Sunday, May 20, 2007

Karan Thapar's Hatchet Job on Sam Bahadur

The sight of Indian mediawallahs going ga-ga over “flamboyant” and “dashing” Pakistani Generals is hardly anything new. But when Karan Thapar joined the bandwagon, it came as a bit of a surprise to me. Because Thapar is no fool, or so I used to believe. His interviews with politicians and other big wigs are at times, simply brilliant. So when he readily bought into Gohar Ayub Khan’s ludicrous allegations about Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw being a Pakistani spy, I smelled a rat. Calling Ayub an “officer and a gentleman”, and going weak in the knees at how “dashing” and “suave” he was, was certainly not what I expected from this “aggressive interviewer”. Was this the same Karan Thapar who had taken Arjun Singh and Renuka Chaudhary to the cleaners? If so, why were there no tough questions doubting Gohar’s credibility? After all, he is known for being corrupt to the core, and is regarded as something of a joke in his own country. Why was this one statement, “Why would a man lie to his own diary” the only proof Thapar needed to believe in what is an obvious attempt to sell a rag nobody would otherwise have given a second look? Why did he not notice how, if Pakistan lost in spite of having access to India’s war plans, Ayub was nothing but a blithering idiot? On the other hand, why was he baiting Field Marshal Manekshaw relentlessly? It almost seemed that he had a score to settle. This piece in “The Week” by R Prasanan cleared things up.

The troubling fact is that, though no one in India has ever accused Manekshaw of being a traitor, many have been jealous of his rise through the 1960s. The Army Headquarters in the 1960s was virtually divided into two groups, as has been brought out in the various accounts of the 1962 and 1965 operations. Nehru's defence minister Krishna Menon was grooming his own coterie, the most prominent among whom was B.M. Kaul whom he appointed commander of IV corps in the east. Menon also appointed the pliable Gen. P.N. Thapar to succeed K.S. Thimayya (whom Menon hated) as Army chief.

Thimayya's favourites-mainly Lt-Gen. S.P.P. Thorat, J.N. Choudhuri and Manekshaw-were sidelined during the Thapar-Kaul days. Thorat, who was a contender for the chief's post against Thapar, retired as a lieutenant-general. Thapar and Kaul also tried to block Manekshaw's promotion by instituting a frivolous inquiry against him.

The fortunes of Choudhuri and Manekshaw looked up after the Thapar-Kaul duo goofed up the 1962 war. Thapar resigned forthwith, and was succeeded as chief by Choudhuri. Thapar later managed an ambassadorship in Afghanistan. It is said, Thapar's Kabul appointment papers were the last papers signed by Nehru. Kaul had to quit in disgrace; he was succeeded by Manekshaw as IV corps commander.

So there we have it! Thapar does have a bone to pick with Field Marshal Manekshaw! He makes it a point to mention that he is a general’s son. What he conveniently leaves out, is the fact that he is the son of an officer who was popular with the likes of V.K. Krishna Menon for obvious reasons. An officer whose incompetence probably lost India the 1962 war against China. An officer who had tried to create hurdles in the way of Manekshaw’s promotion. As Prasanan rightly points out, “Thapar has the distinction of being the only Army chief who had to quit in disgrace. And Manekshaw has the distinction of having been the most successful chief ever.”

Karan Thapar fails to see the irony in the words he uses to describe Ayub Khan – “As a general’s son I can tell you they don’t make them like this any more!” Good thing too, Mr. Thapar! If they don’t make them like your father anymore, India is surely in good hands!


imran said...

Whatever u call Mr Gohar Ayub, he still is a respectable and honorable man, so i am sure whatever he wrote in his book would be true

Manoj Tripathi said...

Karan Thapar is just proving the fact that he is a mediocre journalist. As a journalist he has to be fair and impartial. perhaps in his exuberance to defend his father he had to run down Manekshaw. Poor show Karan.

Anonymous said...

KARAN THAPAR takes pride in saying he does not know Indian languages. No wonder. He is not the son of a nationalist.

Anonymous said...

Ayub Khan - the man who was responsible for the genocide in Balgladesh - the man who killed 3 million people to exert his political supremacy using army force. He is one of the most pathetic human beings in the world. Also add to tht the fact that - he caused one of the largest troop surrenders in the world, at 14-days one of the shortest battles in history. They kept fighting when small-soldiers were dying, but surrendered with the death of a single subedar.

On the other hand Manikshaw - one of the ABSOLUTEST GREATEST and MOST CHARISMATIC army generals India has ever produced. Just watching him talk will give you goosebumps.

Watch the video of manikshaw:

(see how he goes to the pak camps & talks to the soldiers and how paki soldiers say that - the pak generals are all 'sahabjadas' while he understands why the 'indians won' - because they had such a great general).

This is absolutely shocking, and so blatantly biased - am shocked and disgusted. For me, if something like this has been reported on respectable media channels - it is nothing short of a 'conspiracy'.

Also watch the end of that video carefully. Manikshaw lashes out at these incompetent generals (refering to general thapa by name calling them 'nikamma'). Was he Karan Thapar's dad? Is tht why he is so mad with Manikshaw?

Anonymous said...

Sorry my mistake, was it Yahya Khan and not Ayub Khan who was responsible for the Bangladesh massacre...