Lt Gen SL Menezes Memorial Essay Competition

Lt Gen SL Menezes Memorial Indian Military History Essay Competition 2022
‘An Appraisal of Gen Zorawar Singh's Military Expedition and its Impact on India's Strategic Geography’

General Zorawar Singh's conquest of Ladakh and his expedition into Tibet forms the basis of the present-day McMahon Line. Born to a humble Rajput family, he was a ferocious warrior and is revered as a hero in Dogra folklore. As a General in Ranjit Singh's Army, very interestingly, he met the emperor twice but was denied permission to capture Tibet for the Sikh Empire. Finally, after the demise of Ranjit Singh, with the blessings of Raja Sher Singh & the Dogra ruler of J&K, Dhyan Singh, he led a mixed army of Sikhs, Dogras and Ladakhis to capture Ladakh and most of Western Tibet. There are fascinating accounts of the bravery & professionalism of his army, which fought at 15,000 feet under extreme weather conditions & formidable terrain to subdue the Tibetan army of the Dalai Lama. Following his death in Dec 1841 and the signing of the famous treaty of 1842, it brought the kingdom of Ladakh & Tibet together, resulting in a robust socio-economic interaction that remained till the annexation of Tibet by China in 1950-59.

The implications of Zorawar Singh's campaign on the strategic geography of modern India are profound. His conquest of Ladakh and the impact on the Treaty of 1842 are proof of the absence of any Chinese presence in Tibet. In fact, the Qing Emperor sent assistance to the Dalai Lama in the First Tibetan- Gorkha war of 1788-89, but refused the same in the Sikh-Tibetan war(1841-42) as well as the Second Tibetan-Gorkha war (1855-56) further cementing the fact that China had little presence or control over Tibet. Aside from this, a number of Sikh & Dogra soldiers chose to stay behind, marrying locally and contributing to an interweave and synthesis of cultures, traditions and religious beliefs in this region

Examine the historical and legal facts arising from the 1841 military expedition of Gen Zorawar Singh and the impact it had on India's strategic geography, particularly on our northern frontiers

  1. Competition is open to all, irrespective of nationality. This includes all members of the Armed Forces of India, the Territorial Army and the Senior Division of National Cadet Corps, and personnel of the Paramilitary Forces, Police and Civil Administration in India including retired personnel.
  2. The essay for 2021 must be on the topic “An Appraisal of Gen Zorawar Singh's Military Expedition and its Impact on India's Strategic Geography”.
  3. Essay may vary in length between 3,000 to 4,000 words (including footnotes). The word-length should be shown in brackets at the end of the essay. Entries not exhibiting the number of words or those exceeding the 4000-word limit are liable to be rejected.
  4. Essays should be written in the English language and printed on one side of the paper in double space. Hardcopies only should be submitted in TRIPLICATE and one softcopy sent by email to [[email protected]].
  5. Entries will be strictly ANONYMOUS. No detail pertaining to the author is to be mentioned on the essay or in the covering letter. One sealed envelope is to accompany the essay with a paper indicating the author's name, address, email. Service officers are to indicate their personal number, rank, date of commission, unit, address and e-mail. On the outside of the envelope, only the title of the essay is to be written. These envelopes will be opened during the USI Council meeting, after the judges have given their decision. Essays violating the anonymity rule will be rejected.
  6. The essay must be an author's personal and original effort. Sources are to be cited in the laid down format. Jointly written essays are not accepted. Winning entries will be run through an anti-plagiarism software.Disciplinary action will be recommended against entries displaying blatant plagiarism of content.
  7. Three judges chosen by the USI will adjudicate. Marks will be given on the basis of the following:-
    1. The extent to which the contribution throws fresh light on the subject.
    2. Whether in the whole or in large part it is in a form suitable for publication.
    3. Understanding of the subject.
    4. Thought, logic, development of theme.
    5. Language / expression.
    6. Essays must have relevant footnote references and a bibliography, as applicable Essay NOT having footnotes or bibliography will be rejected.
  8. The award of the judges will be final. They may recommend the first prize to the winner (a certificate and cash prize of Rs.10,000/-), as well as a certificate only to the runners-up. The names of the winner(s) of the essay competition, along with the winning essay, if recommended for publication by the judges, will be published in the USI Journal.
  9. The Institution reserves the right not to make an award, if none of the essays submitted are of a standard which the judges consider adequate. Cases of plagiarism will invite disqualification.
  10. Copyright of all essays submitted will be reserved by the United Service Institution of India.
  11. All essays should be sent to the Director, United Service Institution of India, Rao Tula Ram Marg, Post Bag No.8, Vasant Vihar PO, New Delhi-110 057, to be received not later than 15 September 2022. Softcopies should be emailed to [email protected] Essays received after last date will not be accepted. The envelopes should be marked as follows:-
    • ‘Lt Gen SL Menezes Memorial USI Essay Competition [YEAR]’
  12. All essays must conform to the CMHCS style sheet, available at
RESULTS : : Lt Gen SL Menezes Essay Competition – 2022
Subject: "Appraisal of Gen Zorawar Singh’s Military Expedition and Its Impact on India’s Strategic Geography".
Col K Ravichandran, CI Tac, College of Military Engineering, Dapodi, Pune, Pin- 411031
Col Devendra Kumar, Faculty of Military Leadership (FACMIL), Army War College, Pin- 908767, C/o 56 APO


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