John Dalvi

Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi (3 July 1920 – 1980) was an Indian Army officer. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, he was the commander of the Indian 7th Brigade, which was destroyed, leading Dalvi to be captured by the People's Liberation Army on 22 October 1962.


John Dalvi
Born(1920-07-03)3 July 1920
Basra, Iraq
Died28 October 1980
Allegiance India
Service/branch Indian Army
Years of service1940–ca. 1965
UnitBaluch Regiment
Commands heldIndian 7th Brigade
Battles/warsWorld War II
Sino-Indian War
AwardsMention in Despatches


Dalvi was born on 3 July 1920 in Basra, Iraq where his father was serving with the British administration. He returned to India in 1923 and studied at St. Mary's High School, Bombay. He graduated and joined to study under the Jesuits at St. Xavier's College, Bombay. In 1940 with the outbreak of World War II he joined Indian Army.[1]


Dalvi was commissioned into the Baluch Regiment. To the end of World War II he served with the regiment's 5th Battalion. He took part in Field Marshal Sir William Slim's pursuit of Japanese Army. From October 1944 to March 1945 he saw fighting with 19th Indian Division notably at the Crossing of the Irrawaddy. For his services he was mentioned in despatches for gallant and distinguished service.

In 1945 he was selected to join the staff of General Sir Montagu Stopford, GOC XXXIII Corps and later GOC-in-C of 12th Army Burma.

In 1947 he was posted as instructor to Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was then moved to 5 Gorkha Rifles as 2nd in command. In 1949 Dalvi was attached with Brigade of the Guards. In 1950, he was selected for Staff College, which he graduated in 1951. He then commanded the 4th Battalion, Brigade of the Guards and later 2nd Guards.

In October 1960 he was given an accelerated promotion to be appointed as Brigadier Administration to XV Corps. In January 1962, he was given the Command on 7th Infantry Brigade in NEFA and fought in the Sino-Indian War. He was taken Prisoner of War on 22 October 1962 and was repatriated in May 1963.[2]

He died of cancer in 1980.[3]

Books authored

On his return to India, he authored a book about the 1962 war, titled The Himalayan Blunder: The curtain raiser to the Sino-Indian War of 1962.[4] The book was banned in Indian almost immediately on its release, but this ban was later lifted.[5] His book is in direct contradiction with the book authored by his erstwhile commanding officer, Brij Mohan Kaul.[6] In his book Brig. Dalvi bitterly described about his return to India:

We landed in Dum Dum airport in Calcutta on May 4, 1963. We were received cordially, appropriately. But the silence there was disquieting. I realized later. We had to prove we weren't brainwashed by Chinese ideology. We had to prove we were still loyal to India. My own army maintained a suspicious distance. The irony cannot be harsher: this treatment from a country, which for more than a decade had brainwashed itself into holding the Chinese baton wherever it went.


  • Dalvi, Brig. J.P., "Himalayan blunder – the curtain raiser to the Sino-Indian war of 1962" [Bombay, 1969, Rep. Natraj, Dehradun 1997]
  • Kaul, Lt. Gen. B.M., "The untold story" [Jaica Publishing House, New Delhi, 1967]
  • Maxwell, Neville, "India's China War" [Bombay 1970, Rep. Natraj Dehradun, 1997]


  1. Dalvi, Brig. J.P., "Himalayan blunder – the curtain raiser to the Sino-Indian war of 1962" [Bombay, 1969, Rep. Natraj, Dehradun 1997] pp 498
  2. Dalvi, Himalayan Blunder, pp 496–497
  3. "After he had been repatriated, Brigadier John Dalvi served on in the same rank for a few more years, retiring as Commander of the Madras Sub-Area. He spent his years in retirement between his farm in the lovely Doon Valley in Dehra Dun and his home in New Delhi, dying of cancer in 1980" (p. 217) in Singh, Amarinder (1999). Lest We Forget. The Regiment of Ludhiana Welfare Association. p. 217.
  4. Himalayan Blunder
  6. Lt. Gen. B.M. Kaul, "The untold story" [Jaica Publishing House, New Delhi, 1967]
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