Thursday, July 29, 2010


A news release with the above title has come to my attention, which I include in its entirety below. Abuse of power by bureaucrats and politicians is a huge problem in India. My advice to Mr Nath is to start a movement aimed at eliminating such abuses.



A respected South Asian military historian, scholar and author is being unjustly harassed, maligned and threatened by Indian authorities. Mr Ashok Nath is of Indian origin, has been based in Europe for the last thirty years and, earlier, served in an elite cavalry regiment of the Indian Army. He is the author of a monumental work on the history of the Indian and Pakistan cavalry, whose research and publication he has financed largely from his own resources. The work has been widely acclaimed - for example in the UK by Oxford University's eminent Professor of the History of War, Hew Strachan, by the Indian Military Historical Society, and by others.

The story begins in August 2000, when he purchased in Delhi a post-WWII George Cross medal group in good faith for his private collection, with documents and a video confirming its legal title.

To raise funds for his research on the next series of volumes he is writing, he decided to sell his medal collection, and offered the George Cross to a well known military auction house in London in 2009. The auction house, doing some research, discovered that the medal was listed as having been reported stolen and asked him for proof to the contrary, which he provided to its satisfaction and to the satisfaction of Scotland Yard to which the case was later referred.

For unknown reasons, the widow of the George Cross awardee denied selling the medal and reported that it had been stolen on a date well after it had been sold. This created a politically-motivated hue and cry in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The local politicians instructed an official to secure the return of the medal so that they could claim credit for the return of the medal to the state.

The George Cross is not an antique according to Indian law, nor was it registered as a national treasure in India, so its sale was valid and there was nothing illegal about its being taken out of the country. It has been purchased in good faith with valid documents and there is indeed a video recording which demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that the medal was given by the widow, to the person who then sold it on.

The scholar is being bullied by threats, false charges and public maligning by the authorities. After voluntarily withdrawing the medal from the auction, he called for a thorough and impartial investigation, and has cooperated with the police, both in the UK and India. However, the Indian State police are known for being corrupt, and have been twisting evidence to suit their own agenda. He feels therefore that they cannot be trusted.

Harassment by Indian government officials is a sad reality in India. It is unacceptable that Indian authorities should seek to browbeat a European citizen who is pursuing his own scholarly interests. If the Indian authorities are allowed to get away with such actions it will be a sad day for collectors worldwide.

Mr. Nath can be contacted on telephone +373 22 73 20 23 or by email on: anath53[AT] Sphere: Related Content

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