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Indian Army test-fires BrahMos land-attack missile

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New Delhi: The Indian Army on Saturday successfully test-fired the BrahMos land-attack cruise missile against a designated target in Rajasthan’s Pokhran test range, demonstrating the weapon’s operational capability, an official said on Saturday.

The test was conducted at 10 am on Saturday.

The missile was test launched by a mobile autonomous launcher (MAL) and carried out in the user-deployment configuration by trained army personnel. It met all the mission objectives.

The firing was witnessed by senior army officials, who congratulated the operational team for its successful launch.

“BrahMos missile system, the most lethal and potent weapon system for precision strike available with the Indian Army, has proved again its effectiveness in today’s successful launch,” Sudhir Mishra, chief of BrahMos Aerospace, said in a statement.

Defence Research and Development Organisation director general S Christopher congratulated the Indian Army and BrahMos Aerospace for the successful flight test.

The Indian Army has already inducted three regiments of BrahMos in its arsenal. All are equipped with Block-III version of the missile, which was recently tested on May 8 and 9.

The land-attack version of BrahMos has been operationalised in the Indian Army since 2007.

The fire-and-forget BrahMos has the capability to take on surface-based targets by flying a combined hi-lo trajectory, thus evading enemy air defence systems.

The inclusion of this powerful weapon system in the Indian Army has given it a distinct operational advantage to knock down any enemy target even in the most difficult and hidden terrains.

The BrahMos missile, having a range of 290-km and a Mach 2.8 speed, is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets.

BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO and NPOM of Russia.

(IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.thehindu.com)

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Return to Jammu- A Novel About a Journey

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother's struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

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JAmmu and Kashmir
Sanasar, Jammu and Kasmir- wikimedia commons

This is the engrossing tale of Balan, a kid from South India who grows up in the towns of Punjab, Jammu and Haryana. It captures the eventful journey of Balan’s childhood, his schooling, and the friends he makes and loses due to transfers of his father, serving in the Indian Army.

“Return to Jammu” is a first-person narration and with the timelines, places and real-life personalities and events, the reader gets a feeling that it is an autobiographical novel. The author clarifies that all characters and the story per se are fictional but confesses to borrowing liberally from many episodes of his childhood in telling the story.

“If you happen to be acquainted with me enough to perceive a passing resemblance of me in Balan, you would be right; and yet if you find the resemblance rather tenuous and liberally adulterated, you will be equally right too,” says the author in a preliminary note.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college.
V. Raghunathan-Author of the book Return to Jammu, wikimedia commons

Balan, son of a junior commissioned officer hailing from Kerala and having Tamilian roots, is born in the Ambala cantonment in 1954. He narrates his story even before his birth, relying on family tellings.

The author has superbly captured the life of the kid in a cantonment, growing up with two sisters, his mother’s struggle to run the house on a tight budget and his father, a happy-go-lucky man, who avoids the responsibilities of a good husband.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father’s transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.

Settled in Jammu, Balan is admitted into grade two, though just four years and seven months old. He remains younger and tinier than his peer group all through his schooling and even in college. Because of his diminutive size, he is saddled with sobriquets like pocket edition, Lilliputian and Madrasi, and sees his self-esteem falling dangerously.

He describes vividly how the family shifts to Jammu on his father's transfer, giving even the minutest details of their belongings, and of their journey to Jammu via Pathankot.
Jammu and Kashmir Map, wikimedia commons

It’s at Satwari near Jammu that he develops childhood friendship with many, most importantly with Jeevan Asha or Jeesha, who was two years older and also taller than him. Soon, however, Balan’s father is again transferred to Ambala and he is separated from his friends, especially Jeesha. He writes letters to his friends and receives responses from all, except Jeesha.

Overcoming all odds and with hard work, Balan completes his studies and joins the State Bank of India. Now a confident young man, he works hard and finally makes it to the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. (It was at IIM, Ahmedabad, that the author taught finance.)

Also Read: 70 years after Independence power reaches Elephanta Isle near Mumbai 

There he comes across a girl called Jasmine Pundith. He believes she is his good old buddy Jeesha. Bu she shows no sign of recognition and when he tries to remind her about their childhood friendship, Jasmine tells him that she is a citizen of the US and has no link with Jammu.

Convinced that she is none other than Jeesha, Balan travels to Delhi to find out more about her family. He even returns to Jammu, where he meets her brother Niranjan. What Balan comes to know from him forms the climax of the story.

The book is worth a read also for the author’s eye for detail, whether it is canal system of Jammu, the picturesque Kashmir valley, especially Uri, the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, or a visit by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. (IANS)