Reminiscences of a Soldier Turned Writer
P.R. Chari
MUSINGS AND MEMORIES VOLUME I & II by Major General D.K. Palit Lancers Books, New Delhi, 2004, 660 pp., 1200.00
April 2004, volume 28, No 4

Old soldiers like Monty Palit do not fade away. They become prolific writers and lead active lives, both physically and mentally, after retirement. Several of Palit’s books like Essentials of Military Knowledge have sold well, and I believe that his War in High Himalaya: The Indian Army in Crisis, 1962 is probably the best book written about the Sino-Indian border conflict. It is characteristic of the author that he informs us, modestly, in the very first page of this magnificently produced two-volume set of his memoirs, that he has never written one, and wishes “ to record them before I pass on to the continent above.” Characteristically, again, this entire labour has been published by Palit with his own funds for private distribution to his friends and colleagues.Volume I follows the orthodox route charted by most autobiographies in that it first describes the author’s childhood and education. His father was an IMS officer who transferred to the civil side and served as Civil Surgeon in Orissa and Bihar during the 20’s and 30’s of the last century. There are charming vignettes of life in the districts at that time, which is nothing like what obtains now.

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