Second World War

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Operation Polo
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.[1]


Born in a Bengali family, on 10 June 1908, 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.[2] 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.[3] He was promoted to Lieutenant on 2 May 1930.[4][5] In 1934, he attended the course at the Equitation School, Saugor. Promoted to the rank of Captain on 2 February 1937,[6] he attended the Staff course at Command and Staff College, Quetta from December 1939 to June 1940.

In 1940, 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,[7] and again on 30 June 1942 for the same from July to October 1941.[8] He was awarded the OBE on 18 February 1943 for gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East between May to Oct 1942.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

In 1946, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier, 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 Major General and became the officiating Chief of the General Staff.

Major General Syed Ahmed El Edroos (at right) offers his surrender of the Hyderabad State Forces to Major General (later General and Army Chief) J. N. Chaudhuri at Secunderabad
(From left to right): Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nizam VII and Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri after Hyderabad's accession to India

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. 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. On 19 November 1962, he was promoted to full General and took over as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). Gen. J N Chaudhuri 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 and had two children. He died on 6 April 1983.

Family background

Chaudhuri hailed from a distinguished Bengali family that has 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 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.

Gen. J N Chaudhuri's father's six elder brothers, were all distinguished in their own right. Sir Asutosh Chaudhuri, Jogesh Chaudhuri, Kumudnath Chaudhuri, Pramathanath Chaudhuri, Capt. Manmathanath Chaudhuri and Dr. Suhridnath Chaudhuri. All 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.

J N Chaudhuri married Karuna Chattopadhyay and had two sons.

Awards and Decorations

General Service Medal 1947
Sainya Seva Medal
Indian Independence Medal
Order of the British Empire
1939–1945 Star
Burma Star
War Medal 1939–1945
India Service Medal

See also


  1. ^ http://www.hciottawa.ca/pages.php?id=5
  2. ^ "No. 33353". The London Gazette. 3 February 1928. p. 766. 
  3. ^ "No. 33510". The London Gazette. 28 June 1929. p. 4274. 
  4. ^ "No. 33613". The London Gazette. 6 June 1930. p. 3572. 
  5. ^ "No. 33632". The London Gazette. 8 August 1930. p. 4946. 
  6. ^ "No. 34381". The London Gazette. 19 March 1937. p. 1827. 
  7. ^ "No. 35396". The London Gazette. 26 December 1941. p. 7353. 
  8. ^ "No. 35611". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1942. p. 2856. 
  9. ^ "No. 35908". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 February 1943. p. 858. 
  10. ^ January 1946 Half Yearly Army List
  11. ^ "No. 37085". The London Gazette. 18 May 1945. p. 2577. 
  • London Gazette (various dates)
  • Indian Army List (various dates)
  • Pradeep P. Barua, Gentlemen of the Raj: The Indian Army Officer Corps, 1817-1949

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Pran Nath Thapar
Chief of Army Staff
Succeeded by
Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam