Gandhi and Gita

Gandhiji’s first introduction to Gita was in England through two English brothers. Gandhi at that time was studying law. The brothers read Gita regularly and asked Gandhi to join in. Perhaps they thought that they may get to know the text in Sanskrit better. But Gandhi felt sad, because of his lack of Sanskrit knowledge. He read English version by Sir Edwin Arnold as recommended by his English friends, and was captivated for life by Gita’s message.

Gandhi had included 19 concluding slokas from Chapter 2 on स्थितप्रज्ञ (one with steady insight) in Ashram Bhajanawali to be read in his regular prayers in morning.As it appeared Gandhi practised the teachings of Gita in his own way too in day to day life.The two books that I am going through these days are ‘Gandhi- the years that changed the world’ by Ramachandra Guha and ‘Bhagavad Gita for daily living in 3 Volumes by Eknath Easwaran. Both talk about the influences of the Bhagawad Gita on Mahatma Gandhi.Eknath Easwaran has extensively referred to Mahatma Gandhi views and how it matched with the philosophical teachings preached by Bhagawad Gita. Gandhi has written a commentary on Gita too. He used to teach Gita to some like Manu Gandhi.

For last few months I am trying to understand the teachings of Bhagawad Gita through different commentaries. I am of view that all senior citizens can spend some time every day on serious study of Bhagawad Gita with help of one of the best commentary of it. The edition of Gita for children must be a compulsory reading book for every students in all countries. And Gita being a very secular book must be read by every citizen of Indian. One can shun the doubt with the Sloka 21 from Chapter 7:

यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धयार्चितुमिच्छति ।

तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम्‌ ॥

Whatsoever form any desires to worship with faith-that(same) faith of his I make (firm and) unflinching.At least all the legislators of the country must undertake a mandatory study of Gita. It will certainly make their lives better and help them serving the nation better.Let Congress because of its nearness with Gandhiji and BJP because of its claim for Hinduism must take it up the study of Gita immediately and seriously.

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Gandhi Changed The Course of Post Independent India

I am just completing the latest voluminous book of Ramchandra Guha, ‘Gandhi, the years that changed the world 1914-1948 (933 pages), a very comprehensively documented narration of the time.I am quoting here from the book a controversial issue that is as alive today as it was then.Why did Gandhi selected Jawaharlal Nehru as his sole heir?

“Maulana Azad had served as Congress President from 1940 to 1946.In the last week of June 1946,the Cabinet Mission departed for England, having failed to bring about a resolution of the dispute between the Congress and the Muslim League.Another way would have to be found to take the transfer of power from British to Indian hands forward.A new president of Congress was to be selected in place of Azad.

Twelve of the fifteen secretaries of the provincial Congress committiees nominated Vallabhbhai Patel, in acknowledgement of his role in building and rebuilding the party. But Gandhi himself wanted Jawaharlal Nehru. In the event, his will prevailed, and the working committee nominated and selected Nehru.

Why did Gandhi choose Jawaharlal Nehru over Vallabhbhai Patel?

First, Gandhi knew that, with independence imminent, the person who became Congress president in 1946 would most likely become the prime minister of a free India.Second,for at least a decade now, Gandhi had regarded Nehru as his political heir. In statements both private and public, he made this choice clear.”

Some questions naturally comes up in my mind in context of the incidents mentioned in the book: Was Gandhi right in his pushing Jawaharlal Nehru without agreeing with the majority? But for his schooling in England and exposure to international politics, others like Patel,Rajaji,Rajendra Prasad were equally strong candidates with great scholarship. But Gandhi had special soft corner for Jawaharlal though the both had strong difference of opinion on economic policy and renewal of India in post independent India with Jawaharlal. In the CWC meeting in Poona,Nehru and Gandhi had a long argument on the subject. Gandhi believed that the village must be placed at the centre of of India’s economic renewal. Nehru insisted on modern heavy industries.When Nehru didn’t communicate with Gandhi after Poona argumentative tussle, Gandhi observed,’I have said that you are my heir. It is only proper that I should at least understand my heir and my heir in turn should understand me. I shall be then at peace.’

Interesting, the book has mention of Motilal Nehru promoting his son Jawaharlal Nehru (page 249), “Gandhi spent six weeks in Nandidurg, from 20 April to 5 June 1927for rest…..In Nandi, Gandhi received a letter from Motilal Nehru suggesting that his son Jawaharlal be made the next Congress president. The father had always had large ambitions for his son….” Gandhi wrote to Motilal a reply why he would not do that. But it seems the affluence of Motilal and the European living style and culture at home perhaps influenced the decision. It was because of Gandhi that other very contender of Jawaharlal in every respect, Subhash Bose had to leave Congress.History proved that Motilal Nehru initiated the laying of the foundation of Nehru Dynasty and the country had to bear with fifty five years of its reign. Jawaharlal never encouraged any of his younger colleagues to be become strong enough to take the top office. But Gandhi’s decision changed the course of the history of India. (more to be continued after completing the book in a week time)

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On Bhagawad Gita

The Right Opportunity: The retirement age during my time was 58 years. I took another job after that and worked there for two years before I underwent an open heart surgery. I decided thereafter based on a very sane advice from a doctor to lead a retired life. Though allured on number of occasions, I didn’t take any job. But as usual my personal weaknesses-lust, anger,greed,ego (काम, क्रोध, लोभ, अहंकार) remained with me. As the ageing advanced and I got nearer to the teachings of Bhagawad Gita, I, like many started thinking about practising some of the desired qualities in a good human being to make myself happier. Perhaps once we are above 65-70 years of age,it should be easier, though really in right sense it is not. One will have to work hard. As most of us have done away with our material responsibilities of our life, perhaps we can try to develop ourselves spiritually and live as per scripture. While Ashram concept of Vanprasth and then Snayas living philosophy can be practised to have detached peaceful living, we can try to change ourselves from Rajshik to Satvik approaches in living as advised in at least three chapters of Bhagawad Gita.According to Gita, everything including human beings in the universe is a combination of the three Gunas-Sattva (law), Rajas(energy), and Tamas(inertia)-in varying proportions. One can transform Tamas to Rajas to sattva with constant concentration.One can try to increase the proportion of Sattva. Each of us can choose to move on the upward path that leads to abiding joy and will be divine.It will be time taking but with no other better work for self improvement, why should not we try that.

I quote from Bhagawad Gita Chapter 16 that is called दैवासुरसंपद्विभागयोगो:

‘Be fearless and pure;never waver in your

determination or your dedication to the spiritual

life. Give freely. Be self-controlled, sincere, truthful,

loving, and full of the desire to serve.Realize the

Truth of the scriptures;learn to be detached and

to take joy in renunciation.1.

Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but compassionate and gentle;show good will to all.2

Cultivate vigorous,patience,will,purity;avoid malice and pride..Then, Arjuna, you will achieve your divine destiny.3 (Translation by Eknath Easwaran)

अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः।

दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम्‌॥१॥

अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम्‌।

दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम्‌॥२॥

तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहोनातिमानिता।

भवन्ति सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत॥३॥

With still years to go before the last breath, we can try to concentrate to be a better human being, a Satvik and if possible help to improve the conditions around us.

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Make in India and 2018

Even though the nonbelievers hardly appreciate the good work happening in the country under the better performing present government, I present below just three achievements in year 2018 that must be landmarks for indigenous production starting in significant way for the first time in the country with a hope that the tempo will be further enhanced.(I have limited it to just three though I could have made the list longer.)

1. HAL—manufacturer of the aircraft—can go ahead with its production of the weaponised version of Tejas Mk1. HAL has been ordered to produce 20 aircrafts under the Mk1 category, with Final Operational Clearance (FOC). IAF has given an order of equal number of Tejas aircraft of the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration. IAF has already received 10 of IOC configuration, and the rest are under development. IAF had formed the first Tejas unit—No 45 Squadron IAF ‘Flying Daggers’—on July 1, 2016 with two aircrafts, which has now grown to a strength of 10 fighter jets. Insiders claim that an official announcement is expected on January 4, the day of Tejas’ first test flight in 2001.

2. Train 18 is an electric multiple unit (EMU), semi-high speed train where the engine is inbuilt as part of the rake. Built at a cost of ₹100 crore, the train was named after its launch year—the first one was supposed to start operations by 2018. As per the Indian Railways’ plan, two sets of Train 18 will be developed initially. Till now, one set is ready. The train was built using indigenous technology and is not a product of reverse engineering, though European experts were consulted, according to engineers at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF), where it was developed. ICF is expecting an order of 10 more such trains in 2019-20.

3. India’s first indigenous, long-range artillery gun “Dhanush” has passed its final test at Pokhran, paving the way for its induction into the Army. Dhanush is a 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun and is also called the “desi Bofors”.12 guns would be supplied to the Army in the current fiscal while the total number for the initial phase is 114 guns.

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On Bhagwad Gita


Bhagwad Gita and Old Person

For last few months I spend my major spare time after the household activities in reading two major books. I try to study Bhagwad Gita for about two hours early in the morning, and for an hour or so after a post- lunch nap I read the voluminous book ‘Gandhi- the years that changed the world 1914-1948’ written by Dr. Ramachandra Guha. While studying ‘Bhagawad Gita for daily living’ by Eknath Easwaran whom someone has called The Teacher of Timeless Wisdom, I came across a portion in the commentary of chapter 16 on दैवासुरसंपदिव्िभागयोग that amazed me and I quote: “….I can testify that the vast majority of problems associated with old age- problems with vitality, memory, attention,endurance, resilience- need never arise at all.

Every older person, even those who do not meditate, can draw inspiration from my small example. I have probably ten times the vitality I had when I was thirty, and perhaps a hundred times the capacity to contribute to life.. I may not be able to run the way I did then, but my judgement is sounder, my understanding is deeper, and my endurance is greater; I can work long hours without tension or fatigue…Living for oneself, indulging the senses, having no overriding goal, all make tremendous demands on prana, and in the later part of life we do not have prana to lose. But if you have an overwhelming desire to contribute to the welfare of others, if your heart is full of love for all, Sri Krishna promises that he will magnify all your faculties- your memory, your creativity, your energy, your resources, your capacity to draw people and win their love and respect and help them to change their lives.All this happens naturally when prana is conserved.”….”Old age is “useless” only if you are living for yourself, in which case any age could be called useless. If you live for giving, you can go on making a vital contribution to the rest of life right up to your last day in this body.Even if you are confined to a wheelchair, you will be able to inspire, support, and strengthen many people who come in contact with you.” Can we help each other in finding a way to contribute and to give?


Mahatma Gandhi- Caste, Varna System and Gita

As I understand through the book, ‘Gandhi-the years that changed the world 1914-1948’, Gandhi had very strong views against the caste system in Hindu society. For all Hindus today, it is a great concern that thousands of castes that have cropped up over the centuries have become a menace for present Hindu society. It is high time that all rational,reasonable, and educated individual,intellectuals, social, political and religious leaders and opinion builders agree to do away with the caste system that is fixed on basis of the birth. I seek a thoughtful view on the subject of utmost national importance.The book says,

“In around 1930, Gandhi wrote in an essay on the subject,’I do not believe in caste in the modern sense…It is an excrescence and a handicap on progress. Nor do I believe in inequalities between human beings…Assumption of superiority by any person over any other is a sin against God and man. Thus caste,in so far it connotes distinctions in status, is an evil.’This system, believed Gandhi, had been corrupted over the years, resulting in ‘unnecessary and harmful restrictions’ on inter-dining and intermarriage.But as Gandhi understood it, the ’law of Varnas has nothing to do with these restrictions.People of different Varnas may intermarry and interdine….[A]Brahmin who marries a Sudra girl or vice verse commits no offence against the law of Varna.’

Gandhi continued to believe in Varna insofar as it defined and marked ‘ four universal occupations- imparting knowledge(Brahmin), defending the defenceless(Kshatriyas), carrying on agriculture and commerce (Vaishyas)and performing service through physical labour(Shudras). These occupations are common to all mankind, but Hinduism, having recognised them as the law of our being,has made use of it in regulating social relations and conduct.’(page 389)”

Though the subject is controversial but it is alive because of the exploitation of ignorance of the mass by the people of vested interest.As for me and most of us, the country and our religion are important, we must think over the mesh that the caste system had created and still creating.

Mahatma Gandhi kept Bhagwad Gita always with him and had started studying it since he first went to England. Gandhi has also written his own view on The teachings of Gita. His view on Varnas mentioned above are same as mentioned in Bhagwad Gita Chapter 18 that has four slokas (41-44) on Varnas.

The traits observed in different Varnas:

1. Brahmans – serenity,self-restraints,austerity,purity,forgiveness and also uprightness, knowledge, realisation, belief in God.

2. Kshatriyas-prowess,splendours,firmness,dexterity, and also not fleeing from battle, generosity, lordliness.

3. Vaishyas-agriculture,cattle-rearing and trade.

4. Shudras-service

The mental temperament of a man determines what sort of work assignment would suit him.However, a person can earn the traits and qualities to get into the different classification.It suits manning and promotions in any modern organisation or business establishments.Please note few essential aspects of Varna system:

1. It was not based on heredity or the family of birth.It was based on the qualities born of one’s own nature.

2. With focused practice or alternatively giving up the qualities, a person of one Varna could improve upon or change his qualities and get upgraded or demoted.A Brahmin could become Ashura, or a low Varna person could become the greatest epic writer or Rishi, Brahmin.

As Swami Chnmayanand in his commentary on Gita writes, the Hindu scriptures have brought the entire humanity under this four-fold classification that is applicable not merely in India, but is universal.The four types of people , in present context, may be called: 1. The creative thinker, 2. The politicians, 3. The commercial employers, and 4.The labourers(the proletarians). But the caste system is corrupt erupted extension of Varnas with no sanctions from scripture. It started sometimes in fifth centuries AD. We must see that it must gradually die out, if Hinduism is to become the old great religion.

PS For information, Gandhi did not agree for inter community(In Hindus And Muslim) marriages. While one of his four sons who wished to marry a Muslim girl finally agreed to marry a Hindu girl of his caste, the second also married a girl of Gandhi’s caste, Devdas Gandhi, the youngest married the daughter of Rajagopalchary , a Brahmin. Only his eldest son with whom Gandhi could not keep normal relation, had married Muslim girl against his wishes.

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भगवद् गीता – कुछ दृष्टिकोण

भगवद् गीता का समय आज से २०००-३००० साल पहले का है. पर बहुत प्रकरण एवं बिबेचन आज भी उतना ही सठीक है. हर ब्यक्ति के ब्यवहार में सत्त्व, रजस एवं तमस गुणों को अलग अलग अनुपात में हम देख सकते है. गीता के सत्तरहवें अध्याय में तीन अलग श्लोकों में सात्विक, राजसी एवं तामसिक आहार का बिबरण है. हम आज भी इसे सुखी स्वस्थ जीवन के लिये सोच विचार कर अपना सकते हैं.

आहारस्त्वपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधो भवति प्रियः।……

आयुः सत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः।

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः॥८॥


आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः॥९॥

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत्‌।

उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम्‌॥१०॥

भोजन भी सबको अपनी-अपनी प्रकृति के अनुसार तीन प्रकार का प्रिय होता है।

आयु, बुद्धि, बल, आरोग्य, सुख और प्रीति को बढ़ाने वाले, रसयुक्त, चिकने और स्थिर रहने वाले भोजन (जिसका सार शरीर में बहुत काल तक रहता है) तथा स्वभाव से ही मन को प्रिय- ऐसे आहार करने के पदार्थ सात्त्विक पुरुष को प्रिय होते हैं ॥8॥

कड़वे, खट्टे, लवणयुक्त, बहुत गरम, तीखे, रूखे, दाहकारक और दुःख, चिन्ता तथा रोगों को उत्पन्न करने वाले आहार करने के पदार्थ राजस पुरुष को प्रिय होते हैं ॥9॥

जो भोजन अधपका, रसरहित, दुर्गन्धयुक्त, बासी और उच्छिष्ट तथा अपवित्र भी है, तामस पुरुष को प्रिय होता है ॥10॥

Sattvic people enjoy food that is mild, tasty, substantial, agreeable, and nourishing, food that promotes health, strength, cheerfulness, and longevity.8

Rajasic people like food that is salty or bitter, hot, sour, or spicy-food that promotes pain,discomfort, and disease.9

Tamasic people like overcooked, stale, leftover, and impure food, food that has lost its taste and nutritional value. (Eknath Easwaran).

The above three divisions of food habits mentioned in Gita are for self consumption and realisation of every individual and not for finding faults or for rating the habits of others. Bhagwad Gita has nowhere a mention of word Hindu.So are not the advices in Gita universal and secular for everyone in the world? Similarly, Bhagwad Gita has emphasised on Ahinsa (nonviolence) in many slokas. While searching for food, I could not find the mention of non-vegetarian ones by name. Please appreciate the age of this dietary prescription. Will you comment?

भगवद् गीता में लोगों की प्रवृत्तियों, स्वभाव, चरित्र, कर्म के आधार पर दो तरह में श्रेणियाँ की हैं. अध्याय १६ (दैवासुरसंपद्विभाग योग)में दैवी, असुरी और राक्षसी बिभाग किये हैं. गुणानुसार बहुत विशद रूप में अध्याय १४, १७, १८ में सात्त्विक, राजसिक, तामसिक लोगों के आहार-ब्यवहार, ज्ञान, कर्म,तप, दान, आदि का वर्णन है. मैं बार बार सोचता हूँ- हमारे देश के पतन को रोकने के लिये हमारे नेताओं- राजनीति, ब्यवसाय, समाज- में इस विषय पर एक गहरे प्रशिक्षण की ज़रूरत है, जो स्कूल के दिनों में ही प्रारम्भ कर देना चाहिये.और मैं उदाहरण के लिये असुरी प्रकृति प्रवृति के लोग के लिये लिखे दो तीन श्लोक उद्धृत कर रहा हूँ, जो करीब ३००० साल पहले लिखी गई. वे विचार आज के समय भी उतने ही उपयुक्त हैं. ख़ैर, सामयिकता का निर्णय आप ख़ुद कर सकते हैं:

आशापाशशतैर्बद्धाः कामक्रोधपरायणाः।

ईहन्ते कामभोगार्थमन्यायेनार्थसञ्चयान्‌॥

भावार्थ : वे आशा की सैकड़ों फंदों से बँधे हुए काम-क्रोध के परायण होकर विषय भोगों के लिए अन्यायपूर्वक धनादि पदार्थों का संग्रह करने की चेष्टा करते हैं ॥12॥

इदमद्य मया लब्धमिमं प्राप्स्ये मनोरथम्‌।

इदमस्तीदमपि मे भविष्यति पुनर्धनम्‌॥

भावार्थ : वे सोचा करते हैं कि मैंने आज यह प्राप्त कर लिया है और अब इस मनोरथ को प्राप्त कर लूँगा। मेरे पास यह इतना धन है और फिर इतना और बढ़ जाएगा ॥13॥

असौ मया हतः शत्रुर्हनिष्ये चापरानपि।

ईश्वरोऽहमहं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी॥

भावार्थ : वह शत्रु मेरे द्वारा मारा गया और उन दूसरे शत्रुओं को भी मैं मार डालूँगा। मैं ईश्वर हूँ, ऐश्र्वर्य को भोगने वाला हूँ। मै सब सिद्धियों से युक्त हूँ और बलवान्‌ तथा सुखी हूँ ॥14॥

आढयोऽभिजनवानस्मि कोऽन्योऽस्ति सदृशो मया।

यक्ष्ये दास्यामि मोदिष्य इत्यज्ञानविमोहिताः॥

अनेकचित्तविभ्रान्ता मोहजालसमावृताः।

प्रसक्ताः कामभोगेषु पतन्ति नरकेऽशुचौ॥

भावार्थ : मैं बड़ा धनी और बड़े कुटुम्ब वाला हूँ। मेरे समान दूसरा कौन है? मैं यज्ञ करूँगा, दान दूँगा और आमोद-प्रमोद करूँगा। इस प्रकार अज्ञान से मोहित रहने वाले तथा अनेक प्रकार से भ्रमित चित्त वाले मोहरूप जाल से समावृत और विषयभोगों में अत्यन्त आसक्त असुरलोग अपवित्र नरक में गिरते हैं, (नर्क वे यहीं बनाते हैं) ॥15-16॥

अगर किसीको इसकी बिस्तृत जानकारी हासिल करनी है तो स्वामी चिन्मयानन्द की गीता हिन्दी या अंग्रेज़ी में पढ़ सकता है. अगर किसी सज्जन को ज़िन्दगी में केवल एक किताब ही पढ़नी हो तब भी भगवद् गीता ज़रूरी पढ़नी चाहिये. यह धर्म पुस्तक नहीं है, बल्कि एक अच्छे एवं पूर्ण जीवन जीने की कला की सीख देता है.

हाँ, गीता का अासुरी (जो ‘सुर’ प्रवृति के नहीं हों)प्रवृति के लोगों का इतना बिस्तृत बिबरण देना यह ज़रूर संकेत करता है कि उन दिनों भी उनकी संख्या काफी बड़ी थी. समाज के लिये हानिकारक समझा होगा गीताकार ने. गीता उन्हें अपनी प्रवृति, स्वभाव एवं आदतों को सुधारने का प्रयत्न करने की संभावना पर ज़ोर देती है.दैवी सम्पदा के लोगों के गुणों की चर्चा तीन श्लोकों(श्लोक १,२,३)में है. आज की तरह उस समय में भी दैवी स्वभाव वाले लोगों की कमी थी…..

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Defence Matters-5


G.S.Jamadagni, retired from HAL in 2001 as General manager(Quality Assurance),Corporate Office after Forty years of service, who has penned a column on HAL in The Hindu, writes,’Two-thirds of the IAF’s workhorse aircraft are from HAL. Today, HAL manufactures the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas with advanced technologies; and the 25-tonne Sukhoi-30 MKI fourth generation fighter aircraft of Russian origin right from raw materials.’ However, I can’t agree that HAL has manufactured Sukhoi-30. I wish Shri.Jamadagni or someone with knowledge of HAL clarifies few points. Were the production engineering, design of jigs and fixtures and decisions of equipment for manufacturing and quality control used for the manufacture of Sukhoi-30 done by HAL? Was it a serial production line setup by HAL? What was the annual production rate? Were the frame components and other mechanical parts indigenised from local parts manufacturers? The way HAL has progressed on producing LCA Tejas after it got the order of at least 40 aircrafts raises many doubts.The chairman stated through media two years ago that HAL is getting all major frame components indigenised through a number of reliable India vendors. He also announced the setting up of all together three assembly lines to push ahead the production rate with considerable investment agreed to the government.Nothing has been heard about that very lately, and hardly one or two LCA Tejas MK-1 has been produced and handed over in this fiscal year. The country men have hardly heard any technically sound statement on its problem from HAL. We all agree and know that the defence ministry and IAF have not been very enthusiastic about indigenised LCA and its evolved variants of MK-2 or ultimately AMCA, but HAL being an autonomous listed company must make its position clear at least about its technical and management capability.It must justify its performance.Will Mr. Jamadagni or some one throw light on it?


Made in India Artillery Guns have a now a new competitor: As Ajai Shukla of BS reports, “Last September, the Kalyani Group and Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) claimed world records by firing their in-development artillery guns to a distance of over 47 km. Their Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) comfortably surpassed the maximum ranges of 40-45 km, currently achieved by similar 155-millimetre, 52-calibre guns in service worldwide. However, a new American artillery gun is comfortably surpassing ATAGS. Also known by an acronym, the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) has achieved a mind-boggling range of 62 km.” Will Bharat Forge and Tata power that built the guns in collaboration with DRDO take up the challenge? If they don’t, Indian Army will be the first to demand the import of the American guns on because of its superiority. Indian Army that has ordered a small number to India private sector will now ask the manufacturers to match American guns’ performance. It has been unfortunately deciding this way in the past. Let us see.


Chairman-HAL, Must Speak: Time and again, columnists of all hues keep on writing about HAL’s performance some criticising its capability, some showing sympathy. Unfortunately, HAL never makes press statements at least every six month giving its performance against the targets. The people who are knowledgeable about HAL at least at this moment will like to know about the actual production vs. the annual targets of the production of fighters such as LCA MK-1 and helicopters for which the country very often resorts to import and the media keep on giving a feel as if HAL just can’t manufacture even the required number of already developed fighters and helicopters. HAL must also indicate if it after some years will meet the domestic requirements and the country will not have to depend on every such machines to be imported. Imports must be limited to some very special lots in small numbers.HAL is failing to project its image about its potentials and programmes. It is causing a lot of negativity in the minds of people interested in the subject.


As per the media report in ET, UAE has shown a keen interest in Tejas, the light combat aircraft made by HAL.The UAE’s minister of state for defence, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falacy,will be visiting the facilities of defence PSUs, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), on October 17. Even Sri Lanka, Egypt and Singapore have evinced interest in the indigenous fighter jet. But HAL will first have to meet the demands of the IAF. It is trying to meet IAF’s demand for 123 Tejas. The IAF is also looking at inducting more than 200 Tejas Mark 2. Will the defence ministry and the Prime Minister who takes personal interest in many things of national importance, put their best in getting HAL perform as a world class company to deliver the quality and quantity to the seekers?


Rahul Gone Crazy: As per media report, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is slated to meet on October 13 employees of the HAL, and address them on Rafale deal. Is RaGa within his senses to take such steps? Naturally, RaGa will speak out as political leader and many things will be hardly truth but certainly affect the morale of the employees of this strategic DPSU.It will be certainly like a union leader addressing the employees of a company and instigating them. I don’t know if such things have happened in the past and if there is any rule or law about it. However,it is pretty dangerous for the future of the country and for defence industry. Should EC take cognition or Some PIL come in SC?


A model for collaboration on defence production is the BrahMos Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture (JV) entity which was set up in February 1998 to design, develop, produce and deliver the highly versatile, universal BRAHMOS weapon system*. However, all other projects such as those for manufacturing MiG or Sukhoi fighters didn’t follow that route. HAL kept on working as assembly integrator of the MiG and Sukhoi fighters with almost all components imported from Soviet Union. It didn’t help in strengthening of the eco-system through modification for integrating new technologies developed by Indian agencies such as DRDO or indigenisation of components and systems to help HAL to become a strong OEM.Today, India has much better ecosystem for aircraft component manufacturing with many private sector big and medium enterprises supplying to most of the big global players, some with tie up with them. A number of Indian design and engineering companies are also working for the global aerospace companies. Today, IAF is still hunting for 100 odd Medium Multirole Combat Aircrafts under MMCA 2 under Strategic Partnership Policy with a foreign manufacturer partnering with one Indian one to manufacture in a plant set up in India#. But as it appears the order will be limited to one selected model and to a particular quantity, and will not aim at having design, development facilities to make it a full fledged fighter manufacturing facility for years to come.In one such option Boeing proposed to work with Mahindra and HAL. I don’t think it would serve the ultimate goal of make in India. Instead Indian government must pursue the foreign company to set up an additional regional manufacturing plant to sell to Indian Defence as well as export.Indian partner in SPP must get facilitated by the collaborating foreign partner to grow as OEM of future. Further,HAL may outsource the total manufacturing of fighters ( and helicopters) to some private manufacturing company if interested.With their strength and inclination, TASL or Dynamatic can certainly grow as a full-fledged helicopter manufacturing companies.HAL must also become a lean and mean designing, developing, prototyping and manufacturing special fighting machines.At the same time, a manufacturing company must come up for the development of major units of aircrafts and helicopters such as engines, etc.The Indian government must take up a serious view of our weaknesses and do every thing to become a great defence manufacturing nation if we wish to become a respected economy of the world.


# In July 2018, four firms namely Boeing F-18, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and United Aircraft Corporation had proposed selling their twin-engine fighter jets for the project worth $19 billion while Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and SAAB’s Gripen were single-engine fighters.The tender for 110 combat aircraft mandates the building of at least 85 percent of the order locally.


Russian President came in, talked with Modi and took away a business of at least 5 billion US $ for exporting S-400 air-defence shield systems from Russia.Every time such deals happen with one or the other countries, the member of Security Council I feel bad and morose about it, as I have been a manufacturing engineer even now. A question crops up: Can India be called a Superpower ever with such one way dependence on the two-three present Superpowers? Where has the drum beating of Make in India Policy gone? Will ever the Indian PM visit a country and sell some pricy wares? We shall keep on buying frigates,helicopters, nuclear plants, and our PSUs such as HAL or naval dockyards and even Atomic Energy Commission that established locally built plants will never be able to grow big enough and reliable enough to manufacture and export these critical technologies based wares.India is destined to remain laggard for years to come. These purchases are just against the policy of strategically critical Make in India policy. It seems those who are deciding these purchases hardly understand how it damages the future of Indian manufacturing and the pride of a country.


I saw A good article in India Express today that should let the government realise that it must not agree to the crazy needs rather demands of the defence forces to import everything- missiles, totally weaponised aircrafts, helicopters, tanks, FRCVs, ships and submarines instead of getting them manufactured in DPSUs, dockyards in public as well as private sector units. Let there be top level discussions on these topics and up the challenge of developing and manufacturing in the country.Let the government understand appreciate that till the time India keep on importing its all defence requirements from US, Russia, France and even UAE under the pressure from those governments, it must not even dare to call a superpower and a seat in security council. I wrote comment for the article, “India can be the source for global artillery requirements if the government so wishes. The guns from Tata Power as well as Bharat Forge manufactured from DRDO technologies were found to be superior than many global supplies. Ordnance factories Dhanush is also good. However, L&T and Mahindra are also manufacturing them with a tie up with South Korea and US respectively. But for the lust for import of India Defence, many defence equipment can be manufactured in India.”


If this is true, HAL has produced only one Tejas in last six months. Either HAL is incapable or there is some conflicts of interests that has caused this situation. The defence minister and even PMO must take a notice of it and come out with corrective steps. Nirmala Sitaraman must come out with a statement on the subject.


Shekhar Gupta, the well- known journalist on last published a column in Business Standard on last Saturday that must be read by everyone interested in working of the defence ministry and particularly that of HAL: “HAL has a simple business model: The government buys a foreign plane, adds a co-production deal and gifts it to HAL.It’s done a great job in many areas, also as an ally of ISRO and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), but self-reliance is a big NO. It’s just a PSU bureaucracy fattened on “room service”, or what we’d call in Hindi, “paki-pakayi”. The IAF has a healthy scepticism of its abilities. Don’t be taken in by the current chief saying he will buy 12 squadrons of the Tejas. What he isn’t telling you is, that given HAL’s record, by the time half of these are delivered, manned fighters will be obsolete, at least in the Tejas category.” For a reference, I shall include an older story at HAL facility that HAL itself has forgotten: “ Prime Minister Nehru brought in the legendary German aircraft designer, Dr Kurt Tank, to head the design effort for India. He brought his core team, and created an exceptional design capability for HAL in a short span of time. It is another matter that the country squandered that wealth of capability and experience created. The HF-24 was an exceptionally advanced design for its time. Dr Kurt Tank’s leadership and programme management was outstanding. At a time when technical wherewithal in India was extremely limited, he ensured that the programme was managed very efficiently. The first flight of the prototype took just four years from the drawing board, and the series production commenced in less than 10 years.” Will Modi Government be able to make HAL a world class aerospace co competing with the global biggies in next ten years and always look for importing all fighters and helicopters?

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