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Book review
UN Peace Keeping Operations: A Personal Account
Dr Subhash Kapila
Defence Analyst

Trumpets and Tumults: The Memories of a Peace Keeper
Maj Gen Inderjit Rikhye

New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2002

Pages: 226
Price: 500

 

In the wake of the Second World War, the unraveling of European colonialism and the Cold war rivalries spawned a fair number of wars and armed conflicts in Asia and Africa. Nowhere were these armed conflicts as pronounced as in the Middle East. In such a troubled security environment, the newly founded United Nations Organizations (UNO), was increasingly drawn into international peacekeeping roles.

India as a non-aligned country found easy acceptance from both the power blocks for UN peacekeeping operations. Its services were called for in the form of peacekeeping troop contingents, military observers and other supervisory roles extending from Korea to the Middle East and Congo.

Major General InderJit Rikhye, the author of this book was actively involved in UN peacekeeping duties in various roles, especially in the Middle East. His continued involvement in UN operations ultimately led to his appointment as UN Military Adviser to two UN Secretary-Generals, namely Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant. This appointment provided him a strategic perch to closely observe the political developments leading to UN operations. This appointment provided him a strategic perch to closely observe the political developments leading to UN operations. This book is a narrative of his experiences in the UN peacekeeping operations and also his decision to set up the International Peace Academy in USA.�

The book is set in three parts. The first part which is virtually half the book is an autobiography covering his family background, joining the Indian Army and his service record in the Indian Army till his involvement in UN operations. The second part is devoted to his involvement and service with the United Nations both in the Middle East and at UN Headquarters in New York. The last part entitled "Educating for Peace" delves into his efforts, activities and associations in the USA to set up the International Peace Academy.

As the title of the book mentions 'Memories of a Peacekeeper,' General Rikhye's recollections provide a first hand account of significant and interesting events of the Cold War period. The book also provides interesting facets of General Zia of Pakistan, who, but for General Rikhye, would have been out of the Army during the British days.

General Rikhye's book also debunks Jinnah's claim to be a great secularist. Jinnah had sent orders to the British Chief of Pakistan Army in 1947 that no Hindu or Sikh Officer would be retained was one of those inclined to do so, motivated by the passion to command his Regiment.

In contemporary times when conflict management has acquired greater salience, researchers could have found a wealth a material, had this book attempted some thoughtful analyses of UN peacekeeping in its formative stages. This would have enhanced the merits of this book. Otherwise it is a rich narrative of interesting times, both political and military.

 
 
 

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