Friday, January 18, 2019

“Electro-Pollution” – Electromagnetic Interference, Compatibility and Hazards (EMI/ EMC/RADHAZ) – Reference Literature Survey



Reference Literature Survey 
Three Book Reviews

Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) to Human Beings and Living Organisms 

I have been invited to deliver a lecture on Electro-Magnetic Interference and Electro-Magnetic Compatibility abbreviated as EMI / EMC. 

I have decided to speak on the topic of Electromagnetic Pollution (or Electropollution) with specific focus on RADHAZ and Bioelectromagnetics.

This gives me a chance to brush up my rusty knowledge and let me begin by going through a few book reviews I had written earlier when I used to regularly teach this subject at the Post Graduate Level and conduct specialized training on EMI / EMC during my faculty days at IAT (later called DIAT Deemed University and MILIT) located in the hills of Girinagar near Pune.

So, Dear Reader, in case you are interested in this topic of Electromagnetic Pollution and its manifestations, do read on: 

Books Reviewed: 

1. Biological Effects of Microwaves by S Baranski and P Czerski 

2. Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation by John M Osepchuk (Ed) 

3. EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams


Biological Effects of Microwaves by S Baranski and P Czerski
(A seminal reference book on Bioelectromagnetics and Electropollution Effects on Human Beings and Living Organisms)

Book Details 

Title: Biological Effects of Microwaves
Authors: S Baranski and P Czerski
Published by: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Inc., StroudsburgPennsylvaniaU.S.A. (1976)
Pages: 234
ISBN: 0-87933-145-3

Book Review by Vikram Karve
Electromagnetic Radiations emanating from various communication systems and devices like Radio and TV broadcasting antennas, satellite communication, cell phone and mobile phone transmitters and transmission towers, microwave ovens and electrical and electronic appliances have now become an unavoidable area of our life. 

Today, especially in modern urban life, we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation.

Microwaves constitute a significant part of electromagnetic radiations and contribute to “electro-pollution” as research indicates that microwaves affect living organisms. 

The book ‘Biological Effects of Microwaves’ by S. Baranski and P. Czerski presents the detailed research work done in this field and is one of the earliest books on the subject.  

It will prove helpful for the biologists, physicians, physicists as well as budding and practicing electronic and electrical engineers.

The content of the book is organized in seven chapters.

Chapter number one is the ‘introduction’ with the subject. 

At the beginning of this chapter the authors make our concepts clear about the important terms like microwave radiation, ionizing radiation, non ionizing radiation and radio-protection

Before dealing with the microwaves we must know about the electromagnetic radiation spectrum.

There are figures, illustrations and tables describing the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, the wavelengths (cm), energy (eV) of different waves like radio-frequencies  microwaves, visible light, UltraViolet Rays, X rays and Gamma rays and explaining some examples of typical uses of equipment generating radio-frequency and microwave radiation.

This chapter explains the uses of different ranges of frequencies, their respective applications, their occupational exposure and some examples of potential exposure (i.e. general population hazards). 

This chapter also explains the theory and working of various microwave transmitter valves such as magnetron, klystron – Reflex Klystron and multi-cavity Klystron and Travelling Wave Tube  (TWT) briefly with their schematic representations.

The second chapter is about the ‘Physical Characteristics of Microwaves’. 

This chapter is designed in such a fashion that the reader who wants to enter in this field but have forgotten some of the basic concepts of physics related to the microwaves. 

This chapter is important and helpful to grasp the further concepts. 

It includes the basic phenomenon of formation of electromagnetic wave, set of parameters that characterize the electromagnetic waves such as frequency, velocity, wavelength, Electric and magnetic field vectors, relation between the two and the characteristic impedance. 

Coaxial transmission line, coaxial cable and wave guide are also explained to understand how the waves are propagated.

After getting introduced with the microwaves and going through their physical characteristics, in the third chapter we study the interaction of microwaves with the living systems. 

Biologists and physicians studied the interaction of microwaves with the living systems and they came to the result which had three phenomena like penetration of microwaves into a biological target and their propagation within it, secondly the primary interaction of microwaves with living matter and the secondary effects induced by the primary interaction. 

The three layered semi-infinite slab model of a biological target (which is made up of skin, fat and muscle) illuminated by simple wave front is explained and may be used for solving various problems relative to the medical use of shortwave and microwave diathermy. 

In the later subsections primary and secondary effects of microwave interaction are studied. 

There are illustrations of the primary and secondary effects of microwaves on different levels of organizations ranging from molecular level to highly organized living systems.

The fourth and the most praiseworthy chapter of this book is titled ‘Biological effects of Microwaves (Experimental Data)’. 

It presents the collection data found in literature on experimental facts and observations on biological effects of microwaves. 

Various results of experiments done on different animals like mice, dog, rats, guinea pigs and cat are illustrated. 

Effects of microwaves on nervous system, cardiovascular effects, effects on endocrine and metabolic effects, effects on genital system, foetal development, chromosomal effects, possible genetic effects and cellular effects, effects on internal organs like abdominal cavity, chest and digestive track, effects on blood and the blood forming system, cataractogenesis are presented with experimental details. 

In the last section of the chapter some comments on experimental studies on the interaction of microwaves with living systems are done which are very useful while doing such experiments.

Chapter Five is about the ‘health status of personnel occupationally exposed to microwaves and the symptoms of microwave overexposure’. 

In this chapter the outcome experiments and conclusions of literature survey of various authors are given. At the end of the chapter the main points which are the outcome of all the survey of the literature are collected.

Microwaves are the boon for the mankind and improve our quality of  life in so many ways and it is prudent to be aware of the hazards and adopt safety standards to protect ourselves as well as the environment form the adverse effects of microwaves. 

Chapter Six is about the ‘Safe exposure limits and prevention of health hazards’ with analysis on the safe exposure limits of microwaves. 

The basic principles which may be used while determining the safe exposure limits are elucidated. 

At the end of the chapter suggestions for prevention of health hazards are given which are very much important while dealing with the microwaves.

The seventh and last chapter of the book summarizes the work presented in the previous chapters and the important developments in the field till the writing of this book. 

The authors suggest integrated coordinated interdisciplinary efforts of biologists, physicians, physicists and electronic engineers. 

The authors have done extensive literature survey for this book and cite more than 600 references which may prove helpful for the reader for further studies in this subject. 

This book was published 43 years ago in 1976. 

Though not a recent publication, this book is a seminal work and an important book of reference literature in the area of Bioelectromagnetics and will prove useful for those who are doing research in this field.


Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation by John M Osepchuk (Ed)

Details of the Reference Book/Journal


Book Review 

This book is a collection of scientific and technical research papers of the IEEE, collected by efforts of Committee of Man and Radiation (COMAR) and is very useful for the study of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation. 

The book helps to understand the bottom-line results and also some of the reports which have greatly influenced this field of research and its practical relevance. 

(The Editor of this volume, John M Osepchuk was a consulting scientist at Raytheon Company Lexington, Massachusetts from 1950.  He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Engineering Science and Applied Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, all from Harvard University)

The papers are presented in seven separate parts with associated references. 

The book also focuses about measures like Specific Absorption Rates (SAR), exposure on people, susceptibility standards for electronic devices to be implanted into people and beneficial medical applications of Electromagnetic Radiations. 

Some research papers also show the tests and experiments done on different animals (mammals) to demonstrate the hazards effects, and uses of electromagnetic radiations.

The book comprises of seven parts. 

Every part is compiled by various editors to cover the broad aspects of the topic by collecting different technical papers. 

A brief review on various topics is covered on subsequent paragraphs.

The first part deals with relationship between the properties of the exposure fields and the absorbed energy (rate of energy absorption) or fields in the exposed tissues. HP Schwan and GM Piersol brought out with their review to evaluate the biophysical mechanisms by which electromagnetic radiation is absorbed in tissue, and its medical applications. 

The next paper reveals the effects of temperature distribution over tissues when exposed to different kinds of radiation sources. EL Hunt, RD Phillips, DM Fleming, RD Castro have demonstrated a dosimetry system which measures the heat generated by “carcass” (dead and burnt body of an animal) thereby measuring electromagnetic wave exposure. 

The next paper states the heating patterns of cranial (skull) structure in microwave pattern. There are several problems associated with the electromagnetic wave propagation effects in living organisms. The low frequencies also now known for harmful effects due to long time exposure such as behavioral changes, burns, cataracts, etc in animal tissues. 

Further going ahead, the next paper by Habib Massoudi, Carl H Durney, and Curtis C Johnson shows the calculations of the power absorbed by an ellipsoidal model of man are given for six different orientations of the ellipsoid with respect to the incident plane wave field vectors. The results show that the induced fields and the absorbed power in the ellipsoid are strong functions of frequency, size, and orientation with respect to the incident field vectors. However, the syndicates of this paper have determined a formula that is an approximate numerical method of curve fitting to find the average specific absorption rate (SAR) over a broad frequency range. Now that we know that mammals are largely affected by microwaves, there was a requirement of measurement of these exposures, the paper by Ronald R Bowman suggests a thermistor probe and a very high resistance plastic leads to measure the RF frequency exposure. 

The last paper of this part by Om P Gandhi states electromagnetic dose for different parts of man and animals at various incident frequencies with the change in orientations of body. A typical sketch of human body is shown to illustrate the distribution of power deposition for an average specific absorption rate.

The second part brings about the various approaches on the biophysical interactions of the RF fields. 

The first paper by W Ross Adey illustrates that the nervous exhibits a rhythmic electrical activities, a set of electrical signals when we do different daily activity, even in different moods. The Electroencephalogram (EEG) measures such kind of electrical signals. Thus, brain cells also sense field potentials, which bring changes in the behavior. 

The next paper by SA Moskalenko, MF Miglei, PI Khaoshi, EP Pokatilov and ES Kiselyova states that a biological system is considered as a macroscopic model consisting of separate units which oscillate with different frequencies due to the interaction among themselves and form a set of electric dipole oscillators. There is an individual finite group of modes among these units they are called active phonons. Now if the energy is supplied to these phonons, change in frequency is observed, this is probably responsible for growth control of tissues or enzyme activities and even leads cancer. 

In next paper, Robert H Cole has presented a progressing report paper on mathematical interpretation of dielectric theory for the changes in DNA solution. The DNA structure is also represented by Watson Crick Helix. 

The subsequent paper show that change in energy of the biomolecules leads to the change in the enzyme activities and the analogy of the biophysical and biochemical processes in neuroscience with the electrochemical reactions.

The third part focuses on the thorough study of effects of the Radio Fields on the central nervous system and behavior. In the first paper by Chung Kwang Chou and Arthur William Guy, they have tried to find out the part of skull which determines the RF frequency, whether it is affected by the polarization of electric field, and the change in auditory response by using guinea pigs and cats and thus finding the analogy in the human body. The next paper brings about the threshold of the sensitization to microwaves in rats. The paper by James C Lin, Arthur W Guy and Lynn R Caldwell shows the operant responses of the rat carcasses (Skull) at various radiation strengths. The subsequent papers bring out the changes in behavior, dosimetry and stimuli in auditory responses on exposure to microwave.

The fourth part deals with the study on effects of microwave exposure which leads to temperature rise and causing pathology changes in animal body. 

The first paper shows the experiments on rats, rabbits and dogs on exposure to microwave thermal effects followed by cooling and the effects on eyes and testis thus, concluding the effects of the same on human body. 

The subsequent papers show the study of effects on endocrine, thyroid, pituitary changes due to exposure of microwaves of different energy and different exposure duration. The occurrence of vasodilation responses at various temperatures on exposure to microwaves is of significant emphasis in skin areas. The thermoregulatory responses on exposure to microwave post infrared exposure produce no changes in behavior. The immunity towards microwave exposure of 2450 MHz radiation for various duration are achieved by the body by lymphoid cells. Effects of microwave exposure on rabbits eye at frequencies of 2.45 to 10 GHz leads to opacity (cataract). 

A very significant study paper by Charles I Barron and Albert A Baraff shows how microwave exposures of radar effects heart, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal and hemoarrhagic changes in respiratory system in animals and human body. 

Another paper by Charlotte Silverman reviews a study on Tri-services personnel occupationally exposed to radars causing nervous and behavioral effects, congenital anomalies, cancer etc. 

The last paper of this part by SM Michaelson shows the study of hazards associated with the development, association, operation and maintenance of radars and other radio-frequency emitting equipment on various body organs, tissues, and enzyme system on various power levels.

The fifth part reflects exposure, emission, susceptibility and medicine in diathermy, hyperthermia and diagnostic techniques on microwaves. 

The first paper illustrates the effect of deep tissue heating, and its applications. 

The next paper by JG Short and PF Turner states application of hyperthermic treatments as a choice of treatments or combination of other treatments on tumors based on their locations. 

The subsequent papers emphasize more on application of microwave radiations as a method of imaging techniques of kidneys, thermography as a means of detecting breast cancer by change in temperature of body tissues emitting thermal radiations, microwave applications in measuring neurochemical parameters, use of microwaves in thawing (upbringing to unfrozen state).

The sixth part is published with the articles covering on safety standards, the history and present state of potential hazards and microwave safety standards. The subsequent papers also put an emphasis on Biological effects and Dosimetric data for development of radio frequency safety. The data based on various RF emissions through equipment and places is also covered in the article.

The seventh part of the book covers the hazards of cardiac pacemakers due to electromagnetic interference and emission of radio frequency radiation. Other articles cover electromagnetic interference of pacemakers in dental environment by using pulse generator of various manufacturing companies.

This volume clearly brings out with various case studies, experiments, applications and illustrations on the Biological effects of Electromagnetic Radiations. 

The facts and figures help the reader to understand the functions of various systems designed and published in the articles in a simple way. 

However, the reader needs to have the requisite proficiency in electrical engineering and electromagnetic theory, mathematics, science and instrumentation and be conversant with relevant terminologies in order to better understand the effects of microwave and EM radiations on human beings and animals. 

Though published 36 years ago, this volume is a useful milestone reference book for those who want to delve into this fascination area of study. 


EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams

Book Review by VIKRAM KARVE

A Comprehensive Reference Book for Information Technology, Computer Science, Electronic, Communication and Electrical Engineering Professionals


Title: EMC for Product Designers
Author: Tim Williams
Elsevier [Fourth Edition, 2007] 498 pages
ISBN – 13: 978-0-75-068170-4
ISBN – 10: 0-750-68170-5


Most of us consider a number of factors, exoteric and esoteric, while designing or selecting our homes and in the configuration of the numerous modern technological devices and domestic appliances, most of them electrical and electronic, especially in location of various rooms and in deciding where to place these appliances.

Sometime ago I saw a programme on TV where a Vastu Shastra expert was advising viewers not only regarding the various aspects of designing and building living environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces but also specifying optimal locations and layouts for various electrical and electronic appliances and devices in both residential homes and workplaces.

I listened with intriguing interest as he gave precise directions and specified exact locations for positioning of Televisions, Computers, Communication Devices, Microwave Ovens, Music systems and other appliances, and fascinated by the congruence between principles and aspects of Vastu and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and wondered whether the expert in reality was actually an EMC Design Engineer in addition to being a Vastu Shastra Specialist.

When you design or select or configure your house or office I am sure you consider various aesthetic, architectural, financial, utilitarian, geographical, interior and exterior design and other practical aspects, maybe even incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui etc.

But do you give even a fleeting consideration to Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)...?

In today’s world with the increasing use of electrical, communication, electronic and information technologies we are under continual exposure to Electromagnetic Field (EMF), both inside and outside our homes, in our workplaces and even in the open wherever we go, radiating from radiating from electricity power lines, household wiring, microwave ovens, computers, monitors, televisions, communication devices, cellular phones, electrical, electronic and IT appliances.

“Electro-pollution” is an increasingly serious form of Environment Pollution and merits serious consideration, as much as, if not more than, other well-known forms of pollution.

Electro-pollution seems to be omnipresent. 

Apart from hazards to our health, Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) is detrimental to the proper functioning of most electrical, electronic, IT, ITES, ICT, communication and technology-based systems and may cause malfunctions and even potentially disastrous and fatal accidents.

The book being reviewed – EMC for Product Designers by Tim Williams – is one of the most comprehensive reference books I have read on the subject of the Design Management aspects of Electromagnetic Interference and Electromagnetic Compatibility [EMI / EMC].

The book comprises sixteen chapters arranged in three parts:

1. Legislation and Standards

2. Testing

3. Design

The author lucidly covers most micro and macro aspects of EMC Management in meticulous detail.

The logical sequence of topics, clear diagrams, tables and illustrations facilitate easy understanding of this complicated subject.

The Design Checklist, interesting Case Studies and useful mathematical formulae in the appendices and the extensive bibliography add value to this reference book.

Whilst the earlier chapters provide an excellent understanding of the EMC Standards and the basic theoretical principles of EMI / EMC, the “meat” of the book lies in the chapters on Systems EMC and EMC Management which encapsulate all relevant facets of EMC in a holistic manner.

I wish the author had included a detailed chapter on Electromagnetic Health Hazards and mitigation techniques. 

Electromagnetic Pollution (Electropollution) the most vital topic concerning all human beings seems to have not been accorded the due importance it deserves and I hope the author presents a more holistic and systemic view of EMC and includes a comprehensive chapter on pertinent aspects of Bio-electromagnetics, Thermal and Athermal EMR Hazards and their mitigation in the next edition.

I recommend this book – it is an excellent reference book for Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and IT Engineers and Managers, Designers, Students and practicing professionals in the field of EMI/EMC and a useful addition for all engineering and technical libraries. 

Three Book Reviews (EMI/EMC/RADHAZ) by VIKRAM KARVE 

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Army Day Musings – Part 1 – Élan Self-Esteem and OLQ (Officer Like Qualities)



India has had 30 Army Chiefs since Independence (4 C-in-C + 26 COAS) 
(General Rajendrasinhji held both posts) 

Of these, two outstanding and inimitable Chiefs Field Marshal S.F.H.J. (Sam) Manekshaw and General K Sundarji  have made a special mark and have achieved “unforgettable” status.

Many consider General KS Thimayya as an outstanding General. 

Well, he may have been a brave officer, a proven combat leader, and a distinguished General – but I feel that he lost much of his sheen during his tenure as Army Chief when he allowed himself to be browbeaten by Politicians. 

This diminished his stature – and he lost much of the respect and reverence he had earned during his long and distinguished service. 

Had General Thimayya stood his ground  the 1962 debacle may never have happened.

Long back  33 years ago  in 1986  when I was on the faculty of IAT Pune  an Army colleague showed me an open letter that his Chief General K Sundarji had written to all Army Officers. 

It was an open letter 
 exhorting each and every officer to live up to the high standards of professionalism, élan and values expected of each and every officer (“officer like qualities”). 

It was a very inspiring letter which left a lasting impression on me. 

A few years ago  while preparing a induction training “pep talk” for some young trainees  I remembered this letter. 

I searched for it on the internet and I found just one link  yes  at that point of time – I found just one link  to this famous letter. 

We must thank that one person for preserving this motivating piece in cyberspace for posterity. 

Today (the 15th of January) is ARMY DAY.

Though this letter by 
General K Sundarji was written 33 years ago  in 1986  I feel that this inspiring letter is most relevant today when the Indian Army is going through difficult times  especially on the moral and ethical front – with frequent media reports of so many senior officers getting embroiled in scams, scandals and indulging in unethical activities.

In these challenging times, it would be apt for all officers, senior and junior, to read this inspiring letter  ponder on the various points discussed  introspect and reflect on the reasons for the falling standards of OLQ (Officer Like Qualities) in the Army  take corrective action  and aim for self-improvement and upholding service values and ethos. 

I am giving the url link below  and  for your convenience  I am also posting the letter below for you to read.


General K Sundarji, PVSM, ADC
Army Headquarters, New Delhi-110 001                                     
1 Feb 86   

Dear Brother Officer,

1. It is imperative that we have a totally combat effective Army to support the revitalised India of tomorrow in her rightful place in the world. This involves getting the ‘man-machine mix’ just right, improving the quality of both and placing them in a structure which will be effective in the battlefield milieu of the Nineties and the early decades of 2000. It is an exercise as exciting as it is challenging and I am fully confident that we will succeed.

2. Briefly mentioning the ‘machine’, we have thus far modernised only by discrete changes of weapons systems and equipment. We were also dependent mostly on imported equipment, which apart from not being designed to suit our exact requirements, were also not ‘state of the art’ and at least a generation behind those used by more modern armies. Much of this has changed and is fast changing. Our R & D has come of age and having had a close look at the scene for some years, I can assure you that we are on the verge of take-off. There are still some problems of translation of R & D into production, but these are also being solved fast. Therefore, the time has now come for us to take a total look at technology, threats, tactics and organisations in order to restructure our Army and develop doctrine for the future. This is in hand, and want each one of you to be involved in the process.

3. However, no amount of modernisation of arms, equipment, tactics and organisations can produce results unless we have the right kind of man in the right state of mind, manning the system. And that is what this letter of mine is about.

4. The fact that the Army is one of the national institutions which has, comparatively speaking, weathered the post-independence years and yet remains effective, should not make us complacent. Field Marshal Cariappa used to say, “Good officers - good Army; bad officers - bad Army”. This is as true today as it was then. We should, therefore look at ourselves first and be not only frank but hypercritical. As a whole, the Corps of Officers has lost much of its self esteem, pride and élan; it is becoming increasingly careerist, opportunist and sycophantic; standards of integrity have fallen and honour and patriotism are becoming unfashionable. Paradoxically, all this is happening, while in the narrow sense, professional competence has been going up at all levels since 1947. Broad-based though our intake has become, our young officers have proved in every action which they have fought, that they are brave and lead from the front - our officer casualty ratio in every action testifies to this. Where then, are we going wrong?

5. First, let us look at ourselves -- the senior officers; most of us are senior to some of the others and so this includes almost all of us. We have obviously NOT set the right example. Many of us have not professionally kept ourselves up-to-date, doctrinally or technologically; we have felt that that we have ‘got it made’, and rested on our oars; we do not read enough; we do not think enough, and some of course, have been promoted well beyond their capability! In the practise of our profession, we have not insisted on standards being maintained and turn our eyes away from irregularities (living in a glass house?); we have not been tolerant of dissent during discussion and encourage sycophancy (a result of our having ‘switched off’ professionally?) we have not been accepting any mistakes (due to hankering after personal advancement?), thus encouraging our juniors to either do nothing worthwhile or to oversupervise their juniors, who in turn are not allowed to develop professionally or mature as men. This leads to frustration. Finally, some have perhaps unthinkingly developed a yen for 5-star culture and ostentation which flows from new-rich values in our society, where money is the prime indicator of success and social position. This adoption of mercenary values in an organisation like the Army which depends for its élan on values like honour, duty and country above self, is disastrous for its élan and for the self-esteem of the individual in it. And once we start thinking of ourselves as third class citizens, it is not long before our civilian brethren take us at our own valuation, and some of them perhaps not without a touch of glee!

6. I am not suggesting that woefully inadequate pay and poor compensation packages for hard and turbulent service conditions, and being forced to live slummily with a poor quality of life do not prevent the development of élan and self-esteem. They do. It is also a fact that the overall compensation package of the servicemen is poor and has deteriorated rapidly over the years. So is it a fact that the present dispensation is inequitable as far as the armed forces are concerned as compared to their peers in other government services. These facts have been brought forcefully to the notice of the Pay Commission and the Government and I will continue to press hard for a fair and equitable deal. I would also like to add that all my contacts with the authorities so far, have convinced me that they are sympathetically aware of our problems. The Prime Minister himself is aware of the psychological problems caused by the unwarranted and continued degradation of service officers in the Warrant of Precedence. He has ordered that this problem be analysed and put up to him. But to tell you all this is not the purpose of this letter; I want to dwell on what we can do, in-house, to increase the élan and self-esteem of the Officer Corps.

7. The bed-rock of élan is the professional competence of individuals and leaders, and the faith, confidence and pride in the effectiveness of the group - the section upwards, to the Army as a whole. In developing professional competence, I would like to emphasise developing an active technological curiosity without which one cannot cope with the battlefield of tomorrow. I want that we read more and seriously, think more and seriously, discuss more and seriously and write more and seriously about professional matters. This last, has been inhibited by our exaggerated and self-defeating system of security classifications and centralised clearance requirements. I intend putting this right speedily. As regards developing group effectiveness, we have to do much more towards making our training mission-oriented, interesting, competitive and effective inspite of the various constraints of which we are well aware. We should certainly avoid training for training’s sake which not only gets to be boring but moves further and further away from the realities of battle conditions. Let us not get to the mentality of the British Colonel of the regular army who is said to have remarked on 11 Nov 1918, Thank God the war is over; now we can get back to some serious soldiering!

8. All of us talk about ‘Officer Like Qualities’ and about being officers and gentlemen. I am not sure whether to many of us these terms means the same thing. Being a gentlemen does not mean Westernisation and becoming a poor imitation of a ‘White Sahib’; it does not mean a tie and a jacket or the ability to handle a knife and fork just so! It refers to the ‘Sharafat’ that is ingrained in the best of Indian culture; of honour and integrity; of putting the interests of the county, the Army, the unit and one’s subordinates before one’s own; of doggedness in defeat; of magnanimity in victory; of sympathy for the underdog; of a certain standard of behaviour and personal conduct in all circumstances; of behaving correctly towards one’s seniors, juniors and equals. I am very concerned about the increasing sycophancy towards seniors which unless checked will corrode the entire system. Much of this, I realise, is due to the pernicious system of recompense and financial advancement being totally linked to higher ranks. These are of necessity limited due to functional compulsions, and which notwithstanding cadre reviews, are microscopic compared to prospects of our peers in other Government services. And finally, prospects of promotion in rank, being totally dependent on the reports of the seniors. I am hopeful that the introduction of the ‘Running Pay Band’, which would offer equitable prospects without being fully tied to ranks, would break this vicious circle and help us to develop strong back-bones and guts. I would like to make a point regarding those officers who are unfortunate not to be cleared for promotion to various selection ranks. Barring a very small minority, the bulk of them have not been cleared, not because they are not good, but because the system functionally cannot absorb them in a higher rank, and generally it is a difficult choice. In any of the civil services, these officers would have passed through their respective selection grades with ease. The fact that they are retained in the Service upto the ages of 50, 52, 54 or 56 depending upon their rank, is not an act of philanthropy, but because the Army needs them for a vital function. They are not discards or deadwood; they are the salt of the earth and are required to lead companies, squadrons and batteries in war and it is at this level that actions are won or lost and fill equally vital positions in the various higher ranks at which they have got blocked. A running pay band will recompense them for the job they continue to do well and also restore their self-esteem.

9. On the symbolic and psychological plane, I would like to see much less of obsequious and compulsive ‘sirring’. A ‘Sir’ on the first meeting for the day ought to be adequate, followed up in later conversation by ‘Major’ or ‘Colonel’ or ‘General’ as the case may be. I am not suggesting familiarity or impertinence - seniors ought to be treated with due respect and courtesy but cringing must be avoided.

10. On the part of the seniors, there is an unfortunate tendency today of more or less sticking to one’s own rank level even in social intercourse and not mixing adequately with junior officers. This must be put right. We cannot afford to have a caste-system within the Officer Corps. In dealings with peers and juniors also, courtesy, consideration and good manners are equally essential. There is none so disgusting as a person who boot-licks the senior, boots the junior and cuts the throats of his peers. I also notice that of late there has been a regrettable communication gap developing between officers and men. I attribute this primarily to selfishness on the part of the officers and not caring enough about the men. This must be corrected. At all levels, we must insist that we live up to the Chetwodeian motto.

11. There is a lot that we can do to improve our quality of life. The standards of officers’ messes in all areas have deteriorated badly. Dust, dirt and grime, sloppily turned out mess staff, chipped and cracked crockery, unpolished furniture and silver etc, are more and more in evidence. A pseudo-plush decor is attempted, with expensive and garish curtains and upholstery, wall to wall carpeting and so on; these cannot compensate for lack of care, attention to detail and maintenance of standards; nor can aerosol room fresheners substitute for fresh air and cleanliness. Messes are generally run down and seedy on a daily basis and though special efforts are made to spruce them up for special occasions (generally following the aerosol route) the lack of standards still comes through. This must be put right by the painstaking method of insisting on standards. We must keep the messes traditional without opting for a 5-star decor. The standard of food is generally poor and lacking in variety, not because the ingredients are not available but because of lack of attention to organisation and poor training of cooks. With free rations, there is no reason as to why we cannot spend a little on training our cooks and modernising our kitchens. While on the quality of life, I must mention that by custom and usage of service, some privileges do go with added responsibility and senior rank, and I am sure that none would grudge these if used sensibly. However, in some cases senior officers tend to get delusions of grandeur and overdo their privileges on a Moghul style. This is bad and must stop. Otherwise privileges themselves might be withdrawn.

12. We must encourage our officers to make full use of the opportunities that the Service provides of developing a wide range of interests. We serve in all parts of the country, including inaccessible areas, to get where civilians have to invest in money and effort. We have the advantage of infrastructure available country-wide. Apart from opportunities for all kinds of adventure activities, interests in astronomy, photography, fishing, wild life, bird-watching, conservation and so on can be cultivated with little expense. There is a lot going for life in the Service and we must make the most of it.

13. Let us all resolve that we will :-

(a) Shed the dead weight of mediocrity and strive for excellence, each one in his own sphere.

(b) Hold fast to all that is best in our traditions and the finest in values, while doing away with the useless and meaningless.

(c) Avoid ostentation.

(d) Not sell our souls for a good ACR and promotion.

(e) Constantly enhance and update our professional competence.

(f) Sensibly decentralise authority and responsibility.

(g) Permit maximum initiative to our subordinates, and accept a fair quota of honest mistakes as necessary payment for their professional growth and maturity.

(h) Encourage dissent and new ideas at the policy formulation and discussion stage and insist on implicit obedience in the right spirit, post-decision, at the execution stage.

(j) Cultivate a justifiable pride in ourselves, our units, formations, the Army and the Country.

(k) And finally, live up to the motto:

The safety, honour and welfare of your Country come first, always and everytime. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last always and everytime.

14. Before I close, a word to our professional cynics! I can almost hear some say, Well, we have known all this for quite a while but what’s been done? I’ll believe that something is going to be done when I see something happening on the ground! 

15. As a people, thus far, we have generally been waiting for initiatives from on top; for neatly gift-wrapped solutions from ‘authority’; we have waited for the ‘Sarkar’ or ‘Bhup Singh’ or whoever, to do it. 

16. I put it to you, that YOU have to do something about it too. We have everything -- the brains, the bravery, the technology, the skills, the ability -- all we have to do is to get YOU moving and ‘Get our Act together’ and there is no stopping us!

God Speed!
Yours sincerely,
General K Sundarji

Isn’t this a truly inspiring letter...?

Notice the frequent use of the term “élan”.

That is what we believed in 
– when we were in the Navy: 

The Navy is not just a career  the Navy is a way of life – and Élan and Self-Esteem are the bedrock of Navy Life (and Military Life).

Greetings on Army Day to all the brave men and women of the Indian Army 

Dear Faujis and Veterans – Wish You a Happy Army Day