Tuesday, 19 April 2016
The First South Asian Muslim Quetta Staff Course Graduate: A Military Profile
Defence Journal, March 2016, www.defencejournal.com (Pakistan)
Captain Mohammed Ali Ahmed completed the 1st War Course at the Indian Staff College at Quetta in 1940 as a Captain in the H.E.H The Nizam’s Regular Forces. A representative of Command and Staff College Quetta has this to say in gracious confirmation: “…it is my pleasure to confirm that Captain Mohammed Ali Ahmed, The Nizam’s Regular Forces, was the 1st Muslim Student from the Subcontinent to graduate from Command and Staff College Quetta, on 22nd Jun 1940.”
It is interesting that a State Forces officer cornered the distinction which otherwise could have been the fortune of a Muslim King’s Commissioned Indian Officer (KCIO). A third of the KCIOs commissioned into the British Indian Army after Indianisation commenced in 1920 were Muslim. Staff College had opened its doors to Indians 1933 onwards, with Captain (later Field Marshal Cariappa) completing the year-long course in 1933-34. Those commissioned from the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun were perhaps not by then senior enough to be considered for the course since the Pioneer course was commissioned in 1934. This article is a military profile of the State Forces officer, Brigadier Ali Ahmed, who has the distinction of being the first Muslim staff course graduate from the subcontinent.
The context of the times
For Hyderabad to be so chosen to send a nominee for the course is easy to see since it was the largest princely state with over 80000 square kilometers in territory inhabited by 16 million people. Its Nizam was the highest in protocol among Indian potentates entitled to the 21 gun salute, one among four other rulers. Gaining autonomy under the later Moghuls, Hyderabad had been a princely state in Deccan for about two hundred years. It had come under suzerainty of the British as they expanded across the Deccan after besting both the Marathas and Tipu Sultan in early nineteenth century. Hyderabad was the first state to accede to Lord Arthur Wellesley’s subsidiary alliance system in 1798 and consequently was required to maintain forces for use of imperial power in India when required. For the purpose, they were termed imperial service troops. With consolidation of British power, there was less of a premium on State Forces. State forces now were:
raised and maintained by the Rulers of Indian States at their own expense and for State service. It has been the custom in emergency for State troops to be lent to the Government of India, and the Government of India have on many occasions received military assistance of great value from this source. But the rendering of such aid is entirely at the discretion of the Ruling Princes and Chiefs.
In an article in the June 1940 issue of Owl, Captain Ali Ahmed encapsulated Hyderabad state’s perception thus: ‘Hyderabad State surrounded on all sides by British Indian territory, and removed by thousands of miles from the Northern marchlands through which all invasions of India in the past were effected, has nothing to fear from outside attacks and its boundaries are safe. Therefore, the basic factor underlying the defence policy of our state is the maintenance of Internal peace.’ Under the circumstance, the main role of Hyderabad State Forces was ‘maintenance of internal security; suppression of communal troubles; prevention of sabotage; safeguarding railways, bridges and banks and, in emergencies, to reinforce the army in India.’
Hyderabad was an ‘agglomeration of diversities’ in which ‘Medievalism flourishes by the side of modernity’ and life being ‘full of incongruities’ with even ‘defence forces being no exception to the rule.’ The army comprised the regular troops - Hyderabad State Forces - and irregular troops, Nizami Jameeth. Additionally, there were feudal levies such as the Sarfikhas, Paigah and Semestan troops and ‘swashbucklers’ of Jagirdars and Rajas armed with ‘Jambia’ and ‘Karabin’. Hyderabad State Forces were divided into field service, general service and state service troops, with the first two being Class A troops, armed with relatively modern weapons and organised similar to the British Indian Army counterparts. These units were grouped into Cavalry and Infantry Brigades. The Brigades were under an Army HQs with a Commander-in-Chief and his principal staff officers: the Chief of Staff and the Adjutant and Quartermaster general. The Army HQs was responsible to the Hyderabad Government for the efficiency and wellbeing of the state forces. An Army Minister was the Executive Council member in charge of the Army Department and accountable to the President of the Executive Council, the Prime Minister. Finally, the Nizam, was, ‘The supreme head of the Army as well as the State is our Ruler whose decisions are final.’
Liaison with the Indian Army was maintained through the Military Adviser-in-Chief at the Army HQs, India, who was empowered ‘to tender advice as regards the policy to be followed in respect of Indian State Forces.” The Commander-in-Chief in India maintained general supervision over state forces through the MA-in-Chief. State Forces had a Military Adviser and Assistant Military Advisers belonging to the British Indian Army posted in the state to facilitate this.
In the eye of the storm
Partition did not affect Hyderabad state as it did north India. The Nizam contemplated his options while India set about integration of princely states after Independence. 1947 saw Brigadier Ali Ahmed serving as officiating Brigadier General Staff of Hyderabad Army. He was deputed to represent the Hyderabad Army in the negotiations with the Government of India for integration into India. The negotiations resulted in the Stand Still Agreement of 29 November 1947. Interestingly, his role was to gain for the Hyderabad Army a supply of arms from India. In the event, this did not materialize and among one of the disagreements over the Stand Still Agreement was Hyderabad’s search for arms elsewhere, including the UK.
Hyderabad was subject to India’s Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s firm policy to get all princely states to merge with newly independent India. An episode recounted in Hyderabad is that using an opportunity to advise the Nizam, Ali Ahmed reportedly told the Nizam that facing up militarily to the Indian Army - hardened by five years of the Second World War - would be futile. He forthrightly, if colourfully, said that it would take the Indian Army as long as it takes a tank to drive from Solapur (Sholapur) to Hyderabad, a distance of 299 Km, to capture Hyderabad. As it turned out this became the corporate position of the Hyderabad army, given out in a book, Hyderabad of “the Seven Loaves” (1994), authored by its then chief, Syed Ahmed Ali el Edroos. But by then politics of the state had been captured by Laik Ali and Kasim Rizvi and their irregular militia, the Razakars.
In the tumultuous period, Brigadier Ali Ahmed raised, trained and commanded the Hyderabad Rifle Brigade till 1949, alongside raising the Hyderabad Territorial Army in 1948. ‘Police Action’, code named Operation Polo, was launched by the Indian army on 13 September 1948. Brigadier Ali Ahmed was in charge of Southern Sector defending Gulbarga and Raichur. Here he faced-off against the thrust commanded by Brig (later Maj Gen) NV Bal, an officer of the Maratha Light Infantry, placed under Maj Gen AA Rudra’s Madras Area. Bal’s troops included 5/5 Gorkha Rifles, 1 Mysore Infantry and Mysore Lancers (Horsed). Hav Narbahadur Thapa earned India’s second Ashok Chakra in the skirmish over the Tungabhadra railway bridge in this sector. Some skirmishes took place in the area of Hospet, near Bellary. The major operations were instead largely on the western front, thus Brigadier Ali Ahmed missed out on operational level action. Hyderabad capitulated on 17 September, with el Edroos surrendering the next day to Maj Gen JN Chaudhuri, who led 1 Armoured Division under Southern Command’s head, Lt Gen Rajendrasinhji.
Maj Gen JN Chaudhuri, appointed Military Governor of Hyderabad, was a Quetta course-mate and friend of Brigadier Ali Ahmed. For helping with stabilization operations after Op Polo, Brig Ali Ahmed was put in charge of the Internal Security Directorate in 1948-49 and in 1949 headed the Force HQs at Warangal for anti-communist operations. A communist threat was one reason for India’s use of force. By holding this charge, he can be said to have the honour of being India’s first counter insurgency commander! Interestingly, half century on, the area remained under threat of Naxalism. After the dust settled, he was appointed Commander of 1 Hyderabad Infantry Brigade in 1950 and, finally as his last appointment, of the Hyderabad Brigade Group.
The British Indian Army that had begun demobilization after the Second World War did not need additional manpower after Partition. Therefore, the State Forces were not integrated but demobilized. The terms of integration were not particularly attractive for the senior members of State Forces. However, unlike their seniors, junior officers did volunteer for integration. For his part, finding integration into the Indian Army presaged a demotion for state forces officers by two ranks, Brigadier Ali Ahmed took the honourable way out. On 1 April 1951, completing 23 fulsome years in uniform and attaining to a princely sum of Rs. 2150/- as his final pay cheque, Brigadier Ali Ahmed was released.
A military portrait
It is fascinating how a man with no aristocratic connections or pretensions, vital to advancement in the feudal era then, rose to play the role he did in the Hyderabad Army. Born as the eldest child to a medical doctor-in-uniform in the State Force, his was the ninth generation of a family reputedly of Uzbek origin that traced its arrival in India to Aurangzeb’s final years in the Deccan. He gained his commission just under-20 years of age in 1927. Doing the usual stint as company officer and quarter master, he was company commander in 1931-33. In the period, he completed the Young Officers’ course equivalent weapons training and junior tactical courses. As is the customary progress today, he was off to a staff appointment with six years of service as assistant station staff officer and later Brigade Major of the Hyderabad Infantry Brigade in 1936-39. He completed the next rung of courses for middle-piece officers, the Short Tactical Courses at the Deccan District and at brigade level, equivalent to the current day Junior Command course.
As Brigade Major, he closely interacted with the British Indian Army regiments located in Secunderabad cantonment. Captain Ali Ahmed’s friend from 4 Battalion 19th Hyderabad Regiment (4 Kumaon) days in Bowenpalli garrison, where it received the King’s Colours, was Major ‘Timmy’ Thimayya. Yet another friend from the period was India’s first Army Chief and second Field Marshal, Captain ‘Kipper’ Cariappa, who after qualifying on the Quetta staff course stood posted as a Staff Captain and later DA&QMG in Deccan Area in Secunderabad.
Between 1934 and 1939, Captain Ali Ahmed simultaneously instructed Officer Cadets during training and was in charge of officer promotion courses. A report on him records that he was ‘well educated and very well read’ and ‘a keen student of his profession’. After taking the pre-course at the Deccan District Promotion Course, he cleared the Indian Army promotion exam to the rank of Captain in 1936, unsurprisingly standing first in Deccan district, which included Indian Army officer candidates, and with distinctions in Military History and Military Geography. His assessors found him ‘widely read in military subjects’ and that ‘he has followed closely and studies deeply the world situation.’ His personal library held several studies of the Great War, including works on Allenby’s advances in Palestine. The thirst for knowledge explains his selection for the Staff Course over his contemporaries in both the Hyderabad Army and the British Indian Army.
The pre-staff course preparation for a State Forces officer was rigourous, consisting of attachments with Indian Army units. General Sir Chetwode, Commander-in-Chief, India, had in his opening address at the Indian Military Academy had given out the British intention thus: ‘With the federal idea before us, it is just as important that the officer of the State Forces should be highly educated as it is in the case of those in British India.’ Captain Ali Ahmed was one of two first beneficiaries of this policy of higher quality training for State Forces officers.
He undertook the pre-course familiarization over a three month period in 1938-39 on the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), curiously the scene of just as extensive counter insurgency operations as now. He was attached to the 2nd Battalion (Berar) of the 19 Hyderabad Regiment (rechristened Kumaon Regiment in 1945), today’s 2 Kumaon. Brigade level training was with the famous HQs Peshawar Brigade, in which he undertook its short weapons training course. Brief stints with artillery and the services followed and an attachment with the Royal Indian Air Force’s oldest outfit, No. 1 “The Tigers” Squadron, in Peshawar in January 1939 when legendary air warriors such as Subroto Mukherjee and AM Engineer served in it. Overseeing the training that included command of a company, Commander Peshawar Brigade Brigadier GO de Channer recommended unhesitatingly, ‘I consider he would do well if sent to the Staff College (junior wing).’
The General HQs Staff Course, presumably equivalent to today’s Indian Army’s Command level pre-staff course, followed. His senior instructor, Colonel AH Burnett, CB, DSO, MC, records that he had the ‘characteristic to cheerily make the best of a bad job.’ More importantly, he earned accolade for his ‘power of making a decision without fear of the result’. Further, his assessor wrote that, ‘Although he had opinions of his own, he is tactful.’ Together, these are the necessary traits of good officership in any army in any era. Character is as much of significance in an officer as physical fitness and mental robustness.
On his nomination for Staff College, he adventurously drove up to Quetta from Hyderabad by car with his family. Between November 1939 and June 1940, he attended the staff course along with legends as Captain (later Lt Gen) SD Verma and ‘Muchhu’ Chaudhuri. He renewed his friendship with Major (later Field Marshal) Cariappa, then Brigade Major of Khojak Brigade, later 20 Indian Infantry Brigade. General Sir Douglas Gracey, commander of the 20 Infantry Division of Burma fame and the second chief of Pakistan Army, was among his instructors. The Commandant General AFP Christisen, MC wrote in his report: ‘You should be very proud of this achievement and if it is decided to send a State Forces officer to ‘Minley’ you have an excellent chance as I shall recommend you.’ ‘Minley’ was a reference to a property with the War Office in 1934 to house the ‘senior wing’, or higher command equivalent faculty, of the nearby Staff College at Camberley in the UK.
On his return to Hyderabad, he commanded the Hyderabad Army Training School that turned out wartime officers. In the war years, as Captain, he raised and commanded the 7 Battalion The Hyderabad Infantry. His reports as Commanding Officer by successive Military Adviser-in-Chief (MA-in-C), Indian State Forces, including twice by General Sir F Gwatkin, CB, DSO, MC, have it that, ‘he appears to be very keen on his job and seems to know exactly what was going on;’ ‘he has the most intimate knowledge of his men;’ and, ‘intimate knowledge of all the details of his battalion.’ He was thus an example in what is known in army parlance as ‘knowing one’s command’. Command of a unit is considered the epitome of command. Success in this guarantees higher appointments; however, being successful and good are two different aspects. In a sound army, a good commanding officer is more desirable than a successful one.
In 1944, the Hyderabad Infantry Training Center was set up under Lt Col Ali Ahmed. To learn the ropes he had an attachment with the Mahratta Light Infantry Training Center. At the end of the war, after briefly reverting to command his battalion, he was on staff of HQs Hyderabad Army in the coveted operations appointment of GSO-1. Clearly, the Hyderabad Army put his learning at Quetta to full use, a testimony to the quality of training at the elite training institution.
What stands-out in his reports are the remarks on ‘keen to learn’ and ‘real seeker after knowledge’. This made him different as a modern man at the end of a feudal era. That he was marked out for higher command is visible in his reports in references to his ‘strong character’ and having ‘much personality’. In the event, Independence and its aftermath decreed that he retire at his prime.
The old soldier’s legacy
Post-Independence, Brig Ali Ahmed was patriarch of India’s leading Muslim military family. Partition had resulted in partition also of the Indian Army. As a result of departure of the Punjabi Musalmans and Pathans to Pakistan, the proportion of Muslims in India’s Army fell from roughly a third to about 2 per cent. Since South India was not singed by the flames of Partition, Brigadier Ali Ahmed settled into retirement in Hyderabad, Deccan. His choice resulted over time in the family tradition of military service continuing as part of Indian Army.
Of his immediate family, three brothers, three sons, three sons-in-law, three grandsons and two nephews were officers in Independent India’s security forces, all of whom won red tabs for their lapels in their turn. Pre-Independence, his eldest son had been dispatched as a cadet at the Prince of Wales’ Royal Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehra Dun. At RIMC, his son’s contemporaries were the likes of Shaharyar Khan and Shamim Alam Khan, later foreign secretary and general respectively in Pakistan. Two daughters wore khakis, early entrants to the National Cadet Corps, with one in its air wing. One juncture in the early nineties saw at least one officer from the immediate family at every rank from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General in the armed forces and the paramilitary. Interestingly, Brig Ali Ahmed’s son attended India’s Staff Course in Wellington and so did his grandson, making the three generations unique, making for yet another first in the subcontinent.
In an India with an expanding economy, military families are threatened with extinction. A declining proportion of officers’ wards join services. For a professional, meritocratic and all-volunteer army of a republic, noblesse oblige has no place. Wards of societal elite must equally be represented in the military and it cannot merely be seen as a vehicle for upward socio-economic mobility. Consequently, tradition has a place in military affairs and it takes generations to foster. Measures that can preserve traditions need nurturing, including higher emoluments and assured dignity and quality of life to keep the military attractive as a calling.
Like a typical veteran, Brig Ali Ahmed maintained his interest in matters military. In a letter to his friend, Thimayya, then heading his third field army, the Eastern Command on his designation by Nehru as Indian Army Chief, he wrote: ‘I am looking forward to the day when you take over that finest machine – the Indian Army – and discarding ‘Red Tapism’ bring it back to its pristine glory by infusing new life in it … India’s defence forces should be a source of pride to the common man: They should be loved rather than feared (italics added).’ The sentiment resonates through the ages and is valid for all armies. Armies are of the people and are to serve the nation, albeit answerable through the government of the day.
Having given the better part of his life and his family to military service, as old soldier’s do he faded away. His fighter pilot son narrates that once after turning in the family car for servicing, they rode back home in a rickshaw. When the rickshaw encountered a climb, as they insisted on getting off, they heard the rickshaw puller say, “Sahib, zindagi mein utar-chadao to aate hain. Main main aapke niche 7 Hyderabad Infantry mein Sipahi tha.” (“Sahib, life has its up’s and down’s. I was a sepoy under you in 7 Hyderbad Infantry.”) With moistened eyes the two comrades-in-arms in the rickshaw receded into the sunset, ringing down the curtain on the medieval era in the Deccan.
 As inscribed on the board in the Command and Staff College Quetta on which is maintained the record of names of alumni.
 Email of Internet in Charge, Command and General Staff College, Quetta, 3 March 2015. The first Muslim to do staff course was an Iraqi army officer in 1935-36 (http://armystaffcollege.gov.pk/NOTABLE-GRADUATES.pdf, accessed on 15 July 2015), who later went on to be Iraq Army Chief of Staff till the coup in 1958 in the aftermath of which he was sentenced to death, commuted later in intercession of the King of Morocco with the revolutionary government (https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v12/d143, accessed 20 July 2015).
 In the first decade of Indianisation, of the 99 KCIO’s commissioned between 1922-31, 34 were Muslims, a clear one-third.
 In his famous speech at the opening of the Indian Military Academy, General Sir Chetwode had indicated that Staff Course was opened to Indians. See ‘Address of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode to The First Term Gentleman Cadets of the First Course At the Indian Military Academy 10 December 1932’, Scholar Warrior, Spring 2012, p. 152, http://www.claws.in/images/journals_doc/SW%20J.172-175.pdf, accessed on 15 July 2015.
Field Marshal Cariappa, commissioned in 1922, was the first Indian entry to Staff College completing the year long course between 1933 and 1934 (‘The Quetta Heritage’, DSSC, p. 6, http://www.dssc.gov.in/history/The%20Quetta%20Heritage.pdf , accessed on 18 July 2015). From South Asia’s Muslims, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, KCIO commissioned in 1928, did the 3rd Long Staff Course from December 1940 to June 1941, and General Musa, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff in the 1965 War, did the 1942 course. See http://armystaffcollege.gov.pk/NOTABLE-GRADUATES.pdf , accessed on 15 July 2015.
 Of the first course commissioned from Indian Military Academy in February 1934, Field Marshal Manekshaw attended the course in 1943.
 KM Panikkar, The Evolution of British Policy Towards Indian States, 1774-1858, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1986, p. 31.
 ‘Indian integration of Hyderabad’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_integration_of_Hyderabad, accessed 10 June 2015.
 ‘British Empire India (Continued): Army’, http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/league/le0285al.pdf, p. 238, accessed on 26 July 2015.
 Captain Ali Ahmed, ‘Defence Forces of Hyderabad’, Owl, June 1940 (pp. 17-18). This was the magazine of the 1st War Course at Quetta.
 Owl, June 1940, pp. 17. The subsequent paragraphs draw on Captain Ali Ahmed’s article.
 ‘British Empire India (Continued): Army’, http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/league/le0285al.pdf, p. 238, accessed 13 July 2015. Class A troops were organized like regular troops. Class B and C were relatively inferior in quality and less systematically organized.
 Op cit Note 9.
 Op cit Note 9.
 For text see, Standstill Agreement between India and Hyderabad, https://cbkwgl.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/standstill-agreement-between-india-and-hyderabad/, accessed on 1 July 2015.
 el Edroos in his autobiography (S. Ali el Edroos and LR Naik, Hyderabad of "the Seven Loaves", Hyderabad: Laser Prints, 1994) recounts making a trip to London for the purpose. See Gautam Pemmaraju, ‘The Fall of Hyderabad’, Open Magazine, 18 September 2010, http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/the-fall-of-hyderabad, accessed 10 July 2015.
 K. Venkateshwarlu, ‘How the Nizam lost Hyderabad in 1948’, The Hindu, 14 August 2012, http://www.thehindu.com/books/how-the-nizam-lost-hyderabad-in-1948/article3765710.ece, accessed 20 July 2015.
S. Ali el Edroos and LR Naik, Hyderabad of "the Seven Loaves", Hyderabad: Laser Prints, 1994.
 KC Praval, Indian Army After Independence, New Delhi: Lancer, 2013.
 Hav Narbahadur Thapa received the award in 1952 when it was instituted. See http://indianarmy.nic.in/Site/FormTemplete/frmTempSimple.aspx?MnId=Sci28TR4oZu8YGPYj4T9/w==&ParentID=vok489X2n9nw4MCLhdRl2g==, accessed on 16 July 2015. For his citation see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka_Chakra_(military_decoration), accessed 16 July 2015. The first Ashok Chakra awardee, Hav Bachitter Singh, won posthumously in the Hyderabad operations, earning it on the very first day itself.
 KC Praval titles his chapter on the army action as ‘Hyderabad – The 100-hour war’.
JN Chaudhuri, 1 Armoured Division in Operation "Polo", East Sussex: The Naval and Military Press, 2014.
 Incidentally, his son, Lt Gen MA Zaki, led the Indian army in facing up to India’s gravest internal security challenge yet as India’s corps commander in Srinagar when the troubles broke out in Kashmir in late 1989. He was Adviser to Governor till 1995.
 Despite being a medic, early last century, he won the sharpshooter prize, the Golconda Cup, as the RMO (Regimental Medical Officer) equivalent during his infantry battalion deputation.
 Today the barracks where Thimayya’s unit stayed in Secunderabad are called Thimayya Lines.
 See for a brief biography of Cariappa, http://veekay-militaryhistory.blogspot.com/2012/10/biography-field-marshal-km-cariappa-obe.html, accessed 13 July 2015.
 Report extracts are from the Record of Service held in the family archives in Hyderabad, India.
 ‘Address of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode to The First Term Gentleman Cadets of the First Course At the Indian Military Academy 10 December 1932’, Scholar Warrior, p.152. Sir Chetwode was promoted field marshal in February 1933. He was a general at the time of his historical speech at Dehra Dun.
 At the 1st War Course was another State Forces officer, Captain BP Walawalker, of 1st Battalion Jaipur Infantry. He was a graduate of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and course mate of General JN Chaudhuri.
 Subroto Mukherjee became the first Indian commander of a squadron two months later.
JN Chaudhuri, General J. N. Chaudhuri: An Autobiography, as Narrated to B. K. Narayan, New Delhi: Vikas, 1948, p. 114
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minley_Manor, accessed on 20 July 2015.
 Little could he have known that his son and grandson would join the Maratha regiment and his son would be Colonel of the Regiment. Coming to India ten generations back and with Aurangzeb’s army to Deccan to fight the Marathas, it is a testimony to the assimilative character of the subcontinent that two generations of the family post Independence were in the ranks of the Marathas. Lt Gen Zaki earned India’s third highest medal of valour in the 1965 War (See MA Zaki, ‘An Infantry Combat Leader’s Memoir of the 1965 War’, Journal of Defence Studies, 9 (3), July 2015,
http://www.idsa.in/jds/9_3_2015_AnInfantryCombatLeadersMemoirofthe1965War.html, accessed on 15 July 2015.
 Later in life this facet led to his being delegated to show the historian Arnold Toynbee Hyderabad when he visited India for the Maulana Azad lecture under auspices of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in 1960.
 Ahmed Faruqui, ‘Muslims in Indian Army’, Dawn, 15 March 2010, http://www.dawn.com/news/842925/muslims-in-indian-army, accessed 30 July 2015.
 His younger brother, Lt Col Moinuddin Ahmed, commanded an infantry unit as Lieutenant Colonel defending the Bidar axis during Police Action. Offered the rank of Captain in the Indian Army, he instead sought release during integration. He went on to give his two sons to the Indian Army and his daughter married an Indian army officer.
 All three attained star rank; with Lt Gen Jameel Mahmood, passing away in a helicopter accident in Bhutan as Army Commander, Eastern Command; the second, retiring as an Air Commodore; and the third as Inspector General in the Border Security Force.
The elder son attained the rank of Lieutenant General and his son – the author - in turn ended up as a second generation Rimcollian and a third-generation Infantryman. At RIMC, Lt Gen Zaki was taught by Mr. Catchpole, who went on to be associated with Pakistan’s elite public schools: Cadet College Hasan Abdal and Abbotabad Public School.
Ali Ahmed’s two remaining sons were also packed off later to RIMC as was yet another grandson.
Shashi Tharoor, India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond, New York: Arcade Publications, 1997, p. 119.
 Brigadier Mohammed Ali Ahmed , ‘Letter to Lt Gen Thimayya’, 19 November 1956, available in Zaki family archives and in the ‘Thimayya papers’ in Coorg.