Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri
Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri
|Chief of Army Staff (India)|
20 November 1962 – 7 June 1966
|Preceded by||General PN Thapar|
|Succeeded by||General PP Kumaramangalam|
|High Commissioner to Canada|
July 1966 – August 1969
|Preceded by||B. K. Acharya|
|Succeeded by||A.B. Bhadkamkar|
|Military Governor of Hyderabad State|
|Born||10 June 1908|
|Died||6 April 1983 (aged 74)|
Order of the British Empire
|Years of service||Feb 1928 - Jun 1966|
7th Light Cavalry|
16 Light Cavalry
1st Armoured Division
Director of Military Operations and Intelligence
16 Light Cavalry
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947|
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, OBE (10 June 1908 – 6 April 1983) was an Indian four-star general who served as the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1962 to 1966 and the Military Governor of Hyderabad State from 1948 to 1949. After his retirement from the Indian Army, he served as the Indian High Commissioner to Canada from 19 July 1966 until August 1969.
Family background and early life
Chaudhuri was born into an aristocratic and distinguished Bengali family which produced many renowned lawyers and writers. His family were the Zamindars of Haripur and the family was known as Chaudhuris of Haripur in the province of Bengal, British India. His grandfather Durgadas was a landlord of Chatmohar Upazila of Pabna district of present-day Bangladesh. Noted writer Pramatha Chaudhuri, who married a niece of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, was his uncle. His mother Pramila was the daughter of Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, who was the first president of the Indian National Congress. He was also related to Barrister Kumud Nath Chaudhuri and Raisahib Babu Narendra Krishna Talukdar, Zamindar of Maligacha and honorary first class magistrate for Pabna District, Rajshahi. Of his father's six elder brothers, Sir Asutosh Chaudhuri, Jogesh Chaudhuri, Kumudnath Chaudhuri, Pramathanath Chaudhuri, Capt. Manmathanath Chaudhuri and Dr. Suhridnath Chaudhuri, all were distinguished in their own right. The Chaudhuri wives belonged to the elite and aristocratic families of Bengal. J N Chaudhuri's cousin was Devika Rani Rai Roerich, 'First lady of Indian cinema', daughter of Capt. M N Chaudhuri, and wife of Svetoslav Roerich.
Chaudhuri studied at St. Xavier's College, Calcutta of the University of Calcutta in the city of Kolkata, Highgate School in London, and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. At Sandhurst, he got his nickname "Muchhu" (owing to his rich mustachios).
He was commissioned from Sandhurst as a second lieutenant onto the Unattached List, Indian Army 2 February 1928. Returning to India, he was attached to the 1st battalion North Staffordshire Regiment from 19 March 1928. He was accepted for the Indian Army and joined the 7th Light Cavalry on 19 March 1929. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 May 1930. In 1934, he attended the course at the Equitation School, Saugor. Promoted to the rank of Captain on 2 February 1937, he attended the Staff course at Command and Staff College, Quetta from December 1939 to June 1940.
In 1940, as an acting major, he went overseas on the staff of the 5th Infantry Division and saw service in Sudan, Eritrea, Abyssinia and the western deserts of Africa. For his services, he was Mentioned in Dispatches on 30 December 1941, for distinguished services in the Middle East Feb to July 1941, and again on 30 June 1942 for the same from July to October 1941. He was promoted to temporary major and acting lieutenant-colonel on 22 September 1941. He was awarded the OBE on 18 February 1943 for gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East between May to Oct 1942. Recalled to India, he was appointed as a senior Instructor at the Command and Staff College, Quetta as a GSO-1 in 1943. He was promoted war substantive Major and temporary Lieut-Colonel 8 February 1943.
In August 1944 he was transferred to the 16th Light Cavalry. Then a temporary Lieut-Colonel, he commanded this unit from September 1944 to October 1945 in Burma for which he was twice more Mentioned in Dispatches, (London Gazette 9/5/46) for gallant and distinguished services in Burma (Temporary Lt-Col 16th Light Cavalry) and (London Gazette 17/9/46) for gallant and distinguished services in Burma (Temporary Lt-Col, Indian Armoured Corps). At the end of the Burma campaign, he saw service in French Indochina and in Java, Indonesia with his regiment. He was promoted to the substantive rank of Major on 2 February 1945.
In 1946, he was promoted to the temporary rank of Brigadier with the war-substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel, in Charge of Administration in British Malaya and in the same year was selected to command the Indian Victory Contingent to London.
Following a course at the Imperial Defence College in London in 1947, he returned to India and was appointed Director of Military Operations & Intelligence at Army Headquarters in New Delhi in November 1947. Chaudhuri worked with Major General Mohite to complete military evacuation from Pakistan. He had to organise the Kashmir war effort up to May 1948, when he was succeeded by the then Brig. Sam Manekshaw as DMO and Chand Narayan Das as Director of Military Intelligence. In February 1948, he was promoted to acting Major General and became the officiating Chief of the General Staff.
In May 1948, he took over command of the 1st Armoured Division which played a major role in the 1948 Hyderabad Operations. Following Operation Polo in 1948, he was appointed as the Military Governor of Hyderabad State. In the years following, he occupied important military posts and led an Indian Military Delegation to China. In 1949, he was appointed as the first Colonel Commandant of the Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, and was promoted to substantive brigadier on 1 January 1950. In January 1952, he was appointed as the Adjutant General, Army HQ and in January 1953, he again took over as the Chief of the General Staff. He was promoted to local lieutenant-general on 16 December 1955 and given command of a corps, with promotion to substantive lieutenant-general on 8 May 1957. He was appointed GOC-in-C Southern Command on 25 May 1959.
Chief of the Army Staff
The debacle of the Sino-Indian War and subsequent government inquiries revealing India's military unpreparedness and mismanagement resulted in the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Pran Nath Thapar's resignation on 19 November 1962. On 20 November, Chaudhuri succeeded Thapar as officiating COAS with the acting rank of general. Chaudhuri was officially appointed COAS on 20 February 1963, and was promoted to substantive general on 20 July 1963. He retired on 7 June 1966, after completing 38 years of military service. For his services to the nation, he was presented with the Padma Vibhushan - India's second highest civilian honour — by the President of India.
Subsequently, Chaudhuri served as the Indian High Commissioner to Canada. He wrote two books on military matters and served as a literary reviewer for a leading Indian daily The Statesman. He was the first Indian army chief to write an autobiography in 1979. He loved Western music and founded and was first president of the Delhi Symphony Society, an organization that promoted Western music. Chaudhuri was married to Karuna Chattopadhyay, with whom he had two sons. He died on 6 April 1983.
Awards and Decorations
- "No. 33353". The London Gazette. 3 February 1928. p. 766.
- "No. 33510". The London Gazette. 28 June 1929. p. 4274.
- "No. 33613". The London Gazette. 6 June 1930. p. 3572.
- "No. 33632". The London Gazette. 8 August 1930. p. 4946.
- "No. 34381". The London Gazette. 19 March 1937. p. 1827.
- "No. 35396". The London Gazette. 26 December 1941. p. 7353.
- "No. 35611". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1942. p. 2856.
- Indian Army List for October 1945 (Part I). Government of India Press. 1945. p. 153.
- "No. 35908". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 February 1943. p. 858.
- January 1946 Half Yearly Army List
- "No. 37085". The London Gazette. 18 May 1945. p. 2577.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 June 1950. p. 70.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 14 January 1956. p. 8.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 25 May 1957. p. 131.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 27 June 1959. p. 154.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 5 January 1963. p. 2.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 6 July 1963. p. 227.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 31 August 1963. p. 292.
- London Gazette (various dates)
- Indian Army List (various dates)
- Pradeep P. Barua, Gentlemen of the Raj: The Indian Army Officer Corps, 1817-1949
Pran Nath Thapar
| Chief of Army Staff
Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam
Pran Nath Thapar
| General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Command
1959 - 1962
L P Sen