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Vision, Courage and Service: Life and Times of General T.N. Raina, MVC
Foreword by General V. P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM (Retd.) Former Chief of the Army Staff
Brigadier Satish K. Issar Vision, Courage and Service: </b>Life and Times of General T.N. Raina, MVC : Brigadier Satish K. Issar : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 9386268515)
Pages: 500
Price: Rs. 799
Format: Hardcover
ISBN13/10: 9789386268518 / 9386268515
Availability: Yes
Published in 2021
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Table of Contents

Born in a traditional Indian middle-class family in 1921, Tapishwar Narain ("Tappy") Raina rose to the pinnacle of the Indian Army in 1975. A decorated and battle-hardened soldier, Tappy Raina proved also to be a visionary Army Chief. He pushed through ground-breaking initiatives both for making the Indian Army future-ready and for the welfare of its officers and men. Equally, his quiet but firm stand against the Indian Army being drawn into the maelstrom of Indian politics during the period of Emergency was a truly signal service to India’s democracy.

Tappy Raina was pitched into the 2nd World War at the very outset of his army career and saw action in the Middle East, Burma and the Far East. During this period he was wounded and lost his right eye but never let this early setback affect him professionally. His finest hour as a soldier came during India’s war with China in 1962. Amidst the ruins elsewhere along the borders, Brigadier Raina won laurels as a battlefield commander in Ladakh, where Indian Army blunted the Chinese PLA in the battle of Chushul. For this exemplary military leadership, Tappy Raina was conferred the country’s second highest gallantry award, the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC). Later, for his contribution in the war against Pakistan in 1971, then Lt General Raina was conferred the award of Padma Bhushan. Not even sixty yet, General Raina passed away in 1980 with his boots on while serving in India’s High Commissioner in Canada.

Interspersed in the book are notes by Tappy Raina’s wife, Ninette, which etch out some personal facets of his life and reveal his innate decency, modesty and compassion. General T. N. Raina’s was an inspiring life of outstanding service to the nation, embodying vision, professional excellence and courage.


"From General Raina’s three years tenure as Chief of the Army Staff, there are three important ethical and visionary events that I wish to single out.

"First, within days of his taking over as Army Chief, General Raina had the courage to decline Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s request to associate the Indian Army with the enforcement of Emergency. It is a measure of the respect and regard in which he was held that the prime minister accepted the stance he took. He upheld the dignity and status of the appointment of Chief of the Army Staff and also ensured that Indian Army remains wedded to its apolitical ethos.

"The second instance is of strategic relocation of field formations to enhance their ability to mobilise faster in the event of a war situation with Pakistan. General Raina ordered relocation of many regimental centres . . . to India’s interior and moved field formations to those locations which were closer to their intended areas of operational deployment. As expected, there was much resistance within the army and those who manage its defence budget. But General Raina was firm. He ensured time-bound implementation of this relocation plan.

"The third instance, a visionary decision, is of setting up an Expert Committee to prepare a 25-year perspective plan (1975-2000) for the Indian Army. For this Committee, he did not select very senior officers but those who were talented, promising and distinguished, capable of preparing such a report and implementing the decisions during their tenures. Needless to say, the recommendations and implementation of this committee had a profound impact on the professional updating and modernization of the army."
  — General V. P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM, Former Chief of the Army Staff

"I must compliment the author on a great piece of work that captures the life and times of one of our outstanding . . . Chiefs. I can say without fear of contradiction that the capacity of the Indian Army to deal with the events of (1980s and 1990s) . . . through to Kargil, and even today, are due to (General Raina’s) visionary measures."  — Lt. General Satish Nambiar, PVSM, AVSM, VrC (Retd)

Brigadier Satish K. Issar

Satish Issar was born on 17th January 1937 at Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan), and did his early schooling at Lahore. After India’s partition in 1947, he studied at Harcourt Butler School and Hindu College in Delhi. Later, while in service, he completed his post-graduation in Defence Studies from Madras University.

He was commissioned on 7th June 1959 in the Kumaon Regiment. During his service of over three decades, Brigadier Issar held important Regimental, Staff and Instructional appointments. Post the 1962 war with China, he was amongst the first regular officers selected to join The Ladakh Scouts in June 1963, and saw active service for three years in the Ladakh sector. He first commanded 5 Kumaon and later The Naga Regiment. He was Military Assistant to Chief of the Army Staff, General T. N. Raina, MVC. He was Commandant of Kumaon Regimental Centre, Ranikhet and later commanded a mountain brigade in North Sikkim. He held instructional appointments at National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, College of Combat (now War College), Mhow, and the National Security Guard Training Centre, Manesar.

After retiring from the Army, Brigadier Issar devoted many years to the regional development of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. A Life Member of United Service Institution of India, he compiled The Images of Valour and Triumph – History of the Kumaon Regiments and A New Sunrise in the East – Story of the Naga Regiment. He has also authored a biography of the first Chief of the Indian Army, General S. M. Shrinagesh: Soldier, Scholar, Statesman (2009).

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