Book Review Of My Years With The IAF

1. This emended autobiography by Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal is on the Indian Air Force and chronicles the writer ‘s calling in it. The book is a personal narration by the former Air Chief showcasing his experiences, passion for winging and love for the IAF. It provides an eminently clear history of the IAF ‘s formative old ages. The book is the lone one written by the writer, who passed off before he could finish it. The staying undertaking of collating, redacting and make fulling the spreads in the narrative has been believably done by his married woman Ela Lal.

2. ACM Lal distinguished himself in the function of the Chief of the Air staff. He held diverse and disputing assignments throughout his celebrated calling, as MD of Indian Airlines and HAL, VCAS, AOM, AOC-in-C WAC & A ; deputy military secretary to the cabinet. His calling spanned three decennaries get downing with WW-II and climaxing with Indo-Pak War of 1971. Narrative of his life is preponderantly the narrative of the IAF. More significantly, it was under the able leading of Air Chief Marshal PC Lal, that the Indian Air Force won its most decisive triumph in 1971.

3. The book covers the period from the day of the month when ACM Lal was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the IAF voluntary modesty to his last twenty-four hours in service in the IAF ( 14 Nov 39 to 16 Jan 73 ) . The book is planned in three parts. The first is a personal memoir, the 2nd covers the formative post- independency old ages foregrounding the dominance of the air force and the 3rd portion focuses on the 1971 war and the premier function IAF played in it. Sixteen chapters are devoted to this absorbing book. It is full with illustrations of personal leading, provides priceless lessons and hence is a must read for all military professionals.

4. Lal ‘s narrative is beset with many ups and down. Britain ‘s declaration of war against Germany and a oddity of destiny landed him the occupation of a pilot in the IAF Volunteer modesty, while he was analyzing to be a barrister in England. He joined as a sailing master, but converted to be a combat pilot. He suffered sedate shame of being removed from service, after a public bicker with the so Defence Minister, Mr Krishna Menon. Again luck came to his deliverance and he was reinstated back, when Mr Menon was himself unceremoniously sacked after the fiasco of 1962 war. In another turn of destiny, he oversaw the constitution of the production line of HAL ‘s new MiG-21and HS-748 bottom Ac, the same Ac he had crossed blades with Mr Menon.

5. The book traces the life of ACM Lal from his younger yearss, his household background and events of his early yearss in the IAF. The writer ‘s word picture of war co-workers and outstanding solons, who earned celebrity with their heroic feats, is reasonably accurate. The independency period with its craze, blood-bath and mass hegira of population and scenes of the largest seize and conflict in Kashmir in 1947-48, which tested the bravery, backbones and doggedness of both the IAF and the Indian Army, is recollected vividly. The book covers the advancement of our state since independency in varied Fieldss and gradual administration of the IAF, through the old ages.

6. The writer ‘s penetration into the apprehensivenesss that the Defence had towards a possible menace from China and the questionable denial from the Indian governments based on unrealistic societal sentiments and the baseless belief in the inviolability of the Himalayas is wholly vindicated. The reverse that India suffered in the Indo-Sino war in 1962 confirms this facet. He has put the reluctance to utilize airpower in 1962, despite holding platforms to efficaciously interdict the Chinese forces, into the right position. He attributes antipathy to the deficiency of all-round cognition about the versatility of employment of airpower on the portion of land commanding officers and politicians, deficiency of cohesive national policy and India ‘s unpreparedness as the root causes for India ‘s loss. These facets were addressed in the 1965 Indo-Pak war where IAF gave a strong history of them. The writer is really blunt about the entire deficiency of synergism between the Indian Army and the IAF during the 1965 war, imputing it to a attack that looked at the IAF as simply a tactical air force. Personal computer Lal feels that hope lies in larning lessons from the war, and avoiding similar booby traps in future action.

7. Destiny seldom gives an chance to larn from one ‘s ain defects and to rectify them every bit good. As CAS, ACM Lal had one of those rare chances when he led the air force in a decisive triumph against Pakistan in 1971. The readying, planning and onslaught stage in both the eastern and western sectors during the 1971 war finds a chronological, thorough reference in the book. He famously comments after the war that “ the facts of geographics clearly make it futile for Pak to pay war with India ” . His personal history of the war contradicts the hyperboles of PAF in footings of right figures on war abrasion. He exhibits honestness and earnestness in his right articulation of the events & A ; factual informations. Many fiddling inside informations and fascinating existent life incidences throughout the book make a captivating reading.

8. The writer advocates the retiring benefits of close understanding and coaction between the three services instead than utilizing the other to function its ain intents. However, the writer contradicting the thought of creative activity of CDS station due to his personal experiences of being treated with a large brotherlike attitude by CsOAS Gen Maneckshaw and Gen Chaudhuri is possibly non excessively realistic. The book suffers from a few spelling errors and syntax mistakes, which robs the book of its shininess. Lal ‘s personal history of the war, a smooth narrative manner and an oculus for item, lends the book the legitimacy and differentiation of being a truly believable memoir. In kernel, it remains genuinely deserving in content for its monetary value.

9. Air Chief Marshal PC Lal remains one of the innovators of the IAF who is credited with raising and fostering the org to its present signifier. The versatility of his achievements is hard to fit in today ‘s universe. Because of his permanent impact on the IAF and huge influence he had in determining Indian civil air power, he remains one of the most complete IAF officers. The book authored by him is a dateless testimony to his bequest.