Reports about an attempt made to assassinate Field Marshal General KM Cariappa are devoid of facts. It is part of a vicious campaign launched by anti-India forces to weaken the Army and tar the RSS
Recently, there were some reports doing the rounds on social media as well as in some newspapers, based on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) ‘confidential’ documents that were declassified last year, alleging that an attempt was made to assassinate Field Marshal KM Cariappa, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Army, during his visit to eastern Punjab in 1950.
The report appears to be a crude attempt by certain anti-India forces to target the most powerful and respected institution in India — the Army. The report, based on fictitious CIA documents, claims that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) tried to get Cariappa assassinated in 1950 and six officers of the Indian Army were hanged in 1950 for this attempt. It also hints at an apparent north-south divide in the Indian Army and insinuates that Sikh officers were unwilling to serve under Cariappa.
Nothing can be further from truth. In fact, anyone with rudimentary knowledge about the Indian Army would know that officers and men go by regimental affiliations and their caste, religion or region have no impact on their conduct and/or orientation.
Cariappa, since 1923, was in the Rajput Regiment (a North Indian Regiment) and laid great emphasis on regimental loyalty; so much so that before retirement on January 14, 1953, he made a farewell visit to the Rajput Regimental Centre accompanied by his son and daughter. The officer corps of the Indian Army at the apex level in 1950 was highly anglicized and fairly homogeneous in thinking and orientation.
It is well-known that it was a north Indian officer Lieutenant General Nathu Singh Rathore who first asked Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to appoint (then) General Cariappa as the Army Chief when Nehru felt that British officers must continue for some more time.In fact, Cariappa is held in high esteem by all service offices cutting across regional, linguistic and religious divides. Further, to set the record straight, no officer of the Indian Army has ever been sentenced to death post-Independence for planning a coup. The reports also talk of the General being a Field Marshal in 1965 during the India-Pakistan war, where he was conferred the rank of Field Marshal only on April 28, 1986. He was way above any considerations of caste, religion or region.
General Cariappa raised the Brigade of the Guards and the Parachute Regiments on an all-India composition basis and also directed the establishment of the National Cadet Corps and the Territorial Army. He has undoubtedly contributed a lot to make the Indian Army truly Indian. Today, the nation justifiably takes pride in the role played by the Indian Army in guarding against external aggressions and insurgencies sponsored by the anti-India forces.
The CIA report allegedly filed on June 12, 1950, should have been unclassified in 1975. But no one seems to have heard of it till 2017! It shows that it is nothing but a malicious attempt to denigrate the RSS and run down the Indian Army.RSS has always been a fiercely nationalist organization which believes in an undivided India and has always risen above regional, sectarian and other such narrow affiliations when it comes to the nation.
The RSS has always expounded the need for a strong Army. To expect such an organisation to instigate dissensions within the Indian Army of the kind alleged, that too along regional lines, is nothing short of preposterous.
Anyone with basic knowledge of the RSS, would realise that right from the beginning, the first generation of RSS pracharaks in pre-Independence India, worked in Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and even Karachi, as well as in what are present day, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Consequently, in 1950, the RSS had as much presence in north India as it had in south India.
There is no doubt that the reports circulating on social media are totally devoid of facts and are part of a vicious campaign launched by anti-India forces to weaken the Indian Army, nationalist forces and, consequently, the Indian nation.
-By Alok Bansal
The writer is a retired defence officer and Director, India Foundation. Views expressed are personal
Courtesy: The Pioneer