Connecting Regions of Asia.

The People’s General


Few military leaders from the enchanted frontiers have reached the summit of glory as the pioneering three-star general of the region, Lt Gen. Konsam Himalay Singh. 
Gen. Singh’s memoir Making of a General is a inimitable testimony to a young boy’s journey from a remote hamlet in the borderlands of India to rise to become an Indian Army Corps Commander in Kashmir’s Nagrota and later the Commandant of the elite Infantry School in Mhow. 
The rites of passage from Sainik School, Goalpara, the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla and thence to command his battalion during the Kargil War and in the Siachen Glacier speaks volumes about Konsam Himalay’s generalship qualities.
 It is little wonder, therefore, that the National Security Adviser (NSA) of India, Ajit Doval should hail his book as one that is replete with sage wisdom and tales of grit. Echoing the NSA’s words, the Chief of Defence Staff, General. Bipin Rawat phrases General Singh as a Gentleman General with the ferocity of a ‘Tiger’.
The highpoints of Making of a General are the narratives that mark Gen Singh’s chapters Our Attack on Point 5770 during the Kargil War and the Siachen Soldier. A particularly poignant paragraph from Siachen Soldier exhibits his love for India, the North East and Manipur that he has returned to after decades of tour of duty with the Indian Army that he so ably served. It is a moving chapter and, therefore, merits replication in this unique space for the readers. The General writes:Most posts in Siachen were constantly under enemy mortar and artillery attacks for most parts of the day. We reciprocated these with more devastating firepower. Troops had to spend most of their time in ice caves from the artillery shells and other types of missiles. During my visits to these posts, I also started enjoying sleeping inside the ice cave…Elsewhere in Manipur, even as Konsam Himalay Singh was commanding his troops and guarding the frontiers of the country in the highest battlefield of the world, his house in Manipur was being searched by the Assam Rifles. He writes in the same chapter Siachen Soldier: I learnt later that my house in the village was subjected to searches by the local Assam Rifles troops during combing operations in my village for insurgents. My aged father and two-year-old niece were taken out of their beds in the middle of the night. I pacified my family that the soldiers were (only) doing their duty…The most important tour de force of Making of a General is the message that Gen. Singh has for the youth of the North East. Pages of the book have been laced with dreams for them, emboldening them to look towards a career in the Indian army and follow his path to the grandeur that he achieved. It is perhaps the most important lesson from the book, especially as the North East is experiencing a rites of passage from aspects such as insurgency and anti-India outlook and onto intertwining itself with the Indian vision. The journey of the General has indeed been the voyage of Ulysses and, therefore, one abounding with trials, tribulation and messages, the most important being when Gen. K. Himalay Singh says Aim for the Mountains.

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