Ata Hasnain


Originally posted on 9 July 2010 :

After a long time I saw a soldier on the cover of a popular Indian weekly. It caught my eye. And this time the cover story was not about killing militants or capture of arms and ammunition. It was something far more difficult. This is an account of building bridges with people in Kashmir valley.

Soldiers are taught to kill and destroy property. They find it difficult to repair damage and to nurse the wounds caused by the bullets. The soldiers in the valley have chosen to tread on ‘the road less travelled’.  A picture of the cover page of “OUTLOOK” dated 12 Sept 2011 is given below:

For some reasons which I can not explain, my mind’s eye went back to a fifty year old song, in which Raj Kapur is shown causing bandits to surrender. The scene is embellished by a fabulous dance by Padmini, one of the three Travancore sisters. There is a poignant stanza which runs as follows:

 “Sahaj hai seedhi raah pe chalna

 Dekh ke uljhan bach ke nikalna

 Koi ye chahe maane na maane

 Bahut hai mushqil gir ke sambhalna”


Youtube Link:

  1. Talat Zamir says:

    It was great to read the writeup on Gen Ata .Heard that he is your pen pal ? Minha ( my youngest daughter ) is a close friend of his daughter Hina , she had gone to visit them in Kashmir last week .

  2. Surindar Singh says:

    Article on Lt Gen Sayed Ata Hasnain makes very interesting reading . Son of a general , he is from Garhwal Rifles and Known to be very good soldier and human being

    Government / Army has done well to utilize him as corps commander in sensitive muslim populated Valley . I am sure he will not only win over hearts of locals especially the youth but also modify/change the way Army talks, addresses , behaves or deals with the local population Earlier. Lt Gen Zaki had also done a good job both s corp commander and as Adviser to the Governor

    It was unfortunately Sikh generals who were hand picked for Operation Blue star were not the right choice . Instead of winning the hearts of Sikhs , the manner in which they executed the assault on Golden Temple , caused damage to Akal Takht and loss of lives of thousands of innocent civilians trapped inside the Temple Complex. One of my unit officer’s son and mother in law were crushed under a tank / APC . He resigned Ultimate consequences were sad killing of PM and Gen Vaidya

    Let us hope for more peace in the valley


    It is the Ministry of Defence and not Offence. The UN troops are called Peacekeeping forces, the police is in charge of Law & Order ….. all of these are concepts of peace …. a word jugglery.


  4. Satish Inamdar says:

    We served together on the Faculty at DSSC, 96-98, when Hasnain was, I think, a Lt Col.
    Does he have a brother, also in the Army? His Dad was at the time the oldest living Lt Gen: Garhwal Rifles; living at Lansdowne.

    I plan to come up with a closer ‘relationship’ with him if he gets any more famous!

    • Hina says:

      For Mr Satish Inamdar. This is Hina, daughter of General Hasnain. Yes my father was at Wellington in 96-98 as a Colonel. You met my grandfather Gen SM Hasnain, at Allahabad. My Chacha is not in the Army; he is an ex IAS officer who is an international trader and is now at Singapore.

      For Talat Aunty. Thank you for complimenting Dad. He thinks the world of General Surjit Singh. They did start as Net friends but last year General Surjit visited him in the Valley. It has been a great high for the family and for Dad in particular, this tenure in the Valley. It is wonderful to be recognised for many things but for achievements in the human field it is even greater. I am hopeful that Kashmir will remain peaceful and the initiation of this would be ascribed to Dad.

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