Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Dec 18
Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir NN Vohra on Friday made a strong pitch to make public the histories of war fought by the Indian armed forces, saying reading these would help the younger generation of soldiers.
Vohra, a former Punjab cadre IAS officer who was Defence Secretary (March 1990 to April 1993) of the country, was speaking at the inaugural session of the fourth Military Literature Festival. The annual event was conducted virtually from Chandigarh this year.
Vohra said we had unfortunately not allowed access to documents, and had been secretive and confidential. He gave the example of his three-year tenure as Defence Secretary, saying, “We finalised the military histories of wars in 1948, 1962, and 1971; when we tried to get them published, there was enormous opposition and could not be published.”
Experience of war and combat if not recorded well in time, and was not made available to cadets in military academies, or in institutes such as the National Defence College, the younger generation would not be able to learn from it.
The nation, he said, had been guilty of not allowing certain reports such as the one by Henderson Brookes on the 1962 India-China war to be made available. These could at least be used for military for learning. He suggested that after 30 years a document could be made available in an archival repository and scholars be allowed to go and examine those with prior permission. This could be done in case putting the document in public domain was not okay.
Vohra went on to commend the plethora of writings in newspapers and journals, saying it showed commendable insight of officers of the services. There was an intertwining in matters civil and military; it would lead towards national strength and strong foundations.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was also present at the virtual session, commended the forces for the 1971 war victory, saying we were celebrating the golden jubilee of the victory.
He lavished praise on the experience of the veterans, asking young people to learn from retired soldiers, instead of playing ‘war linked’ games on mobiles. The veterans were like living institutions.
He asked the organisers to devote the next year’s theme to cyber war and tackling misinformation campaigns. The enemy, he said, could reach our people through mobile phones.
The Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, VP Singh Badnore, said the festival was unique in its fabric. Chandigarh, he said, was the most appropriate venue to conduct the festival.