RIP Mr KM Koshy (KMK)

SRamanujan Skit Gp Photo

When we reached Grade 8 at Sainik School Amaravathinagar, we graduated to the senior houses – Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava – named after the historic Tamizh kingdoms.  The House Masters were the iconic figures of the school with Mr MV Somasundaram, the rationalist, at Chera House;  Mr M Selvaraj, the Tamizh Maestro at Chola House; Mr PT Cherian, the man for all seasons, at Pandya House and Mr KM Koshy, the chemistry specialist, at Pallava House.  All of our classmates for sure will surely cherish what they have leant from these iconic teachers.

I have written about them in my earlier Blog Posts (Please Click on the links):-

Mr MV Somasundaram    https://rejinces.net/2015/12/20/the-atheist/

Mr M Selvaraj   https://rejinces.net/2014/09/16/the-linguists/

Mr PT Cherian   https://rejinces.net/2016/01/12/guru-dakshina/

Mr KM Koshy headed the Chemistry Department of the School till he emigrated in 1977 while we were in Grade 10.  He was an outstanding Chemistry teacher and he made the most complicated organic chemistry bonds look simple and easy to understand for us. 

He was actively involved with all the extra-curricular activities of the school and was a great actor.  The above image where Mr Koshy is standing in the middle, is of the Play on Ramanujan, directed by MrVekitesha Murthy and staged in 1977 to mark the ninetieth birthday of noted Indian Mathematician Ramanujan.  Mr Koshy essayed the role of Professor Hardy to perfection.  Please Click Here to read more about the play.  

He was passionately devoted to Chemistry and  had a rare talent for conveying his fascination to all of us.  He was a teacher who had a wonderful, compassionate way with us and a rare sense of humour that drew us to him.  He  loved Chemistry, especially Organic Chemistry and he made the subject come alive for all of us.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mr KM Koshy on Monday, 27 February 2017 due to cardiac arrest.  He has gone up to heaven to sit on the right hand side of the Lord, reserved for teachers of eminence .  His son Dr Rajeev Koshy was an year senior to us at School.    

Mr Koshy played a major role in our lives.  He has touched the hearts of a lot us, and the Amaravian Community will never forget him.  Rest In Peace.

Hindi Minimum or Maximum Hindi

hindi1
Hindi Minimum Test, a test to assess the linguistic ability of cadets, used to be conducted  at the National Defence Academy (NDA) for all cadets in their second semester.  It was a well known fact that for most cadets who graduated from Sainik School Amaravathinagar (Tamil Nadu) – known as Amaravians, it was  hurdle too high to clear.  So, we all had extra classes on Thursday evenings and all those Hindi Pundits at the Academy tried their level best to make us imbibe the national language.  Thus Thursday evenings became more of a school social at the NDA.  At the Indian Military Academy (IMA) the very same test was called Compulsory Hindi Test.

The move by the Congress government at  the Centre in 1965 to impose Hindi on Tamizh population was the root cause of Congress being wiped out of Tamil Nadu.  The rise of the Dravida Munnettra Kazhakam (DMK) was also due to this imposition of Hindi.

Many argue that the agitations against Hindi have had an impact on the Tamizh psyche.  It is often claimed by the political commentators that the people from other Southern States learn Hindi along with their native language, but the Thamizh are fanatical about their language, being cultivated by the Dravidian political parties.

It was bit easier for Mallus as the language Malayalam had nearly all the alphabets as the Devanagari script of the Hindi Language.  Malayalam language is closer to Tamizh. but has borrowed its vocabulary and grammar from Sanskrit.  For a Tamizhan it was a nightmare to learn Hindi as Tamizh, being the oldest Indian language had limited consonants – only one ‘ka’ (க) in place of ka (क), kha (ख), ga (ग), gha (घ) and similarly for all other sets of consonants.  The Hindi Pundits never understood this very basic issue (and till date they do not seem to understand this fact or try and gloss over this fact – else they would have to accept that Tamizh is older and more sacred than Sanskrit – hence, where would the ‘Indian Nationalists’ hide their faces.)

Hindi propagated in the seventies and eighties by various governmental organisations also had its effect.  The Hindi terms coined by them to replace commonly spoken English words were so confusing that even the Hindi speaking population of North India would have a run for their money.  The national Television Doordarshan  and the All India Radio spewed out those tough Hindi words with venom.  This resulted in many homes in South India switching off their TV sets at 8:45 PM – the commencement of Hindi national telecast.

In the eighties, with the opening up of media space for private players resulted in the new channels using a medium – a mix of Hindi and English – which could be better understood by everyone.
With globalisation and advancement of IT, the luck Indians rode on, mainly for maintaining English as a national language, was that many found jobs in the world market.  India ended up having a reservoir of English speaking educated mass, which attracted global players to establish business, especially in the IT field.

I do not even remember how I managed to pass the Hindi minimum test.  For using the idioms in sentences for पानी पानी होना I wrote –  जब मैं स्विमिंग पूल में गया, वहां पानी पानी हो गया and for पांचों उंगली घी में होना  I wrote –  जलेबी खाते वक़्त मेरा पांचों उंगली घी में था and the list of bloopers go on.  This was done knowing well that they were howlers, but it resulted in annoying the Pundits who tried their level best to ram Hindi down my throat and I really derived sadistic pleasures from it.  With vengeance, (more than the keepers of the Tamil culture, language etc as displayed during the Jallikattu demonstration) I coined new sentences and helped the Hindi Pundits in coining new words to enhance their vocabulary.  I was even successful to a great extend in creating new rules for Hindi grammar -the least it did was to put some doubt in the minds of the Hindi Pundits at the NDA.

Whatever it was, I managed to pass the Hindi Minimum Test in my Fifth Semester.  Some of the Amaravians struggled with it during their entire three year stay at the NDA and did not pass until their Final Sixth Term and special tests were conducted for them.  After three years of NDA and a year of training at the Indian Military Academy (IMA). I was commissioned to 75 Medium Regiment of Artillery.  The Regiment then had three sub-units called Batteries – manned by Jats, South Indians and North Indian Brahmins (Pundits).  For all the ‘fun’ I had with the Hindi Pundits at the NDA, the Gods must have been very unhappy with me or was it that Lieutenant Colonel AN Suryanarayanan, our then Commanding Officer (now a Veteran Brigadier) decided it wisely that I must go to the Pundit Battery.  I ended up at the right place, I thought.  This resulted in me learning to speak proper Hindi for the first time in my life.  I learnt Hindi from our soldiers and many spoke chaste Hindi.

In the Indian Army, the official publications and forms were bilingual – with English and Hindi.  It did not achieve much other than making the publications double their weight and increasing production cost.  I used to advice young officers in the Regiment to read the publication – Glossary of Military Terms, because of the need to use and understand military terminologies is very important for a young officer, especially during training courses and also during tactical discussions.  This book was bilingual – with Hindi on the left pages and English on the right pages.  I would often suggest to the officers to read the Hindi side when they got bored of reading the English pages as they would find many of them totally out of place and some really humorous.
Nowadays, the Indian Army has done away with the Officer’s Hindi Minimum Examinations – to the delight of all Amaravians joining the NDA.

 

Something Special : The Indian Army Way

Something Special : The Indian Army Way

This video is a great tribute to our soldiers and is worth watching, especially on the Valentine’s day.  Do not be surprised, it has come from Malabar Gold, a jewellery chain in Kerala.  The animation is excellent with apt scripting.  It depicts how a senior army  officer would advice a young officer in a situation like this.  It celebrates the bonding and bonhomie among officers of the Indian Army.  In fact, it is a real motivational video.

After watching this TV commercial, I reminisced about my Commanding Officer days in 2002.  Our Regiment was deployed in Rajasthan sector for operations since January.  After I took over command in June, I realised most young officers, especially the newly married ones had not been home to look up their wives.  Leave for everyone in the army was curtailed and could only be sanctioned in extreme emergencies only.

After taking over command, I had to travel to Devlali, our permanent peacetime location, to carryout documentation procedures.  I was accorded permission by our higher Headquarters to move out of the sector for a week.  I took this opportunity, rather misinterpreted the orders knowingly, to take our two young Captains with me as my staff officers – Adjutant and Quartermaster – to facilitate various documentation.

We three booked our tickets to travel by train from Jodhpur – Captain Subhash  to Devlali as his wife was stationed there and Captain Mitra to Ahmadabad, Gujarat, which fell enroute.  Mrs Mitra was living with her parents there.  I was booked for Devlali as Marina had by then emigrated to Canada.

The train was scheduled to stop at Ahmadabad by daybreak.  Subhash called up Mrs Mitra instructing her to prepare breakfast for the Commanding Officer and him and carry it along.  He also did not forget to add an advisory note that the Commanding Officer was a connoisseur of good food and so it got to be good.

Half an hour before the train was to pull into Ahmadabad Station, Mitra woke us up with a cup of hot tea and with the best smile he could portray.  That was when the ‘devil’ in me worked overtime.  I asked Mitra to step out of the train – not on to the platform side, but to the opposite side.  Subhash was to meet Mrs Mitra at the platform and break the ‘sad’ news that the leave of Mitra was cancelled by the Commanding Officer on the eleventh hour due to unforeseen operational requirements.  I was to walk in then to meet Mrs Mitra for the first time.

After the train came to a halt everything proceeded as planned.  She was waiting on the platform next to our coach with her dad, all smiling and eager to meet her husband who was away for the past six months.  The moment Subhash broke the ‘sad’ news, I walked in to meet them.  I could now see the dark clouds of sadness layering over her smiling face.  Rather it was as if the arc light bright face now had a fused bulb look.  Her father was comforting her by reasoning out that her husband is on an important national duty and would be with her shortly.

I apologised to her that I had to cancel Mitra’s leave and he would be sent on leave home surely after two months.  Mrs Mitra was surely not hearing me – she gave a dazzled blank look.  Subhash now grabbed the breakfast hamper from her saying “He has not come, but we can have the breakfast.  Haven’t you brought it for us?”

The train blew its whistle to indicate that it was leaving the station.  We thanked them and got into the train and stood in the doorway, waving goodbye.

Wishing all the couples Happy Valentine Day.

Falling in love is like looking at the stars. If you pick one among the billions and stare at it long enough all the others will melt away.