Akashganga: The Legend of the Fall-III

Having graduated and donned the Para Jump Instructors (PJI) brevets, they were trusted with the lives of all those brave paratroopers with maroon berets mostly

Source: Akashganga: The Legend of the Fall-III

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Akashganga: PTS, the Home of Courage, Skill and Strength -II

The Indian Army mostly composed of the “maroon berets” or Paratroopers perform the operational role with the help of a large number of the aerial

Source: Akashganga: PTS, the Home of Courage, Skill and Strength -II

Akashganga:Cosmogony and Mythology of the Indian Air Force Skydiving Team(1)

Not since the days of Veda Vyasa, Mahabharata, the Phantom, Vikram and Betal fables and folklore have been so haunting and mysterious! “Fact, it is believed, very often is stranger than fiction! And I prefer the latter”. Someone so wittily had avowed.

That said, the Kaurava King, the father of a hundred sons, Dhritharastra, bade his charioteer, blessed with futuristic vision (Divya Drishti) Sanjaya to speak of what he saw in another age and time. He sat like most days each morning by the river Sarayu and watched the clean waters rush past…

This is the Kali Yuga. It is difficult, my master, when you set about talking of your ancestors, gurus, elders, friends and family pleaded, the honest Sanjaya. More so when some are not alive and most untraceable. Yet, he continued in the royal second plural. We did not have a culture of recording or documenting about our pioneering school for paratroopers. This gave I suppose a lot of grist to the colonial mill of hitherto, British historians who were so fond of ridiculing and used to say – “the Brownies. These Shudras have no history. It only began with our writing about them.” For more  read on at

What a sport ! The Olympic Moment.

In anticipation of the Olympics starting this weekend, we wanted to share some of our books and special issues on sports. Did we touch on all of your favorites? Let us know in the comments. In the most recent issue of Radical History Review, “Historicizing the Politics and Pleasure of Sport,” (#125) contributors explore how and why sport, paradoxically, […]

via The Pleasure of Sport: Readings for the Olympics — Duke University Press Log

Hamam Mein Sab Nangey Hain ! हमाम में सब नंगे हैं

I have reactions and opinions that may not hold well against cold analysis or facts. I am only privy to the many tweets, with videos, social networking site blogs which I seek to elaborate on some educated guesses having been a fan of cricket and erstwhile stars that includes Ganguly and Shastri.We are witness to recriminations and some cultured mud dabs from two of the most articulate and competent cricketers of their time.To compare their abilities would be to commit the classic folly of the orange versus apple story.

It would be fair to say that the little hullabaloo created by the Justice Mudgal’s and Justice Lodha’s investigative report has had some uncomfortable ramifications for the powers that be.In a country and a system which celebrates money and power as equivalence of Integrity the findings have been disturbing minus any other hyperbole’s.Safely however, it can be said to be another drama unfolding as an ongoing serial : Season 1 Episode ? .

That BCCI was an extension of the Mumbai monopoly to be almost a backyard owned, operated, maintained by the latter but funded by the nation and its public. An open secret, is this.. Pawar’s, Wadekars, Vengsarkars, Gavaskars and the Shastri’s were the visible law above and beyond the reach of the lesser states.The fans and tax paying public do not even exist in the strange corporate rules in vogue of a corrupt democracy.They managed at various stages to not only counter the sometimes vigorous opposition of the Delhi and Southern lobby.In fact one would stretch it to say that there was effective collaboration with the much touted Srinivasan. The fugitive Modi was its most cherished face until then.There have been palace struggles of sorts but very much in the nature of love and bitterness and subsequent falling out between thieves or lovers.Take your pick !.Many stars including Ganguly had been won over with dollops of lucrative assignments. The strategy and thinking was clear to win over possible threat areas and kick the rest.(that is those that are feeble and weak.)If you cannot beat them, Buy them !

Now the game has run its course and another chapter is set to begin with a clutch of stars and superheroes like Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid, Ganguly and Kumble, the original Five whofab-five-300x200 had set it upon themselves to cleanse a culture of match-fixing post Azharuuddin fiasco. A set of established demagogues or demi-gods like Shastri and Gavaskar are feeling the heat of such a seasonal change.The immediate cause is the non-selection of Shastri and the mysterious one is the ghost of Chappell, too.

It appears that Shastri had been promised by BCCI while opting for the Bangladesh tour that he would be given a two year extension.Also he had emphasised the need for total freedom from the three man Council, comprising of Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly recently appointed by BCCI to oversee cricket development in India.He particularly did not want to have Ganguly interfering with his proposed extended stint of  coaching.This is rumored to have happened sometime in the second week of June in Chennai.Then, could Ganguly have recused himself? Should Shastri have been physically present for the interview and not hoildaying like an Aristotle Onassis or tanning  in some sunny beach overseas a la Capone? One gathers even Sachin was physically missing from the interview and was on video-conferencing mode like Shastri. Why does Shastri figure in all committees of the BCCI? can be interesting points of discussion.One thing is clear that all was not well between the two.Both aggressive and mavericks of a certain kind.Suffice it is for all of us, the gossip loving public( what with no real news coming out and being trapped within faux vanities and decencies of what is the ethics of civilised behavior) to be at least sure of a lot of hubris from either parties.But that would amount to only scratching the surface..

Shastri did not create a Virat or his new team. The untold story of Shastri’s role in the Australian tour fiasco and the unforeseen retirement of Dhoni from Tests may be another skeleton in the cupboard waiting to tumble out .Do we see also some interconnections in the Harsha Bhogle episode of being denied commentating and Sunny Gavaskar still managing to make selective hints on the fissures between him and Shastri through professional disagreements on cricketing issues ? Is Sunny the master Diplomat readjusting himself and creating adequate breathing space for the new dispensation on the anvil?If you are interested in some adrenalin rush or in the frisson of dark speculation then these questions could help : Where is Mr Jaitly putting his money? Is the BJP behind the new attempts of BCCI for a power change, if at all ? Is the Centre of power set to shift from Mumbai? How Is the Shiv Sena playing this and the Bollywood ? Will Virat and Dhoni be the face of the change or the new assault and shift of fulcrum of power ?What about the sponsors and advertisements on which the entire of game of cricket in India thrives? Are we seeing the beginnings of a new shift or the tremors of transition? Is the East and North together in this move?

kumble-coach-2-300x200

Conflict of interest and its manipulation by all concerned is something the fans should be watching closely to make out the real from the untrue.And only then, venture forward to contemplating final opinions on this spat. These are but tips of the many icebergs of shady deals and events.To be able to piece together these rather unrelated sparks would be to discover the hidden powder keg of shameful collusion or compromise.

Hamam Mein sab Nangey Hein !

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‪#‎Sing Muhammad‬ : Another Song

Comings and goings are the thing of a mortal world.There are no Gods.We all know.Yet,some in their passing make many to rub their eyes in disbelief,stir themselves,sit up to take notice.One such was this beautiful face of the boxing gloves !
Who of my generation, before or after could have not shared an incandescent glee when each time he had boxer after boxer flat on the ring mat .The pathetic sight of the defeated limbs, tired and bruised body on wobbly legs and a sullen slouch after having gotten up almost after a trippy dream.To behold the mesmeric presence of a silken superior,a silent assassin who felled many an adversary without spilling much blood to revel upon, in a gory gladiatorial sport.Would it then, be too much to praise him as a Gentleman of the Ring.?
Better still who would forget the Cassius Clay

ali 1
Young Cassius Clay At the Olympics and the Victory podium

rechristening himself as Muhammad ,making faces at the mighty White Americans in their own backyard and happily going to jail much before most had found Vietnam  to be no war of their own ! For this is how I remember him as a child,a hero who articulated what I could not speak or put words to.He was the big brother who had answered my silent prayers and  had bashed and shut bullying mouths of the Americans or the British : my Black Param Yodhya. A modern Eklavya ?
.I felt like a proud coward who was happy when he saw his tormentor beaten in a street fight or classroom. He made us believe that Americans were paper tigers with their nuclear bombs even when we or our kind had none.Ho Chi Minh,General Giap ,the guerilla commander, the Vietnamese were the greatest whom we came to recognise. Curiously their courageous sagas were brought home  and into our fiery, but infant hearts largely through this man and his much abused mouth.We woke up to the blatant oppression and the indignities of inhumanity subjected on other people and saw in them a shared history struggle and common destinies.
Our small worlds started to become bigger.We got to understand better the pungent wit in the nonplussed interviewee(Dhritiman Chatterjee) when he instinctively reacted to the question on the most important event of the times to be, “the victory of the Vietnamese and not the landing on the moon” in the movie” Pratidwandi”. The Interviewing Board in mock disdain and with clipped accents of the Brown Sahib had famously questioned then, “Are you a communist’?

I shall never know whether you were one.For many believe in their fond minds you were like Spartacus who cared for the weak.May you keep your boxing gloves on for your fight is unfinished yet.And they go well beyond those mortal 15 rounds !

Fare thee, Well !ali 2

Cricket Encounters of Another Kind !

By Anagha Rajadhyaksha I’m a 90s kid. We grew up either loving sportsmen or Govinda. And to take that a step further I grew up with an older brother. As younger siblings would know, for the first 10 – 12 years of our life, our sole purpose of living is to get the attention, love, respect…

via I Played Cricket. I Reported on Cricket. Here is How We Can Ensure More Women Do Both — The Ladies Finger