Tuesday, July 29, 2008

MySpace To Venture Into The World Of Shared Logins

Website accounts can be a pain. Sometimes it’s incredibly annoying and hard to remember different email addresses, usernames and a variety of passwords. So to deal to with this common problem, MySpace is looking to join others in coming up with a solution.

Source: HowStuffWorks

The popular social network has decided hold hands with other Internet services and will join a coalition that allows people to use the same login information. The OpenID group will include web organizations like AOL, Google’s Blogger, Yahoo and other blogging services such as LiveJournal and WordPress.

The main idea around the OpenID concept is users can use one particular login while on any of the supporting websites. With popular groups like Yahoo and LiveJournal, the coalition should definitely be a hit because most of the sites share a lot of users already.

For those wondering where Facebook is in the “login revolution”, the answer is simple: the second most popular social network doesn’t like sharing. Facebook has always favoured developing its own systems and will most likely not join the OpenID group.

It will be interesting to see where OpenID takes users in the future. It’s bound to be a success, but if websites start to abandon ship, then the whole idea will sink. But at least MySpace users and the like will be able to enjoy some time using one simple login instead of numerous variations.

Wonderfully Wacky Toy Art

Gun DogGun Dog

What can you do with those old used up toys that your children used to play with, but are now collecting dust in the corner of your attic? Artist Robert Bradford makes good use of them and creates sculptures out of these toys.

Space Face (Her)Space Face (Her)

Kalashnikov BrianKalashnikov Brian

I asked Robert how he got started in doing this: "For a long time I had always liked to use materials that were not bland i.e. had some kind of history of weathering or use. One day about five years out in the studio I was looking into my children’s box of outgrown / discarded toys which happened to be out in the same building and responded to the random collection of colours shapes and forms they made. I figured that if I could find a way of putting them together to constitute a larger form they would have great potential as a larger scale sculpture. Over the next few years I experimented with various construction methods (which all had their downsides) - before one day about a year ago in frustration I tried putting a screw through a toy and then many others. To my surprise most didn’t crack or shatter and the new series has been largely based around and developed from that fact."

Toy SoldierToy Soldier

Toy Child TrafalgarToy Child Trafalgar

I was also curious as to the type of reaction he recieves from the public when they view his work. Here’s what he had to say: “Public reaction is largely very positive (in some cases gleeful)- in some cases children drag their parents to come and look at the pieces and then a whole sequence of recognition and recollection usually begins, naming the various toys and recalling the times and circumstances of their use. There is usually some fascination, both with them and with the process of their construction and sometimes outright laughter. There is usually a whole process of going back and forth between looking at the sculptures as a totality and the individual parts they are made up from (which of course is my intention). Some people of course just say they are rubbish which of course is perfectly true! There is also often talk about consumerism and waste, which whilst not being my central concern is also in my view positive when it occurs. Some find the sculptures beautiful/ curious/ scary/ weird/ emotional and etc. (which considering all they are really is bits of what is usually seen as rubbish) is great."

Mini DogMini Dog

"In a way the sculptures are also history pieces in the sense that you could date any one of them roughly from the time that the last toy screwed on to the structure that was produced.”

Fairly Fierce and Fiercer WolvesFairly Fierce and Fiercer Wolves


Toy Child Trafalgar DoorToy Child Trafalgar Door

Toy Girl Outside TrafalgarToy Girl Outside Trafalgar

Trafalgar Hotel April 08Trafalgar Hotel April 08

I don’t think they’re rubbish, these are actually pretty cool. I’d love to have a backyard filled with every one of these sculptures. But I’m sure my neighbors would think I’m weird; a 30-year old woman with toy sculptures in her yard. Oh well, I’ve done worse.

Many thanks to Robert Bradford. You can view more of his amazing art at his website.

Shirt Lets You Blow Away The Heat And Your Co-workers

Sitting in a stuffy office with sweaty armpits is no fun, but there’s really nothing you can in the summer, right? Wrong; there’s actually a new innovation from Japan that’s bound to make your daily environment cooler.

Source: Like Cool

To make those hot summer days cooler, the USB Air Conditioned Shirt combines the power of fans and the stylish look of dress shirts. At first, the shirt may seem like any other, but if you take a closer look you will notice the two 10cm USB-powered fans. Located at the left and right sides on the back of your waist, the fans add some poof to shirt and cool you down with a gentle breeze.

Source: New Launches

Using USB technology is a great idea for an invention like this because a lot of people work with computers, so it’s not like they have to use a battery device that’s complex. One downside to the shirt could be that some people don’t like the “poofy feeling”. But when you’re hot and sweaty and you need to cool down, I’m sure anyone can put up with a small annoyance.

Find out more about the USB Air Conditioned Shirt here.

Bone Density May Help Determine Risk of Breast Cancer

A woman’s bone mineral density may be helpful in determining the risk of breast cancer, a new study finds.

The research for this study suggests that a physician is better able to determine a woman’s risk for breast cancer by running bone mineral density tests. This type of testing is currently done to diagnose osteoporosis and also to determine the risk of fractures. Studies currently being done have shown that higher bone mineral density can also lead to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This study is the first of its kind that links bone density and breast cancer incidences among postmenopausal women.

To conduct this study, researchers assessed approximately 10,000 postmenopausal women by measuring their bone density levels and also their score on the Gail risk model, which is a commonly used tool estimating five year and lifetime risk of invasive breast cancer. The women were then followed for 8 years and researchers noted which ones developed breast cancer.

The study found that women scoring highly on the Gail risk model had a 35 percent increased chance of developing breast cancer. Women that scored highly on both tests had a much higher risk in breast cancer.

Researchers found that adding bone mineral density to current assessment tests may greatly improve the prediction of breast cancer risk.

This study is published in the September 2008 issue of CANCER, which is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Source: Wiley-Blackwell

Ten Even More Weird and Bizarre Japanese Soft Drinks

What is it with Japan and weird drinks? Part of the answer lies in the love Japanese have for soft drinks – surveys show that about 40% of the nation's citizens drink at least one soft drink every day. That's about 50 million people!

In addition, trends come and go very quickly in Japan. What's cool today is as flat as warm Pepsi Ice Cucumber tomorrow... so soft drink companies are constantly coming out with something new and (hopefully) attention-grabbing 'cause one success more than makes up for dozens of failures.

Our list comprises the bad, the even more bad and the downright ugly, and we'll lead off the same way last year's list did – with Pepsi Japan's latest weird summer soft drink!

10) Pepsi Blue Hawaii

Wasn't there already a blue Pepsi, called umm, er, oh yeah - Pepsi Blue? It faded from the scene fairly quickly; a fate certain to be shared by Pepsi Blue Hawaii. Flavored with Pineapple and Lemon, you just know PBH is going to be sweeter than Hello Kitty in insulin shock – actually, it would probably be her IV drip.

9) Fanta Furufuru Shaker

Ever made Jello using 7-Up or Grape Crush instead of cold water? The gelatin retains a little carbonation after it cools. Fanta's Furufuru Shaker seems to be designed on the same principle; a semi-gelled drink that gets fizzy when you shake it. I don't know how you drink it... you'd need a fairly wide straw, if not a spoon. (via Japan Marketing News)

Anyway, all weirdness aside, the most interesting thing about Fanta Furufuru Shaker is the so-called Shaker Dance performed by official Fanta spokesmodel Rika Ishikawa. That girl can really shake her cans... can... erm, just watch the video...

8) Melon Milk

I've actually had Pokka's Melon Milk; both it and a Strawberry Milk version are sold in smallish cans at some Asian markets here in Toronto. It's rather popular in Japan, as are the many varieties of canned coffee Pokka makes.

Melon Milk doesn't taste bad... it does taste kinda strange though. Sort of like milk, with a melony overtone. You sip some, think “that can't be right”, then sip a little more. Before you know it you've drained the whole can – all part of Pokka's dastardly plan, no doubt. Melon is actually a major fruit flavor in Japan. If it's green & fruity, there's probably a melon involved. Consider yourself warned.

7) Bilk

Bilk... according to my dictionary, it means “to cheat out of something valuable”. It also makes a terrible name for a new drink – unless that drink is an unholy marriage of milk and beer, in which case it's entirely appropriate. Besides, Japanese dairy farmers are pretty much swimming in surplus milk and if Bilk doesn't work out they could resort to something truly awful, like a cheese drink (shudder).

Bilk... 70% beer, 30% milk, 100% disgusting. Supposedly, Bilk possesses a subtle sweetness that women should find most appealing. Beer bellies, belches and lactose intolerance, not so much. Bilk can be bought at 6 outlets in Japan's northern province of Hokkaido where bears outnumber humans 2:1. Guess they like the stuff, for their pic-a-nic baskets and all. (via Japan Probe)

6) NEEDS Cheese Drink

Well, you balked at Bilk so now it's come to this: NEEDS Cheese Drink. Nuh-uh, that's where I draw the line. I prefer to enjoy my cheese in the solid state, thank you, where I can shave off a paper-thin slice with that fiendish cheese-shaving knife. NEEDS Cheese Drink, I don't needs.

In fact, it seems the only ones who DO needs NEEDS are those pesky dairy farmers in Hokkaido, who “needs” to do something about growing stocks of surplus milk. If only there was something, sort of like a baby but still a cow, who could drink the surplus milk... ah well, never mind. (via F*cked Gaijin)

5) Hawaiian Deep-Sea Water

Remember those old movies, when a few shipwreck survivors are stuck in a lifeboat, dying of thirst? And one guy can't stand it anymore and starts drinking seawater, which drives him INSANE??

Koyo USA Corp wants you to forget all that. The maker of MaHaLo brand “Hawaiian Deep-Sea Water” is making a killing on desalinated deep ocean water thirst-crazed Japanese are falling all over themselves to buy... at between $4 and $6 per 1.5 liter bottle, no less.

Koyo USA Corp produces 200,000 bottles of processed seawater a day and can barely keep up with demand in Japan. According to company spokesman John Frosted, “At this point, we can't make enough. We have no surplus.”

Thank goodness for that, because the thought of seawater beer or seawater cheese drink would drive ME insane!

4) Kid's Wine

Kid's Wine – not just a road trip complaint anymore! Kid's Beer topped our list last time around, but did you know the same company, Sangaria, makes “wine” specially made for children? They also make their website play the cheesiest, most annoying music ever heard online. Maybe you have to be drunk on Kid's Wine to truly appreciate it.

3) Placenta Drink

From Kid's Wine to Kid Swine... Ahh, the things women will do to stay young and beautiful for us!

Thank you ladies, really... but there comes a point where bizarre beauty potions intended to make you luscious, just make us nauseous – and Nihon Shokuten's eerie series of placenta products are a prime example.

Made with swine placenta, the drink carries the automotive-sounding name of "Placenta 400000" - perhaps it's made from the ground & pressed extract of 400,000 placentas? Nihon Shokuten's not telling, but their revolting beverage should come pre-packaged with mints because there's nothing worse than placenta-breath in the morning.

2) Eel Soda

Unagi-Nobori soda is no ordinary energy drink, oh no... this terrific tonic is infused with a generous helping of eel extract. If you think there's something fishy about that, you're unfortunately right.

According to Japanese folk tradition, eating eel is reputed to give one extra energy on summer's hottest, most humid days.

These days though, one doesn't always have time for a leisurely lunch of delicious barbecued eel.

No problem – Unagi Nobori bottles essence of eel along with 5 essential vitamins in a carbonated medium. Make my medium small, if you don't mind... and by the way, Unagi Nobori is brought to you by the nice folks at Japan Tobacco, known for "healthy" products with smoky flavors. (via Japan Marketing News)

1) Okkikunare Drinks

Okkikunare is Japanese for “make them bigger”, and do I really have to tell you what “them” refers to? Well, maybe I do - lest guys with macho issues rush to place orders, the apple, peach and mango flavored drinks are quite popular among teenage girls in Japan.

Made by a comapny called Welcia, the special bust-boosting ingredient in Okkikunare drinks is powdered Arrowroot containing the same sort of isoflavones found in soybeans, which are said to “stimulate the female hormone system.”

Seems a little sketchy to me... then again, the drinks are also sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity. Therefore, EVERYTHING gets bigger the more you drink, not just the, umm, apples, peaches and mangos. (via DumpSoda)

And there you have it, Ten Even More Weird and Bizarre Japanese Soft Drinks. And, in case you were wondering, no Pocari Sweat again this time. Not even the doggie version, “Pet Sweat”. Odd as it sounds, Japan can do much better... or worse, as the case may be.

So, consider yourself warned, Japan can pack a few surprises for the unwary, thirsty traveler. Be sure to pack some Canned Bottled Water on your next trip there – it's lighter than the Bottled Canned Water and likely has even fewer calories!

Check out last year's list here.

Tiny Microscope Fits on Your Fingertip

Researchers have developed a "microscopic microscope" - a microscope that's small enough to fit inside a cell phone yet that still delivers top-quality magnifying power.

Optofluidic microscope. .Image: Changhuei Yang, California Institute of TechnologyOptofluidic microscope. .Image: Changhuei Yang, California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology team hopes that the tiny microscope could be appealing for detecting pathogens in developing countries, as well as for being implanted in the human body as a diagnostic tool.

The device is a type of optofluidic microscope because it combines computer-chip technology with microfluidics technology, where a fluid flow is channeled at very small scales. The microscope has no lenses or other bulky optical elements, which have been a staple of microscopes ever since the first ones appeared in the 1500s. Without lenses, microscopes can be much cheaper: the researchers expect their tool can be mass-produced for about $10.

The microscope design consists of three layers: a microfluidic channel on top, then a metal coating, and then a CCD sensor, which is similar to the sensors used in digital cameras. The metal layer has lots of tiny holes (one-millionth of a meter in diameter) that correspond to the pixels on the CCD array. The microfluidic channel carries the liquid sample, such as blood or water, to be investigated.

To image the sample, the microscope is simply positioned in sunlight or another light source. As the liquid sample flows through the microfluidic channel, a few cells pass over the holes in the metal and block the sunlight from passing through to the CCD sensor below. As the researchers explain, these shadows produce images similar to those from a pinhole camera.

This imaging part of the microscope is actually much smaller than the chip it's mounted on, so that thousands of the microscopes could be incorporated onto a single chip the size of a quarter. This could allow many samples to be analyzed simultaneously, such as blood samples for malaria, water samples for giardia, and - when in vivo - the bloodstream for spreading cancer cells.

Changhuei Yang, a lead researcher, is currently discussing the possibility for mass-production with biotech companies.

The study is published in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

via: California Institute of Technology

The Washing Machine That Uses Hardly Any Water

Companies are constantly trying to outdo each other in the world of laundry, but one new invention just might eliminate the competition.

Source: Shiny Shiny

Instead of using water alone, the Xeros washing machine uses a new formula: plastic chips, friction and solvent. Confused? Don’t be; the machine is simple to understand and use.

Basically an individual starts a normal load of laundry and a cartridge in the back of the machine drops in the plastic chips to mix with a cup of water and detergent. The water dissolves the stains and dirt, which is then absorbed by the chips. Once the load is near the end of the cycle, a grill at the bottom of the washing machine opens up, collects the plastic and leaves you clothes that are almost dry.

Since tests have already shown that the machine can get rid of all kinds of stains, the product is sure to be a success once it hits the UK market in 2009. The only concern about the innovation is whether or not the plastic chips themselves are environment-friendly. But seeing so many companies are trying to please the environmentalists these days, the plastic chips are probably going to be safe in some sort of way.

To find out more, you can visit the following website.

Cool Invention: So busy that you wish you had another hand?

The people at Spot Industries have taken this concept quite literally with an articulated robotic human-like hand and forearm assembly appropriately named "Handy". The heavy industrial giant's first foray into the consumer market was actually precipitated by a proprietary battery technology and the availability of high strength, cheap to produce and 100% recyclable polymers that could actually bring concepts such as Handy into the reach of a much broader consumer market.

Spot Industries spokesperson So Soon Dun states "Handy could be useful for any number of domestic tasks such as washing, hammering, painting, digging, kneading, the only limit is your imagination." He went on to mention that "Handy has a very, very firm but soft grip and its ability to oscillate up and down at select speeds is quite satisfying."

The first model of the Handy is being planned for initial release into the marketplace sometime in the next two years. The Handy is very lightweight at less than 7 Kg. It can be folded down to fit in a typical briefcase. So Soon Dun tells us that the first version will be the "tabletop model" which could easily fit on any side table, desk or workbench. Future editions may come with freestanding legs, wheels or possibly even a harness to allow for greater user mobility and ease of use.

Handy will come with USB and midi ports and be wireless capable for use with ipods, keyboards and computers. Handy's fuzzy AI logic will allow it to learn its owners preferences very efficiently. So Soon Dun reminds us that whether a robotic device builds cars or waters your plants - the job should be done right.

We concur, hands free never had it so good.

Rod Bland InventorSpot.com

Our Guest Blogger, Rod Bland, is an aspiring inventor and has worked as a visual effects artist and animator for the past 15 years in the television, movie & advertising industries.

Should Shivaraj Patil resign?

An astonishing aspect of the current political atmosphere is the complete lack of accountability—or demands for it. Heads are demanded and heads roll when a politician is caught in some minor sexual peccadillo, in a sting operation, or a corruption scandal. But the slaughter of scores of hard-working Indians in City after City across the nation, and the burgeoning fear “psychosis” that threatens to rip the country asunder, barely evokes a squeak either from the media or from the opposition.

Shivaraj Patil is a standout case. Rejected by the voters of Latur in the 2004 elections but resurrected by the Congress in one of those actions that beggars belief, Patil’s performance as Union home minister has been dull, lack-lustre and insipid. Not only has Patil presided over blast after serial blast, he has seemed as clueless as everybody else. Even the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, whom he personally credits for helping him preside over an unruly Lok Sabha as Speaker, seems to be in no position to provide help at this critical juncture.

Question: Should the man who has helplessly watched the Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bombay, Hyderabad, Jaipur blasts and countless other incidents resign? And if the Congress high command is unwilling, should the “new, improved” Manmohan throw him out to show Singh is King after the trust-vote?

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw - A legend in uniform

One of my adulthood heros... u can see some of his speeches in youtube. And also in the videos of the IMA cadet ceremony... shame on our politicians that they haven't recognized this brave-hearts death.
An article in frontline by C. UDAY BHASKAR

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw led India to its greatest military victory, in the 1971 war.


Taking the salute at a military parade in New Delhi on October 23, 2004, held to mark the first-ever conclave of former military chiefs.

INDIA’S first Field Marshal, Sam Bahadur Manekshaw, who succumbed to pneumonia on June 26, two months after his 94th birthday, will remain a legendary figure in the annals of Indian military history. He was given a befitting farewell by millions of Indians – though the Indian state was parsimonious in its presence – when he was laid to rest in the Nilgiri Hills where he spent the latter part of his glorious life.

Manekshaw was born in Amritsar in 1914, and his army career began in 1932 when he joined the first batch of the Indian Gentlemen Cadets at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. Commissioned in the Frontier Force in 1934, he saw action in the Second World War where he displayed exemplary courage in battle in the Burma (Myanmar) theatre. He was awarded a Military Cross (MC) by a British general who thought that the young Manekshaw would not survive the bullet wounds he had sustained. The MC cannot be awarded posthumously, so Major General D.T. Cowan pinned his own medal on the gallant Indian Captain. But fortune favoured the brave Manekshaw.

An Australian surgeon who was tending to the wounded was debating whether Manekshaw could be saved. What convinced the doctor in favour of operating on the seriously wounded Manekshaw was the latter’s puckish sense of humour even as he lay dying. When asked what had happened to him, Manekshaw said: “A mule kicked me.”

Post-Partition, in August 1947, Manekshaw as a Parsi had the option to join either the Indian Army or move to the newly created Pakistan Army. He chose India and was transferred to the Gorkha Rifles where he earned the sobriquet “Bahadur”. Closely associated with the consolidation of the Indian state under the firm hand of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose confidence he enjoyed, Manekshaw was a key planner in the October 1947 Kashmir operations where the Indian Army was called out.

In the years that followed, Manekshaw was witness to the Nehruvian idealism that sought to shrink the size and relevance of the Indian military. However, he gradually acquired a reputation for being a totally apolitical yet professional soldier who could not be pushed around by the civilian establishment. The emerging politico-bureaucratic dispensation under a towering Prime Minister like Jawaharlal Nehru weakened India’s military sinews through an insidious mix of ignorance of matters military and strategic and outright disdain for sound professionalism that went against the Nehruvian diktat.

Manekshaw’s professional life reflected this pernicious culture. Nehru’s Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon tried to belittle the higher ranks of the Indian Army. The result was that truly professional and apolitical soldiers such as Gen. K.S. Thimayya and Gen. Manekshaw were treated shabbily and their advice spurned. The country paid a heavy price for this – the 1962 war with China was testimony to this crass political ineptitude. Such was the bitter vendetta carried out by Krishna Menon that he initiated a court of inquiry against Manekshaw for “anti-national” activities in early 1962 on totally false charges and sought – unsuccessfully – to penalise him.

However, the debacle of 1962 forced Nehru to acknowledge the folly of this political interference in internal military affairs and he belatedly resurrected officers like Manekshaw. Ironically, Manekshaw was sent to take over from Lt. Gen. B.M. Kaul – a Krishna Menon favourite – 4 Corps in the Eastern Sector, which had been mauled by the Chinese Army. This is where he issued the first of his many flamboyant one-liners: “There will be no more withdrawals.”

Luck, as always, was on his side and the Chinese announced a cessation of hostilities and withdrew. He became the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Army and then of the Eastern Army in Calcutta (Kolkata), and was elevated to the post of Army chief in 1969. Sam Bahadur, by dint of personal example and sound professionalism, rebuilt the Indian Army.

The clouds of war with Pakistan were looming in early 1971 over the repression and genocide in East Pakistan. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wanted the Indian Army to enter the fray so that a popularly elected government could be installed in Dhaka. However, Manekshaw refused to be pushed into hasty action and he gave the Prime Minister very objective advice – much to her surprise. Years later, he recalled how angry Indira Gandhi was at his dissenting view initially. But she respected his professional appreciation and concurred with his planning and execution of the 1971 war.

In keeping with his strong commitment to the democratic ethos and the provisions of the Indian Constitution, Manekshaw, who had the highest respect for civilian political supremacy over the military, offered to resign voluntarily in the event the Prime Minister did not approve of his dissent. To Indira Gandhi’s credit, she took Manekshaw’s advice, reposed confidence in him and entrusted him with full responsibility of the actual conduct of the war with no political interference.

The 1971 war with Pakistan was an outstanding military success. India managed to do what no country had done since the Second World War – achieve a decisive military victory over an adversary and dismember that country. Regrettably, there was inadequate appreciation of the politico-military harmonisation of “victory”, and Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto seemed to emerge the political equal of Indira Gandhi at Shimla despite the military defeat. Few people in the Indian political and higher bureaucracy seemed to know about war termination objectives and how a military victory could be translated into an abiding political advantage.

In retrospect, it would appear that the Indian military was neither encouraged nor allowed to contribute to higher politico-military strategic planning and thereby the nation was not able to maximise the victory over the Pakistan Army.

Thus we have a paradox in that, while the Pakistan Army had subsumed the state and became the central actor in the hostile relationship with India, the Indian military was kept outside the national decision-making framework. To compound the damage, the ruling politico-bureaucratic culture sustained this distancing and denigration of the Indian fauj (soldier). Manekshaw became the symbol of both public adulation and private anxiety – both in his life and death.

Soon after the December 1971 victory and the birth of Bangladesh, Indira became India – a veritable Durga who had slain the wicked demon, an accolade that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then a young Opposition parliamentarian, generously paid his political opponent. India and Indira, who were both going through a period of post-1962/post-Nehru despondency and lack of esteem, found their confidence after this victory.

This achievement of the nation and its Prime Minister was enabled to a great extent by Manekshaw and his service peers – and nobody realised this more keenly than Indira Gandhi. In Pakistan, the people were baying for the blood of their disgraced generals, while in India, their counterparts, Sam Manekshaw and Jagjit Singh Arora (the commander of the Indian forces in the east), were being publicly feted.

In 1973, Manekshaw was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal and his public profile was unparalleled for any Indian fauji. Then occurred one of those historic accidents – triggered by Manekshaw’s spontaneous sense of humour and repartee. Responding to a question about what would have happened if he, as a Parsee, had opted to join the Pakistan Army in August 1947, he joked that maybe Pakistan would have won the 1971 war. That was to be a costly quip and the Field Marshal was publicly upbraided by many who were envious of his growing stature.

The Indian state had found its opportunity to cut the soldier to size and cast him in a poor light. Manekshaw stepped down as Army chief in early 1973 and retired gracefully from the limelight – which he no doubt revelled in but had never actively sought.

An anecdote is illustrative. Post-retirement, Sam Bahadur went to Indore where the local citizens organised a public reception. The Field Marshal was mobbed by crowds shouting “Manekshaw ki jai”, and he reached the podium with difficulty.

The keynote speaker made an adulatory speech in Hindi, which went on thus: “We have in our midst today a soldier whose very name is synonymous with valour. He makes us remember Rana Pratap, Jhansi ki Rani and the gallant Shivaji, whose deeds form our national heritage. When we hear him speak, blood courses through our veins with great speed….”

Manekshaw also made his speech in Hindi, quipping: “I have only one request. Could I have an English translation of the speech I just heard? I want to give it to my wife. Whenever I tell her that I am a big man, a great man, she does not even listen. Perhaps after reading this, she will believe me!” Predictably, he brought the house down, and the ovation continued. Later, he was to joke that life had ordained that he obey two women all his life – his wife at home and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at work.

Flamboyant professional

Manekshaw was a flamboyant soldier who combined the best of the British tradition that he was groomed in and the distinctively Indian ethos that he was born into. Many tales abound about his special relationship with Indira Gandhi, including the “I am always ready, sweetie” response. To her credit, Indira Gandhi enjoyed this gentle sparring with an Army general who could tell her with a naughty twinkle in his eye, without transgressing certain lines of politico-military propriety, that she looked beautiful.

Manekshaw was neither a George Patton or an Erwin Rommel in the classical sense of the battlefield general, nor a theorist like Alfred Mahan. But he was a rigorous professional soldier and an outstanding manager of higher defence planning and prosecution. The politico-military-bureaucratic synergy he arrived at as Army chief with Indira Gandhi, Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram and Defence Secretary K.B. Lall during the 1971 operations remains distinctive and unparalleled.

As K. Subrahmanyam, the doyen of the strategic planning community, notes: “… the lesson from the Bangladesh campaign had not been drawn and absorbed by the Indian politicians. The lesson was the Prime Minister and the Cabinet should be in constant touch with external intelligence and should have a continuous rapport with the leadership of the armed forces. Our politicians and senior civil bureaucracy have woefully failed to learn this lesson to this day.”


WITH PRESIDENT V.V. Giri (second from left), Vice-President G.S. Pathak and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 2, 1973, when he was made Field Marshal.

Regrettably, Manekshaw never wrote an authoritative personal biography recounting this experience. I recall a conversation I had with him in 1986 when Gen. Cariappa was elevated as Field Marshal.

Like many of my generation, I was in awe of Manekshaw and ventured to ask him about the 1971 War. His reply was characteristically modest and he gave greater credit to the civilian leadership that was at the helm and encouraged me to highlight the role of the late K.B. Lall, “that extraordinary but forgotten ICS officer”.

Sad to say, post-1971, the Indian governing ethos progressively relegated the Indian military to the background. Ironically, in his death, Sam Bahadur, for all his monumental contribution to the making of India, was treated in a rather graceless manner by the Indian state. But this lack of magnanimity taints the state structure more than the glory of Sam Bahadur, which will remain shining and inviolable for a grateful nation.

The fact that despite being accorded a state funeral, no senior member of the Cabinet was present when his body was laid to rest, leave alone the President as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces or the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister, will remain a taint on the record of the United Progressive Alliance government. Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju was the sole senior political representative.

Ironically, the three Service chiefs were not present either. To add insult to injury, in keeping with the rule-bound mendacity of the Indian state, it was pointed out that since the rank of a Field Marshal was not (yet) included in the Government of India’s warrant of precedence, the great Indian state edifice was unable to respond.

It mattered little that Manekshaw had been elevated as Field Marshal – a five-star rank in 1973 – and that Field Marshals never retire. But for some inexplicable reason, for 35 years the appropriate rules and regulations were not formulated. The government departments concerned and Army headquarters have besmirched themselves indelibly in the public eye and many Indians have pointed out in letters to editors of newspapers and in cyberspace that our highest political representatives found the time and motivation to attend the funerals of less illustrious fellow Indians.

But if Manekshaw was treated shabbily by the political spectrum, he was always held in high esteem and remembered with enormous affection by the Indian fauj. News of his death led to a spontaneous outpouring of tributes and accolades both from within the country and from neighbouring Bangladesh, a nation that he helped create. Perhaps the manner of his final march into history symbolises what he represented to India and its people.

Amends were made with a condolence book being placed at India Gate in New Delhi for the Delhi hierarchy and public to pay their tributes to the Field Marshal. Rarely has there been such a turnout.

Manekshaw’s greatest and most abiding contribution was the manner in which he restored the muddied pride of the Indian soldier after the ignominy of the 1962 war with China.

Maybe Manekshaw’s handicap was that he was too much of a “bahadur” while the military as an institution remained marginal to the Indian political scheme of things.


The last journey, at Wellington, Udhagamangalam, Tamil Nadu, on June 27.

This visibly disdainful attitude to the Indian soldier was nurtured by Nehru as Prime Minister and bolstered by the civilian bureaucracy of his time, which always spoke in whispers about the danger of a military coup – as had happened in Pakistan and Myanmar – in the event the higher military leadership was given its due and brought into the loop of higher governance and security planning.

More than 60 years after Independence, the political dispensation in India is yet to maximise the many potentialities that a truly apolitical and professional military can bring to the national quiver. Sam Manekshaw remains the exception. Field Marshals never retire but only die, but this legendary figure will not die in public memory.

The image of an upright and highly professional soldier with that jaunty Gorkha cap and a twinkle in his eye, who did his nation proud, will abide.

Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar is a former head of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.