Book Details

Author(s): Brigadier M.R. Narayanan, VSM (Retd) Corps of Signals
ISBN: 9788194465904
Publication Year: 2020
Binding: HB
Pages: 174
Price: Rs. 895 Rs. 895
Stock Availability Yes

‘When Sparrows flew like Eagles’ is unique in many ways. Firstly, this is perhaps the first time anyone has attempted to write about the role of soldier-signallers in the final outcome of a war as they did in IV Corps Operations in 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh. He brings out why signal communication is a force multiplier to win battles and ultimately the War; when timely, how it can avert an unwanted tactical battle and save human lives and war resources. Apart from being a historical narrative, the book has immense value as a military training document. It emphasises human behaviour under stress including psychological dimensions of leadership qualities required at the middle and top management levels during war or warlike situations

The book makes interesting reading, especially for signal officers. The story of the 1971 Bangladesh operations has been written by several officers who took part in them, but this is perhaps the first account by a signal officer. Though the story covers a relatively narrow spectrum of engineering communications at Corps level – operating aspects such as signal centre, exchanges, and ciphers are not covered – it gives an insight into the problems faced by a middle level officer during war and the ingenuity displayed in solving them. 

Communications during war have a peculiar characteristic. If things go wrong, they are highlighted by everyone and are often blamed for failures. If things go well, they are rarely mentioned. In the Sino Indian conflict in 1962, Signals were blamed for debacles at various stages. On the other hand, the Goa operations in 1961 and Bangladesh operations in 1971 were virtually a walk-over for the Indian Army. As a result, communication problems were hardly spoken about. The account written by Brigadier Narayanan dispels this myth.  His experiences bring out valuable lessons, which he has highlighted at the end of the book.

Author of ‘The History of the Corps of Signals, Volume II (1939-47)
 and Volume III (1947-72)

“…. I don’t think there is any parallel in History where a Corps Headquarters moved within enemy gun shells as we moved into COMILLA. And we couldn’t possibly have moved there, unless Brigadier SIDHU and his Corps of Signals  had ensured our comn. Now this is something, Ladies and Gentlemen, a fact  of history and undeniable. The whole Corps Headquarters moved on the  night of 11/12 Dec (1971) and we couldn’t have functioned there, if we had not  gone ahead and established the comn within enemy gun range……” 

Lt Gen Sagat Singh, GOC IV Corpsat the Signals Anniversary on 15 Feb 1972 at Tezpur


Every signal communication channel has two ends.
Never complain about the other end at any time.
Instead take responsibility for the other end too.

“IV Corps Signals Mantra”

`When Sparrows flew like Eagles` book published under the auspices of  `The United Service Institution of India` (USI).

ABOUT Author

Brig M R Narayanan, VSM is a retired Corps of Signals Officer. Over a span of the 31 years that he served in the Indian Army, he had held a number of challenging appointments at both directional and conceptual levels in particular post-Bangladesh War 1971. Narayanan was known in the corps for his technical competence and his ability in applying his technical knowledge innovatively in various situations of war at a Corps level. He was also an instructor at the college of Defence Management where he had honed his management skills. In his last assignment as Brigadier he was Project Director Plan AREN for modernising the field force communications.

Post retirement, he joined the Public Sector as Chairman & Managing Director of Central Electronics Ltd. (CEL). He was also consultant to the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) when he did a few project studies awarded by the World Bank. He was on the faculty of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani as an Adjunct Professor for the students` internship training in Electronics and IT at Bangalore.

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