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Brig (Retd) Ian da Costa, VSM pens his memoirs. From the story of the migrant Goan community in Nagpur, to his experiences  in the Indian Army.

This is a ring-side view of India’s changing times in the first five decades after Independence, though the eyes of a military man.

Ian da Costa’s story begins in Nagpur of the 1940s. In that Central Indian city, a community of Goans worked hard and smart to build their future. Those were times of ferment and tumultuous change.

We encounter the military transitioning from a colonial British-run institution to one serving Independent India. From life in the Indian Military Academy, to serving in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1960s while attached to the 14th Kumaon Regiment, Brig da Costa’s story takes us along unexpected paths to the tough forward lines of the borders over two wars, to the Poonch-Jhalas base, Surankote, Naushera, the Battle of O.P. Hill, the Hajipur Sector, Madras, the raising of the Naga Regiment, the 1971 War in Bangladesh, and more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brig (Retd) Ian St John da Costa, VSM, was Commandant of the Kumaon Regimental Centre, at Ranikhet, when he retired in 1994. A senior officer of Goan origin in the Indian defence forces, Brig da Costa served in Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and took part in the 1965 and 1971 wars. He was awarded the VSM (Vishisht Seva Medal) for counter-insurgency operations in the North East in 1987. He was also an Instructor at the Officers’ Training School in Madras, and twice at the College of Combat (now Army War College), Mhow, Madhya Pradesh. He was Brigade Major on the China border and commanded an Infantry Battalion on the Line-of-Control in Jammu & Kashmir and an Infantry Brigade in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan.

C o n t e n t s

Foreword | Lt. General DD Saklani (Retd) 8

Acknowledgements 10

  1. A Goan Family Away From Home 13
  2. The Doctor and his Garden 21
  3. A Goan Village… in Nagpur 29
  4. Marriages… and School 42
  5. On a Maiden Voyage 48
  6. Beyond the Adolescent Years 53
  7. The Best Days, at the NDA 56
  8. Zojila Company, IMA 64
  9. A Young Officer in JK 68
  10. Starting Life with 14 Kumaon 72
  11. First Major Skirmish 78
  12. Two Steps Up 84
  13. The 1965 War and the Battle for OP Hill 90
  14. Getting Married… and Goa 115
  15. Pathankot, Poonch and Thereabouts 121
  16. Srinagar Then 124
  17. End of an Era 131
  18. Peace Station: Madras 135
  19. Raising the Naga Regiment 138
  20. 1971 and Bangladesh 145
  21. The Battle of Dharmadaha 149
  22. At Wellington 164
  23. Back to 14 Kumaon 168
  24. The Mountain Brigade and a ‘mad river’ 176
  25. Life at Mhow 184
  26. Low, Picturesque Clouds of Nagaland 190
  27. …Desert, Moving Stealthily by Night 196
  28. Mhow, Seat of Military Education 214
  29. Life At Kumaon House 216
  30. A Visit to Gangolihat 227
  31. An Old Army Club 232
  32. Of Holiday-Homes and Memorials 242
  33. Calling it a Day 250
  34. Setting Out, to the Plains 258
  35. A Battle on Goa’s Roads 263
  36. The Evening of Life… In Saligão 270

A couple of extracts from Diary of an Infantryman:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/193701776/A-Goan-village-in-Nagpurhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/193700326/The-NDA-and-the-IMA
  1. VIDEO INTERVIEW: The Goans of Nagpur
  2. VIDEO INTERVIEW: An introduction to the book

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