An Amazing Tribute to the Marut by Gp Capt CKK Menon (Retd) Vr C

Hello MarutFans,

Below is my Marut Song.

You will find 10 Squadron is praised in the song because that’s where I mostly was. Even though I served in all three Marut Squadrons, 10 was my first and last squadron. Also having commanded 10, I do have a special affection for it. Especially since we had an accident free record during my 3-year tenure. I had good flight commanders in Sis and Danny, and later Bindi, and an excellent batch of young pilots: We were a training squadron. In spite of that we did well in achieving our monthly tasks, performed well in air exercises, won some armament trophies and were also Best Transonic Squadron of the IAF for two years in a row. Also we were first out of the gate when the squadrons were challenged by our C-in-C  SWAC, Air Marshal Dilbagh Singh, to achieve 100% serviceability. We had tremendous help from our CTO then Winco Shashi Ramdas. Of course, Samaresh and his boys did a magnificent job. And our pilots, short of losing an engine, took off one-and-all. We did a squadron fly past of all our aircraft together to prove we had achieved 100%! So do excuse me for blowing our trumpet!

I was flight commander at 220 under Winco Jit Dhawan for two years. In fact I took over 220 from Sqn. Ldr. Piloo Kakkar(RIP) when the squadron was converted from vampires to HF-24s in early ’69. A short while later Sir Jit joined and assumed command. In ’76 I transitioned through 31 under Winco Timki Bhalla’s command for a few months before taking over 10. I have happy memories under both: At 220, the squadron did a fly past for our anniversary, while I performed solo aerobatics preceded by a sonic run. At that time Air Cmde Idris Latif (later our CAS) was our Stn AOC. He watched my practice aerobatics which I finished with a half-roll at the end of the runway during which I lowered the undercarriage and landed. In effect I did a vertical circuit and landing. The AOC thought that was too risky and disallowed the manoeuvre. So instead, I did a wing-over at runway end and landed. As part of the routine I had also done four continuous loops at low level in the form of a clover leaf. Considering that the Marut was quite under-powered, that felt good (I am sure many of our intrepid Marut pilots have done it all and more, and are yawning as they read this)! At 31 it was nice to get back to operational flying after six years; 3 each at A&ATU/ASTE and HAL deputation.

I am posting this song in the spirit of ‘open code’ in the hope that MarutFans will make valuable inputs editing, improving and also deleting ‘stuff’. Let’s have some vigorous participation. I will then post a final version to ‘Sense and Nonsense’. A special request to our designers , three of whom (names unknown to me) were part of the project (I understand Dr. V.M. Ghatge lost them to Dr. Tank and they, along with a sizeable contingent of HAL engineers, became a part of the latter’s team), many of the early crew engineers, members of 31 and 220 squadrons who can provide highlights that I have missed. A special request to my C.O. at A&ATU, Groupie Kapil Bhargava, a Marut veteran test pilot, an eminent writer and MarutFans’ Poet Laureate who inspired me and other members of the blog to try our hand at rhyme: Please give this song the once over. Thank you Sir. Each paragraph is numbered for easy reference. The song below has been set to the tune of a WW2 song, “Bless them all..”, which is the chorus, and the main body rhymes with, “There’s a troop ship that’s leaving Bombay…”, which is a part of “Bless them all…”.

Here are two You Tube links to the tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYGyAez5_MI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_KeeKs1SnE.

The Marut Song

1. Bless them all, bless them all
The long and the short and the tall
Bless all the Marut’s old Boffins like you
Bless all the Marut’s old Air Jockeys too

2. The Marut HF Twenty Four
Best in its class and more
We celebrate the golden jubilee
Of its first air flight Anniversary

3. Jai ho! Jaya Ho! Joya ho!
A hurricane on the go
Cannons and Rockets nest within its breast
Bombs under wings go to make up the rest

4. Enough to destroy the toughest defence
The Marut was designed for blitzkrieg offense
The enemy cowered under fortified bunks
But the Marut blew them into many a chunk

5. Dreamed up by Dr. Kurt Waldemar Tank
And his team; best of the German brain bank
Built by our Hindustan Aeronautics
Designers, Engineers all ecstatic

6. Together they made Bharat’s fond dream come true
With expert guidance by our test flying crew
Of Dasu, Chopie, Kapil, Karan, Chuchu
Priti, Babi, Ajit; to name a few

7. Suranjan Das, Jagat, Saper and Kiddo
Tested the Marut like no one could do
However they made the supreme sacrifice
Each of them paid with his very own life

8. They built a lean-and-mean fighting machine
Marut its name; Son of Wind God Divine
Tempest of Fury, Destroyer of foe
Conquered our hearts, yes, like never before

9. At the start there was just the Dagger
Soon joined by Tigers and Lions eager
Some of the best pilots flew the Marut
With twin engine config, no trainer to boot

10. The pilots just loved it, went boppers
Soon they pulled out all the stoppers;
Tightening up their French g-suit laces,
And put the Marut through all its paces

11. As they enjoyed its low level antics
Folks on the ground became frantic
As they ducked for cover to escape its downwash
They went belly down, that’s how low the ‘plane was

12. Hydraulic leaks were a given
But Marut pilots were quite driven
When they had manual incidents dear
They said it was just a `normal` failure!

13. Then Softy at AHQ took a good look
At accident records, as seen in the book
Crunch numbers, whichever way he did try
The Marut by far was the safest to fly!

14. It helped that Dagger pilots were lucky
Even though brash they were also plucky
For three years in-a-row they put up a good show
Their accident rate was zilch! nada! Zero!

15. Sis ‘n’ Danny ensured the task was complete
Transonic squadrons no way could compete
The Daggers earned laurels two years in a row;
The Group’s Best Squadron in the IAF. Wow!

16. Marut’s techies were up to the task, yeah
Led by Shashi and crew; even eskay
When spares were short,
Lo! they pulled out rabbits
Out of the hat, as it was their habit

17. When the C-in-C said, `Show me hundred percent!
Our Boffins picked up the glove every person
The Daggers were up in front we must mention
Flew all the planes in squadron formation

18. The Marut was truly Pavan Putra
A Gentle Giant to his own mitra
But swiftly it flies through the enemy skies
With bombs, Sneb rockets and cannons it strikes

19. When the runway was out of commission
They used taxi-tracks for their missions
They did a great job of hunting down the foe
And earned glory, Vir Chakras, laurels galore

20. When challenged by a frisky Sabre fighter
Joe Bakshi took on the pesky blighter
He fired all cannon perfectly head-on
And shot down the foe; yes, his aim was dead-on!

21. The marut’s career was cut short; a pity
For want of good engines and spares
But in the books of epic air warfare
Marut’s fair name will be right up-front there.

22. Jai ho! Jaya Ho! Joya ho!
A hurricane on the go
We salute the Designers, Engineers,
Pilots, Boffins and all Pioneers

23. Thanks to HAL; our Dreams did come true
You built South_Asia’s first fighter too!
The Golden Jubilee is Historical
Gratefully we say farewell to you all

24. Bless them all, Bless them all
The long and the short and the tall
Bless all the MarutFans you, you and you
We’ll drink a toast to your families too!
Bless them all, Bless them all, Bless them all.

Cheers!

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15 Responses to An Amazing Tribute to the Marut by Gp Capt CKK Menon (Retd) Vr C

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    ‘Mini’ Menon, I have no idea if you still read this, but I shall take a chance? I am Mark Wilson, son of Pete Wilson, and I cannot tell you how often your name comes up in conversation with Dad, I know he would love to get in contact, he has always admired your sacrifices during the 1971 Ops. Please do contact me.
    Mark

    • Hello Mark, it is a delight to read your note, especially re your dad. He is the epitome of professionalism, a great leader, born pilot and above all, a thorough gentleman. We youngsters looked up to him with awe and admiration, and his seniors too held him in great regard. When Sir Wilson spoke everyone listened, not just for his sage advice but also his delightful sense of humour. While he ran a tight ship, never did we see a mean streak in him! At Jamnagar he conducted the ’71 ops with verve and intelligence. All the while his quiet confidence and unflappability were a great inspiration to us all. He was always one up on the enemy; be it keeping a tag on their raids or confusing them. It would be a great honour to be able to meet him after so many years. I also remember your Mom’s graciousness and kindness.
      I regularly exchange email with Sir Ian Loughran, with whom perhaps your dad too is in touch. My email address is menonckk@rogers.com. Please give me your dad’s email address. Thanks and regards,
      Mini

  2. Dr. Bhupinder Singh says:

    Dear Mini Menon uncle & Nina aunty, I have spent the last 20 yrs searching for you on the net! You people have been part of my memory from days at Indira Nagar in Bangalore Please contact me on my email address: redpostbag@gmail.com

  3. Absolutely wonderful poetry Krish! I dare not take any liberties with your Nobel effort.

    My own Squadron was No.7 for four and a half years where Piloo Kacker came as a very naughty pilot officer when I was the Flight Commander. I used to beat him at chug-a-lugs but perhaps for two years or sometimes near the end of my stay, he played with me – to set me up. At my farewell from the Squadron he challenged me again but had spiked the large glass with fifty-fifty beer and whiskey. After three attempts, I was the only person drunk at the Saturday dinner and made a spectacle of myself. I did not wake up till Monday after almost 36 hours. Piloo got a rocket form the Doc. We were always good friends and never even exchanged a harsh word – he was fun to have around, keeping up us in good humour.

    I got pushed off to ATW as a PAI where P/O Jit Dhawan was one of my pupils for armament training. I became a test pilot too soon. Six aircraft factories (four abroad) and two in India (HAL & IAF’s AMD) followed by A&ATU + ASTE kept me out of main IAF for 17 years. Then came the posting to Jodhpur as the Station Master of three airfields and about 13 units plus the two FBSUs. By then I was of no use to IAF – departure was inevitable, sooner rather than later. I have no regrets – I had the finest time imaginable in our beloved Air Force.

    The reason for this is for everyone to be disabused of the idea that I had much to do with the development of the Marut. I was mostly an observer from the outside. I think my total flying on type might just about add up to around 30 hours.

    I had the good fortune to clear the Trainer aircraft for view from the rear cockpit and the Extended Chord Wing both in power and in manual for landing at extreme forward C of G. As OC A&ATU and later Commandant ASTE, I had lots of power to do this, never mind the meagre experience on type.

    But what is a test pilot if he does not find fault with everything. In your excellent work, a nit-pick on English. The plural of Cannon is Cannon. I have a tale about two cannon while in Seven. If there is any interest in it, I can send it to Dara as its judge and executioner.

    • Krish Menon says:

      Ho ho ho, you got me Sir! Perhaps my grammar can be forgiven for 20 odd years of using American English in Microsoft Word has corrupted my shaky Indian English. My American spell checker was no help either. Now I have to grapple with favor and favour before I find the right word.

      I remember my days at A&ATU trying to write reports and learning from you the finer points of report writing and grammar too!

      Thank you for bringing us ‘youngsters’ up to date with a brief on your early days in the Air Force. It would be fascinating to read more about those days. And get a few tips on chug-a-lugging. The ‘tale about two cannon’ has piqued my interest, and I am sure, Dara’s too.

  4. Krish Menon says:

    Thank you all for your encouragement.

    I have made changes to para 17 as follows:

    17A. “Show me hundred percent”, said C-in-C SWAC
    That was a tough nut for our boffins to crack!
    Our CEO, bravely said, “Never say die,
    We’ll launch all our Maruts en masse in the sky”!

    17B. SRoy and ground crew, they all were top rate
    Mini’s Daggers were first out of the gate
    A spectacle magnificent to behold;
    Squadron fly pasts by our pilots so bold.

    What this will do though, is to increase the number of stanzas by one. The jury is out there!
    km

  5. Shashi Ramdas says:

    Absolutely Fantastic, Minni.

    • Nina Menon says:

      Hello Shashi,
      Krish gave his 100% to this song !
      Please say Hi to Puttu.
      ( now I have reached an age, where I call everybody, by their first names. I hope you don’t mind ! )
      Nina Menon.

  6. gvb narang says:

    minni sir ,
    we never ever thought that you were a poet also at heart !! absolutly great, very true !!!
    bhushan

    • Nina Menon says:

      Hello Bhushan,
      This is Nina Menon.
      You remember me ?
      I am answering to your comment to Krish about he
      being a poet.
      ” It is my influence ! “

  7. Wg Cdr V B Athmaram (Retd) says:

    It is indeed amazing to go through the memory line, even though it was in the fag end of Maruts that I entered, I am overwhelmed by my CO’s 10 sqn song. I solute Minni Menon Sir and really do not dare to edit or improve. It is as such absolutely fine and can be sung in chorus during the re-union.

  8. VK Murthy says:

    There are no old & bold pilots
    Few are left as cold & old pilots

    Their memory is still alive
    To keep the Fire young & alive

    Bless them all who still fly
    To keep the IAF always alive.

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