Showing posts with label Dehra Dun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dehra Dun. Show all posts

Thursday 9 November 2017


Massaud Khan Satti aka “Tommy Masud” was born on 7th March 1912.
Date of Commission, 01 Sep 1932 (or 28 January 1932) 

Parent unit: 7th Light Cavalry.
Alma Mater: R.M.A.S (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK)
R.I.M.C. (Prince of Wales, Royal Indian Military College), Dehra Dun (India).

He was commissioned as 2/Lt on the Unattached List for the Indian Army 28 January 1932 (or 01 Sep 1932). He then spent a year’s attachment to the 2nd battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in India, joining the 7th Light Cavalry on the 4 January 1934. He was affectionately called “Tommy Masud” by his friends.

He was the first Muslim CO of 11 Cav in 1947. He spearheaded move towards Srinagar in 1948 with his Stuarts armoured cars without clearance from GHQ.

“Tommy Masud” thrashed a British officer (Commandant Punjab Centre) at Jhelum Club in 1948. He was then thrown into the swimming pool by 11 Cav officers. Being a Sandhurst graduate and with a King’s Commission, action could not be taken as it required assent of the king. Tommy Masud was very famous figure in Lahore Gymkhana, finally settled in Lahore, where he died in the late 1990s.

The unit conducted very aggressive actions under his able leadership, one of the proofs of which i.e two captured Indian Armour-ed cars of the 7th light Cavalry still adorn the front of the unit quarter guard. Tommy Masud was remembered with great respect and admiration by many reservists and old timers both from the officers and the rank and file who were attached with or visited the unit. 

Capture of Bhimber, Baghsar and Mirpur

Through their daring and bold actions, Bhimber, Baghsar and Mirpur were captured and the threat to Mangla head works and Jhelum was eliminated.

"As well entrenched Dogras could not be dislodged, Colonel Masud Satti, known as Tommy Masood, dispatched armoured cars under Captain Nawaz, they hit the Dogra Citadel at dawn on 24th of October, causing panic, and Dogras abandoned the town in confusion." 

In November 1947 Colonel (Later Brigadier) Masud Khan volunteered entirely on his own to attack Srinagar along axis Murree-Srinagar which if done would have led to Srinagar’s capture.Major General Akbar Khan wrote about this incident in his book and described it in the following words; ‘On return to Pindi,I was immediately able to find Masud who volunteered to take not two,but a whole squadron of his unit (P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry) armoured cars. His men he said would go in plain clothes and without official permission and at their own risk’ (Refers-Page-41 & 42-Raiders in Kashmir- Ex Major General Akbar Khan,D.S.O-Pak Publishers Limited-2 Victoria Road-Karachi-First Printed-1970).

Akbar wrote that he was thrilled and held a meeting with Brigadier Sher Khan (then probably DMO) Lieutenant Colonel Arbab and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan who as per Akbar ‘stoutly opposed the idea. And so the proposal was abandoned’ .Thus the chicken heartedness of these men ie Brigadier Lion Khan and the Raja etc led to the failure to grasp a fleeting operational opportunity when Indian Armoured cars were about three to four days march from Srinagar which they reached only on 7th November! (Refers-Page-276-The Indian Armoured Corps-History of the Indian Armoured Corps-1941-1971-Major General Gurcharan Singh Sandhu-Vision Books-New Delhi-1993). Thus Srinagar was lost between 30th October and 4th November when this fateful conference took place, not because Pakistan did not have armoured cars, not because there was an all weather road to carry armoured cars between Murree and Srinagar; but because it lacked the political and military will,and its Muslim League Ministers as well as army Brigadiers like Sher Khan who were at the helm of affairs did not listen to indomitable men like Tommy Masud! No wonder that Tommy Masud ever went beyond Brigadier! He lacked the suitable ethnic qualification, to give him that particular quota boost, about which all old officers of the pre 1971 era know; or the peculiar professional qualification of being a drill sergeant major type soldier, which was very much in demand, for promotion to higher ranks, in the army of the period 1951-1966 to go beyond the rank of brigadier!

We are lucky to have an independent account confirming Masud’s initiative written by another brilliant artillery officer who was the architect of Pakistani success in Grand Slam and at Chawinda but was not promoted because he lacked the quality of mulish lack of intellect which was a must for artillery officers to have, in order to go beyond brigadier in the pre 1971 army! This is what Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan had to say about the affair of the P.A.V.O armoured car initiative: -

‘ I remember an afternoon in October 1948,in Rawalpindi when I attended a conference of general Tariq who by now coordinating the operations of the tribesmen and Mujahids in Kashmir.I was then Adjutant 2 Field Artillery Regiment. The tribesmen and the Mujahids had been stopped 4 miles outside Srinagar by an Indian Battalion. There was a requirement of armoured cars to break this ring to enable the Mujahids and tribal lashkars to continue their advance into Srinagar.Major Mohammad Masud of P.A.V.O Cavalry Regiment, who was there,sought permission to use a troop of his armoured cars to break through the thin layer of enemy infantry and open the way for the mujahids to enter Srinagar . The reaction of some of those attending the conference to this suggestion surprised me .One of the objections raised was that the tribesmen might damage the palaces of the Maharaja .Another dissenting voice pointed out that it would indicate the presence of Pakistani regular troops inside Kashmir. While this discussion was going on Raja Ghazanfar Ali ,who was at that time a Central Minister,entered the conference room accompanied by Mr. Hameed Nizami. The Minister after having been briefed expressed his regret that no regular troops could be permitted to enter Kashmir’ (Refers-Page-6-September 65-Before and After-Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry (Retired)-Ferozesons-Lahore-1976)

I have reproduced this incident particularly for civilians who do not understand why the army’s younger lot in 1950 was disgusted with the civilian leadership,and why the so called Pindi Conspiracy case occurred.The men who were part of the Pindi Conspiracy were not as ridiculous as painted by a civil servant in a book written in the late 1990s (Zaheer’s book on the Pindi Conspiracy).Mr Zaheer knew about the military facts of the Kashmir War only as much as a spinster ! These men had proved their mettle in WW Two and in 1948 war and were genuinely disgusted with the civilian as well as the higher military leadership,as can be imagined from the above mentioned incident.Had there been a man with Patel’s resolution and decisiveness to assist the Quaid,the army would have had nothing to be unhappy about!The army that took over in 1958 was however not composed of men who had fought well in WW Two,but of clever extension seekers who had nothing to do with the 1948 War.

This then was our tragedy.The old man leading us without having done any armed forces war course, had the ‘Coup d Oeil’ in October 1947 to order that one brigade should advance along axis Sialkot-Jammu and capture Jammu while another Brigade advance along axis Murree-Srinagar and capture it’ (Refers-Page-343- Report of November 7,1947- Mountbatten’s ‘Top Secret’ Personal Reports as Viceroy of India -India Office Library-L/PO/433. Page-154- Looking Back- Mehr Chand Mahajan- Asia Publishing House London-1963) .Nehru had a Patel,while Jinnah had no Patel;and this included the entire cabinet,whether Hindustani Punjabi Bengali Sindhi or Pathan, consisted of decent amiable men who had been good British subjects, and most unfortunate even no Thimaya or Bucher or Cariappas.We had Akbars and Masuds ,but these were sidelined!They did not have that pleasant personality that could please a politician and could get extensions,or the height or frame to be a Hollywood hero!They were men of action known for decisiveness in the crossing of Chindwin…rather than tactical timidity and poor war record while serving in a Chamar regiment in Burma!No wonder that Mr Jinnah complained in 1930s about the Muslim leaders that he had ,who in his words asked the Deputy Commissioner before doing anything!

Source : A.H AMIN


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Photo contributed by Lt Col Salman Aslam, Retd (2nd SSC).

Wednesday 8 November 2017


By: Agha.H.Amin

Brigadier Siddique Khan Satti was from Kotli Sattian Rawalpindi District, he had been commissioned from Dehra Dun in 1936, he had commanded a battalion in the Kashmir war in the Poonch Sector, and was commanding 102 Brigade at Bannu in February 1951. He was from later 9 FF.

Sadiq Khan Satti was a brave warrior against a set of hopeless politicians who dared not step into Kashmir during the entire time that 1947-48 war was fought, although Nehru was roaming around in Kashmir as if it was a market place behind his house in Delhi.

It was through the memorable poetry of Ex Brigadier Siddique Satti MC of the Pindi Conspiracy fame that I discovered what the Indian Army had gone through in the First World War. "My brother was blown to bits in Flanders, my cousins died of Maggots in their wounds at Kutalmara" so ran Siddique's verses. He had spent some years of his life incarcerated in the notorious Mach Jail and it was a treat to spend an evening with him. His anecdotes, recollections and Yarns were a finer substitute for a chemical substance of another kind. It was through Siddique that I discovered that the Indians had done something at the Suez Canal in the First World War. Saddique wrote brilliantly, His writings contained that pain and bitterness which only a political prisoner can discover in the ice cold cells of Mach Jail, A jail where the sunlight never reaches many cells.

When Pakistan came into being,Brigadier Sadiq Satti was attending Staff College Course at Camberly (England). An Indian General met him there and
offered him early promotion, if he joined the Indian Army. In response, Brig Sadiq posed him a question: "Sir, my village is located at a hill top. Do you know what I would do, if the whole of my clan decides to jump down?"
The Indian General thought that being an educated man, Brig Sadiq should have persuaded his men to refrain from such a suicidal action but he was shocked when Brigadier Sadiq Satti told him, "Sir, I would jump with them. It is Immaterial whether I survive or die. This is how we live. My village has Decided to join Pakistan. I am with them."

I met Brigadier Saddique Satti in Islamabad in 1981. He was then busy translating Iqbal’s verse in English. Man never suffers defeat , without perishing he goes into retreat , so Saddique translated Iqbal's thoughts. He translated Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal's "Baang-e-Dara" in English, which was published in 1984.

He lived in Islamabad’s F7 sector and later shifted to the E sector. Islamabad was dripping with US Dollars of the Afghan war and was being Transformed from a ghost town with few cars into a dirty rich capital of a state whose policy has always been to sell its soul and its soldiers for US Dollars. Saddique Satti was a spirited old man, Old in years but young in spirits. He had much to share about how the Pakistani state was buggered and destroyed right from the early years by its own politicians and generals. His nephews had been my father’s class fellows and friends at the Gordon College Rawalpindi. It’s a tragedy that Saddique Satti did not leave any reminiscences .These would have been a first rate source for initial military and political history of Pakistan.

The Sattis that I saw in the military were nowhere near Saddique Satti in caliber or elan . But then Saddique Satti was a great man not beacuse he was a Satti but because he was great. I am extremely skeptical about the assertion that belonging to a tribe can make a man great, A typically flawed assertion.

I was particularly impressed by one Major Zohrab from 15 SP in August 1984, He was a member of a court of inquiry and supported me fearlessly. He also Was my commander in 15 SP with whom I was attached from 09August 1984 to mid october 1984 at Kharian and Qila Sobha Singh. Zohrab was an Abbasi from the Abbasi clan of Murree and had some qualities of the Abbasi rebels of 1857. Zohrab was bitter about the manner in which the army dealt with its officers welfare and was convinced that if anything happened to him his family would be the loser and no one in the army will bother. This is what happened to the families of the Kargil soldiers. A sad and disgraceful chapter of Pakistani military history, Although the architects of that disgraceful failure Musharraf , Aziz , Javed Hassan and Masud Aslam did extremely well, But war is hell. And the only ones who Discover this are the families of those killed in action and they dont deliver lectures in Harvard or Yale So the lies remain in circulation and the truth is buried in obscure unknown rocky wilderness.
It was ironic to hear from NLI friends that some of the widows of the Kargil war were literally forced to do follow most undignified courses in life. But Who cares in this half dead state called Pakistan about to crash into total oblivion. In the Pakistan Army as one officer put it you have to be a general or dead to get any benefits. I would state that the widows of the Kargil soldiers from ranks were even denied this privilege.
Sadique Satti was a great man.
Although few know him today, May God Bless his soul..


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