for the climb. The idea caught on. Read the rest of this entry

My Hero – My Commandant

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When I arrived at the ISW-AFA at Clement Town on 30th January 1950, I did not really know the organisation of the institution that I had just joined.    I had learnt the rank structure of the three Services as part of my preparation for interview at the Services Selection Board, but beyond that I did not really know much.     Read the rest of this entry

My Time With The Tigers

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The three of us from the 60th course who were posted to the Tigers after completing our Spitfire conversion at Hakimpet were Satnam Shah, my self and NN Dadachanji Read the rest of this entry

CTU-Hakimpet

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We, the 22 out of the 33 pilots of the 60th course who had been nominated for fighter stream, came to Hakimpet on 3rd April 1953 only to find that the 59th course was just half way through their training. It was just not possible for us to get any flying time in the immediate future.    We hung around for a few days, over-crowded the mess and the trainee’s crew rooms and created so much of a ruckus that ‘Chico” Bose, our Chief Flying Instructor, shipped all of us out on two months leave unceremoniously.  Read the rest of this entry

Clement Town: Dehradun

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Clement Town Dehradun was a pretty little suburban cantonment.    Built on the northern slopes of the Shiwaliks and jostling for space with the Doiwalla reserved forest range, it was a quiet and peaceful settlement.   A clean mountain stream named Suswa formed the southern boundary of the cantonment.   Read the rest of this entry