New Delhi: The Indian Army has often been a topic of much discussion, an institution that is often maligned. In the essays that comprise ‘The Indian Army: Reminiscences, Reforms & Romance’, Lieutenant General (retd) H.S. Panag forces the reader to think deeper and with greater nuance, offering a glimpse into his own life, and revealing hitherto unknown aspects of his long career in the Army.
The book is published by Westland and is due to be released on 13 July on SoftCover, ThePrint’s new e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.
It comprises six sections — human rights, reforms, leadership, reminiscences, conflict and unforgettable heroes. Panag decodes in his book varying questions about the Army’s exploitation by neo-nationalists, an intrusive media’s projection of the Army as the sole flagbearer of patriotism, the obsession with Pakistan as an impending threat to national security, the intense militarisation of Kashmir post the scrapping of Article 370, and equal opportunities for women in combat among others.
Panag’s book talks about both sides of the armed force — his condemnation of tying of a citizen to the bonnet of an Army jeep in Kashmir in 2017 and an intensely passionate, albeit tragic love story of a soldier and a Kashmiri girl.
The retired lieutenant general comes from a family of soldiers. His father was a legendary colonel of the Indian Army.
Panag’s illustrious career spans over four decades. He has been the general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) of the Northern Command and the Central Command, and is a veteran of the 1971 India-Pakistan war. After his retirement, he served as a Member of the Armed Forces Tribunal with the status of a High Court judge until December 2013.