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The British, the Bandits and the Bordermen: From the Diaries and Articles of K.F. Rustamji

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Rustamji's two articles in The Indian Express proved to be the catalyst and formed the basis for the first Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in India in 1979 and was responsible for the phenomenon of judicial activism in India. Pakistani terrorists plans to hijack an Indian Airlines plane piloted by Rajiv Gandhi were scuttled thanks to Rustamji and other Bordermen. How Rustamji's two articles in The Indian Express proved to be the catalyst and formed the basis for the first Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in India in 1979 and was responsible for the phenomenon of judicial activism in India. Pakistani terrorists plans to hijack an Indian Airlines plane piloted by Rajiv Gandhi were scuttled thanks to Rustamji and other Bordermen. However, another plane was hijacked and taken to Lahore in January 1971. A few days after the crew and passengers were let off safely, the aircraft was set ablaze. A month later, Rajiv's mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said to Rustamji, Do what you like, but don't get caught.â?? He cashed the blank cheque and helped Bangladeshi freedom fighters. The end result: the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh in December 1971. On Prime Minister Nehru's seventieth birthday in 1959, Rustamji gave him a unique present the news of the killing of the notorious nose-chopping bandit, Gabbar Singh in full view of hundreds of people. The very same Gabbar Singh who is today a household name after the film Sholay once carried a reward of Rs 50,000 and was known as Gabra. Rustamji averred that the British intelligence must have had information that Jinnah was critically ill with cancer and would not live long. The British Government was apprehensive that if Jinnah died, Pakistan would not come into being and its strategic interest in the subcontinent would suffer. Hence, in June 1947, the date for Independence was suddenly advanced to 15 August 1947 on a specious excuse. The change in the date led to the tragedy of Partition.


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Rustamji's two articles in The Indian Express proved to be the catalyst and formed the basis for the first Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in India in 1979 and was responsible for the phenomenon of judicial activism in India. Pakistani terrorists plans to hijack an Indian Airlines plane piloted by Rajiv Gandhi were scuttled thanks to Rustamji and other Bordermen. How Rustamji's two articles in The Indian Express proved to be the catalyst and formed the basis for the first Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in India in 1979 and was responsible for the phenomenon of judicial activism in India. Pakistani terrorists plans to hijack an Indian Airlines plane piloted by Rajiv Gandhi were scuttled thanks to Rustamji and other Bordermen. However, another plane was hijacked and taken to Lahore in January 1971. A few days after the crew and passengers were let off safely, the aircraft was set ablaze. A month later, Rajiv's mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said to Rustamji, Do what you like, but don't get caught.â?? He cashed the blank cheque and helped Bangladeshi freedom fighters. The end result: the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh in December 1971. On Prime Minister Nehru's seventieth birthday in 1959, Rustamji gave him a unique present the news of the killing of the notorious nose-chopping bandit, Gabbar Singh in full view of hundreds of people. The very same Gabbar Singh who is today a household name after the film Sholay once carried a reward of Rs 50,000 and was known as Gabra. Rustamji averred that the British intelligence must have had information that Jinnah was critically ill with cancer and would not live long. The British Government was apprehensive that if Jinnah died, Pakistan would not come into being and its strategic interest in the subcontinent would suffer. Hence, in June 1947, the date for Independence was suddenly advanced to 15 August 1947 on a specious excuse. The change in the date led to the tragedy of Partition.

33 review for The British, the Bandits and the Bordermen: From the Diaries and Articles of K.F. Rustamji

  1. 5 out of 5

    Srikanth

    Imagine this, Mr. Rustamji was inducted into police from pre-independence era, served in post Independent India covering the Hyderabad police action, liquidation of dacoits in MP, serving with Nehru and Indira G, raised the BSF, involved in the Bangladeshi war etc. It was sad to see this book in a corner of a book shelf in crosswords. I tried replacing it in a strategic location but damn, no one touched it for 2 long years. That is the level of interest in our history. Now please don't ask me th Imagine this, Mr. Rustamji was inducted into police from pre-independence era, served in post Independent India covering the Hyderabad police action, liquidation of dacoits in MP, serving with Nehru and Indira G, raised the BSF, involved in the Bangladeshi war etc. It was sad to see this book in a corner of a book shelf in crosswords. I tried replacing it in a strategic location but damn, no one touched it for 2 long years. That is the level of interest in our history. Now please don't ask me the same question. :) We can't exactly call it a autobiography. The book is basically a collection of his diaries that were written every year. This has been compiled by Mr P.V Rajagopal. So i am just narrating the whole book in a very concise manner to pique your interest. The books title also can be called as phases of Mr. Rustomji's life. He worked under the British during his initial days as a policeman Then when he was posted to MP he had to deal with bandit problem. The last and the most important he was responsible for raising the BSF who were called the border walle. The book is divided into few phases. A. The first phase is his birth, family, education and how he got into the police force. His training at various establishments. The experiences he had with Britishers etc. One important experience he had was his initial contact with villagers and the problems that he had to deal with. He makes a very correct point that for a villager in India nothing changed since time. Rain and debt. Two things he always had to live with. How simple things could have helped alleviate his suffering. Roads, schools and hospitals. The best weapons of poverty destruction. He talks about the British leaving India. He says that probably if not for the British the life of an average Indian would always be the same. The systems and institutions that they built. The rule of law which the villager could depend upon. The phenomenon of brown sahibs. Foreign educated ICS/IPS officers who were more British than the British themselves. Vain, not much knowledge of the ground. They had been given too much of responsibilities to shoulder at a very crucial stage. B. The second phase was marriage, independence and reorganization of states. He was also present during the Hyderabad police action also called as Operation Polo. He also served as a personal security officer to Nehru. It was a good 6 years. We are not able to get a very clear view on Nehru but still some glimpses are offered. Post this he was made the chief of MP police. Some of the most interesting reading in the book comes in this phase. The operations to eliminate the dacoits. The dacoits used to survive in the Chambal ravines and used to play casteist cards to the hilt. It was generally between Thakur's and other caste's. Infact Gabbar singh is mentioned here who was notorious for chopping the noses of people. There is also a one armed lady dacoit who was also killed. C. The third and subsequent phases are broken into small chapters but are very interesting nonetheless. RustomJi was the man who raised the BSF from a one man organization to a 70000 strong force. He was also involved deeply with Bangladeshi liberation. In Fact he had the privilege to have been in the team that designed the flag, chose the national anthem and also the name of the country. To call him lucky is an understatement. He was also the person due to whom the concept of PIL came to being. Now i think it would not be logical to bore you more with the details of the book. Please do read. This is an important part of our history through the eyes of a man who was neither a Hindu, Muslim or a Christian. An unbiased book or what our paid media would call a Secular author who wrote a secular book. The way he has written his diaries are in a simple and easy language. A must read and this is not really a review but an intro to a good book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anjali Bhushan

    Interesting to know the history as a personal account of a doer. PILs were started by Rustamji. His stand on role of Police in controlling the dreaded bandits. Important role played by BSF. Bravity of Indian mind and courage shown during various tumultuous times from Wars to dacoits, terrorism. How non violence can lead to viewable less violence but incursion of violent characters in mainstream politics that has continued to vitiate the political milieu of India. His role as head of BSF in the c Interesting to know the history as a personal account of a doer. PILs were started by Rustamji. His stand on role of Police in controlling the dreaded bandits. Important role played by BSF. Bravity of Indian mind and courage shown during various tumultuous times from Wars to dacoits, terrorism. How non violence can lead to viewable less violence but incursion of violent characters in mainstream politics that has continued to vitiate the political milieu of India. His role as head of BSF in the creation of independent Bangla Desh <->Bangladesh

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bhupinder

  4. 4 out of 5

    Himanshu Subodh

  5. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Prakash

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep Shankar

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samir Pathak

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rambo Rajkumar

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vaibhav Jain

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pankaj Sharma

  11. 5 out of 5

    Somyajeet

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anshul Dixit

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juhi

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Sharma

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ravi

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohi Khokan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nizam Ahmmad

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

  19. 5 out of 5

    Altaf

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laxmi

  21. 5 out of 5

    MithunKS

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vikram T

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pankaj

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vivek Sharma

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

  26. 4 out of 5

    Raj

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mohi Khokan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nizam Ahmmad

  29. 4 out of 5

    Saiqul Rony

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gokul

  31. 4 out of 5

    Zahir Mahmood

  32. 4 out of 5

    Avinish

  33. 4 out of 5

    Navasab Malik

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