Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Look ma, one engine only!

A very unusual and rare photograph of an Indian Air Force An-32 taking off .... one one engine only!. The aircraft is being tested in the one-engine regime by the pilots of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of Bangalore. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Charminar from the Air

One of my best "Hyderabad from the Air" shots - Getting the landmark Charminar edifice from the air. Thanks again to the ATR flight of Air Deccan to Bangalore.

Look carefully and you will also notice the four kamans (gates) or the Char Kamans in front of the Charminar. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Air warriors walk down memory lane

AFA West Zone celebrated 25 years. and it felicitated three of its Octogeneraian members. I have had the pleasure of interviewing two of the three - Air Chief Marshal Moolgavkar and Air Marshal YV Malse.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Satellite images create stir in govt -

I made national TV on Sunday, 23rd October 2005. The program was on Google Earth and its threat potential to National Security. I gave a couple of sound bites to the story and was featured in the 9.00pm "India This Week" News story. The transcripts of my interview are on the links above

Video URL :

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

HAL Jaguar DARIN II Specifications

This is a photo of a magazine photo of a placard (figure that out!) displayed by HAL on its Jaguar Darin II Program.

Considerable Avionics upgrade to the Darin II since the first Jag produced in the 70s! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

IIPM Management School - entry on Wikipedia

Read on..

Monday, October 17, 2005

Churchill Tank in Secunderabad

This is the first ever Churchill I have ever seen, and this one is on display at the EME Center in Secunderabad. Its an incredible piece of History, and very few people know that the Indian Army operated these just after Independence.

More of the tanks and relics from Hyderabad can be visited at Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

BR Meet Photo : Webmasters busy at work!

This is a photograph of our local "Bharat-Rakshak" Meet in Hyderabad. Seen left to right are the "Front Page Designer", "The CD Shop wallah", "The Administrator" and "The Whisky taster" respectively. The "Juice Drinking Expert" arrived late and that forms the subject of a completely another photo.

The place is Outswinger Pub at Hotel Basera in Secunderabad. After downing three beers and three whiskies in total, we went on to eat some excellent Hyderabadi Biryani from Paradise Hotel.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dang, hes good!

 Posted by Picasa

A reprint of an earlier book

Memorable War Stories is a reprint of an earlier book called "In the footprints of legends" by Gp Capt Ranbir Singh. Bought out by Ocean books , the book is quite low cost and enjoyable reading. Posted by Picasa

Eighteenth Century Hyderabad: Anatomy of an Old Map

The above PDF document is a chapter from some architecture related book. The Author S P Shorey writes in detail of an old map of Hyderabad that was discovered in the early 20th century. A fascinating study of the map follows, supported by actuall survey maps from the early 1920s. The map snippets showing old city from about a 100 years back and is just lovely for someone like me who likes Maps .

More links to old maps of Hyderabad

A Quranic Paradise in Arch Metaphors

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Medals of IO-52968 Jemdr M L Chakravarthy IEME

Among the various fringe hobbies I have is collecting Medals. I am basically a type collector - being happy with 'one of each'. However in the medal collecting world, only 'groups' are valued. I.e. a group of medals belonging to a single reciepent. This is my first ever group. It is also the group that I reunited, otherwise today the five medals shown would have been with five different people.

Just who exactly is this Jemdr Chakravarthy, I have no idea. but an exchange of emails showing how this information can be procured is given below. Thanks to the SAGongs Email list for this.


I had acquired this primarily to fill in gaps in my type collection, it
turned out in the process I reunited some medals together. So kept them together.

The Name is IO-52968 Jemdr M L Chakravarthy IEME

I have five medals from his group as follows

GSM47 "Jammu and Kashmir 1947-48" Clasp - IO-52968 JEMDR. M.L.CHAKRAVARTHY, I.E.M.E.
Raksha Medal 1965 - SL-791 LT. M.L.CHAKBABORTHI, G.S.CORPS.
Indian Independence Medal - I.O.52968 JEMDR.MAKHAN LAL CHAKRAVORTHY, E.M.E
1939-45 War Medal I.O.52968 JEMDR.M.L.CHAKRAVARTY, I.E.M.E
India Service Medal 1939-45 I.O.52968 JEMDR.M.L. CHAKRABARTHY, I.E.M.E

The name is spelt differently on all the five medals but is obviously the same person. No ribbons came with them, so I want to get them mounted. But before that I would like to know if there is a possibility of me missing some from the group. So any specific info from the IALs is appreciated. If that is not available, is it possible to give some sketch info going by the commission numbers - as to when he must have become a Jemadar or got commissioned in the Special List? Probably work backwards to find out when he joined the IA etc..


Response from Sushil T ( Funilly I have not recieved this email in the list and only saw this now. All i can say is Crikey - I should have inserted a blank 1939-45 Star ribbon in there... ah well...)

From: Sushil T
Date: Wed Aug 4, 2004 3:42 pm
Subject: Re: [SAGongs] Jemadar from EME (Lt in Special List)

Dear Jagan,

IAL 3/1952: JCOs EME, Workshop Branch, Cadre of Craftsmen. Jemdars: IO 52968 ML Chakravorty Date of sustantive rank: 24 dec. 1944. Enrolled: 14 Jan 1942

IAL 6/1957 JCOs EME, Workshop Branch, Cadre of Craftsmen. Jemdars: JC 52968 ML Chakravorty Ante dtaed seniority without effect on pay and allowances 22.4.44.

The 1939-45 Star is definately missing.



Response from Cliff P

From: p c

Date: Wed Aug 4, 2004 4:35 pm
Subject: RE: [SAGongs] Jemadar from EME (Lt in Special List)

Dear Jagan

I first tried to find M.L.Chakravarty IEME in the following IA lists:
04/1943 and 04/1945. There is no trace of him therein.

I then tried the 09/1951 IAL and there he is, listed as 52968-IO Jemadar M.L. Chakravorty in the EME Workshop Branch (Cadre of Craftsmen). He first enrolled on 14.0.1942 and was commissioned on 24.12.1944. That's all I can extract from my IALs (I have only one Republic of India list).

I doubt whether, during the two world wars, the IAL clerical staff managed to keep abreast of the vast number of newly commissioned officers, and it does not surprise me that MLC was omitted in the 04/1945 list.

I cannot find anything further on your man, and there is nothing in Rufus Simon's volume one of the EME history "Their Formative Years".

I hope the above will be of some help.



The actual story of how I got these is a good enough tale, probably best told some other day.

The Liberation Times : Commemorating 30 Years since India's Greatest Victory

An email prompted me to look back at the mini-website I had made about four years back. I look back at it with amazement, because i remember those hectic two weeks, I was literally writing stuff half the time and designing HTML half the time - It was back breaking work for fifteen days plus. And just when I had one more issue to go, calamity struck with one of the biggest personal crisis i had faced till date (or till now for that matter) and the Last issue for Dec 17th never got made.

Once in a while the odd visitor stumbles onto the website, gets pleasantly surprised and drops me an email. I read the mail, think about that hectic period when I built this, which brings a wry smile to my face.

Boy, I wish i nver go thru that kind of a phase ever again! , next time I will hire half a dozen people to do this.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Under the Char Minar by William Dalrymple | Travel Reviews from Travel Intelligence

Under the Char Minar by William Dalrymple | Travel Reviews from Travel Intelligence: "Under the Char Minar
by William Dalrymple"

This link makes interesting reading - as it is one of the few accounts of an officer of the Nizam's army who fought against Indian forces coming in.

William Dalrymple is a good writer, but he seems to be obssesed with finding fault with India's small wars. He has nothing complimentary to write on his piece on Goa either. In both the accounts, he finds people who were 'on the other side' and records thier complaints and grouses. Which is all fine, but you also have to look at the global picture. Didn't he read about the Nizam refusing the offer made by Mountbatten that gave him more rights than he would have got? But all said and done, I should say thanks to this guy for atleast recording the accounts from the 'other side'.

His overdependence on the Sunderlal report published in Omar Khalidi's book is another matter of interest. I am reproducing a couple of excerpts


"After university I had joined the Nizam's Civil Service and as fate would have it, on the 13th of September 1948, when the Indian army finally crossed the frontier into Hyderabad, I was the district officer in charge of the area facing the main Indian attack. We had no tanks, no planes and virtually no artillery. Nothing: just a pile of old .303 rifles. And with those we had been ordered to take on the might of the Indian army.

"The morning of the attack I was still shaving when I heard the first shells falling near my house. We had a few platoons, so we lined them up on the frontier, along the banks of the River Bori. They were facing a fully mechanised Indian army unit, with Sherman tanks, armoured cars and field guns, and before long the Indians began picking off our men like rabbits. Our first plan was to blow up the bridge, but it turned out the soldiers didn't have the correct equipment. As head of the district, I was sitting with the Brigadier in the staff car, trying to decide what to do, when the Indian Air Force started strafing us from the air. Our car windows exploded. I lay flat on my belly with bullets shooting over my head. In the end the Brigadier and I both took refuge under an arch of the bridge we had been supposed to blow up. Elsewhere much of the rest of the Hyderabad forces were surrounded while they were at parade. We were all caught with our pants down.

"The brigadier and I managed to escape, and after that we just retreated and retreated. The whole resistance was completely unrealistic. There was heavy aerial bombardment on all fronts: bombs falling everywhere. The next day I was in a jeep trying to get back to Hyderabad when the bus we were overtaking was blown up by another plane. I had to hide in the paddi. We managed to delay them a little by opening the sluices and flooding the roads, but that was our only success. When the Emperor Aurangzeb invaded Golconda [in 1687], the Hyderabad troops managed to keep the Moghuls at bay for seven or eight months. In our case we only held them up for four days. It was a total collapse."

What Mir Moazam said was confirmed by the casualty figures: on the Indian side seven killed and nine wounded, of which one died later; on the Hyderabadi side, an estimated 632 killed and at least fourteen wounded.

"How did the Indian army behave when it got to Hyderabad?" I asked.

"When an army invades any country - whether it’s Alexander the Great, Timur, Hitler or Mussolini - when it gets into a town, you know what the soldiery does. It's very difficult for the officers to control them. I can't tell you how many were raped or killed, but I saw the bodies everywhere. Old scores were paid off across the state."

I discovered later that it is in fact possible to make an informed estimate of the numbers killed in the aftermath of the 'police action'. For when reports of atrocities began to reach Delhi, Nehru 'in his private capacity', commissioned an unofficial report from a group of veteran Congressmen made up of two Hyderabadi Muslims who had prominently opposed the Nizam's rule and chaired by a Hindu, Pandit Sunderlal. The team made an extensive tour of the State and submitted their report to Nehru and Sardar Patel in January 1949. The report's findings were never made public, however, presumably because of its damning criticism of the conduct of the Indian army. It remained unpublished until a portion of it, smuggled out of India, recently appeared in America in an obscure volume of scholarly essays entitled Hyderabad: After the Fall.

The report, entitled On the Post-Operation Polo Massacres, Rape and Destruction or Seizure of Property in Hyderabad State, makes grim reading. In village after village across the state, it meticulously and unemotionally catalogued incidents of murder and mass rape, sometimes committed by troops, in other cases committed by local Hindu hooligans after the troops had disarmed the Muslim population. A short extract, chosen at random, gives the general flavour:

"Ganjoti Paygah, District Osmanabad:

There are 500 homes belonging to Muslims here. Two hundred Muslims were murdered by the goondas. The army had seized weapons from the Muslims. As the Muslims became defenceless, the goondas began the massacre. Muslim women were raped by the troops. Statement of Pasha Bi, resident of Ganjoti: the trouble in Ganjoti began after the army's arrival. All the young Muslim women here were raped. Five daughters of Osman sahib were raped and six daughters of the Qazi were raped. Ismail Sahib Sawdagar's daughter was raped in Saiba Chamar's home for a week. Soldiers from Umarga came every week and after all-night rape, young Muslim women were sent back to their homes in the morning. Mahtab Tamboli's daughters were divided among Hindus, one is in Burga Julaha's home... "

And so on, for page after page. In all, the report estimates that as many as 200,000 Hyderabadi Muslims were slaughtered in the aftermath of the 'Police Action': an astonishing figure which, if true, would turn the 'police action' into a bloodbath comparable to parts of the Punjab during Partition. Even if one regards the figure of 200,000 dead as an impossible exaggeration, it is still clear that the scale of the killing was horrific. Although publicly Nehru played down the disorder in Hyderabad, claiming to the Indian representative at the United Nations that following the Nizam's officials deserting their posts there had been some disorder in which Hindus had retaliated for their sufferings under the [Muslim] Razakars [militia], privately he was much more alarmed. This is indicated by a note Nehru sent to Sardar Patel's Ministry of States on the 26th of November 1948, saying that he had received reports of killings of Muslims so large in number 'as to stagger the imagination' and looting of Muslim property 'on a tremendous scale' - all of which would seem to confirm the general tone of Pandit Sunderlal's report.

I asked Mir Moazam what happened to him in the immediate aftermath of the conquest, while all this murderous anarchy was taking place around him:

"Most of the officers who were under suspicion by the new regime went to Pakistan," he replied. "Arrangements were made for me, as it was clear I was going to be arrested. But my father said, 'Face the firing squad. I will disinherit and disown you if you run away from your post.' So I stayed, and after a farcical trial full of paid witnesses, I was sentenced to death. I could see the noose from my cell."

Mir Moazam briefly cupped his head in hands. He hesitated, and silently rocked back and forth for a minute. Then he clasped his hands together and continued:

"Later that year the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment," he said quietly. "Three years after that, following an appeal in the High Court, I was honourably acquitted. Other officers were less lucky: many were framed, while others were forced to flee to Pakistan, though they dearly wished to stay in Hyderabad. Few retained jobs of any importance: they were weeded out. Some were removed, some were reduced in rank, others were put in jail. So after I was released, I decided to go to London. There English friends of mine eventually helped me get a job in UNESCO, and I spent much of the next 30 to 40 years in Paris."

"You must have seen quite a few changes on your return," I said.


as for the report published in "Hyderabad : After the fall", here is what AG Noorani had written in the Frontline:

In 1988, Omar Khalidi, a devoted chronicler of Hyderabad, published what he claimed were extracts from their Report in his compilation of essays, Hyderabad: After the Fall (Hyderabad Historical Society; Wichita, Kansas; U.S.). His introduction to the extracts, though informative, is marred by inaccuracies and intemperate language. He had relied, somewhat uncritically, on an interview with Yunus Salim who claimed inaccurately, that he was a member of the team led by Sundarlal which toured Hyderaba d in November-December 1948. A 32-year-old State attorney then, he was dismissed from the post for having helped the team.

Yunus Salim was a Deputy Minister for Railways in Indira Gandhi's government (1969) and a Governor of Bihar in 1991. Garbled versions of the Report appeared in Pakistan. Khalidi writes: "In addition to the copy in the Union Home Ministry, Srinivas Lahoti , a Communist Party of India leader in Hyderabad, owned a copy. In an interview in February 1988 he claims to have deposited it with the National Archives of India, New Delhi upon his party's instruction. The present writer obtained fragments of t he Report (which is partly in English and partly in Urdu) from owners who wish to remain anonymous. The portion in English is being reproduced without any alteration. The Urdu portion is translated into English."

Khalidi was misled. The entire document is in English and the "fragments" he reproduces should have put him on notice that it is not safe to rely on them. The brief Introductory portion is intrinsically unreliable. The rest is a village-wise and d istrict-wise account.

A review of a Book from the other side on the Hyderabad Operations.

Remembering the Forgotten Genocide in Hyderabad
By Mohammed Ayub Ali Khan

Police Action Ki Bhooli Tareekh Ka Aik Janbaaz Shaheed (Urdu)
Author: A.R. Yaf’ai
Pages: 294
Price: Rs.200
Publisher: Darul Isha’at , All India Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat, Madina Mansion, Narayanguda, Hyderabad, 29, A..P. India

very few books are there that chronicle the Nizam's side of the action on the Hyderabad operations. This seems to be one of the few published in hyderabad and is in urdu. I dont understand urdu, but the review will do for now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Flying Officer K S Johal, Date of Crash August 21, 1970

Village pays tributes to Flying Officer Johal

Hmm.. Flying Officer K S Johal, Date of Crash August 21, 1970

Checked my DB - But cant figure out the aircraft type. this is a new one.

IAF shifting MiG-29 school to Chandigarh

IAF shifting MiG-29 school to Chandigarh :

So the news is that the MiG29 TETTRA will be moved to Chandigarh. But does that mean they will split the Su30/MiG29 TETTRA ? and what will happen to the instructional airframe in Pune, will we see that being shipped to Chandigarh too?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

BBC Interview with Squadron Leader MS Pujji DFC

BBC has an interview with Sqn Ldr Mahendra Singh Pujji, one of the 21 indian fliers from WW2 to have a DFC to his credit. MS Pujji is one of the rare indians to have an Air Crew Europe Star and an Africa Star in his medals. A photo of him wearing his medals appears below

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Book : The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 by PVS Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra []

The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 by PVS Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra

The above link takes you to something that was the result of more than six years of hard work on my part and my friend Samir Chopra. A work that took up interviews across four continents - Asia, Australia, Europe and America, and over 40 veterans of the IAF, this is the ONLY comprehensive work on the History of the Air Force in the 1965 conflict.

I am sure years down the lane, this book will be much sought out as the first work from the INdian side.. and I have already stashed away several copies as a nice investment option! ;)

My Publisher wants me to sell bout a 100 copies for him. And I have to say the sales are going on nicely as of now.

Missing in Action..

OK, so I have gone missing in action for about a month.. But I have some great excuses to justify it. I was away to Delhi for about a week towards the end of the month. The trip was made to coincide with several objectives - 1. to interview a couple of WW2 Veterans, 2. to check out the publishing of my first ever book 'India Pakistan Air War' (More on this later).

I had a great time interviewing/Videographing Air Vice Marshal SN Goyal, all of 89 years and an original Cranwell graduated officer - he had many tales to tell and it was great to talk to him.

I then got to ride on the Delhi Metro, of which I made this illegal video (Hosted on - Thanks mike). The Delhi Metro is one of the best things happening to Delhi. And I look forward to the day that I can catch the metro to go visiting the IAF Musuem in Palam, and make a journey in about 19 min flat from CP to Palam!

I was also there at an interesting place called Paharganj, that very much resembles the old city in Hyderabad, but this dump is actually habited by foreign tourists on a budget. So the whole business approach was aimed at them and the place has a funny feel to it.. Old City, but westernised for the gora tourists.. Anyway I liked it much more than the much hyped Karol Bagh as far as food and shopping goes..

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Losing out on my own domain

Once in a while I like to Google my name (talk about ego!) and see where my sites come up.. But this was unexpected

Google Search on "Jagan Pillarisetti"

Neither my Warbirds of India website nor my Bharat Rakshak website is No.1 - instead my photos hosted on come up . Talk about my own sites losing out!! Result no.4 is even funnier, it is about some photographs of railway stations I took last year... , guess that proves that railway fans are more in number than aviation or warbird fans. But then IRFCA is the largest Railway fans website, much much larger than warbirds.

anyway to cut a long story short, I must be the only Jagan pillarisetti on the web, because i could not find any other reference to any other Jagan Pillarisetti other than me..atleast in the first five pages of results.

Okay okay.. Why not do a Google search on just Pillarisetti. It turns out there are thousands of Pillarisettis on the net , but the link is No.2 - So something good has come out of Airliners after all.!!!

Finally I did a search on google for just Jagan. It would be such a common name I would not expect a good rank, but surprise! Its rank no.3 for my Tripod Site. and Rank no.8 for Warbirds. Not bad for such a common search.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Rhinos add more teeth to Pune air base

Interesting reports that we miss reading because they are published in regional news papers - 1

The above link is a report on the re-raising of No.30 Squadron "Rhinos" last April, an event that went totally unnoticed in the IndMilWorld - because it did not make the mainstream press. Now a search of ToI's regional archive brings up the news report on the event.

The Public got its first confirmation in February 2005 at Aero India when the MKis flown there were provided by the Rhinos.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hyderabad and environs from the Air

I was always fascinated as to how Hyderabad looks from the air. So when I got the chance to fly to bangalore in an ATR42 of Air Deccan on the 8th of February, I happily clicked away at the scenes below. Hope they are interesting enough.

Nadirgul airfield to the southwest of Hyderabad. Its a surprise to find a paved runway at this place.

The ATR-42 is now flying over Osmania University. The Arts College building is prominent (bottom Left). The Osmania Unversity Library corner can just be seen in the bottom. the other OU Park dominates most of the picture

This is an easy one - Tarnaka. The flyover from Secbad to Uppal can be seen, as is the APSRTC Hospital at the bottom of the frame. Further to the top left is the Tarnaka flyover that goes to ECIL X Roads

The Hillock in the center is definitely the Moula-Ali hill

This another picture further down. That lake is a surprise - I assume its at Safilguda. The Road in bottom center will help us find out.

This is a shot of Secunderabad from the Air looking North. I have not been able to find out which location this is..

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Army Aviation Cheetahs to Congo? (The Tribune)

The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories

The above report says that five Army Aviation Cheetahs are on their way to Congo to take part in the UN mission. That certainly is a first for Army aviators going on Peace Keeping abroad. However I cant escape the feeling that this is again due to some inter force rivalry ? The army obviously claims that this is required as the AF choppers are not enough. Why not just ask the IAF to send more choppers if all is hunky dory? go figure.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Aero India Here we come. Got four days off from work, so that I can get down to Bangalore for the Maha Kumbh Mela of Indian Aviation enthusiasts. Aero India 2005.

Taking three cameras - a Nikon F55, An Olympus Point and Shoot , and a Kodak DC3200 1 MP Digital Cam - Now lets see how many pictures this will generate. Have seven film rolls and one slide roll. And to keep the digi cam and other equipment running, half a dozen sets of batteries, battery charger etc etc.

Places to visit - the Air Show and ofcourse the HAL Museum. Transportation is being provided by Air Deccan - Shelled out 2k for it. will come back by cattle class in train. As in last time, I will get to meet a number of BR website co-webbies, Seetal Patel, Kapil Chandni, Arun Vishwakarma, Rupak Chattopadhyay, Shiv Sastry and Sachin Keshavan.

The Mi - 25 attack helicopter of Indian Air Force passes through the Rajpath on the occasion of Republic Day Parade-2005, in New Delhi on January 26, 2005.
Copyright of Jagan Pillarisetti

Something which we wont see in real life, but a Scale Gnat model in front of a Scale Sukhoi-30 MKI offers a nice contrast. These models were built by Polly Singh.
Copyright of Jagan Pillarisetti

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ribbon Bars of IAF Legends

showcases virtual ribbon bars of famous IAF Pilots - the ribbons were taken from Lucas Gazewics website , but most of theeffort in lining and creating the effect is done in Image Composer.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Dammit, its been an year and four months since the last post. I finally decided to revive this agian and renamed it.

Okay, ever seen Indian Air Force Hawker Tempest IIs in action? thats what you will find at this link . Its an ASF format file and is 3.4MB in size / six minutes duration, but its a really rare footage of Operations from the 47-48 War. It seems to be part of a Films Division VHS tape that was rescued at Air HQ by a friend . Now 'recycled' for the Internet.