Conceived as a showcase of India’s military traditions, tactics and technology, Militaria features a wide range of military
subjects that appeal to a broad spectrum of attendees, including Armed Forces specialists, entrepreneurs from India’s defence-related industry, strategic analysts, military historians, corporate strategists, and civilian enthusiasts.
The first event of its kind in India, at its essence, Militaria is a vision festival, which celebrates India’s rich history including its, philosophy, martial traditions and culture of the armed forces. Though it is inspired and influenced by the military’s glorious past, Militaria is also closely connected to modern-day intelligence, operational aspects and technology for the armed forces. This unique mix of past, present, and future should help spark new strategies and help us all to work towards a stronger, more promising future.
Militaria: building a tradition
Militaria 2022, the second edition, was a two-day conference inaugurated on the evening of April 10, 2022 as an exclusive legacy event at the marvellously maintained Castle Kanota, near Jaipur. Several eminent personalities from the armed forces, the government, civil society, armed forces veterans of the Rajputana region and entrepreneurs of defence industry companies from across India attended the event. Thakur Man Singh and the Kanota family members in association with Militaria were the hosts.
The forecourt of Castle Kanota was adorned with an impressive array of various models of the famous Royal Enfield motorcycles and some Land Rover and Toyota SUVs, from Thakur Man Singh’s son, Pratap’s collection.
Welcoming the gathering, Maroof Raza, a second generation Indian Army officer(retired), author, military affairs commentator, anchor, publisher of Salute Magazine and founder ‘Militaria’, said that it this forum is the brainchild of a group of passionate individuals who believe in the abiding spirit of India. He explained that this one -of- a- kind seminal platform has been created because there is immense knowledge contained within our own defence industries on the military domain, and – if translated correctly – it can give India the defence industry that can help make India a superpower with made in India products.
The Keynote Address was by Dr Rima Hooja, archaeologist, historian, former Member National Monuments Authority, Director, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum City Palace Jaipur and Managing Trustee Jaipur Virasat Foundation, spoke extensively on many aspects including the traditional martial background of the Rajputana region.
Kunwarnisa Vidushi Pal Singh made an excellent and most engaging presentation of Major General Amar Singh Kanota’s life as a unique mix of a self-made scholar extraordinaire, a valiant soldier leader and a highly regarded scion of the Kanota Thikana.
Mohit Dhar Jayal, Chief Brand Officer of Royal Enfield (RE) made a presentation of the great journey of the RE / Eicher products of which the RE 350 Bullet created history as a masterpiece military motorcycle.
The first day’s Militaria Conference concluded with a Closing Address by Maj Gen Rajendra Rai, GOC, 61 Sub Area, followed by a visit to the Kanota Museum, displaying memorabilia, weapons and a great library, including General Amar Singhji’s beautifully maintained 89 invaluable diaries.
Technology and more
On the second day, the Militaria conference was held, again in the evening, at the Kanota Palace Hotel’s lawns. Beginning with lamp-lighting by some of the guests, the Keynote Address was delivered by Admiral Madhvendra Singh, former Naval Chief, who befittingly made an informative presentation of the maritime operations by the Indian Navy in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, marking 50 years of it. His essay is published as part in this special issue of Salute Magazine on Militaria.
The next session ‘Generals on Technology’, featured Lt Gens PJS Pannu, former Deputy Chief, Integrated Defence Staff and Rajeev Sabherwal, former Signals Officer- in- Chief, delivering some interesting and eye-opening aspects of their observations and analyses how the nature of warfare is changing, Sabherwal said, “….its technological range getting far wider with the advent of Platform Centric Warfare, Network Centric Warfare, Information Centric Warfare, and Knowledge Centric Warfare, and that in the times to come, warfare will be fought in all domains simultaneously and concurrently at all levels.
Pannu said, “The means of warfare have and are rapidly changing from analog to digital and going autonomous. With changing means we need to change the means-doctrines, strategy and resources-and if we mix the two, consequences are disastrous, as seen in Russian application of forces. India must quickly build smart frontiers and prepare for fighting adversaries through developing IoMT ( Internet of Military Things) and IoBT (Internet of Battle Things”.
Next came an audio- visual interview of Mr Puneet Kaura, MD & CEO, Samtel Avionics with Maroof Raza. It brought out how Samtel Avionics (SA) is a key Indian player in high-technology rugged military systems and products, straddling the entire value chain for their design, development, manufacture, testing, qualification, repair & maintenance, as well as obsolescence management. Samtel offers the complete range of state- of- the- art systems for high end applications such as airborne electro-optic systems, electronic warfare systems, and various packages for complete upgrade of armoured vehicles including day and night sights, Fire Control Systems, Airborne Computer Components and Displays.
Government and security
Then came an interesting session on ‘The Role of Government Authorities in facing Security Challenges’ and the panel comprised of Mugdha Sinha, Secretary and Commissioner, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Rajasthan and Suresh Chowdhary, former Chief Information Commissioner, Government of Rajasthan. They discussed the impact of internal security under civil administration and on national security which is the priority of the Armed Forces. Sinha said that cyber security has become of utmost importance in this age and time and efforts must be made to improve and expand internet literacy of citizens to make security policies effective.
She added that with policy making inspired from research, scientific reasoning and technological development, it is crucial that civil servants are trained in skills of writing SOPs and understanding technological specifications along with the skills of designing impactful policies for the country. Chowdhary said that the role of hi-technology has become extremely critical and superior technology certainly provides an upper hand to a nation over another with inferior technology. However, the race for technology is a challenging task. He further stated that with the advent of machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, it is of chief importance that a country prioritizes responsible development and exploitation of technology. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thereafter came Tales of Valor, an audio-visual film on 1971 war presented by Maroof Raza
Lt Gen A.S. Bhinder, AVSM, VSM, GOC-In C of Indian Armys South -Western Command, delivered the Closing Address commending all that had been presented in Militaria-2.
Partnering with Maroof Raza in Militaria is Gurpawan “Garry” Singh, a well established entrepreneur in the fields of risk management, homeland securty and intelligence with many top global and national awards to credit his businesses. Garry has designed and implemented top projects in india including at New Pragati, Maidan, large campuses (of Boeing, Google, Oracle, Wipro, DLF, ASF), command centers (of Flipkart and Genpact), hotels (like Marriot, Welcomgroup, Taj Hotels) as also the security of the Taj Mahal during a high threat.
His award winning company India based MNC ʻIiris Consultingʼ offers comprehensive solutions for risk management, digitization, forensics and technology. Garry, who served in Indian Army’s prestigious Parachute Regiment, is a recipient of a gallantry award and other awards, viz, Sword of Honour, Academy Gold Medal, Best Commando and Best Young Officer to his credits.
The Kanota Group of Hotels is a family-run organization of three Heritage Hotels. Th. Man Singh Kanota along with his brother Th. Prithvi Singh Kanota and their sons Kunwar Pratap Singh Kanota & Kunwar Mormukut Rathore Kanota oversee the operations of Narain Niwas Palace, Castle Kanota, and Rajmahal Palace. Each property has a unique character in terms of architecture, history, and experiences offered to the guests.
The Narain Niwas Palace is 3 kms from the walled city, set on 10 acres the palace is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Jaipur. It was completed in 1928 by General Amar Singh of Kanota, the commander in chief of the Jaipur Maharaja’s army and first among Indians to serve in the WW1 as an officer in the British Army. The palace has 45 rooms and includes, three resto-bars, high-end boutique shops by Indie designers, and a spa.
Castle Kanota was used as the country seat of the aristocrats of Kanota, the fortress was completed in 1874. 15 km from Jaipur, the castle’s 23 rooms, is ideal for tourists looking for a quiet but readily accessible retreat from the city. The castle is worth visiting itself for the Family Museum and the Library of Gen Amar Singh, containing 3000 books, maps, WW1 morabilia, maps, photographs, and 89 personal diary volumes (1898-1942) holding the record for the longest diary in English. It is also the current residence of the Kanota Family.
The beauty of Rajmahal Palace has been recorded in Tod’s annnals and antiquities of Rajasthan. Set on the Banks of the Banas River, the palace was built by the maharaja of Jaipur in 1798 for his favorite wife. Nearly a century later, Th Man Singh and Prithvi Singh’s ancestors were awarded the property for their service to the king. The 14 room palace with orchards and ancient temples on the Banks of the river is ideal for the romantic traveller.