WG. CDR. Madhukar (Mickey) Jatar, VRC, VM (1934-1985)

By Capt. Sanjai Madhukar Jatar

It is Memorial Day Weekend in the USA, so this memoir is timely in remembering my late father, Wg. Cdr. Madhukar (Mickey) Shantaram Jatar, VrC, VM. This is also a salute to all the members of the Jatar and extended family who have served illustriously in the Indian Armed Forces over the past decades.

My father was the second of four sons born to Dr Shantaram Kashinath Jatar (Babu Kaka) and Mrs Malatibai Jatar. I don’t recall much of his childhood except that he graduated from Nutan Marathi Vidayala in Pune and played competitive cricket as a pace bowler.

Photo on the right: L to R Sitting: Chandu, Malti Jatar (née Phadnis), Babukaka, Mickey. Standing: Padmakar (Pad), and Dinkar (Dinky) Continue reading “WG. CDR. Madhukar (Mickey) Jatar, VRC, VM (1934-1985)”

Medha Jatar’s Best Mentor Award

This post is about Medha Jatar nee Khare, the wife of Ranjit Jatar and the daughter-in-law of Brig RV (Raghunath) Jatar. She won an award recently, one of her several achievements. She is an experienced Research Advisor with a history of working in the human resources industry. She is skilled in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Executive Coaching, Management, Start-ups, and Product Development. You can find out more about her from her Linkedin profile.

MedhaMedha’s Best Mentor Award was received from Swiss-based ThrivewithMentoring.

By Medha Jatar:

Swiss-based ThriveWithMentoring started 3 years ago and asked me to be a part of their set up in India as a mentor-coach.

ThriveWithMentoring is a platform for women from the corporate world. I have mentored a young lady working in a well established MNC firm for about 6 months, largely on issues related to the professional front.

(As a US certified Health and Wellness Coach a decade ago, it was interesting to perceive the symbiotic connection between health n wellness and professional aspirations and concerns). Continue reading “Medha Jatar’s Best Mentor Award”

An ode to Capt. D. K. Jatar

The following write-up and photograph has been contributed by Chandu Jatar, the great-grandson of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

The 11th of April, 2020 marked the 65th death anniversary of dear Annakaka (Capt. Damodar Kashinath Jatar) the commander of Air India International’s ill-fated Constellation aircraft KASHMIR PRINCESS which crashed in the South China Sea near the Great Natuna Island, as a result of sabotage.

Annakaka image from BSJ
Annakaka is third from left

I presume you may have already read the excellent article written by Anurag Inamdar highlighting the politics behind this tragic accident. Kudos to Anurag for his massive research and effort he put in to unravel some of the mystery behind the accident.

I, Bhalchandra Shantaram Jatar, better known as “Chandu” am the eldest of the 4 sons of Dr. Shantaram Kashinath Jatar (Babukaka).  Babukaka was the second son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao) and the older brother of Annakaka. On the day of the tragedy, Continue reading “An ode to Capt. D. K. Jatar”

Nitten Kirtane the tennis star!

IMG_2049Nitten Kirtane’s contribution to tennis has been exemplary over 4 decades whereby he has achieved at every level be it Junior Wimbledon runner up with Mahesh Bhupathi, Asian games bronze medallist, SAF Games medallist both in Chennai and Dhaka, Men’s no 1 in India, Davis cupper for 6 years, 4 time Men’s National Champion, 12 time Men’s Doubles Champion, 2 time ITF Men’s Singles Champion, 13 time ITF Men’s Doubles Champion and over 100 AITA titles.

Recently with his historic Silver Medal Win at the seniors World Championship held at Miami in 2018, he is ranked No. 1 in the Seniors in India today.

He recently was the coach of the Indian Railways team which won the Gold at the World Continue reading “Nitten Kirtane the tennis star!”

Padmakar Jatar from Las Vegas

padmakar jatarThe following write-up was contributed by Padmakar Jatar (known as Papa in the Jatar family) who is now living a happy retired life in Las Vegas. Papa Jatar is the son of Dr Shantaram Jatar (known as Babukaka) and Malti Phadnis and the grand-son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar, (link to the family tree of Shriram. )  They had four sons, Bhalachandra (Chandu), Madhukar (Mickey), Padmakar (Papa) and Dinkar (Kumar)

Here is what Papakaka writes:

I am extremely proud of my family heritage and to belong to the Jatar family, a family of achievers. How many families do you know that in a close circle have got so many awards: Knighthood, Ashok Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, and 3 Vayu Sena medals? Bhayya received a Vayu Sena medal and so did Mickey (in addition to a Vir Chakra) & Kumar got a Vayu Sena medal too.

The photograph below is of the four Jatar brothers in their youth, the four sons of Babukaka – Dr Shantaram Jatar. From Left to Right: Dinkar (Kumar), Madhukar (Micky), Padmakar (Papa) and Bhalachandra (Chandu). Continue reading “Padmakar Jatar from Las Vegas”

Kaushal Inamdar – the renowned music composer

Screenshot 2018-10-22 at 7.35.44 AMMusic composer Kaushal Inamdar is not just a music composer, but also a poet, author and singer.  He has achieved fame and renown in his field – in Marathi as well as Hindi movies. He composes music for films, television, dramas, events, concerts, ballets, advertisements, and also albums. Kaushal has won dozens of awards Continue reading “Kaushal Inamdar – the renowned music composer”

Kumar Jatar’s Vayu Sena Medal

Dinkar (Kumar) Jatar was the grand-son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar,  (link to the family tree of Shriram. )

One of Bapurao’s sons was Shantaram Jatar (known as Babukaka) who married Malti Phadnis. Kumar Jatar is the son of Babukaka and he married Shaila Raje Pant, and they have two sons, Udaiyan and Samirran.

Kumar (Dinkar) Jatar, was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal, pinned on him by none other than the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC,  an Indian Air Force marshal who served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1964 to 1969. Continue reading “Kumar Jatar’s Vayu Sena Medal”

FL/LFT VIJAY MADHAV JOSHI – remembering a hero

This post is a tribute to an unsung hero – the brother of Mohini Kirtane and Vidya Chand – Vijay Joshi . He died 50 years ago – on the first of September 1965. He gave up his life for INDIA .

Vidya, Mohini and Vijay are the three children of Nalini (Nanutai) and MK Joshi. Nanutai was a Jatar girl, the daughter and only surviving child of Radha (nee Vatsala Mainkar) and Vasudev (Appasaheb) Jatar. Appasaheb was the son of Kashinath Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest child of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. This family tree will place him well.

Vijay is the grandson of Appasaheb, the great-grandson of Bapurao and the great-great-grandson of Shriram Jatar.

This is a tribute to him in the Times of India by the brother in law of Vijay (Vijay’s wife Sandhya’s brother). Sandhya was a Gadgil before marrying Vijay. Continue reading “FL/LFT VIJAY MADHAV JOSHI – remembering a hero”

DK Jatar’s Last Journey

There is some interesting information on Capt. D.K. Jatar’s last journey (our esteemed ancestor Annarao, the first civilian to receive the Ashok Chakra for extraordinary bravery) in a book by RM Lala (Beyond The Last Blue Mountain – A life of JRD Tata).

D.K. Jatar was Bapurao’s youngest son, known as Annakaka in the family. Annakaka was the grandson of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

The excerpt shown here is about the Air India plane called the Kashmir Princess which crashed; the plane which was supposed to be carrying the Chinese Premier – Chou (or Zhou) En-Lai. It was piloted by Capt. Jatar.

This the cover of the book.
book cover

This is the start of the write-up, on page 153. It is the behind the scenes explanation as to Continue reading “DK Jatar’s Last Journey”

How Brig Arvind Nilkanth Jatar got the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)

Brig. A. N. Jatar, MVC
When Arvind Jatar was young

Brig Arvind Nilkanth Jatar, son of Bhausaheb, and grandson of Shriram Jatar, was a heroic figure and one that the Jatar family is very proud of. He won the Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second highest military honour, for his bravery.  He was popularly known as “Baba” in the family.

Here is a link to his citation, from a government of India site and the details can be read in this PDF file (CITATION)

And this one from an official government site: List of Mahavir Chakra Awardees.

The list of MVC winners is also given here, in the Wikipedia.

Tall and with an almost pink complexion, Baba had wide dark eyes and curly hair. He was slim and remained so until the end of his life. Continue reading “How Brig Arvind Nilkanth Jatar got the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)”

Bhausaheb’s awards

My grandfather, Lt Col Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, the son of Shriram Jatar and known as Bhausaheb in the family, was the recipient of many awards, and several of them were gallantry awards for bravery. He was also knighted by the Queen of England in 1946. The medals can be seen below:
Bhausaheb's medals
He got several awards for distinguished service like the Star in 1914-1915, the War Medal of 1914-18, the War Medal of Wazirstan 1919-21, Medal for the Great War of Civilization 1914-19, the Medal George V and Queen Mary 1910-1935 and the Queen Elizabeth Medal 1935 (Coronation Medal).
However the Serbian Order of the White Eagle with Swords (a gallantry award equivalent to the Military Cross of the British Empire and the Vir Chakra of India) is one of his special awards. He got this in Mesopotemia while serving with the 8th Army. When surrounded by the Turks, and after the death of the unit commander, Bhausaheb took over the leadership of the infanty company although he was the medical officer attached to the infantry battalion. He held on to the defensive position and did not surrender until the 8th Army Commander, General Townsend, himslef surrendered the entire Army. The Battalion, and in fact the whole of the 8th Army was captured by the Turks. But Bhausaheb’s bravery was rewarded by the Serbs and later by the British. For this same action he recieved the DSO (Distinguished Service Order equivalent to the Maha Vir Chakra) from the British.

He got his second DSO (called DSO and Bar) during the fighting in the North Western Frontier. Here too he showed his bravery. In those days battles were fought from dawn to dusk in a designated battlefied and Bhausaheb as the medical officer was to treat the wounded on the spot. He was not expected to go deep into action but that is what he did. He would go in the line of fire to help the wounded and that was how he took seven bullets, one in his left wrist, and several in his right leg as he knelt down to help the wounded soldiers. Inspite of that he continuted to treat the wounded and finally had to be evacuated.

During those days the British were trying very hard to capture the North Western Provinces of Afghanistan as it would open the route into Central Asia. Later it was the Russians who succeeded afer World War II. They again lost out when the Taliban with the help of the US had a regime change in Afghanistan. This is known as the ‘Great Game’ and it still continues.

As Bhausaheb lay in bed wounded, it was necessary to amputate his leg as those days there were no antibiotics or penicillin.  His leg had become gangrenous. Later he told his children that when he lay in the hospital bed, his CO came to see him and in his presence asked the doctors whether Jatar would live. The doctors said that yes, he would, and the CO said, that if he had died, he would have recommended him for the Victoria Cross. Bhausaheb was just 32 years old. He had an artificial leg fitted in England.

Bhausaheb later was awarded his second DSO for this bravery. He was the first Indian officer to recieve the DSO and bar. The DSO is equalivalent to our gallantry award, the MVC (Maha Vir Chakra.) Later in 1938, Bhausaheb also got the CIE (Companion of the Indian Empire award) which is roughly equivalent to our Padmashree award. Our family has three CIEs. Grandfather Shriram, Bapurao and then Bhausaheb. This is some sort of a record.

Bhausaheb’s elder brother when Bhausaheb lay in hospital. These are the contents of the letter which was written on the 6th of January 1920:

Dear Mr. Jatar,
Further to the wire I sent you this morning, I write now to give you further particulars I can of your brothers wounds. The battalion was out yesterday as covering party for construction of a permanent piquet some distance from our present camp. The enemy had evidently been lying up in the nullah waiting for our retirement, and as soon as withdrawal commenced he opened fire. Several men of the advanced companies were wounded, and in endeavoring to recover their bodies a number of other men were also hit, there being a heavy fire on all those who exposed themselves.
Under these circumstances, Capt. Jatar himself went forward very gallantly, and was himself wounded. Whilst being carried away he was again hit twice. His brave conduct, however, did very much to help in a very much difficult situation, and we are very proud that he was attached to this regiment.
Your brother’s wounds are severe. He is, however, getting on well, and I hope will be fit for evacuation in a very few days.
Capt. Jatar had, during the few months he has been with us, made himself a great favorite with all ranks, and officers and men will all miss him greatly.
We sympathize heartily with you, and wish him very speedy recovery.
If I can give you any further information I shall be only glad to do so.

Yours sincerely,
Col .V. A . Parrett. Capt. AdJt.

Bhausaheb was a much respected figure in the Jatar family and this post makes it clear as to why. He was devoted to his family. His physical description: Height: 5 feet 8 inches. Complexion: Fair. Imposing mustache.

(Contributed by Nita with inputs from Sudhir Jatar)

How DK Jatar got the Ashok Chakra

annakakaBapurao’s youngest son was DK Jatar, known as Annakaka in the family. Annakaka was the grandson of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

Annakaka was the first civilian in India to be posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra award for “most conspicuous bravery, daring and self-sacrifice”. He was the Captain of the plane which crashed after sabotage in mysterious circumstances and his role here was a heroic one. As a family, we are all extremely proud of him. He was my father’s first cousin, which makes him my uncle.

He was a handsome man, and also dashing and charming. But more than anything, he was one of the bravest men to walk on this earth.

The story goes thus:

He was the Captain of the ill-fated plane – the Kashmir Princess. The plane was a Lockheed L-749A Constellation aircraft owned by Air India which exploded in midair and crashed into the Pacific Ocean on April 11, 1955, while en route from Bombay, India and Hong Kong to Jakarta, Indonesia. 16 of those on board were killed; three survived. Here is the historical record.

The aircraft departed Hong Kong at 0425 GMT carrying Chinese and Eastern European delegates, mainly journalists, to the Asia-Afro Bandung Conference in Jakarta. At approximately 0925 GMT the crew heard an explosion; smoke quickly entered the cabin from a fire on the right wing directly behind the No. 3 (or right inboard) engine. Upon hearing the explosion and seeing the fire-warning light for the baggage compartment come on, the captain shut off the No. 3 engine and feathered its propeller, fearing the engine would catch on fire. This left three engines running. The crew sent out three distress signals giving their position over the Natuna Islands before the radio went dead.

The captain tried to land the plane on the sea, but the depressurizing cabin and the failing circuits made that impossible. Additionally, smoke was seeping into the cockpit. Left with no other options, the crew issued life jackets and opened the emergency doors to ensure a quick escape as the plane plunged into the sea below.

The starboard wing struck water first, tearing the plane into three parts. The flight engineer, navigator and first officer escaped and were later found by the Indonesian Coast Guard. The remaining 16 passengers and crew members, however, drowned at sea.

Investigators believed that the explosion had been caused by a time bomb placed aboard the aircraft by a Kuomintang secret agent who was attempting to assassinate Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, who had been scheduled to board the plane to attend the conference but who had changed his travel plans at the last minute.

Passengers of the chartered flight included three staff members of the Chinese delegation to the Bandung Conference and one staff member of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The rest of the passengers were journalists — five from China, one from Poland, and one from Austria. Huang Zuomei, the Hong Kong branch director of Xinhua News Agency, was also on the aircraft.

The target of the assassination, Zhou Enlai, had planned to fly from Beijing to Hong Kong and then on to Jakarta on Kashmir Princess. An emergency appendectomy delayed his arrival in Hong Kong; he left China on April 14 and flew to Rangoon to meet with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Burmese Prime Minister U Nu before continuing on to Bandung to attend the conference.

Some historians have argued that Zhou may have known about the assassination plot beforehand and that the premier did not undergo an appendectomy at the time. Steve Tsang of Oxford University wrote in the September 1994 edition of China Quarterly, “Evidence now suggests that Zhou knew of the plot beforehand and secretly changed his travel plans, though he did not stop a decoy delegation of lesser cadres from taking his place.”

The day after the crash, China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement that described the bombing as “a murder by the special service organizations of the United States and Chiang Kai-shek” while Hong Kong Governor Sir Alexander Grantham maintained that the plane was not tampered with in Hong Kong. However, on May 26, an Indonesian board of inquiry later announced that a time bomb with an American-made MK-7 detonator was responsible for the crash and it was highly probable that the bomb was installed in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong authorities offered HK$100,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. They questioned 71 people connected with the servicing of the Air India flight. When police began to focus on Chow Tse-ming, a janitor for Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co., he stowed away to Taiwan on a CIA-owned Civil Air Transport aircraft.

The Hong Kong police concluded that the Kuomintang had recruited Chow to plant the bomb to kill Zhou Enlai. Apparently, he had bragged to friends about his role in the bombing and had also spent large amounts of money before he left Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Police tried to extradite Chow, but Taiwan refused and denied that Chow was a KMT agent.

Steve Tsang collected evidence from British, Taiwanese, American and Hong Kong archives that points directly to KMT agents operating in Hong Kong as the perpetrators of the aircraft bombing. According to him, the KMT had a special-operations group stationed in Hong Kong responsible for assassination and sabotage. Designated the Hong Kong Group under Major-General Kong Hoi-ping, it operated a network of 90 agents. In March 1955, the group recruited Chow for the assassination because his job at the airport gave him easy access to the Air India plane, and offered him HK$600,000 and refuge in Taiwan, if necessary.

A Chinese document declassified in 2005 also indicates that the KMT secret service was responsible for the bombing.

In addition to the KMT, there were rumours of CIA involvement in this incident as well. Aside from the fact that Chow escaped to Taiwan aboard a CIA-owned aircraft, there was no evidence that the CIA was involved until a decade later, when several Americans claimed they were involved.

Zhou Enlai was an influential figure in Communist China and the United States saw him as an obstacle in the Cold War. At the time, the West viewed the Bandung Conference as a gathering of communists and pro-communists that would boost the expansion of communism in Asia. The CIA believed that China planned to use the conference to boost its image as a world power. Although the CIA sent several agents posing as journalists to cover the conference, evidence suggests that some CIA officers might have taken further action.

In 1966, a U.S. Senate committee investigating CIA operations heard testimony that gave murky details of a CIA plot to assassinate an “East Asian leader” attending a 1955 Asian conference. That leader’s identity would remain unknown until 1977, when William Corson, a retired U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in Asia, published Armies of Ignorance identifying that leader as Zhou Enlai.

On October 24, 1967, a CIA agent John Discoe Smith defected to the Soviet Union. There, Smith accounted many of his operations in his memoirs, entitled I Was an Agent of the CIA, including his delivery of a mysterious bag to a KMT agent. He says that in 1955, Jack Curran, a CIA officer attached to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, asked him to deliver a bag to a Wang Feng at the Maidens Hotel in the Indian capital. Smith claimed that the bag contained the bomb used to sabotage Kashmir Princess.

The captain of the plane, D.K. Jatar, who also perished in the crash, later became the first civilian to be posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra Award for “most conspicuous bravery, daring and self-sacrifice.”

dkj

The above information is taken from yawiki.org

The Wiki and reference.com contain similar information on this subject. So does this airwhiners.net site and additionally, it says:

“One hour prior to landing in Jakarta, an explosive device with a timer exploded in the starboard wheel bay, causing a fire in the #3 fuel tank. The pilot was able to successfully ditch the aircraft on the high seas near the Natuna Islands. Three crewmembers escaped the wreckage and were later rescued by the Indonesian Coast Guard. All 16 others aboard, including Captain D.K. Jatar, drowned at sea. Captain Jatar later became the first civilian to be posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra for “most conspicuous bravery, daring and self-sacrifice”. The assassination attempt on Chou En Lai was discovered to have been the work of the Taiwanese KMT, possibly with the aid of the American CIA.

Anurag Inamdar,  the great-great-great-grandson of Shriram Jatar and the son of Kaushal Inamdar, has very evocatively written about the incident of the Kashmir Princess on his blog here.

(This information has been compiled by Nita Jatar Kulkarni)

Related Reading: Capt D.K. Jatar and India’s first international flight and more about Capt. D.K. Jatar